Thursday, January 31, 2013

solstice scents violet truffle

Solstice Scents Violet Truffle perfume oil sample

Dark Chocolate, Violet, Violet Leaf & Vanilla Absolute

Violet Truffle is part of Solstice Scents' general catalog. I received it as a free sample with one of my orders last year.

In the imp Violet Truffle smells like chocolate and... soap? Something I can't put my finger on. Obviously it's the violet but it doesn't quite smell like violet to me. On skin the chocolate is somewhat less pronounced, and the violet smells more like itself. It's sort of a sugary violet, like candied violets on top of a rich chocolate cake. There's a slight powderiness from the violet, and after wearing for a while the chocolate softens and I get more of the vanilla. By the time a few hours have passed it's almost entirely a soft vanilla and sugared violet scent. It's actually quite nice - much nicer than it smelled in the imp - and I'm not generally a fan of florals. This is definitely one for the gourmands, but I can see people who don't usually like foodie scents enjoying it as well because it's not a straight-up cake kind of scent.

This is the kind of scent I'd want to wear on Valentine's Day. Sweet, chocolatey, floral, and very feminine - kind of the holiday embodied in a perfume oil, really.

Would I buy it again? Maybe? I do enjoy the sample quite a bit more than I expected, and the more I smell it the more I think I want a full bottle. But maybe not in an I NEED IT NOW OR I WILL DIE kind of way. Plus Mike really likes it. We'll see.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ohwto holiday cheer

One Hand Washes The Other Holiday Cheer solid perfume

Amaretto, Glazed spiced Walnuts, & Vanillaed Egg Nog.

Holiday Cheer was part of One Hand Washes The Other's 2012 winter release.

In the tube Holiday Cheer smells sweet and a little spicy. I definitely get the amaretto. On skin it's amaretto and spicy eggnog. I do get a bit of the nuttiness as well. It reminds me a bit of OHWTO's Pasticerria, which is an almond pastry scent (and which I adore)... I guess it's the nuts combined with the amaretto. But Holiday Cheer is spicier. After a while I get more creamy vanilla and a little less spice, and the amaretto mellows out a bit. It's really yummy the whole way through.

The lasting power is good on this one, too. Bonus.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's delicious, and a great winter/cold weather scent.

Available from: OHWTO (right now!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ohwto winter vacation

One Hand Washes The Other Winter Vacation solid perfume

Snow-covered hills, a pine forest, dried fruits, warm cocoa, and the glowing amber light of home, always kept within your sight.

Winter Vacation was part of One Hand Washes The Other's 2012 winter release.

In the tube I smell cocoa and mint. It's also a bit fruity and distinctly "cold." Once it's on the skin I get a lot more of the pine forest element. The cocoa is still there, but the fruitiness has moved to the background a bit. The amber isn't strong and it's working for me, which is rare. I think it just adds a bit of warmth. However it is still quite cold on the skin, which I think is mint, but it doesn't exactly smell minty anymore, if that makes sense. It just feels minty. I guess that's the "snow-covered hills" aspect. It's interesting.

I really like this one, and I think the description is perfect. It's chilly and woodsy but still a bit sweet, with a distant sort of warmth humming away underneath. The only bummer is that the lasting power is below average in my opinion - I need to reapply it every couple of hours.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's a really nice winter fragrance and I don't think I have anything quite like it.

Available from: OHWTO

Monday, January 28, 2013

first sniff impressions: ohwto

Neat little tubes of smelly goodness all in a row

My Winter goodies from OHWTO arrived a few days ago! Huzzah. I have to admit I was a little worried, my order didn't ship until a good while after the stated TAT, but now I've got my grubby mitts on it just the same so in the end I'm satisfied. Plus there was an extra full-sized bottle of perfume oil included in my order, I guess just because Becca is amazing and super generous? It's happened before, actually - I've gotten extra goodies in my orders a few times, and while I would never expect it it's certainly a wonderful surprise. This time I got a full bottle of a scent called "Stuffed Stockings," which I can't find a description of to save my life - it's not in the winter listings on the OHWTO website or anywhere. So I don't know anything about it, except that it smells AMAZING. Like it might be my favorite thing in the whole order and I didn't even order it. Ridiculous.

Here's what I got, and initial "first sniff" impressions. Full reviews to come!

It's Just Fruit: Buttery fruit. This one is so yummy. (Full review)

Samovar: Tea and something herbal and a little sweet. (Full review)

Holiday Cheer: Sweet and spicy. (Full review)

Not Your Grandma's Fruitcake: Light and fruity. Very fresh for a winter scent. I smell banana. (Full review)

Orenjipai: Creamsicle. (Full review)

The Cake is a Lie: Delicious lemon cake. (Full review)

Winter Vacation: Spicy cocoa and something minty. This one is kind of chilly. (Full review)

Stuffed Stockings: Rich and sweet and almost a little fizzy? I definitely get orange, and maybe chocolate. It smells incredible.

O Holy Night: Church.

White Lily: Inoffensive floral.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

haus of gloi come hither

Haus of Gloi Come Hither perfume oil sample

Based off of traditional herbs and roots used in Hoodoo to draw and attract a lover, or entice the one you've already ensnared! Bourbon vanilla, tonka bean, a touch of rose oil, Queen Elizabeth root, three threads of saffron and a bit of honey to sweeten the whole deal.

Come Hither is part of Haus of Gloi's recurring Valentine's Day release, which went live today. Timely review!

This is my favorite scent from HoG's Vday collection, and one of my favorite scents from them period. I might go so far as to say it's Top 10 out of everything I own, actually. I LOVE THIS. Get on me, Come Hither. Just get on me. 

I only got a sample last year (which is what I'm reviewing) because I have mixed feelings on rose scents, but this year I am getting a full-sized everything, trust.

In the imp it smells sweet and rosy, but not powdery grandma rose. There's a richness from the honey. On skin it's just gorgeous. I get the sweet, fresh rose, the rich, sweet honey and vanilla, a bit of something that grounds it - I guess that's either the Queen Elizabeth root or the saffrom. I described this to someone the other day as "sexy honey vanilla roses," and upon re-sniffing I stand by that statement. It really is a very sexy scent, but not in the typical musky or resiny way. I can't stop smelling my wrist when I'm wearing this. It's wonderful.

Plus the oil is pink! How pretty is that? Ugh, I love it.

Would I buy it again? YES. I actually already did. When the Vday release went live I stalked the website and picked up a full-size perfume oil and a pumpkin butter, and I'm actually considering backups of both before the collection comes down, because I needs it, my preciousss.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

haus of gloi something hopeful

Haus of Gloi Something Hopeful perfume oil sample

Perhaps the first stirrings of the spring to come. Warm sakura blossom green tea with the tiniest droplet of plum juice, red mandarin and crystallized jasmine essence.

Something Hopeful was part of Haus of Gloi's recurring Valentine's Day release, which goes live tomorrow. Timely review!

I received Something Hopeful as a sample with my Valentine's order in 2012 - it's not something I would have picked myself, as I'm not generally a fan of florals, especially jasmine.

In the imp, Something Hopeful smells fruitier than I would've expected, and a bit juicy. The tea note is lovely. The jasmine is definitely there, but it's underneath. It's actually quite nice. Unfortunately on my skin the jasmine takes over, pushing the sweet, fruity elements to the back. I can still sniff them if I really try, but mostly it's jasmine. The plum and mandarin just give it a bit of freshness, and the tea is pretty much undetectable. After a while the jasmine softens juuuust a little bit, but not enough to keep me from washing it off.

Would I buy it again? No. I didn't buy it in the first place, because I knew I probably wouldn't like it. And I don't. But it's just personal preference - if you like jasmine you will like this. It's well-blended and nicer than most florals I've smelled, but it's just not for me.

Available from: Haus of Gloi, starting tomorrow, January 27th.

Friday, January 25, 2013

ohwto the cake is a lie

One Hand Washes The Other This Cake Is A Lie solid perfume

But it smells so REAL! Lemon-filled butter cake with thick, fluffy frosting. Lemon, Sugar, Cake batter & Frosting. Reformulated and added to the full-time list of Private Stock fragrances, TCIAL was originally a limited edition for Winter of 2011.

Let's get right to the point: The Cake Is A Lie smells SO GOOD. It smells like cake. Obviously. Buttery lemon cake with lemon zest-studded frosting. I want to eat it. I literally want to put the stick of solid scent goo in my mouth and chew it up.

I won't though! Because I'm an adult. Also it's perfume and not a tube of cake, though you'd be forgiven for making that mistake. In the (cake) tube, The Cake Is A Lie smells just like the description. On my skin the lemon gets a little brighter and tarter, like the zest by itself. But the cakey goodness is still there. It's light for a sweet foodie scent, thanks to the citrus, and while it does smell like cake it's not what I'd call overly sugary or cloyingly sweet.

I passed on this one when it first came out because I figured I had enough sweet lemon scents, but then I got a sample of it in a different order and loooooved it so much that I had to throw a tube into my cart when I ordered from the winter scent release. I'm really glad this one got added to the general catalog, because it is YUM. The lemon smells a bit similar to OHWTO's Carnivale, but that's more lemon and fizzy orange soda while this is definitely zesty, buttery lemon cake.

Misc. Notes: When I made Mike smell this he said, "See, this is the problem with these things, I just want to eat them."

Would I buy it again? Absolutely. It's delicious.

Available from: OHWTO

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ohwto sticky fingers

One Hand Washes The Other Sticky Fingers solid perfume

A light, white scent comprised entirely of foody notes. Keep away from children and pets and anyone who doesn't know better than to eat perfume. No, really. Creamy white chocolate, gooey marshmallow, a plump dollop of cream cheese frosting, tonka bean absolute, and warmed coconut milk.

Sticky Fingers was part of One Hand Washes The Other's Halloween 2012 release. I picked it up because white chocolate, marshmallow, frosting, coconut, get in my basket.

In the tube I get white chocolate and sugary sweet coconut, like the frosting on a coconut cupcake. On skin it's very slightly less sweet and the white chocolate is a bit stronger, but mostly the same. It's coconut frosting. Ergo, yum.

This is pretty much what I wanted Haus of Gloi's Coconut Bon Bon to smell like, now that I'm thinking about it. It has pretty good lasting power too, which is always a bonus.

 Would I buy it again? Yep. It's not a complicated scent, but it's sweet and yummy and I'm a sucker for foodie perfumes.

Available from: OHWTO, but I don't think it's actually available anymore. Maybe next Halloween!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ohwto pumpkin bread pudding

One Hand Washes The Other Pumpkin Bread Pudding solid perfume

Bruleed pumpkin puree, buttermilk, cream, bourbon, bread, vanilla, honey, & pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding was part of One Hand Washes The Other's Halloween 2012 release.

In the tube I smell smells sweet pumpkin cream, vanilla, honey, and a hint of bourbon. On skin it gets a little spicier (my skin tends to do that though), though it's still creamier and less spicy than OHWTO's Pumpkin Bread scent. The spiciness settles a bit after a few minutes and the bourbon and honey get a bit stronger. It's not as aggressively sweet as you'd expect from the description.

This has good lasting power - I could still smell it at the end of a full work day.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's similar to Pumpkin Bread, and given how much of that I have (two solids and a perfume oil, somehow - I only bought the one solid, I swear) I probably definitely don't NEED this, but the fact that it's a pumpkin spice-type scent that doesn't go cinnamon crazy on me is reason enough to justify the purchase.

Available from: OHWTO, but I don't think it's actually available anymore. Maybe next Halloween!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

arcana solstice sugar

Arcana Solstice Sugar 5 ml perfume oil

Rejoice in the return of the sweet sun-child throughout all the jolly festivals of the Winter Solstice. The scent of warmest celebrations and Yuletide feasts with notes of toasty almonds, apple cakes, baking spices and honeyed mead.

In the bottle, Solstice Sugar smells like sweet almonds and honey - almost an amaretto scent. I get a tiny bit of apple. Wet on skin the almond is less sharp, and I smell the apple cakes and baking spice more. It honestly smells exactly like warm baked apple bread or cake with toasted almonds and a generous amount of honey drizzled on top. It's really delicious and a wonderful fall/winter scent. It sticks around for a long while and has good throw too, which is always a bonus.

Misc. Notes: Mike came into the room right after I put this on and asked, "why do you smell like apple pie?"

Would I buy it again? Yes, definitely.

Available from: I picked mine up in an LJ sale, and I'm not sure if this particular scent is still available, but Arcana oils are sold at Scent Addict and The Soap Box Co among other places.

Monday, January 21, 2013

solstice scents thornwood thicket

Solstice Scents Thornwood Thicket perfume oil sample

Sugared Blackberries, Black Agarwood, Aloeswood, Sweet and Smokey Guaiacwood & Amber.

In the imp Thornwood Thicket is mostly sweet grapes, maybe a tiny whiff of incense. On skin the woods and incense are much more prominent. It's still a bit sweet and there are definitely berries present, but it's not nearly as grape soda-y. (I actually like that grape soda smell so that's not a slam.) I like it more than I thought I would, but not sure if it's full bottle material. I'll definitely keep using my sample though.

Misc. Notes: In the imp Mike thought it smelled "grapey," and then on the skin it turned into "something medicinal." He wasn't a fan.

Would I buy it again? The sample, absolutely, although I actually got it free with an order so technically I didn't buy it at all. But I would choose it again for sure, and while I probably won't get a full bottle (since Mike doesn't really like it and I don't love it), I'll use up my sample.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Sunday, January 20, 2013

solstice scents witch's cottage

Solstice Scents Witch's Cottage burnishing glace and perfume oil

Warm Baked Goods, Dried Herbs, Sweet Annie, Soft Woods & Fragrant Hearth Smoke.

I wanted Witch's Cottage as soon as I read a description of it. It sounds totally delicious, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered it this fall, going full-size unsniffed even though I am wary of smoke notes. When I first got it I wasn't sure if I liked it - it's not nearly as sweet as I'd expected, much more herbal. But it grew on me. So much so that I bought the burnishing glace as well.

In the bottle I smell herbs and a bit of something woody and sweet. On skin it's much stronger, but the herbs are still at the front on me. There is a bit of sweetness and spice, like baking cinnamon rolls, under the fragrant herbs but it's not overpowering. The smoky note is there but it's very gentle and not acrid at all, which is the problem I tend to have with smoke notes. This one is quite lovely. The combination of scents here is wonderful, at once comforting and warm but also a bit fresh, like walking through the woods on a crisp autumn day. In fact, the description fits the scent so well I want to include it here:

Upon entering the Witch's Cottage you are greeted with fresh and dried herbs, chamomile flowers, rosemary sprigs, Sweet Annie, Davana, and a hint of crisp apples. A warm undercurrent of luscious baked goods, sweet buns and candied pralines emerges and is followed by mild fragrant woods and a sweet hearth smoke. Witch's Cottage fragrance is a true journey with loads of atmosphere.

Dead on. It's just amazing and I love it.

Misc. Notes: Mike says it smells "much sweeter and fruitier" in the bottle and "more herby" on my skin.

Would I buy it again? Absolutely. It was a surprise hit for me - well, a surprise in that it's different than I expected. But I'm glad I gave it a chance, because I really love it. In fact, I'm considering the whipped soap in this scent right now.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Saturday, January 19, 2013

sarawen beer n' butter

Sarawen Beer n' Butter 5 ml perfume oil

A delicious and foamy elixir! Creamy butterscotch, dreamy vanilla, and a dash of pumpkin layered with a drop of coffee as you sit relaxing by the pub's roaring fire. Beer n' Butter is inspired by Harry Potter and is a unisex gourmand fragrance that borders towards feminine. Yum!

When I did my first sniff impression of this, I said that Beer n' Butter smelled like smoky butterscotch in the bottle. I think that's still true. It may be the coffee note coming through, though. The butterscotch note itself is yummy - sniffing it really makes me feel like I have a butterscotch disc in my mouth.

Wet on skin I immediately smell butterscotch, and it's delicious, but then there's that smokiness again - only this time I don't think it's the coffee. It really does smell smoky. It's not as sweet as it is in the bottle. I get a bit of vanilla, but mostly all I smell is that smokiness, whatever it is. It's almost a bit acrid at times. There are no smoke notes in the scent description (unless sitting by a fire counts, but I thought that was just for atmosphere) so I"m not sure where it's coming from.

As it dries down that smokiness settles a bit and it moves into the "not bad" category, but it never smells like that yummy butterscotch again, at least not to my nose. It's a shame because the scent is really nice in the bottle - my skin just makes it go weird. It's also got pretty minimal throw, though I can't comment on lasting power yet.

One thing I will say is that the description of it being unisex is accurate. It's not very sweet - not nearly as sweet as I'd hoped for something purporting to smell like butterscotch, vanilla, pumpkin, and coffee. I've been searching for a good butterscotch perfume for a while now and I'd hoped this one would be it. Unfortunately, the hunt continues.

Misc. Notes: I asked Mike what he thought and he said, "It's interesting. It's sweet but I smell something smokey. It's like roasted marshmallows." So the smoke isn't jut me! Thank god.

Would I buy it again? I have to say no. It's disappointing, because I've wanted this one for a while and it smells awesome in the bottle, but my skin chemistry changes it completely into something I don't enjoy very much. Me and smokey notes just don't get along.

Friday, January 18, 2013

ohwto hungry ghost

One Hand Washes The Other Hungry Ghost solid perfume

Steaming-hot Green Tea, Lively Lemongrass, and Cardamom, with Peppermint providing a wisp of otherworldly chill.

Hungry Ghost was part of One Hand Washes The Other's 2011 Halloween release. I believe it has now been slightly tweaked and added to the general catalog as Cicada Song.

In the tube Hungry Ghost smells mostly of lemongrass. I love the smell of lemongrass so this pleases me. There is also a slight wisp of peppermint. It's very refreshing. On skin it's largely the same, but the green tea and cardamom notes also show up. The cardamom especially. As it wears the green tea note becomes more prominent. It's light, fresh, and energizing - I love this one when I'm feeling sluggish. It's like a cup of hot, zingy lemon ginger tea. It's also a nice change of pace from the usual deep, spicy-sweet scents that populate most fall/Halloween perfume collections. I love those scents, but they don't get much play once temperatures start rising - this one is just as wearable, if not more so, in hot weather as it is in cold.

The throw is surprisingly good for a solid perfume, especially one with such light notes.

Would I buy it again? In a heartbeat. It's lovely and a bit different and I like it a lot.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

hau of gloi sweet potato treat

Haus of Gloi Sweet Potato Treat pumpkin butter (6 oz)

For me, this is the epitome of holiday comfort food: Sweet potatoes with mild spices, butter and brown sugar baked off with marshmallows.

Sweet Potato Treat was part of Haus of Gloi's Yule release in 2012. I'm not sure if it was part of previous Yule releases or not.

In the jar the pumpkin butter smells creamy and mildly spiced. I get a bit of sweet potato and butter and it's all very comforting. On the skin SPT becomes spicier on me, but spicy scents usually do. That mellows out after a while and goes back to being the buttery, creamy, sweet scent it is in the jar. It's a wonderful cold weather scent. I never get much of the marshmallow, which is a bit disappointing, but overall I really love this. The word I'd use to describe it is delicious. It's got good staying power, too - I can still smell hints of it on my skin at the end of a long day.

Misc. Notes: I shoved this under Mike's nose and he said, "I want to eat it." I asked if he had any other thoughts and he said, "I want to eat all of it."

Would I buy it again? Yes. I wish I'd gotten the whipped soap in this as well, actually. The perfume is still available on the HoG website, but I don't think it's one I need in that format. I don't think.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

solstice scents german chocolate cake

Solstice Scents German Chocolate Cake 10 ml perfume oil

Moist layers of rich chocolate cake filled with mouth watering coconut and pecan icing. Contains cocoa and vanilla absolute and fragrance oils.

German Chocolate Cake was part of Solstice Scents' Valentine's Day release in 2011 and 2012. It has now been discontinued, but I picked this bottle up from someone in the SS forum.

In the bottle German Chocolate Cake smells like Tootsie Rolls and sweet coconut. Wet on skin I get less chocolate and more of the coconut and pecan icing. It's very sweet (obviously), but there's also a sort of sharpness to it... I almost want to say it's a bit synthetic-smelling, which I've never encountered with a SS oil. It's probably a skin chemistry issue. After a few hours it's mellowed out, that sharpness is gone, and I get a bit more of that dark cocoa kind of scent. It's nice but it's not as chocolate cakey as I was hoping for, if that makes sense.

Would I buy it again? Probably not. It smells delicious in the bottle but it just doesn't translate to my skin the same way, unfortunately. It doesn't smell BAD by any means, it's just not what I hoped it'd be. I'll give it a few more tries, but it might end up going in the swap pile.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

first sniff impressions: sarawen perfume art

Three pretty little 5 ml perfume oils from Sarawen Perfume Art

I've been wanting to try out Sarawen's perfume oils for a while now, but just recently got around to it. I picked up full-sized 5 ml roller balls of Girl on Fire, The Baker's Boy, and Beer n' Butter. I loooved The Hunger Games in case you couldn't guess. Also Harry Potter. Also strawberries, cake, and butterscotch. I am weak. And a huge dork. Who likes cake.

ANYWAY. They arrived yesterday, so it's time for another round of...

First sniff impressions! Full reviews to come.

Girl on Fire: I'm getting mostly herbs with a bit of sweetness and tang from the strawberry.

The Baker's Boy: This doesn't smell like cake. Okay, there's a little cake, but it's not very sweet at all. I'm getting lots of amber. Amber, why must you ruin things for me? Hopefully this is different on.

Beer n' Butter: Smoky butterscotch. (Full review)

Monday, January 14, 2013

ohwto equinox

One Hand Washes The Other Equinox solid scent tube

A veritable cornucopia of harvest time goodness! Fresh apple butter, spiced breads and iced pastries, just-pressed cider warmed with ginger and mulling spice, roasted figs, berries, pomegranates, bonfire smoke, amber, and patchouli.

Equinox was part of One Hand Washes The Other's (henceforth known as OHWTO) Halloween release in 2012. I picked up 5 of the new scents from that release as well as several of the returning Halloween scents from 2011 and about eleventy billion other solid scents, all of which I'll be reviewing in due time.

In the tube Equinox smells fruity and spicy and lightly sweet. The mulling spices and apple cider are the main notes I get. On skin it's a bit less spicy, surprisingly, and I can smell the apple butter, the berries, the ginger, and just a hint of sweet smokiness. A few minutes later I smell something a bit orangey, or perhaps that's the pomegranate? It sort of smells like a mug of hot cider with an orange slice floating in it. The amber and patchouli don't make much of an appearance to my nose, or maybe they're just blended well enough that they support the other notes without screaming out themselves. Either way I'm happy about it, as those are two of my least favorite notes in perfume. This does border on scented candle occasionally, but I think that's a personal thing - almost all of these spiced apple cidery- kind of scents bring that to mind for me. But I keep buying them, so clearly it's not a deterrent.

This doesn't have a lot of throw, but I think that's the norm with solid perfumes so I don't hold it against OHWTO. I have a few of their scents that excel in that category, but by and large they're more "personal" scents, and that's fine. This is, and OHWTO's solid scents are as a whole, a bit longer-lasting than most other solids I've tried. I do take the tube with me during the day so I can reapply, but I only do so once or twice a day as opposed to every two hours with some other solid scents.

Would I buy it again? Yes, with some reservations (see below). I like the scent a lot and I love her products - they're a good size for a reasonable price, I love the twist-up tube format, they're easy to carry around in your purse or a pocket, and they're reasonably long-lasting for a solid scent.

The reservations: I've been ordering from OHWTO for years and have always been really happy to do so. But recently (the last year or so) the turn-around time has gotten ridiculous and it really puts me off from placing orders. Current TAT is stated as 18-20 days on the website, but my most recent order for scents from her winter release was placed on December 5th and I've yet to get a shipping notification (ed. note: I got a shipping notification on 1/18), so TAT can run longer than that.

Does this prevent me from ordering from OHWTO? No, but the super-long TAT does limit how often I order. When I first started ordering from this shop I wouldn't hesitate to buy just one or two solid scents any time they caught my eye, but now I pretty much only order when she releases new collections, so two or three times a year. And it annoys me every time I do, because I know I'll be waiting at least a month to get my products. It's not great. It's not a total dealbreaker, but it is something to consider.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

haus of gloi pumpkin queen

Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Queen pumpkin butter and perfume oil

Gentle hay pillows, pumpkin, ripe peaches dusted with clove and nutmeg, dried summer herbs, and lastly, a lovely crown of amber.

Pumpkin Queen has been part of Haus of Gloi's autumn release for the last few years. I picked these up this past autumn (2012), but I remember getting a sample of it in 2011 as well.

In the jar the pumpkin butter smells of peaches, sweet pumpkin and clove. I think I get a bit of amber but it's not overpowering. On skin it's much less sweet, and I smell the hay, nutmeg, and herbs a lot more. Honestly, it's a bit savory. The amber is there but it's not going crazy on me like amber tends to, so that's nice. I like this one more in the jar. It's still nice on the skin, just very different. I recall another autumn release (Saft Ernte) being very peachy as well, so next autumn I'll grab a jar and/or bottle of that instead.

The formula is wonderful as always. HoG's pumpkin butters are my favorite.

In the bottle the perfume smells like sweet pumpkin, clove, and a touch of amber. The peach is much less pronounced, but there's a creaminess. Wet on skin it's again much less sweet, with the hay, spices (especially the nutmeg), herbs, and amber coming out more. The amber is stronger here, I think. It does have that same savory note that I get from the pumpkin butter, but there's also something else... as it dries the pumpkin gets a bit more present, bringing it back from dangerously close to Eu de Christmas Ham to a dry, spicy autumn scent. Once it's been on the skin for a while I smell something slightly smokey, like a distant bonfire, and as time goes on it seems to regain a bit of that peachy sweetness I liked about the oil in the bottle. Actually, it's lovely. My opinion on this one has been a bit of a roller coaster while wearing it. I loved it in the bottle, didn't like it so much at the start, but by the end I love it again.

Misc. Notes:

Would I buy it again? Hmm. This is a tough one. It's not what I was expecting - if I'd gotten a sample first (actually I think I DID buy a sample of this, sniffed it, loved it, and ordered the full-sizes without ever trying it on because I AM STUPID) I likely would've gotten Saft Ernte instead. But after my initial disappointment, I really do like it. So, yes, I would buy it again.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

sweet anthem emily

Sweet Anthem Emily 10 ml solid perfume

She still wears her red dress, and paints her toes and twirls. Emily takes it back to old times of honey, oatmeal, yuzu, almond, Turkish mocha, vanilla, coconut, and sandalwood.

(However the actual notes listed are: almond, honey, milk, oatmeal, sandalwood, vanilla, and yuzu. No Turkish mocha.)

Emily is the only full-sized perfume I own from Sweet Anthem. I ordered a set of samples ages ago (years, literally) and Emily is the only one that caught my fancy. They make lovely products, but their scents are mostly more floral or perfume-y than I prefer.

I have the solid scent. The texture is a soft but solid wax in cool or normal weather; when it's warm it does get a bit squishier, but it holds its shape fine for the most part. The packaging is pretty and functional, but I'm not a huge fan of the plastic pots, as they're prone to breakage. I carried the solid scent sample I had of this around in my purse and the lid cracked. This one hasn't, but I also don't carry it around in my purse anymore. They've changed their design a bit since I bought this, and it looks like the new pots are sturdier, so maybe that's not an issue anymore.

In the pot I smell sharp almond and citrus (guess that's the yuzu) and sandalwood. On skin the almond softens a bit and the honey, oatmeal, and milky vanilla make themselves known, though I think the yuzu and sandalwood are always the strongest players on me. There's also very slight powdery quality. It's quite pretty, and interesting in that all of the notes (save sandalwood) are foody and yet the scent is not at all foody to my nose. It's not sugary sweet, or even very sweet at all. I feel like this is a scent that foody haters could wear with ease.

Throw and lasting power are minimal. It wears close to the skin and only lasts a couple of hours. You'd definitely need to touch it up throughout the day.

Misc. Notes: When I stuck this under Mike's nose, he sniffed it three times and then just said, "what is that?" The individual notes don't scream themselves out, so that makes sense I guess. But not the most positive reaction ever.

Would I buy it again? Maybe. It's not one I wear terribly often, but I do like it. It's a well-blended scent that's a bit different from everything else I own, and it's nice to have a few of those around. But while I'm glad I have it, but I don't think I'd seek it out again if I happened to lose it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

solstice scents cenobite

Solstice Scents Cenobite burnishing glace, body ganache, and perfume oil
(Brought to you by Fez Bunny and some ducks)

A deep Vanilla Bean which has a slight boozy liqueur note on application mixed with a pile of fresh vanilla beans and a sultry, smooth, rich and creamy French Vanilla.  Lovely for layering. This is not a sweet frosting/sugary/buttery vanilla, it is a sophisticated, pure and deeper vanilla bean scent. 

For years I've subscribed to a "Word A Day" email, which is exactly what it sounds like - every day they send you a new and interesting word. Well, today's word was "cenobite," meaning "A member of a religious order living in a monastic community." It seemed only fitting, then, that today's scent should be Cenobite from Solstice Scents.

Cenobite was one of my very first Solstice Scents purchases, and remains one of my favorite perfumes. I love me some vanilla, and it is the ultimate vanilla. However I just recently acquired the ganache and glace, and this review will actually be my first time using them. Let's see how these three all play together, shall we?

The ganache (and this is my first and only ganache from SS so far) has a texture like thick yogurt - it's thinner than Haus of Gloi's pumpkin butters but thicker than your average lotion. The scent in the pot is true to the description, perhaps a bit more on the creamy french vanilla side of things than the perfume and glace. There is a slight cocoa butter-y scent, which is not a bad thing at all, just worth mentioning. Angela notes on the SS website that that cocoa butter scent will die down after a few minutes, and it does, leaving behind pure vanilla. The scent is quite strong and I can easily smell it on myself.

 The ganache pot is small (4 oz) but you don't need much - lightly swiping my finger across the product gave me enough for my entire arm, two swipes for each leg. I don't have terrible dry skin so I don't ever use copious amounts of lotion, though. The formula is nice, absorbs quickly, and isn't greasy or heavy at all. It's not quite as moisturizing as HoG's pumpkin butters, which are still my #1 favorite, but it leaves my skin nice and soft just the same. I can see myself using this more often in warmer weather because it is a bit lighter than the pumpkin butters.

Moving onto the next layer, the glace smells quite a bit different in the bottle than the perfume or the ganache. It's sharper and fruitier.  Once it's on the skin it's closer to the perfume/ganache scent, but not exactly the same. However it does still compliment the ganache and perfume very well, and the scent is very potent. I mean VERY. The glace formula is lovely as usual. I spritzed this on my arms, legs, and chest on top of the ganache and the result is a strong scent. You wouldn't need to put the perfume on if you didn't have it or didn't want to. I'm inclined to say the glace is strong enough to act as a perfume on its own, honestly. It's the most strongly scented glace I've used from SS to date.

But because I love Cenobite and I want to see just how strong a cloud of delicious vanilla I can engulf myself in, I did put the perfume on as well. In the bottle Cenobite is vanilla liquor, not overly sweet at all. Wet on skin it's boozy and a touch fruity but still all vanilla. As it dries more of the creamy french vanilla comes out, but it's still much more like vanilla beans than vanilla frosting. It's never super sweet.

What I've learned here today is that topping the ganache with the glace with the perfume is insane. The scent is ridiculously strong. I love it. Usually perfume oils aren't strong enough to knock over strangers, which is part of what I like about them, and on its own Cenobite isn't. It's potent, yes, and it has great lasting power, but it's not going to make someone three rows back on the bus wonder what that smell is. All three of these together would. Layering them all results in soft skin and a heady haze of vanilla goodness that will last all day.

So, would I buy it again? Absolutely. All three products are wonderful and the scent is one of my favorites. If you're a vanilla fan, you really must give Cenobite a try.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

first sniff impressions: arcana

The way I've been doing these reviews so far is to talk about whatever perfume I'm wearing that particular day. It encourages me to branch out into my collection instead of wearing the same thing over and over. But today I woke up late and in my rush to get out the door, things like perfume and makeup and opening my eyes all the way kind of got left behind. So instead I'm going to do something a little different.

I placed an order from The Soap Box Company shortly after the new year, because I wanted some Arcanas and they were waiving shipping charges over a certain amount. What can I say? Free shipping draws me in like a moth to a flickering porch light. It's a sickness. It arrived yesterday (3 business days after I placed my order - love that!) and I thought I'd share my immediate thoughts about what I got.

"First sniff" impressions! All straight from the bottle. Full reviews to come.

Puppy Kisses: Yummy minty coconut with some kind of melty undertone. Heavier on the mint.

The Darling Buds: Floral, but not a bad floral. Very fresh. I get the cucumber up front and a whiff of strawberry. (Reviewed!)

Angel Clare: Sort of powdery and a little sweet? I don't get much apple unless I really smell for it.

Quim: I can't decide if I'm smelling bubblegum or a Terry's dark chocolate orange. (Full review)

Leaves Falling Like Rain: Sort of bready, maybe a little bit of orange? I don't think those notes are in the description at all. This smells exactly like something but I can't put my finger on it. (Full review)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

solstice scents lavender vanilla

Solstice Scents Lavender Vanilla 10ml perfume oil

Lavender Essential Oil paired with sweet creamy vanilla and smooth French Vanilla. The lavender essential oil starts out powerfully then descends into the background as the creamy vanilla emerges. After some time on the skin, the vanilla takes center stage as the primary and lasting note, enhanced by a ghostly memory of lavender.

I have some stressful medical stuff to deal with today (unfortunately the last 5 months has been nothing but stressful medical stuff... ), so when I picked out my perfume for the day I wanted something calming and comforting. Solstice Scents Lavender Vanilla fits the bill perfectly.

In the bottle it's immediately all lavender, but as I sniff it more the slightest creamy vanilla comes out. Wet on skin it's all strong lavender, no vanilla in sight... to the point where I wasn't sure I was even going to like this when I first tried my sample of it. I like lavender, but I prefer it mixed with other scents, because on its own, especially if it's strong, I find it a bit overbearing and sometimes it gives me a headache. I like a gentle, soothing lavender, not a smack you in the face lavender. But true to the description, the vanilla peeks out after a few minutes, and then once the oil has completely dried down it's mostly a vanilla scent with hints of soft lavender. The vanilla is sweet and creamy but not overly so - it's more like high-quality vanilla bean ice cream than sugary buttercream frosting.

I really like this scent when I'm feeling stressed out or when I can't sleep. It goes on strong, but the scent it dries down to is just so soothing and lovely.

Throw and lasting power is below average for a SS oil - I usually find them quite strong and long-lasting, but this doesn't stick around for too long. The throw is decent while it's there, actually, but after a few hours the scent is mostly gone. I can still smell something on my wrists, but it's not recognizable as Lavender Vanilla. Still, I don't mind reapplying, and honestly I usually wear it before bed so the longevity isn't much of an issue.

Lavender Vanilla is part of Solstice Scents' general catalog and they also sell a body ganache in this scent.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's not a scent I wear all the time, but when I need something pretty and calming I'm glad to have it around. It's like the perfume equivalent of a cup of hot tea at the end of a long day, and I don't have too many of those in my collection.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

solstice scents kitchen

Solstice Scents Kitchen burnishing glace and perfume oil

Pumpkin, Sugar Cookies, Peach Preserves, Spice Breads, Danishes, Caramel, Vanilla, and Sweet Wood Smoke.

Kitchen is part of Solstice Scents' Manor collection, which I believe was their 2012 fall release. The concept is really interesting - each scent is supposed to embody a different room in a grand old house that's fallen into disrepair (the Manor in question). I ordered samples of Library, Kitchen, and Manor itself, and received a sample of Attic free with my order. I'll review them all eventually, but today we talk about Kitchen.

If it weren't for the wood smoke note in the description, I'd have ordered a full bottle of this straight off. I'm a big fan of foodie scents, but while I like smoke in theory, I've not had good luck with smoky scents in the past - that note tends to go nuts and take over, ruining otherwise perfectly lovely scents with acrid smokey badness. Hence the sample. But as soon as I opened the little vial I knew I had to have it, preferably in amounts large enough to bathe in. THIS STUFF, YOU GUYS. This stuff! I now have a full bottle of the perfume and the burnishing glace (obviously), and if/when the whipped soap comes back in stock I will have that too. And anything else SS releases in this scent. I WILL HAVE ALL OF THE KITCHEN.

But how does it smell, you ask? Like the most delicious kitchen ever, full of the most delicious baked goods ever. When the perfume is wet I smell peaches and apples straight off, then mildly spicy gingerbread with a drizzle of sweet icing. There's vanilla, warm and rich and caramel-y. It's amazing. The wood smoke is very much a background/peek-a-boo sort of note on my skin - I get little whiffs of it now and then, but it's not overpowering and it is quite a sweet sort of smoke.

The burnishing glace smells mostly the same, though it's a bit less fruity in the beginning, skipping straight to that mildly spicy caramel-y baked goodness. This is the first glace I'm reviewing, so I'll talk a bit about the formula. It's a dry oil spray that's lightly moisturizing and non-greasy. Seriously, it's not greasy at all. I even spray a bit on my hands and rub it on the ends of my (very fine, grease-prone) hair sometimes with no resulting oilies. SS says you can use it as a bath oil, too, but I've never done so because the roach-infested apartment I lived in in college has left me with post-traumatic stress issues re: baths. TMI! But I'm sure a normal person would find it lovely in a bath. Mostly I just use it as an after-shower moisturizer - a spray or two is all you need for silky, yummy-smelling arms and legs.

When layered together these two have wonderful lasting power and good throw. Even on its own the perfume is noticeable and sticks around for a good amount of time. I find most of Solstice Scents' oils to be quite potent and long-lasting, and this is no exception.

Misc. Notes: Completely unbidden, Mike commented that this smells "like brown sugar, and some specific baked good I can't put my finger on." He's a fan. Whenever I wear it he tells me I smell delicious.

Would I buy it again? YES. Oh my god yes. I can and will own this in ever product it ever comes out in. I'd buy Kitchen chewing gum and I can't even chew gum. It's one of those scents that I find myself desperately wanting backups of even though I've never in my life finished off a single bottle of perfume oil. I needs it, my preciousss. I'd love to see this become part of the general catalog, or at least be a recurring fall scent, because if I ever find myself without it I may cry. For real.

Monday, January 7, 2013

haus of gloi the brier path

Haus of Gloi The Brier Path 6 oz pumpkin butter and 5 ml perfume oil

Sun drenched trail leading to a day dream of ripe berries and woods’ rose, rich forest loam, ozone, dark amber and cream.

The Brier Path was released with Haus of Gloi's summer collection. I got mine this past summer (2012), but I believe it's been part of past summer collections as well. I wasn't sure I would like this one, because I don't usually like rose scents and 99.9% of the time amber goes over-powering and disgusting on me, but I have this problem where I am helplessly compelled to covet and lust after any scent that purports to smell like a forest, or be in any way reminiscent of a day in the forest, so I ordered a sample with some other items. And as soon as I sniffed the sample, I fell hard. HARD.

The scent is a bit different in the different formats, so I'll give my impressions of both individually.

In the jar the pumpkin butter smells fairly mild - I smell the cream, a bit of rose and berries. On skin the scent becomes much stronger and more complex. The cream fades to the background and the rose and especially the berries become more prominent. There is also that "rich forest loam" note, which brings to mind a sun-warmed dirt trail rather than the dark, moist soil I would expect from a description like that. I actually prefer the former so no complaints there. The amber is minimal to my nose. It really does smell like being in the woods on a warm day, surrounded by thick bushes of berries and wild roses. This pumpkin butter is quite strongly scented and it lasts a good while.

In the bottle the perfume is mostly amber, dirt, and rose. Wet on skin it develops an interesting green note, but that fades to the background almost immediately to leave behind a creamy, woodsy rose and berry scent. The green note is interesting - it's not something I notice in the pumpkin butter. It doesn't last long after the oil dries down, but while it's there it really serves to amp up the foresty feeling.

The perfume smells a bit different than the pumpkin butter overall, like two sides of the same coin. You can tell they're the same scent, and they compliment each other wonderfully, it's just that different notes come out more in each. In the perfume I smell the amber more, but it's a rare not-horrible-on-me amber (SHOCK! I am seriously genuinely shocked), and the rose is a bit stronger than the berry. That sun-warmed dirt note is still there, and still lovely. The whole scent is, to over-use the word, very warm. It really does remind me of walking in the woods in the summer.

The perfume in particular actually makes me think of a very specific visual for some reason - when sunlight cuts through the leaves and you see dust and pollen floating through the golden sunbeam. Is that weird? I don't know why it makes me think of that. Either way, I love it. Even though it makes me think of summery things, it's not really a summer-specific scent. It's deep and strong enough that it can easily be worn in colder weather (like I'm doing today).

Throw and lasting power on the perfume oil are good, especially when layered with the pumpkin butter. It lasts 8+ hours on me. It's not going to knock anyone over, but you can tell it's there.

Would I buy it again? Absolutely. This is far and away my favorite from their summer collection, and easily one of my top 5 scents from HoG's entire catalogue. If it's released again this summer, I'll be buying it in every product I don't have, and probably a mini pumpkin butter to keep in my purse as well.