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.

Sixteen92 – Fall 2016 Samples

As if a Halloween release tease isn’t enough, I also bring Sixteen92‘s Fall release samples!

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photo by smellallthethings

I think everyone remembers the witch trials, especially if you read The Crucible in school.  Some delved in deeper, I’m sure.  Unfortunately growing up Catholic, this sort of thing was highly glossed over.  I think I have a new personal goal to learn more about the witch trials.

Starting with Bridget Bishop (link to wikipedia) I’ve learned she was the first person to be executed for being a witch.  Her perfume notes are – Night-blooming flowers, belladonna, bergamot peel, resinous oudh, nutmeg, ambroxan, and scarlet musk.

This is one of the premium fragrances.  In the vial this is all heady florals, still warm from the heat of the day.  On my skin I get a little funkiness from the oudh before it smooths out.  There is a hint of bitter greenness from the belladonna and the bergamot adds its touch of spiciness.  I’m not really getting any nutmeg.

Looking up ambroxan I found out it is a synthetic representation of ambergris which explains that sort of salty aquatic feel I’m getting.

The throw on this is gorgeous and the florals are deep and heady, almost like hot-house florals in their intensity.  This blend is not shy.  It is strong, almost commanding, and not for the faint of heart.

Unfortunately, about 30 min into the drydown I ended up having a sneezing fit and had to wash it off and take a few minutes to sniff some coffee and reset myself – which is disappointing because I was really, really liking this blend.

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Cotton Mather is a rather well known figure from the Salem Witch Trials.  He was a very vocal supporter of the trials as well as an author of numerous publications regarding the trials, demons, witches, and the like.  His perfume contains notes of blackened patchouli, woodland mosses, sweet herbs, dried helichrysum, woodsmoke, lamplight, ink, ash, and flame.

Fire and brimstone would not be a wholly inaccurate way to describe this scent.  There is a lot of smoke and charred woods in the vial.  On my skin the patchouli is dirty, sooty and dark while the woodsmoke and ash cling to everything while a fire burns in the distance.  This is not a soft nor gentle scent.

It feels dangerously dark, yet almost alluring.  I find myself catching hints of smoke and fire and following it down to sniff at my wrist.  The moss is dark and ashy.  To be fair, there is the feeling of a fine layer of ash over the whole scent.  You catch a bit of the oil burning for the lamplight, yet it mixes in with the flame as well.  There is a touch of a hay-like scent as well, as though there are stables not far away.

This blend leans heavily masculine and I believe it has more throw than it’s showing me.  I have a feeling others would get a sense of it and maybe even steer clear without really understanding why.

So about an hour or so later and I was right about the throw.  It’s now wafting about as strong as a … (don’t hate me) Hollister store.  Not the same scent!  Just the strength!  This is actually extremely wearable.  The wet stage is a touch overwhelming, but dry this is really quite something.  Very much in the cologne territory, but not horribly so.  It reminds me of something that I can’t quite put my finger on.  And it’s turning out to be another one that I can’t stop smelling.

After about 2 hours the scent on my skin is fading, but the throw isn’t!  Well, kind of.  It’s no longer at Hollister-strength (really, please don’t hate me).

While after oh … 6 hours or so the throw isn’t much there, I still get nice whiffs when I wave the spot towards my nose.  Also, the scent is still very much there on my skin, though much faded.

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Mercy Lewis became caught up in the hysteria that began surrounding the witch trials.  Not only was she accused of being a witch, but she had accused others as well.  Her perfume notes are heliotrope, honeyed tea, rosehips, sugared almond, creamy sandalwood, and milky vanilla.

In the vial I get an unmistakable creamy, almost an almond cookie dough type scent and it’s really quite delicious.  On my skin this is all about that smooth and creamy sandalwood supported with a soft and delicate vanilla.  I get a touch of the almond, almost more like a marzipan than a whole almond.  The rosehips and heliotrope are gorgeous and silky soft.

Overall this is a very … naive scent.  It is innocence and ignorance and just trying to survive.

For as light as this scent is, I do get a faint throw from the florals.  They are pinkish white and the tea is more tasted than smelled.  I truly adore this scent for how utterly girlish it is.

After a few hours this has become a sweetly soft honey with a small hint of tea.  It’s now a very close skin scent, clean and very nice.

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Sarah Good was found guilty of witchcraft, likely erroneously, because two young girls pointed fingers at her.  Her perfume notes are charred maple leaves, black pitch, fresh-baked bread, dried black tea leaves, sweet orange, and chimney smoke.

The first thing I smell out of the vial is bread and strong black tea.  On my skin the charred maple leaves overtake and I get a strong sense of burning bread and ashes.  The black pitch is pine-like and very thick tar while the orange attempts to add something bright into the mix.

Another blend with another good throw, I’m gobsmacked, truly, by how many of these lately have a good throw.  This blend leans unisex, and thankfully, like Cotton Mather, the “smoke” aspect isn’t overwhelming and floats off to the distance as it dries.

I am yet again drawn to the spot on my wrist to huff happily.  This is a very woodsy almost cabin-like scent.  Very gorgeous and soft.

Three hours after, I still get a sense of bread and something verging on being a spice, perhaps the dried black tea leaves.  It’s not a yeasty bread at all, very nice and soft.

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Tituba, who was accused along with Sarah Good, was a slave and was also the first to confess to witchcraft.  Her perfume contains hawthorn, gingerbread biscuits, tobacco leaf, burning resins, rye, sweet woods, and beeswax candles.

In the vial I get a strong tobacco scent along with a creamy beeswax.  On my skin the beeswax is sweetened somehow, perhaps by the woods, and the resins are sticky and not yet burning.  I don’t get much rye or gingerbread from this, though the hawthorn is there, it is adding a touch of greenness.

This blend is sweet and homey – as though you are standing in someone’s kitchen that they love, care for, and enjoy thoroughly.  I really get a sense of love, and home, and all things that make you feel as though you are in a warm embrace.  If Tituba truly was a witch, I do not believe she was evil.

While this blend doesn’t have a huge throw, it is beautiful and long lasting on my skin.

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I think the fall release, more so than the Halloween release, will doom me.  I believe the only one I haven’t fallen fore is Bridget Bishop, and that’s only because I couldn’t stop sneezing.

And if you, like others, are wondering when these lovely’s will be released, there is a time table!  Per Claire:

“The season of RELEASE ALL THE THINGS” has begun!

Just posting a quick overview of all of the upcoming releases, since there’s a lot to keep track of:

AUGUST:

Bath & Body (whipped soaps, scrubs) will launch very soon — expect an email from us in the next day or two with details and official release date. Soon, very soon.

Fall will happen at the very end of August this year, instead of early September. If you’re a Circle member expect your pre-sale access link to land in your inboxes within the next 2 weeks.

Fall/Winter bath & body will launch with the fall collection (which means Toasted Marshmallow is returning along with some other favorites and new offerings)

SEPTEMBER:

Fall part 2 will launch with the Halloween collection in late September this year. Last year Halloween ran Oct 1-31 but we are pushing everything up by just a bit this year, due to the busy season. We will also have a Halloween mini bath & body collection like last year.

OCTOBER:

Fall LE time! Details TBA, it’s a secret 😉

And that should take us through the winter release and into Black Friday

Sixteen92 – Halloween 2016 Samples

Sixteen92‘s subscription, The Circle, has got to be the best thing since … sample packs!  I love this little bit of “sneak peek” I, and others, get!

I also got the Fall samples in this pack, but I’ve been itching for Halloween scents so I’m doing the Halloween reviews first.

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photo by smellallthethings

The Bell Witch with sweet cider barrels, orchard wood, blond tobacco leaf, cave and forest moss, glowing pumpkin, dry leaves, and turned earth is up first and I don’t think I can properly convey just how excited I am to try these scents.  I think this is the first time where every description pulls at me.

In the vial I get a definite spiced apple scent, likely from the cider barrels.  On my skin this just blossoms and opens up and without even sniffing my skin I can smell the soft flesh of the pumpkin, dry leaves crunching under foot, a hint of tobacco, and the soft velveteen texture of the moss.

What I’m saying is this baby has some throw on it and I’m in love.  You get it all in here, every nuanced aspect of this blend is perfectly represented and comes together to form the most accurate representation of a crisp fall day that I’ve ever had the pleasure of smelling.

This blend seems to lean a little masculine as it dries, giving it a cologne type feel to it, likely from the earth and moss, but it’s not something that will deter me from wearing it.  I want to bathe in this scent.

With the amount of throw on this blend, I do find it somewhat overwhelming to sniff directly on my skin and I much prefer the scent I get as it wafts as opposed to the spicier version on my skin.  After about an hour the scent against the skin isn’t so overwhelming and is just as gorgeous as the scent that wafts up to me still.

You would think after a few hours I’d have nothing to add to this, but alas, that is not true.  Not only is this scent still giving a decent throw, and still beautiful, it seems that now I’m getting more apple, as though a glass of cider was poured and they cut up a fresh apple to mix into it.  Magic.  Pure and simple.

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Borley Rectory has notes of Italian Bergamot, cocao pod, smoked black tea, decayed woods, faded parchment, shadowy musk.

In the vial I get musk and bergamot with a strong helping of black tea.  This is another blend that, quite literally, blossoms on the skin immediately.  The bergamot is beautiful, and it’s a note that is becoming a fast favorite of mine and I’ve been seeking it out lately.  The tea has somewhat backed down to a half drunk cup instead of a full blown pot.  The parchment is well worn, touched and used, and has oil from skin along the edges.

That shadowy musk though, that is what makes this blend.  I don’t get much cocao pod, or if I do it’s blended and so light that I can’t pick it out.  However, that musk is almost sinister and it combines with the smokiness of the black tea and the heat of woods that this is just a dark and almost foreboding scent.

I did notice there are flecks of cocao in the vial, so I’m sure that’s in there, but I can’t pick it out, which is fine.  Also this is leaning masculine as well, but I still love it.

There is a throw to this, though not as prominent as The Bell Witch was, but it still wafts up gently.  It’s longevity is really awesome as well.

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The Island of the Dolls contains notes of Mexican vanilla, dry bergamot, somber rose, dark chocolate, black plum, dense woods, and porcelain musk.  If you’ve ever seen a documentary on this place, it’s super creepy.

There is a deep chocolate scent in the vial as well as on my skin.  At first that’s about all I can smell (which is why I don’t wear chocolate – it overwhelms everything else on me).  After a few minutes I get some of that slightly spicy dry bergamot.  I’ve concluded dry is not how I like my bergamot.  The rose is also coming across as being a dried rose instead of fresh.

I’m having a hard time smelling around the chocolate.  Thankfully after letting it sit for about 20 minutes or so, most of the chocolate scent is gone.  Now I am getting a sense of that dark plum and some deep dark woods.  The porcelain musk is soft and powdery.

Unfortunately, this one does not have a good throw on me and I have to really sniff the spot to get a good sense of the blend.  It is nice once dried, again leaning masculine, but I don’t think its for me, especially because of the chocolate.  That’s just not my thing.

Man, after about an hour I adore the scent I’m getting from this.  I just wish I didn’t have that issue with the chocolate!  Because what’s left is woodsy and slightly sweet, soft and almost alluring.

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Myrtles Plantation‘s notes consist of oleander leaf and bloom, labdanum, white sage, fig leaf, blood orange, and suede musk.

This seems to be the brightest of the bunch with blood orange taking the lead in the vial with a touch of oleander.  On my skin the suede musk immediately asserts itself and lays out as a soft smooth base, brown and almost fuzzy.  You really get a hint of greenness from the fig leaf, and the sage is very apparent.  The blood orange is now, almost completely gone or pushed out of the way by the other scents.

There is something almost bitter in this blend.  I’m afraid sage has taken another blend from under me.  My skin reacts poorly to sage.  Which makes me sad because I love labdanum and wanted so much to like this blend!

Well into the dry down the sage is no longer bitter, thankfully, and the labdanum gets to come out and do it’s narcotic dance.  This is soft and more brown than green, and very close to the skin.

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Lastly we have Waverly Hills whose notes are listed as dense fern, frost, wild moss, raw honey & propolis vegan, black labdanum, overgrown vines, late blooming Southern florals, and spectral musk.

In the vial the ferns feel crushed and give off that unique green scent and its almost overpowering.  On my skin that sharp greenness is still there, but the other notes are attempting to temper it.

After about 10 minutes the sharpness of the fern has subsided and I’m left with this unmistakable garden – soft florals and sweet greens with a hint of that labdanum and a touch of honey.  That spectral musk acts like fog, and the frost helps to enhance that feeling.  This is early pre-dawn in a slightly overgrown garden when the fog has rolled in and created this gorgeous, slightly spooky, scene.

The throw on this isn’t huge, but I do get it wafting up to me on occasion.  Being even more Southern than Kentucky, I really appreciate and understand the late blooming florals.  They are showcased here beautifully.  (I still have a magnolia tree in my backyard that throws out a new bloom about once a week.)

I get a very ethreal feel about this blend, and I think this, minus the sharp fern scent, would be best as an EDP.

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For me, personally, The Bell Witch and Borley Rectory have stolen my Halloween loving heart!  Both of these I could slather in every format offered and still want more.

Cocoa Pink Samples

I’m back from my adventures in moving!!  It was an epic journey, but we made it!  Almost all settled in now, and I’m confident that the perfumes have had adequate time to rest from their hot and bumpy car ride.

Along with getting a new house, I have new scenery to take photo’s with.  So, please bear with me as I experiment with photo set ups and by all means, if you find/see one you really like, let me know!

Now, onto the perfumes!  Cocoa Pink still has my attention and I’m super curious to try more of their catalog.  Just as a side note, none of these samples came after the move.  I’ve had these for a month or more so they have not only rested but aged a little as well.

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photo by smellallthethings

April Sun Showers seems appropriate for as much as it’s rained since we got here last Wednesday.  We were initially greeted by a severe thunderstorm complete with hail.  Not only that, but it seems to have rained at least once a day/night since then.  New places, new experiences!  Now, April Sun Showers has notes of purple Adonis Tulips, prickly pear cactus, morning dew, ripe kiwifruit, white peach extract swimming in steeped matcha tea.  In the vial is a greenish wet scent with a hint of slightly sweet fruits.  On my skin the florals bloom and this is very heady and almost overwhelming at times.  After just a few minutes this settles into a beautifully soft and slightly sweet aquatic.  There is a greeness to this scent, but it not overdone.  Peach sits lightly on top, lending that juicy sweetness without being too assertive.  Overall this is gorgeous, soft, and aquatic without a hint of that saltiness you sometimes get with some aquatics.  I might have to wear this on rainy days to see if it’ll go well into my rotation.

Watermelon Kiwi Pops sounds like a delicious summer treat with notes of luscious watermelon and Kiwi juices frozen into yummy popsicles.  In the dram I get an overly sweet almost acidic scent.  Watermelon is hard to synthesize, if you look at foods/sweets that try to do it it’s always overdone, too much, and just not right compared to the real thing.  Unfortunately, that is the same vibe I am getting here.  I love watermelon, but it’s scent is so very hard to capture.  There is a hint of it in there, but mostly it’s making my nose and head hurt to smell it.  It could be part of the “frozen” aspect that is knocking it off kilter, but either way, I can’t seem to wear this one.  Hopefully it works for someone!

Sunkissed Clouds sounds heavenly with notes of blood orange and Satsuma juice raining atop fluffy marshmallow clouds.  In the dram I get that beautiful fragrant blood orange with the satsuma juice.  On my skin it is much of the same, very citrus-y with that gorgeous and sweet marshmallow adding a bit of sweetness to cut the acidity of the citrus.  This is a simple blend, but it is bright and happy, just makes you want to smile.

Next up is Autumn Splendor because my daughter insisted I try it.  Who could say no?  It’s notes consist of the gorgeous fragrance of bright red autumn leaves swirling around sweet white birch trees, whispers of golden sage, warm amber, rosewood and a drop of honey.  In the dram I get an almost apple-like scent, crisp, red, and soft.  On my skin it is still there, but it is flanked by a beautiful amber, golden and sunny and a touch of wine.  This is a gorgeous blend meant for warm days and cool nights.  The honey is clean and just a touch sweet.  Nothing in this blend overwhelms and it is perfectly blended.  Definitely a scent I want to get to wear and probably in a lotion as well.

Spring Fever will round out this set of reviews with its notes of hummingbird tulip, newly sprouted grass, white moondance rose petals, purple hyacinth, bergamot, juicy red apple and white oak.  In the dram this is fresh and dewy grass, green and lush.  On my skin the florals bloom with tulips, roses, and a touch of hyacinth.  The apple is fresh and just barely ripe.  This is a very green scent and reminiscent of new growth, new beginnings, and new adventures.  Thankfully the green notes don’t overwhelm, like they can sometimes do and instead just give everything a nice base to work from.  As it dries the oak comes out as the first leaves begin to bloom on its branches.  Perfectly depicted!

Alkemia Perfumes – General Catalog Samples

More goodies from Alkemia Perfumes!  This is the last of the samples I currently have, though make no mistake, I’ll be getting more just as soon as I get over this small issue of moving states.  Always something hindering the perfume buying.

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photo by smellallthethings

De La Forêt contains notes of dry amber, golden musk, orris root, tonka, bergamot, rosewood, oud, sandalwood, paper, oakmoss, birch tar, and vetivert.  Oooh a paper note!  In the vial I get a nice amber and musk scent rounded out with lots of beautiful and fragrant woods.  On my skin this is so golden and soft.  The tonka is that beautiful brown fuzzy scent with a hint of the floral bergamot.  Some people have issues with orris root and/or vetiver … I am so happy I’m not one of those people (though it did take a few years for me to fully appreciate vetiver).  The birch tar gives this an almost sticky like feeling … you know when you get tree sap on your hand and it just never. goes. away.  In this case this is a good thing.  Oh wow, I get the paper too.  It’s soft, freshly pressed and almost papyrus like.  It’s homemade paper which was lovingly made by hand, not the college ruled paper from the store.   The oakmoss is soft and slightly green.  Overall I’m in love with this blend.  It’s perfect for a beautiful soft forest-like scent.  I could totally see this representing someone in the middle of a forest of tall trees looking up and soaking up the filtered sunlight.

Caveau des Innocents is all about the underground Parisian nightlife with notes of Tabac, dark coffee, piquant cloves, rum soaked pears, candied citron, dark caramel, and star anise bathed in intoxicating swirls of opoponax, labdanum, hashish, benzoin resinoid, vanilla incense, and guaiac wood.  In the vial this was mostly candied citron and a touch of vanilla incense.  Very soft and subdued – not at all what I was expecting.  On my skin this is still soft, but it’s got that slinky feel, as though softly traveling just above the skin.  There is almost a masculine quality about the blend, but it’s unisex too in a way.  No one note is really jumping out.  It’s all so very well blended and very intoxicating.  As this dries and warms on my skin it becomes almost overtly sexy – there’s no come hither finger wave but more of a grab them by their shirt and yank them to you.  Carnal is a good word to describe this scent.

Fumé Oud à la Vanille boasts notes of crushed tonka beans, woodsmoked amber, and bourbon vanilla aged with oud wood.  The woodsmoke is prominent both in the vial and on my skin.  There’s that wonderfully fuzzy tonka again and the oud is very fragrant.  Overall this isn’t heavy vanilla, but it’s not a bad woodsmoke scent either.  I would love it if the vanilla had come out more.  This is very masculine in my opinion, woody, a little smoky (not enough to overwhelm) and slightly resinous.

Aphrodesia will round out this set with notes of deep eastern spices warmed with creamy vanilla and a few drops of golden frankincense.  I have to confess I put this on yesterday when I was craving vanilla scents and fell completely and utterly in love with this.  In the vial there are these beautiful warm spices from an eastern market.  On my skin the frankincense comes out and you can smell those fragrant large resins being slowly and expertly burned in an incense burner.  Their fragrant cloud wafts up to caress your skin and that vanilla with those spices just makes for this intoxicating scent.  Sweet, a little spicy, and that lovely incense wafting in and out.  This is a very unisex blend – not overtly one scent or another, but all the scents melding in together.  It stays close to the skin and makes it a very personal scent.  Oh man, I still can’t stop huffing.  This is what I wanted another scent from another brand to smell like but it just never did for me.  Beautiful!

Deconstructing Eden – Spring 2016 Collection

Yipee my Deconstructing Eden Spring scents are here!  I just love the beautiful blue of Jardin Botanique and I’m so excited to try all the scents.

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photo by smellallthethings

Sun in Splendor describes today perfectly!  Beautiful and sunny.  This has notes of dark amber, agarwood CO2, calendula blooms, a drop of honey, clover, rich wood and bergamot.  Oh wow this is a beautiful and bright scent!  The agarwood and amber are deep and fragrant giving the most golden of glows to the blend.  Honey keeps it sweet nad the clover gives it a nice greenness.  There’s a touch of floral in the blend that doesn’t overwhelm but gives it that lovely out door feeling.  It’s crisp, clean, golden and gleaming – just a perfect blend for that perfect Spring day.

Dans Le Jardin has notes of freshly turned earth, hyacinths, tulips, lily of the valley, tender green leaves, ivy, unripe strawberries and the very first buds of lavender not yet bloomed.  Oh nice – this is a fresh blast of beautiful moist earth with a lovely dew covered greenness surrounding it.  The florals are new and soft, just starting to release their scent.  This scent is the perfect scent for Spring and that week or two where you are planting your garden at the beginning of the season (which in Ohio is just after Mother’s Day) and you get the lovely scents of the earth and plants.  You can really feel the sun and the earth and the life flowing around you.

June Jardin  is next and it boasts notes of Gardenia, Orange blossoms, white wisteria, osmanthus, muguet and moonflower.  This blend opens with a blast of muget and orange blossoms.  There’s something almost spicy about this and the moonflower gives a beautiful sweet and dewy scent.  After it’s sat for a while the florals float and shift in the breeze.  It remains with a touch of spice and heady florals.

Le Verger has notes that include old growth trees, a field of clover, peaches, pears, nectarines, citrus blossoms, ripe apples, apple blossoms, unripe figs and fig leaves.  Oh wow this is fruity and juicy!  There’s just a hint of greenness to cut through the fruit so it isn’t too overwhelming.  I love the way this makes me think of picnics with fruit salads!  Also, there’s a touch of wood from those old growth trees.  Very pretty, sweet, and uplifting!

Jardin Botanique is the one with the pretty blue liquid!  It’s notes include Blue Cypress, blue yarrow, lavender maillette, juniper berries, petit grain, bergamot and clary sage, rosewood and just a bit of peppermint.  This is peppermint!  That fresh, sweet, and minty candy that is usually found during Christmas time!  After that initial blast of peppermint I get that nice blue cypress and some juniper with a touch of sage.  After the initial blast of peppermint it calms down and gives you the feeling of a deep conifer forest at the height of spring rains.

Legare has notes of mahogany, magnolias, spanish moss, gardenias, iced black tea, petit grain, and warm breezes from the ocean.  Oooh more mahogany!  I really enjoy it in Jaqueline.  I immediately get a blast of sea salt from the ocean.  The magnolia’s are heady and the spanish moss hangs from the trees like a soft and soothing blanket.  Black tea waits for you on the porch while the breeze flows.  This is deep and beautiful.

Deep Midnight Perfumes Samples

Found this gorgeous perfumer on Etsy and heard some great things about them from Indie Perfume Lovers facebook groupDeep Midnight Perfumes has a ton of sample options either singly or by collection.  I got sample packs of Steampunk Girls and Wicked Girls along with a free sample per collection set and one for being a new customer!  You can either choose your own, or let them choose.  I wanted to be surprised so I let them choose!

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photo by smellallthethings

First up is Seven Veils whose notes include madagascar vanilla, velvety orchids, white florals, the softest musk, sweet golden amber, spices and exotic resins.  In the vial I get orchids and a touch of those spices and resins!  On my skin this is so smooth.  The vanilla is beautiful and full, the musk is gentle, and the amber is glorious.  There is something exotic (oh yeah, resins) about this blend – gentle and sweet, alluring and mysterious, and just almost purple in feel.  I could see myself wearing this to bed, or on a sexy night out (yes, it works for both).  Despite how soft this scent is it does have a really good throw on it.  I keep getting beautiful whiffs of purple orchids and gentle musk with sweet vanilla.  This has some excellent lasting power to it, really amazing.

King Cake is described as: Based on the traditional and scrumptious Mardi Gras King Cake, which is made with a yeasty bread and Danish type dough, braided and filled with cinnamon and sometimes various fruits jams or nuts and then topped with sugary or cream cheese frosting.  I am almost ashamed to admit that I have never had a King Cake – but I’m not big into Mardi Gras either, so it shouldn’t be too surprising.  That being said this is CAKE and cream cheese frosting in the vial.  There’s a touch of cinnamon, a bit of a nutty quality, and something almost bready.  It’s this weird cake/bread mix.  Like a dense cake.  The more it sits the more the cinnamon comes out.  Unfortunately this kicks my gourmand button and I can’t stomach much more.  But cake lovers will definitely enjoy this!

Selene by Night has notes of black orchids, deep dark exotic woods, enigmatic cypress, dragon’s blood and the faintest kiss of spice.  Cypress is prominent in the vial as well as on my skin.  However as it touches my skin the woods and spice come out.  The orchids give a hot-house feel to the blend.  This is inky blackness, expansive and almost oppressive, yet stunning.  The dragon’s blood is commanding and rich.  This has a great throw, excellent longevity.  This might need a touch of aging because the dragon’s blood tries to go to soap with my chemistry.

Vixen Venom entices with its notes of a blend of rich amber, sweet musk, the sweetest vanilla, and a dash of patchouli for that extra bite!  This is a lovely patchouli vanilla in the vial.  On my skin that amber and musk come out.  Man I can’t believe the awesome.  This is seductive, tantalizing, and down right sexy.  The amber is darkly golden while the vanilla is sweet, but not foodie and with the barest touch of patchouli this blend just out does itself.

Next up is Ladies of London whose notes are sensual florals highlighted with lily of the Valley, spicy indulgent opium, a bowlful of the deepest sensual red berries, and caresses of frankincense and patchouli for added mystery.  In the vial this is all red berries and opium.  On my skin it is much of the same though it takes on a bit of a fizzy feeling, as though there is champagne in the blend.  The flowers are strong, the opium wafting, and the berries mashed into a delightful drink.  The frankincense and patchouli are more of the incense type instead of a resin and it’s like they are being burnt on opposite sides of the room and making their way towards you.  These ladies of London may look innocent at first, however, they are anything but.

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photo by smellallthethings

I decided to go on and combine these reviews instead of doing it in two parts.  So this is Clockwork Cutie!  YAY!  Its notes are fresh wild berries, concord grapes on the vine, a whisper of dark flowers from a secret Victorian garden, and a soft vanilla accord.  In the vial I get a beautiful juicy blast of berries and grapes, and that stays true on my skin, however there are now flowers wafting around.  It’s a very sweet blend, very juicy and fun!  The flowers are doing a good job at keeping the fruit from going too crazy and now as it dries the vanilla is coming out.  Oh wow, once this dries completely it’s a beautiful floral and fruit blend – fun and fancy free, yet somehow there’s a sophistication to this perfume!

Flights of Fancy gives way to notes of mahogany wood, amber, lavender, brown sugar, oak, with faint and fresh background notes of peach and pear.  In the vial this is wood and sugar – sweet and warm.  There is a bit of lavender and it’s not making me cringe with pain!  The peach and pear are juicy but they are under everything else.  The woods are beautiful, golden, and fragrant.  I really like how wonderful this is – it’s like floaty and flowing – beautifully constructed and makes me want to close my eyes and inhale deeply.  Also, I’m so trilled to find another company whose lavender doesn’t make my sinus scream in pain!  The brown sugar is only adding a hint of sweetness and that beautiful touch of darkness from molasses.

Agent of Chaos!  Sounds like a good book eh?  No book, but it has notes that include an exotic Chypre accord, rich leather, bergamot, lemon, sweet sugars, cardamon and clove, followed up with softer backgrounds notes of mahogany, oakmoss, and a faint touch of jasmine.  In the vial it’s all sweet spices, like a good foodie fall scent.  On my skin it still has that association, but the leather and chypre pull it back from that foodie edge.  The clove is not overpowering at all, actually none of the spices are overpowering.  This is really well blended, dark and mysterious!  Perfect for an Agent of Chaos!  I’m really digging this blend!  It’s leaning a touch masculine but there’s enough jasmine to keep it on the feminine side.  Actually this reminds me a lot of what I think Zoë from Firefly would smell like (which is who I named my youngest after).  Oh man, any association Firefly means I need it!

Rounding this out is Chocolate Earth, one of the freebie’s, and it has notes of Dark Chocolate, Plump Fresh Raspberries, Dark Five Year Aged Patchouli, and a touch of Sweet Cream.  So … I typically dislike chocolate and cocoa scents – they just don’t sit well with me and that is a personal preference and nothing against any perfumer that uses chocolate in their blends because there are plenty of other people who crave it.  To each their own.  In the vial it is dark chocolate and patchouli – a bit different to be sure.  On my skin I … am not sure what I’m smelling.  I know there’s a patchouli but that’s about all I can smell.  It takes 5-10 minutes but eventually I get raspberries, soft and juicy, with a touch of cream.  There’s no discernible chocolate to my nose.  I double checked the vial to make sure there wasn’t any cocoa or something sitting and I needed to roll it and there’s nothing.  Maybe the chocolate and patchouli are so well intertwined that I just can’t pull it apart.  This is like leaning against a fragrant tree while eating raspberries and cream.

Valhalla Soap Co. – Botanical Cream and Scent Samples Part 1

This is a two part review (because I can only test so much at one time before it overwhelms or I can no longer distinguish scents).  Today I am reviewing from a lovely little company out in the Pacific Northwest United States called Valhalla Soap Company.  If you’ve an itch to be a Viking, if only for a day, this is who you need to see.  Check out the Clan on their Facebook page as well!  The owners, Donna and Matt, are extremely active, friendly, and helpful.

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photo by smellallthethings

That little 2oz jar in the middle is their Botanical Face & Body Cream scented in Valkyrie (notes: peach brandy, pralines, brown sugar, amber, vanilla musk, violet, and black currant).  I have to admit – this is by far my favorite lotion!  Especially for my face!  As I’ve gotten older, my face has gone from oily to dry, but it doesn’t actually stay one or the other – it varies day to day.  This Botanical Face & Body Cream has done wonders to help keep my face smooth and soft to the touch.  The cream itself is rather stiff compared to all their other body butters and lotions, but I like that.  And a little goes a long, long way.  I’ve had this little jar since the end of February.

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photo by smellallthethings

I have missed days using it, but only because I only use it on the days my face is dried out.  As you can see, there’s still a lot left in this little jar.  And, with the Botanical Face & Body Cream, it’s only lightly scented – that then allows for some wonderful layering options.  This does have cocoa butter in it, so you get that slight scent from it, but it isn’t strong.

Valkyrie itself isn’t foodie as the notes would have you think.  This scent is beautifully soft and golden.  The vanilla and amber are prominent while the peach brandy gives it a golden slightly boozy feel.  The black currant adds a touch of bitter to balance out the sweet in here and all together it makes for a rather hauntingly beautiful scent.  I do hope that Donna and Matt will be able to find a way to keep this scent around as it is currently endangered.  As this dries and melds with your skin chemistry this scent warms up and the gold darkens with the brown sugar (I love the smell of brown sugar).  Still never even ventures into foodie territory, and I used the Botanical Face & Body Cream on my hands.  The cream is providing a nice base for the scent to sit on.

Vanilla Luxe is up next.  I purchased a wax tart of this as well, but haven’t had a chance to melt it yet.  I love that I can find so many things in one place.  The notes for this blend are as follows: Smokey notes of vanilla-tobacco, aged oak barrels filled with bourbon, bulging trade sacks of rare frankincense, spicy pepper and tangy bergamot. Grass baskets spilling over with Bulgarian roses and ylang ylang. This is all buttery vanilla in the vial!  Then, as I put it on my skin it … disappears?  What?!  No!!  Do I have a scent blind spot when it comes to this combo?  Did my skin eat it?  So weird.  Normally I do well with all those notes.  I’m putting more on, maybe a dab won’t do ya.  Ahhhh … there it is.  It’s still very soft but I’m getting a bit of the vanilla and some rose.  It’s still way lighter than I would expect with all those notes in it.  Found the bourbon, but still no frankincense (one of my favorite notes), bergamot, or ylang ylang.  I’m going to blame my chemistry on this one.

I’ve been dying to try Floki’s Fetish!  I am a bad Viking and have not seen the show, however.  Shame on me!  Floki’s Fetish comprises of deep forests and pungent oakmoss covered earth call the boat builder. While exotic spices, vanilla, incense, sandalwood and amber whisper to his spirit and his yearning to discover and conquer new lands.  In the vial I get a nice green oakmoss and crumbling dirt.  On my skin this is masculine, woodsy, and empowering.  I can totally see this as a commanding scent.  The spices and incense are a bit much more than I like to wear, but it is still an evocative scent for sure.

So many wonderful things have been said about Hedonistic!  It boasts notes of hints of warm amber, moody incense, and light notes of smooth, and sweet patchouli.  I’d actually bought a wax melt in this too and got to melt it before putting my house on the market and having to stop using wax melts (SAD!).  It was one of those scents that you think will be one thing, then it turns out its something else, something better, and you’re chasing the scent all over the house trying to figure it out.  Took me hours to realize it was the Hedonistic in my wax tart melter that was making that luscious and beautiful scent.  While I haven’t turned on the melter in over a month, I can still get whiffs of the wax when I pass by.

The oil, now that’s a glorious thing too.  In the vial I’d swear that it had a big juicy orange in it.  Perhaps it is the sweet patchouli giving off that citrus vibe.  This is a warm, beautiful scent and the oil matches perfectly the scent from the wax melt and I couldn’t be happier!  It’s a magical little blend that just brings a smile to my face.  Not only is the oil golden in color, but it also gives off that glowing golden vibe when you wear it.  The incense is soft and unobtrusive and the amber is just hanging out.  That patchouli is the star of this blend (a patch I can wear that is also in the forefront of a blend?! Awesome!).  This isn’t your hippie’s patchouli – so if you have that “bad” association with it, you should try this and maybe it’ll turn you around on the patchouli hate wagon.  I totally need this in the Botanical Face & Body Cream!

Rune Caster will round out this batch of reviews for Valhalla Soap Co.  It’s notes include sweet notes of cotton candy and caramel drizzled over heady florals of rose, jasmine, sweet heliotrope and geranium with resinous juniper and amber on a heavy base of vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli.  Seems like a lot going on in here … but so many loved notes I have to try it!  In the vial this is a perplexing blend of sandalwood and cotton candy – but it smells divine!  On my skin that cotton candy note wafts out and it is just so realistic, like I’m at a fair smelling the cotton candy as it’s being made.  Eventually that drifts off and the florals begin their dance to the forefront, like you’re walking away from the cotton candy booth to a beautiful planted garden.  The rose, jasmine, heliotrope, and geranium all waft around you in a sweet breeze of vanilla and cotton candy.  For me the amber is there just adding a golden glow over everything, like the sun.  Patchouli is not really noticeable, but the sandalwood drifts in and out of the blend.  With juniper, I always get a sort of well loved antique scent association with it, and I get it here.  Like the booths at the fair are well loved and maintained so they have lasted for many generations.  I am blown away by this scent, I can’t believe it.  I need Rune Caster in every format!

Cocoa Pink -Spring/Summer 2016

I’d ordered from Cocoa Pink for the first time two weeks before their new Spring/Summer Collection came out.  So, without any prior knowledge of how Cocoa Pink worked for me or with my skin chemistry, I ordered a few of the Spring/Summer 2016 Collection blindly.  Which also meant I didn’t order much.  Three little (actually big for samples) drams of perfume.

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photo by smellallthethings

I’m starting this Cocoa Pink adventure with Peach SkiesSilky, smooth peach and apricot nectar kissed by the summer sun, golden honey, red poppies and spring violets sweetened with gentle strands of freshly spun pink cotton candy.  In the dram it smells like the most beautiful peach and apricot jam.  On my skin the violets come out to play and add a soft, silky feeling to the jam.  This is foodie, but not “turn my stomach” foodie.  It’s glorious, bright, and oh so beautiful.  It’s summer in a bottle.  This is so well blended I have a hard time really distinguishing the notes from the whole.  I think this blend would be wonderful in EDP form (and I’ve actually just put it in my cart on the site along with a 1o ml ).  A little goes a long way.  I had the barest drop on my skin, and while it is a close to the skin scent, I can smell it clearly.  This will be absolutely gorgeous in the summer!

Next I picked out Country Picnic and as you can tell by the notes (A basket of plump peaches, white wine, touches of night blooming orchid, bergamot cradled with sheer musk and the barest hint of a sweet garden pea) I have a thing for peaches too.  Orchid as well.  Maybe a musk thing.  Okay, okay … I have a thing for things that smell good … happy?  Sheesh.

Ooh this is another beautiful summer-time blend, but it’s different.  In the dram I get apple skin (if you’ve peeled an apple, you know how it smells different than the “meat” of the apple itself – if you haven’t I suggest you give it a try to get that scent memory).  On my skin however the apple skin scent is gone and the white wine, while dry, adds a touch of sweetness and the orchid is fragrant.  This is a Country Picnic alright, but one taking place at twilight.  There is a hint of coolness to the air that the setting sun brings while the last vestiges of of the sun’s warmth settles in for the night.  The night blooming flowers are just now starting to open which lends their scent to flow on the soft twilight breeze.  It’s a very evocative scent.  I love it a lot!  But … do I love it more than Peach Skies?  Hmm, perhaps I could layer Peach Skies EDP with Country Picnic roll-on oil.

Lastly we have Snow Kissed Rose with notes of: The scent of a long winter giving way to spring.  Fresh fallen powdery snow against velvety crimson rose petals, chilled vanilla and crisp air tinged with notes of juicy red apple. So the previous two have me all ready for summer, and here I am saving a snow blend for last.  BAH!  It’s supposed to snow here later this week and there was a dusting this morning and quite frankly I’m sick of it!

Also, I don’t tend to like snow blends as they sometimes overuse mint for that “cool” feel.  I get it, and I’m not sure how else they would do it, but I don’t tend to like strong mint so snow blends are iffy on me at best, but only because of my own personal preference.

In the dram Snow Kissed Rose smells like a powdery rose.  On my skin I get that weird apple skin scent – it could be that’s the only thing I can associate with that particular unknown scent.  As it dries I get a definite powder scent, like those old scented powders people used to wear (and still do to some extent).  It’s light, soft, powdery, and floral – not offensive, not strong and not quite a skin scent.  To me this seems like the perfect unobtrusive and neutral scent to wear.  Luckily for me there is no mint being used to denote the cool sensation of snow.  It’s actually not a cool feeling scent at all, rather it’s warm and fluffy.  Very interesting and I’m going to have to wear this a few times to really see how I’d like it.  If I was still working in an office environment and had to take many other people’s sensitivities into consideration this would be a scent I would choose without hesitation, I think.

Ah ha!  I know what it feels like … it’s classical.  Known by nearly everyone, loved by many, and it just gives that classic feel – timeless.

Sixteen92 – Spring 2016 Collection

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photo by smellallthethings

I ordered a sample pack of Sixteen92’s Spring 2016 Collection.  They are all Shakespearean inspired scents.

A Thousand Times More Fair (notes – Honeysuckle nectar, magnolia blossom, passion flower, white peach skin, ripe plum, bright vanilla bean, delicate musk): This opens with bright yellow florals that immediately begin floating down to the other scents.  Peach and plum are most noticeable and are super juicy.  The musk lends a nice base.  This is sweet, soft, bright, and makes me think about running through fields in a forest.  Very pretty and delicate and super reminiscent of spring.  The throw is light to moderate, but so far the longevity is nice.

Merely a Madness (notes – White sandalwood, clover honey (vegan), sweet orange, rosewater, blond patchouli, cedar heart):  The woods – sandalwood, patchouli, and cedar – give this a very earthy yet homey feel to the blend.  The clover honey is adding a touch of sweetness while the orange brightens it all up.  This blend has a rather large throw – definitely one where a little goes a long way.  The longer it settles the more the notes blend and intertwine so it just lends this golden almost homey attic feel.  I could totally see getting this in their lotion then layering one of the other lighter scents in the oil on top.  This is a nice base scent – like a foundation.

The Primrose Path (notes – Soaked earth, lichen, ancient oak roots, grass, water lily, heavy stone, a tangled garland of faded spring blooms): What I would expect from a cobblestone path leading up to a bubbling brook.  Clean, green, and refreshing.  The earth is loose and moist, the oak old and knobbly while the grass bends under your feet.  There are little blue and white flowers popping up from around the lichen covered stone you sit on as you take a drink of the brook’s fresh sparkling water.  All of that is represented in this scent.  It’s trans-formative, soft and sweet, and just a delightful scent so perfect for heralding the end of spring.

Storm of Fortunes (notes – Star jasmine, orange blossom, tuberose absolute, hyacinth, ambergris, Mysore sandalwood):  What’s Spring without a few storms? You can smell the floral notes as they give a nice overall sweetness to the blend.  It is a “grey” scent, possibly due to the ambergris as it gives just a hint of salt to the greyness.  The sandalwood is the perfect woody base for this scent.

Blanket of the Dark (notes –  Narcissus absolute, two jasmines, yellow champaca blossom, coffee bean, bergamot, oakmoss, benzoin): I normally don’t do coffee blends, so upon initial sniff of this I was completely thrown off guard and couldn’t place what I was smelling.  Somehow I am reminded of fresh hay in a clean barn (no fecal smell from animals, just the wood, the hay, and the natural muskiness of such a place).  It is brown, almost smells like some of the “hay” is desiccated and forgotten in a corner.  This is just pure clean barn smelling to me, I can’t explain it any other way.  Very interesting and kind of cool.  If you’re into that kind of thing.

Overall I’m quite impressed with the scents and would love to check out more of their catalog!

Check out Sixteen92 for yourself.