Arcana – The Righteous Uterus

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photo by smellallthethings

The name, the label art, the cause … it’s all wonderful!  For the unawares, The Righteous Uterus is part of Arcana’s bid to help Planned Parenthood40% of proceeds from this scent are automatically transferred from each sale to Planned Parenthood.  Julia, bless her hedonistic heart, is very transparent in how much has been sent thus far.  Curious?  Visit her company’s Facebook page or the fan page.

Like I said, the cause is wonderful.  Even if the notes are not “your thing”, this is another way to donate to a worthy cause.

But that label art!  And the notes!  And the name!  It’s the complete package really.

The Righteous Uterus – A power blend of fresh ginger root, bergamot peel, black vanilla, spruce branches, balsam of Peru, and sparkling water rests on a base of unbreakable sandalwood and corporeal amber.

In the bottle this is a huge, freshly peeled blast of ginger root.  I’ve peeled and grated enough and I enjoy that scent (mostly because I enjoy the food I’m cooking it in as well).  And on the skin that fresh ginger root is there, it’s strong and flowing.  It’s so strong that it’s overtaking everything else at the moment.

As this dries down I get that citrus-y bergamot peel and something that is reminding me of Arcana’s “fir jam” which might be the spruce branches (maybe a bit of the balsam as well) coming through.  Eventually I get that dark, caramel-y vanilla scent and it pulls the sandalwood and amber with it as it makes its way through the brighter notes.

It takes a while, but fear not, the ginger and bergamot falls to the back of the line and lets the other notes come to the fore.  The throw is not as large as it was when wet, but it’s still nice and I get a waft of it whenever I move my hand.

I really like this.  It wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.  I’d seen it compared to ginger ale, and I don’t like ginger ale.  I don’t think it’s like ginger ale.

Once this has had time to settle it is a gorgeous, soft scent with an edge.  It has that feel that is quintessentially Arcana.  Soft, slightly sweet, with a brightness that lifts you up and a base to keep you grounded.

Love by Arcana

Best way to get back to something is to just jump right in, right?  Sure it is!  So, as I’ve mentioned I had some issues with changes in medication and I was trying to figure out just how the changes had effected me and my chemistry.  Well, the good news is that most if not all of my favorite blends got BETTER.  Didn’t think that was possible but there ya go.  So far there’s only been one or two blends where I just … I couldn’t take it but they had been on the fence for me anyway so it was no love lost.

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photo by smellallthethings

Speaking of love …

For my birthday coming up, I placed a small order with Arcana.  I saw a few reviews on Reddit’s IndieMakeupandMore subreddit and just couldn’t pass them up.  Of course, after hitting “buy” I am second guessing myself and wondering if I shouldn’t have tossed Love into my cart.

I guess I’ll find out today if I need to place another order.

Love – A breathtaking vanilla accord is accompanied by fresh cream, sugarcane, soft musk, and a pinch of tea leaves.

In the vial this is a blast of sweet cream.  Like the mixture for my Great-Aunt May’s Sweet Cream Pie before it gets cooked.  But there’s something sharp on top of it, like a bright citrus or something … maybe the tea leaves?  It’s odd but not off-putting so to the skin it goes!

Wet on my skin this is like a buttery crust of some kind.  Like a puffed pastry that’s only lightly sweetened.  This is way more foodie than I think I was expecting.

As this dries down that bakery smell is not going away.  I find this quite amusing.  But I’m fairly certain my skin is turning the fresh cream from something delightfully soft and flowing into something approaching curdled – but not quite there yet.

I find I am having a very hard time putting what I’m smelling together with the notes as listed.  They just don’t seem to be jiving.  I’m getting pastries, but the notes don’t add to pastry in my mind.  I’ve got a friend who is a gourmand queen (you know who you are) and I may let her have a go at this to see if it’s just me and my weirdo chemistry or if I’m totally reading the scent wrong.

In the end I had to scrub this off.  It became a cloying sweet pastry that was making my teeth ache.

Ah the fun and joy of experimentation!!

 

30 Scents in 30 days – Day 22 – Arcana Last Judgement

Forgive me for being slack in updating!  I got busy, then got sick, then got busy again.  Then I worry it has been so long does it matter anymore?  And the answer is of course it matters!

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photo by smellallthethings

So today, as I go through my stash, I pulled out Arcana’s Last Judgement (which is unfortunately not longer available) and will spout the wonderfulness of this blend that I’ve not worn since I bought it last year.

Last JudgementHoly resins of frankincense and myrrh with smudgy, tobacco-laced vanilla, amber, and labdanum absolute.

In the bottle I get the most heady waft of frank and myrrh with a healthy dose of labdanum.  Now you might be thinking this is similar to Holy Terror (an unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles) and it is … but not really.  It’s got the same resinous frankincense and myrrh, but that’s really where the similarities end.

With Last Judgement you get this narcotic feeling that makes me want to roll my eyes in the back of my head and just sniff this all day long.  I honestly cannot express just how much I love this scent.  You get that golden bit of amber, slightly powdery and slightly sweet.  And then the touch of the tobacco with the vanilla which adds another layer of sweetness on it.

However, with all this seeming sweetness, it is still extremely resinous and quite flowing.  The throw on this is decent – not too much, not too little – and I get the loveliest wafts of incense around me as I wear it.

This blend is one where a little goes a long way.  I’m typically a slatherer, but not with this blend.  This one I can dab on pulse points and be done for most of the day.  The longevity is also wonderful and I typically get anywhere from 6 to 8 hours or more depending on other factors.

Arcana Soaps – Flowers & Stars Samples

So excited for more Arcana scents!  Julia’s been doing some wonderful things over there lately, so if you’re curious, check out the Arcana Addicts facebook page to get sneak peeks at some exciting things!  Once again, these decants were courtesy of the wonderful Ajevie!  Now, on to the real reason you’re here …

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photo by smellallthethings

Adhara has notes that include, Vanilla cream, tangerine, clementine, Nagami peel, black coconut, and a touch of sweet violet.  In the vial this is super citus-y and almost creamsicle-like!  On my skin this is a lot of citrus peel with a dark coconut meat.  The violet and vanilla cream add some much needed sweetness to the blend.  I’m trying to wrap my head around this scent as it’s so completely different from anything I normally go for (that was actually on purpose for this group) that I can’t seem to pull together the right words to describe this.  Eventually the sharp acidic peel-like scent smooths out and I get more of the creaminess from the coconut and vanilla with a touch of that purple violet.  The citrus takes a chill pill and calms down and starts playing nicely with everyone.  This is a bright and sweet scent, yellow-ish orange in feel and scent (and apparently oil now that I look at it).  Unfortunately this is fading rather fast on my skin, though that could be an issue of the heat today rather than the blend itself.

Oh man, 10 minutes later and that faded feeling goes away and I get the full force of the beautiful creamy citrusy scent!  It’s like an orange dreamsicle, but only if it took on a more tropical vibe.  The coconut has come out more, but not overwhelmingly so.  This has turned out absolutely beautiful and this girl who used to be iffy on citrus notes before has been converted to a citrus lover!

Belatrix is up next touting notes of Sweet, jammy fir absolute with 3 honeys, honeysuckle, tiny strawberries, and blood orange.  Jammy fir sounds like my kind of jam!  Oh man this smells like heaven in the vial!  On my skin that jammy fir certainly is sweet with those honeys and bright honeysuckle.  The strawberries are tart and the blood orange is deep and red.  Man, I kind of thought I would like this – I did not expect to love it!  This does lean a tad masculine but can teeter on that unisex border.  And if you amp anything other than the fir, then it would likely be leaning feminine.  But, lucky me, I amp conifer scents!  Oh wow, I just keep huffing!  This is just full of sweet woods, beautifully fragrant and unmistakably addicting.  I need this in my life.

Betelgeuse boasts notes of Atlas cedarwood and blood cedar with smoldering oudh, osmanthus, brown musk, bacon, and vetiver.  Bacon?  Yes, bacon.  Crispy fried bacon.  No, it’s not super prominent, but it’s in there mixing with the brown musk and the vetiver.  You bet it’s odd too.  I think my chemistry is amping the brown musk as it’s almost overwhelming right now.  Ya’ll, I want to keep this on and review it but I can’t.  I just … I can’t.  I do hope someone finds this and loves it.  It’s unique and different, salty and brown to the extreme, but just too much for this girl to handle.

Electra is up next to relieve my palate of the aforementioned bacon with its notes of Pink carnation petal ice cream, Mexican bakery vanilla, eggnog, sweet cinnamon, and nutmeg.  In the vial this is all vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg – almost holiday-like.  On my skin it’s much of the same, except now I get that pink carnation petal ice cream (who knew?!) coming out and it’s delicious!  There’s even a hint of “coolness” to it to really give it that ice cream feel.  This is soft, pink, and frilly.  The holiday-likeness goes away after a while and instead everything seems to be in support of that unique pink carnation petal ice cream (I may need to find some).  For some reason this is just bringing memories of Jem and the Holograms to mind.  Rockin’!

Miaplacidus may be hard to say, but it’s notes of Sea air, spring water, cucumber, juniper, hyacinth, lavender, China musk, and 1 drop of hyssop aren’t.  In the vial this is very watery and lavendery (that’s totally a word, okay?).  On my skin the sea air thankfully isn’t coming across as super salty (like the bacon was … wtf bacon … yes I’m still hung up on it), and the cucumber is giving a nice refreshing and clean aspect.  The juniper is soft, but the lavender isn’t, at least not on me.  On me it is almost screaming along with the china musk.  Very odd.  It’s almost as though everything in the blend is vying for attention at once.  Okay, it took a few minutes but the screaming and fighting stopped (listens better than my kids) and now it’s soft and watery and flowing.  This blend becomes gentle and beautiful despite the beginning oddness.  Very pretty, clear blue in color and feel.

Mira is taking me out of my comfort zone again with notes of Tiare blossoms dipped in milk chocolate with coconut, sugared rum, French cocoa absolute, marshmallows, and white chocolate.  So rum and I don’t get a long every since my husband decided that while I was pregnant with my first to get me to eat Häagen Dazs Rum Raisin Ice Cream and that begun my decent into morning sickness – or every time I smelled rum sickness.  There are definite bits of cocoa in the vial so if you do get this, remember to shake gently or roll gently before applying to get it to mix in with the rest of the blend.  This is pure chocolate in the vial.  That creamy and rich milk chocolate that the rest of the world swears isn’t actually chocolate but us American’s just don’t care – we’re addicted to it.  (Unless you’re not, in which case … SHAME ON YOU!  Kidding.)  On my skin it’s chocolate and rum and chocolate and some cocoa.  And it’s way too overwhelming.  I can’t – it’s too much for me.  Some chocolate wearing lover is going to go gaga for this blend, I know it, but that person is not me.

Sirius rounds these scents out with its notes of Bright white grapefruit, golden amber, linden flowers, tart red currant, cassis, and pomegranate.  Lots of favorite notes in here!  I almost bought Sirius blindly without testing, but I wanted to try them all so here we are. In the vial this is bright grapefruit, tart and tangy and super juicy.  On my skin that stays very true but now the linden flowers come out with a touch of cassis.  The pomegranate is red as are the currants, but the grapefruit is making them really work to be smelled.  I think I amp citrus notes in the beginning so I’ll stop sniffing it for a few minutes and see what it does when it settles.  Hmm, even after a few minutes the grapefruit is still super strong and almost over powering the blend.  It takes about 30 minutes but eventually the grapefruit stops overwhelming the blend and the rest gets to showcase themselves.  I enjoy the bit of spiciness cassis brings to the group.  This is only slightly sweet, completely juicy and tart, and a hint of spice.

And thus concludes the Arcana Flowers & Stars collection reviews.  Hope it was helpful!

Arcana – Puppy Kisses and Moonflower’s Bliss

I received these two samples from my last Arcana order.  I’ve never tried Puppy Kisses, though I’ve seen some rave reviews, and it looks like The Moonflower’s Bliss is new!  YAY!  I love reviewing and testing things before they come out.  Thanks Julia!

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photo by smellallthethings

Puppy Kisses is up first with notes of a batter of rich cream, soft coconut milk, rice syrup, copaiba balsam, massoia bark and milky pearl musk is gently licked with sweet peppermint, sugared bayberry, and the tiniest smooches of Oregon lavender and Dalmatian sage.  In the vial it’s sweet peppermint – those one’s that melt in your mouth the moment they touch your tongue.  On my skin that peppermint is still prominent, but it is tempered by creamy coconut, a touch of lavender and a sprinkle of sage.  This is fresh, clean, soft, and playful.  Perfect representation of fun loving puppy kisses!

Next we have The Moonflower’s Bliss.  No notes are listed, yet, for this scent but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess there’s moonflower in it!  I love moonflower! Oh wow, this is a heady blend of florals in the vial.  On my skin I get the moonflower, beautifully soft and slightly sweet with just a hint of dew maybe.  There is a greenness around it as though you are smelling the whole plant, sky, and night instead of just the flower.  This is a perfect representation of the flower and plant in all its glory.  You can even get a sense of the night sky!  I can’t wait until this scent is available for purchase!  It’ll be wonderful for those warm summer nights.

After typing this up earlier this morning, Julia released The Moonflower’s Bliss on her ebay page.  The notes for this blend are moon vine, heartleaf milkweed, Calla lily, white tuberose, gardenia, and Madagascar bridal veil with creamy butter CO2 extract, pearl musk, white pepper, and a trace of incense.

Arcana Soaps – Spring and Other Sundries

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photo by smellallthethings

Julia over at Arcana was kind enough to run a little sale where, if you purchased 3 or more scents from the Ebay page, you got a free 5ml of Vanilla Craves Spring!  Couldn’t pass that up, ya know.  Oh, and not shown is the backup bottle of Phoebus I got.  That’s one sexy blend right there.

First up, lets try the bottle that was so generously gifted, Vanilla Craves Spring.  It’s notes include: two gourmand vanillas, young honeysuckle, pink bubblegum, white amber, a hint of galbanum, and a single drop of sweet mint. Now, let me preface this review by stating I’m emphatically NOT a “foodie” or gourmand scent person.  I don’t enjoy smelling like food.  However, my skin seems to have a rather arbitrary line as to what crosses that “foodie” edge for me.  Sometimes I get surprised.  Vanilla Craves Terror was a surprise considering all the reviews I’d seen saying it leaned gourmand because it didn’t for me.

In the bottle Vanilla Craves Spring is all vanilla – beautiful, rich, and buttery.  It doesn’t hit that food edge … yet.  On my skin the galbanum comes out with a touch (and I do mean a touch – I wouldn’t have placed it if I didn’t know the notes) of the sweet mint and together they seem to reign in the overly foodie aspect of the vanilla.  The bubblegum is almost non-existent, which I think I saw on another review the same thing.  The honeysuckle is that beautiful and bright yellow scent that you associate with the onset of spring.  This blend is innocent to the extreme!  I can just see my daughter out playing in our yard, ice cream cone in hand, as she runs her hands over the honeysuckle.  Pure, unadulterated innocence tucked into a little 5ml brown apothecary bottle.  This … This scent just makes me happy, plain and simple.

(As an aside – I take hours if not days to write reviews sometimes so as to not go “nose-blind” to scents.  That being said, it’s now about 4 hours since I put on VCS and I’m like a little addicted I think.  I keep huffing the small spot and sighing happily.  I want to slather, but Yurt is on the other hand … I’ll likely wash Yurt off before too long and cuddle into some comforting Vanilla Craves Spring!  It taunts me with glorious whiffs as I move my hand.)

Next up we have Yurt – which, admittedly, is fun to say.  (Go on, say it out loud – you know you want to!).  Yurt’s notes consist of: glowing dragonsblood resin and cedarwood with hemlock, fir needle, juniper, and bonfire smoke.  Wowee – this is so different from the a fore mentioned VCS – where VCS is light and happy, Yurt is dark green, shadowed and maybe just a bit fierce. In the bottle this is all fir needle.  On my skin the bonfire smoke alights and the night is now glowing with the fierceness of fire.  There is a spiciness to this blend (dragonsblood maybe?  some companies are spicy, some are floral – this is my first foray into Arcana’s dragonsblood) and the wood is scorched (but not in a bad way? is there a good scorching?) the juniper gives the feeling of being in a coniferous forest.  The hemlock is bitter but it doesn’t overwhelm the blend like it can sometimes do.  Yurt is fire.  Yurt is forest.  Yurt is … the complete opposite of Vanilla Craves Spring.  Yurt is becoming slightly overwhelming.  Yurt is fun to say, but don’t use too much – a little goes a very, very long way.

Necklace Made of Tears  isn’t one of the spring scents, but the frankincense tears called my name.  Its notes consist of: Sticky spun sugar with frankincense tears, peach nectar, violets, lacrima water, and cardamom.  I have no idea what lacrima water is … and a google search turned up only one description from Scent for Thought that describes it as saline and slightly metallic.  I guess we’ll see what it does.  In the bottle it is water, peach and violets.  On my skin this lets the sugar and violets come out.  Normally I don’t “smell” a metallic note, instead I feel it or taste it on my tongue – and I’m getting that sensation.  The frankincense tears give a nice resinous base to this and the peach nectar has a juicy quality that almost makes my mouth water.  With each sniff I go back and forth on whether or not I like it.  One sniff gives an aquatic feel, and I typically don’t go for aquatic scents.  On the next sniff I get the frankincense tears, the violets, and a nice comforting sweetness which I adore.  Such a morpher!

And bringing up the end is Two Finger Ballet.  I’m really a 12 year old boy at heart and snort-laughed at the name.  The notes for this blend include: A delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, and the smallest dab of opium.  Have I mentioned before I love opium?  And all that vanilla?  And amber?  Well, I do.

Just like with Vanilla Craves Spring, Two Finger Ballet smells like a rich, buttery vanilla in the bottle.  On my skin it smooths out and looses some of that buttery scent and the creme makes it more languid.  The opium adds to that sweet and languid feel.  Two Finger Ballet verges on being foodie, but doesn’t cross that line for me.  The caramel isn’t apparent, but seems to be adding a slightly smoky quality.  Oh man, this is an addicting scent as well.  I can see why it is so popular!

Arcana Soaps – Phoebus

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photo by smellallthethings

Phoebus is another beautiful creation from Arcana Soaps.

It’s notes are listed as:

Smoked vanilla, sweet resins, red musk, marshmallow, and fiery woodsmoke.

I adore blends with red musk in them and with my current track record with Arcana, I figured this was a sure win.

Wet this is a strong red musk (yay!) with a smoky undertone and a hint of sweetness.  As this dries the notes begin to meld and the red musk tones it down a bit to allow the resins, vanilla and woodsmoke to come out and do their thing.  The woodsmoke isn’t quite as in your face as you would think – more like it is way in the background.  Also the wood is fragrant and beautiful smelling.  The marshmallow gives a bit of a fluffy feel and a hint of that powder you find on the outside of marshmallows.  It doesn’t overwhelm the blend and adds just the right amount of sweetness to combat the woodsmoke and smoked vanilla.

It reminds me of Holy Terror (another wonderful blend by Arcana) – but just a bit different.  Perhaps it is the resins and vanilla that put it in the same vein.  They are not the same, but in that same type of scent family.

The throw on this is low to moderate but it wafts around as I move my hand and I get gentle little blasts of red musk sweetness.

Arcana Soaps – The Prynne Collection 2016

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photo by smellallthethings

I’m so excited to dig into Arcana’s Valentine’s Day Prynne Collection from this year (purchased via The Rhinestone Housewife).

Odalisque is from Part I of The Prynne Collection (notesThick vanilla syrup, golden musk, black musk, kyphi, and spikenard.) In the bottle it mostly smells like golden amber musk.  However, once on my skin it blossoms.  The black musk leans in the back, supporting the other notes.  The kyphi is nice and spicy and sweetened by the vanilla syrup.  Arcana’s vanilla is wonderful, and this is no exception.  The golden musk and spikenard give the blend a slightly lighter feel.  Overall, despite the black musk, thick vanilla and kyphi this is not a heavy blend.  It smells light and flowing.  More like a veil of scent than a blanket.  The throw is light to medium at times.

Tramp, from Part II of The Prynne Collection, contains: Red roses, worn leather, blood cedar, oudh, and 3 trampy musks. In the bottle is smells of beautiful full red roses.  On my skin the roses bloom with a hint of the blood cedar underneath.  As it dries the oudh comes out and it is a beautiful brownish-gold smell, deep and intoxicating.  The musks start to come out – perhaps one is a red musk?  When it is completely dry the leather comes out to layer along with everything.  At first this was almost boozy – but as it dried it’s become sexier with the leather, oudh, and musks coming out.  The rose is still apparent, but it becomes more like petals strewn across leather instead of full blooms.  Very beautiful and only slightly trampy.  This has a rather large throw.

Floozy, the last purchase from Part II of The Prynne Collection (notesSilky opium smoked with boozy amber, dark vanilla, and sandalwood.) In the bottle it smells strongly of smoky opium.  Wet on my skin it’s a bit more smoky, but not overwhelmingly so.  The sandalwood is fragrant and bright which contrasts nicely with the dark vanilla and the boozy amber.  This is gorgeous, flouncy and flowing, and so soft. Floozy is sweet, smoky, and woody – darkly golden with sweet opium smoke. It has a wonderful throw – not too much, not a skin scent – that nice in-between.