Thursday, April 25, 2013

arcana amorini

With their chubby knees and wings, these tiny creatures are like particularly naughty cherubs. A playful mix of cherry candy, three vanillas, pink musk, guava, sugar, and a warm rush of cinnamon hearts.

Amorini was part of Arcana's Valentine's Day release. When I did my first sniff impressions post, I said it smelled like cherry lollipops. In the bottle it really does - cherry candy and a bit of pink musk. I'd say it's vaguely cough syrupy, but it smells just as much like cherry popsicles or cherry hard candy as it does cough syrup, so it's just got that intense, sweet, artificial cherry thing going on.

On skin it smells distinctly more like real cherries, and there's a rush of warmth from the cinnamon. My skin has a tendency to amp cinnamon, but it's not with this, which I'm really happy about. Too much cinnamon and this would smell like Red Hots or Warheads - but it doesn't. I get a bit of the more cleanly fruity guava and the musk is still present, but there's decidedly less vanilla than I expected from the description. It's sweet, don't get me wrong, but with the inclusion of three vanillas I kind of expected it to smell like cherry cheesecake or cherry vanilla ice cream (which I LOVE SO MUCH). It doesn't.

As it dries the cinnamon gets a little stronger, but it never takes over. It provides more of an impression of heat than actual spice. The vanilla also comes out a bit more, lending a creamy sweetness. And after a few hours, the pink musk is quite a bit more noticeable. But after all is said and done I'm sticking with my original assessment: cherry lollipops.

Photo by anaulin on Flickr

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's not a complex scent journey or anything, but it's interesting in that I don't have anything like it in my collection. It's candy sweet, so if you don't like that sort of thing I'd stay far away from this one, but I like it a lot. It's a very fitting scent for a Valentine's release - it's almost a literal interpretation of the holiday, all glossy red candy and cut paper hearts.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - The Rhinestone Housewife and The Soap Box Co among other places, or you can order direct from Julia using the contact info at Arcana Soaps. Eros was part of Arcana's Valentine's release, and is still available as of this posting.

Monday, April 22, 2013

solstice scents chiffon

Vanilla, White Amber, White Musk & Lemon Myrtle EO

Chiffon is a scent that I've heard quite a bit of raving about and always wanted to try, because I love sweet lemony scents. I was all set to just order a full bottle right off the bat, until I read in the description that it had similar elements to and would appeal to fans of Snowshoe Pass. I don't think I've reviewed Snowshoe Pass on the blog yet, but spoilers: I hated it. Or, it hated me. The white amber and white musk absolutely took over and destroyed it for me, so seeing those same notes in this made me wary enough to just order a sample. (Which I should always do anyway, but I don't, because I'm dumb and bad with money. SO.)


Chiffon smells like lemon meringue pie. It's a soft lemon, not at all Pledge-y. It's sweet, but not overly so - it's not sickening or cloying. After a while I do get hints of that dreaded white amber/white musk combo, but it's not overpowering and it doesn't ruin it for me the way it ruined Snowshoe Pass. From first application to dry-down, Chiffon is just a soft, sweet lemon.

I'm on the fence about whether it's bottle-worthy, but only because I have similar things. It reminds me a bit of OHWTO's Carnivale and The Cake is a Lie, the main difference being that Carnivale is more fruity and The Cake is a Lie is more, well, cakey. I also have Maggie from Wiggle (muskier from what I recall) and Ambrosia from Arcana (way sweeter, and a bit creamy), a sample and a pumpkin butter in Honeysuckle Lemon Curd from Haus of Gloi (tangier and more flowery), and probably a few others that I'm forgetting - I mentioned that I love lemon scents, right? Yeah. While none of these are exactly the same as Chiffon, I don't know that I can warrant adding yet another sweet lemon scent to my collection at the moment, especially since this one, while lovely, doesn't knock my socks off in any particular way.

Would I buy it again? See above. I do like it, but probably not.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Friday, April 19, 2013

solstice scents blossom jam tea cakes

Southern Tea Cakes, Petit Fours, Floral Infused Jams & Preserves and a Delicate Aroma of Tea.

I have such mixed feelings about this one. When I did my first-sniff impressions, Blossom Jam Tea Cakes was hands down my favorite. It smelled like cake and jam and I loved it. Once I put it on, however...

On my skin the tea and florals are the strongest notes. I love me some tea scents, but we all know I don't like florals. It's a white sort of floral - gardenia is coming to mind. It's slanted a bit more toward the fruity side of the fruity-floral spectrum, and I suppose it does compliment the tea nicely if you're into that kind of thing. The sweet cake is sort of the background scent, not nearly as strong as I expected from cold sniff.

As it wears the jammy fruits come out a bit more, but not as much as I'd like. The tea stays on top throughout and the floral note keeps second billing. It does soften after a few hours, but it started to give me a headache long before that point. So. 

I don't hate it, but I don't like it as much as I thought I would - it's just too flowery. And unexpectedly so, given the description - Solstice Scents' descriptions are usually quite accurate so I can only assume this is a skin chemistry thing. In general I wish I got more jam or cake - more of the stuff that doesn't give me a thundering headache, basically. Sad.

 Would I buy it again? Surprisingly, no. I love the way this smells in the bottle but it goes flower crazy on my skin and makes my head hurt. Boo, hiss. Very disappointing. I can't say that's the fault of the perfume, though - it's a lovely scent, and if it stays true-to-bottle on you I'm very jealous. I have a bottle now, though, so I'm going to try layering it. Liber Vix commented that it layers well with Chantilly Cream, so maybe that'll save it for me.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

solstice scents chantilly cream

Whipped Cream, Peach Nectar, Vanilla & Yellow Mandarin EO.

Chantilly Cream is one of Solstice Scents' recurring Spring releases. I missed the Spring release for the last few years so this one was new to me. Despite that, I ordered a full-sized perfume and a burnishing glace straight off because I was 99.9% sure I would love this.

And unlike many other adventures in foolishly ordering full-sized stuff that I was so sure I would love and then didn't, I was actually right this time.

Chantilly cream is, obviously, sweet, fruity, and creamy. I get mainly peaches and a touch of zesty mandarin - just a tiny bit. It doesn't smell orangey at all, really, there's just that slight tartness. The vanilla is creamy, more like a french vanilla than vanilla extract. It's not boozy or sharp at all. The whole shebang smells delicious and edible yet light, like a bowl of ripe peaches topped with rich vanilla bean-flecked ice cream and just a dollop of airy whipped cream.

Overall it's a very delicate kind of scent - it's sweet, for sure, but it's not cloyingly sweet or pastry-like. The peach note is similar to the one in Kitchen, but where that's buttery peach pie, this is just fresh, fuzzy, perfectly ripe fruit. It doesn't have massive throw, staying fairly close to the skin. The glace smells like a slight milder version of a perfume, and layering them does help the scent to last longer and be more noticeable. Even layered, though, it's not going to knock anyone over.

Would I buy it again? YUP. Did it, would do it again if I ever ran out, which I won't, because I have more body products and perfume than I could ever feasibly use up in my lifetime even if I had 14 arms. But still - yes, love this one.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Monday, April 15, 2013

first sniff impressions: solstice scents spring #1

Note the cute little bird's nest - Solstice Scents' package decorations are the best.

Another seasonal release, another First Sniff Impressions post! This time it's from Solstice Scents, whose spring scents are, again, a completely mystery to me. Somehow I seem to have missed everyone's spring releases for the last few years. But that just means NEW STUFF, even if it's just new to me, which is always more exciting than restocking familiar stuff.

Let's get to it!

Blossom Jam Tea Cakes: Fruity cake. I love this. (Reviewed!)

Chantilly Cream: Peaches and cream. Very soft and delicate. (Reviewed!)

Chiffon: Sweet lemon. Lemon meringue pie, kind of. (Reviewed!)

Courtyard: VERY strong. Green, lavender, and woods.

Devil's Millhopper: Really, really green. Like a thick carpet of damp moss.

Banana Nut Bread: At first this smelled exactly like banana bread, but the more I sniff, the more I get this rummy note that comes off really plasticky. Might be different in use.

That's that! Just from cold sniff, Blossom Jam Tea Cakes is my favorite, and I really wish it came in a glace or a ganache, but alas, it does not. So unless Chiffon or Devil's Millhopper really grab me when I test them out this will probably be the extent of my haulage from this release.

As always, everything is available from Solstice Scents.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

haus of gloi ruth

Fresh strawberry, green patchouli, rose geranium and crushed violet leaf.

Oh, Ruth. Usually, I save my favorite things for last - but not here. Oh no. I just kept putting Ruth off, because honestly? I didn't want to smell it again. But now her time has come, so let's do this thing.

In the imp, Ruth smells vaguely like strawberries and something musty and rotten, like flowers that have been sitting around for too long and have started to get soft and mushy. On skin it's less rotten-smelling, and now I'm getting strawberry and loads of green patchouli, which I really don't like. I don't think I've ever smelled it before, but it's just... nope. Not for me.

This one's a scrubber. OUT, OUT DAMN SPOT.

Would I buy it again? NO. Oh god, no. I'm sure this is either a skin chemistry issue or a personal preference one, since I've seen a few other reviews of Ruth that are rather positive. It just really, really does not work on me.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

Friday, April 12, 2013

haus of gloi lassi

Cool, fresh mango cream, Tunisian orange blossom absolute, black ginger to ground, splash of green tea and a soft squeeze of lime juice.

In the imp, Lassi smells like gummy bears. If I tried to parse it I'd say it's lime and orange blossom, but honestly? I can't smell anything but gummy bears. So many gummy bears. On skin it's still pretty much gummy bears - sweet and tart, very fruity, mostly orange and lime. It's a very Pixie Stix orange, powdery and slightly sour. (Literally all of my points of reference for this scents are candies.) I feel like I should be smelling more mango, and maybe it's the tartness that's making me think orange, but yeah - orange.

As it dries the tartness fades a bit and I get a little of the mango cream, but this never really comes across as creamy, if that makes sense. It pretty much just always smells like gummy bears.


Would I buy it again? Maybe? Probably not as a perfume oil though. I like Lassi, because I like the way gummy bears smell (and taste, when I can find vegan ones). (Also because bears are my favorite animal.) But I think it's better suited to a pumpkin butter (which I have and which also smells like gummy bears, just slightly creamier) or a whipped soap, even for sugar-loving me.

Available from: Haus of Gloi 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

haus of gloi milkmaid

Flushed, but demure. Fresh milk, clean linens, pale musk and pink sweet pea blossom.

Milkmaid is one of Haus of Gloi's recurring Spring scents. It's not really my kind of scent, but I've wanted to try it for a while regardless. Milkmaid paints such a lovely picture - a fresh, rosy-cheeked girl who smells of cream and clean sheets and pink flowers. It's very quintessentially Spring.

In the imp it smells pink and milky. On skin it's sweet, a bit tangy, and powdery, smelling to me like baby powder and sweet peas and clean skin. It's not nearly as floral as I was expecting, nor is it as creamy and milky as it smelled on cold sniff. As it dries, the tanginess softens a bit and I'm left with a powdery pink scent with just a slight dairy edge. It's not something I would wear, really, but it's very pretty.

The Milkmaid by Myles Birket Foster

Maybe it's because I'm an illustrator and used to thinking visually, but I find that sometimes images can convey what a scent smells like or feels like to me better than words can. In this case, Milkmaid smells very much like the appropriate-named painting above. It's a very pastel, pastoral scent.

Would I buy it again? No. While I love the concept and think the execution is on point, it's not a scent I would wear. Also it started to give me a headache after a while, as florals tend to do.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

Monday, April 8, 2013

haus of gloi ploughman

Well worn leather, dirt n' dandelions, carrot, a pinch of tobacco and a light sheen of feral skin musk.

In the imp, Ploughman smells like dirt and leather. But it's not dirty - it's clean and fresh. On skin it starts out the same, but with a bit of that grassy dandelion element in there too. After a while the carrot peeks out, very slightly sweet, and I don't smell the leather quite as much, and the end result is a scent that smells like nothing so much as a vegetable garden on a spring day.


As it dries further, I get a little hit of tobacco, spicy and warm. It gets less damp and the leather comes out again. Ultimately that's how it stays - dark, damp dirt, leather, green, and slightly sweet with a touch of warm spiciness. It smells like you've been running around outside all day (but not in a sweaty way) and I pretty much just want to bathe in it.

If you like HoG's Samhain, you will like this - they're similar scents, all dirt and atmosphere, but Ploughman is fresh and green where Samhain is chilly and herbal.

Would I buy it again? Yes. I didn't expect to want a full bottle of this, but I really  should've known better since I love Samhain. I'm a sucker for these kinds of evocative outdoorsy scents. On the list it goes.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

Sunday, April 7, 2013

haus of gloi selkie

The break of waves, gurgling sea foam, kelp, rain tinged air, sand smoothed driftwood and wild sage.

In the imp, Selkie is a slightly spicy, ozoney scent. On skin the spiciness and the sage are really present - it smells a bit masculine, even. The ozone isn't nearly as strong as it is on cold sniff. And what there is of it isn't your typical ozone - it doesn't have that airy, blue, beach house bathroom kind of scent that's common of oceanic or beachy blends.

As it dries down it starts to smell a bit woody and salty in addition to the spicy sage notes. It does very much remind me of the ocean, but more of a rocky, driftwood-strewn beach than a warm, tropical beach. The former is actually my preferred kind of beach, so this one is a hit with me.

Photo by Flickr user pencrush

This. This is what Selkie smells like.

Misc. Notes: The boyfriend says, "smells very summery."

Would I buy it again? Yes. I'm planning to pick up a bottle of this, because I really love it and it's pretty unique to my collection. The only reason I haven't already is because I want a mini pumpkin butter in this scent too and it's currently out of stock. Boooooooo-urns. Come back, Selkie, I need you on me.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

Saturday, April 6, 2013

haus of gloi komodo

Mangosteen, Tahitian vanilla bean, dragons blood resin and faded tropical blooms.

Taking a break from the Arcana-fest, today we're going to talk about one of Haus of Gloi's new spring scents: Komodo.

In the imp, Komodo smells sweet and tropical, like mango juice, vanilla cream, and faint island flowers. On skin the floral notes are stronger, almost eclipsing the sweet/tart mangosteen. There is a bit of an incensey vibe from the dragon's blood resin, but it's not overpowering - it just kind of grounds the whole thing. I honestly don't smell much vanilla at all once it's on, which is disappointing.

The main notes here, at least to my nose, are the tropical blooms and the mangosteen, in that order. I didn't expect it to be so floral, and the cold sniff from the bottle wasn't. It's not bad - the floral notes work very well with the mangosteen - it's just not what I was hoping for. After a few hours it's less floral and the vanilla peeks out a bit, which is nice. At that point I like it quite a bit more, but it takes too long to get to that point for me to want a bottle of it.

Misc. Notes: The boyfriend says, "it smells very clean. A little citrusy."

Would I buy it again? Probably not. On cold sniff I was sure I'd be getting a bottle of this. Now that I've tried it out, I'm thinking not so much. I don't dislike it at all, and I will certainly use the mini pumpkin butter and whipped soap I picked up in this scent, but ultimately it's just more floral than I prefer.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

Thursday, April 4, 2013

arcana eros

In Greek mythology, dark, irresistible Eros joined with Chaos to create the whole human race. Bittersweet cocoa absolutes from France and Cote d’Ivoire, black tea leaf, mallow root, blackseed, vintage patchouli, and a drop of overripe strawberry.

This one scares me! Just look how dark the oil is. There's all kinds of sediment that needs shaken up and mixed in, which is a bit hard to do in an sample vial - much easier in the 5 ml, I'd imagine. But let's soldier on anyway, because adversity builds character.

In the imp, Eros is patchouli and chocolate strawberries. It isn't very sweet - bittersweet is exactly right. Wet on skin the chocolate fades to the back and the strawberry takes on a greenness, like fruit that's not quite ripe. It's definitely not a sweet, juicy strawberry note. The patchouli is there, but I don't hate it - it's not a stinky head shop patchouli. There's something a bit creamy - I'm guessing the mallow root - and a whiff of black tea.

As it dries down the strawberry sweetens a little and the bittersweet cocoa rises back up, actually becoming quite a bit sweeter itself. Once it's fully dry the chocolate and strawberries are the most prominent notes, and although it's much sweeter than on cold sniff, it's still not terribly sweet. This isn't a sugary, gourmand kind of scent at all. Think strawberries dipped in dark, dark chocolate. And patchouli. Which sounds like an awful combination, honestly, but it's not at all. And I am Very Anti-Patchouli, so that's saying something. It just really works here.

As an added bonus, this one lasts. I put it on before bed last night, around 11:30 or so - it's now nearly 12 hours later and I can still smell it on my wrist. That's impressive.

Would I buy it again? Surprisingly, yes. I fully expected to hate this and ended up liking it a lot.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - Magical Omaha and The Soap Box Co among other places, or you can order direct from Julia using the contact info at Arcana Soaps. Eros was part of Arcana's Valentine's release, and is still available as of this posting.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

arcana soft hearted

All tenderness and compassion. This gentle union of pink grapefruit, sweet lavender, green lotus and softest musk is touched off with an arterial spark of black pepper.

In the imp, Soft Hearted is all lavender and soft grapefruit. I usually find grapefruit pretty abrasive, but this is really gentle. On skin the grapefruit gets stronger, and it's a bit more juicy/zesty. The musk makes an appearance, but true to the description it is very soft. I get a hint of black pepper but it's not overpowering at all - it just sort of adds a bit of sharpness to the scent. I don't really know what green lotus smells like, so I'm hard pressed to say if I'm getting it or not.

Once it's fully dry, the lavender has mostly faded and the grapefruit starts to ride the line between "fresh and zesty" and "cleaning product." I've found this to be the case with nearly every grapefruit scent I've ever tried, though, so I can't necessarily fault this particular blend - it may just be my skin chemistry. The end result here is not nearly as soft and lovely as sniffing the oil straight from the imp, which is disappointing - not because it's a bad scent, but because I was hoping I'd finally found a grapefruit that I'd like. That being said, I definitely don't dislike this - it's just not quite right for me.

Would I buy it again? Probably not. I love it in the imp, but on my skin the grapefruit goes to astringent and the lavender isn't present enough for my liking.

Edit: I'd written this one off and went about my day, but when I sniffed my wrist again a few hours later I found that I actually like what it turned into. The grapefruit settled and I think the green lotus came out, providing a bit of a floral tone. It ended up becoming a soft, musky, slightly citrusy scent - not bad after all. I'm still not going to get a bottle of it, but it worked out better in the end than my initial impressions led me to believe it would.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - Magical Omaha and The Soap Box Co among other places, or you can order direct from Julia using the contact info at Arcana Soaps. Soft Hearted was part of Arcana's Valentine's release, and is still available as of this posting.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

arcana queen crossbones

The adventurous scents of a pirate queen's far-flung travels: creamy Egyptian musk, wild honey, sweet coconut and exotic resins. Because a bad attitude and a stolen galleon will get you everywhere!

In the imp, Queen Crossbones is all musk and honey. It's slightly sweet and a bit sharp. On skin the sharpness fades and the coconut comes out a bit more, though I'd still say it's mostly musk and honey. The resins sort of mix together with the musk for me, but I think they're the source of the sharpness I was getting from the cold sniff. It's less pronounced on skin but I do still smell it. There's also a slight powderiness that I would assume comes from the Egyptian musk.

The honey in this is classic Arcana - they do honey so well, and it's always rich and golden without being cloyingly sweet. The honey does take center stage in this blend, with an added touch of creamy sweetness coming from the coconut, but I wouldn't really call it a sweet scent. The musk and resins provide a lot of depth, and it really does feel a bit exotic, like something Cleopatra would wear.

The lasting power on this one is pretty great as well - it was still very present after 8 hours.

Would I buy it again? Possibly. I really like it quite a lot more than I thought I would, since musky, resin-heavy scents tend to be a bit much for me, but the honey in this puts it solidly into the camp of something I would actually wear. Even so, I'm not sure I need a full bottle of it - maybe if I ever finish my sample.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - Magical Omaha and The Soap Box Co among other places, or you can order direct from Julia using the contact info at Arcana Soaps.

Monday, April 1, 2013

first sniff impressions: haus of gloi spring

Somehow I've managed to almost completely miss Haus of Gloi's spring releases for the past few years - I've literally never smelled a single one of these scents. So since I couldn't just pick up products in a few scents that I knew I liked, I decided to get samples of the whole line, as well as a few minis (2 pumpkin butters and a bubbling scrub), a whipped soap, and two butterbombs.

After sniffing the whole line, the only ones I plan to buy full bottles of are Komodo and Selkie. I also really like Ploughman, but I'm on the fence about getting a bottle - it's kind of like the spring twin of Samhain, which I love, but don't actually wear that often. We shall see.

An odd little note is that this is the first order I've ever made from Haus of Gloi that didn't include an extra perfume sample. I was a little bummed! I mean, obviously free samples are just a bonus, but it made me wonder if I just somehow got skipped over this time or if they're going to stop including them altogether. While I hope it's not the latter, it won't really affect my purchasing habits either way.

Anyway! Onto the mini-reviews.

Komodo: Sweet, tangy, and tropical. (Reviewed!)

Ruth: Strawberry and green awfulness. It kind of smells like horseradish. (Reviewed!)

Milkmaid: Creamy, powdery pink floral. (Reviewed!)

Ploughman: Damp spring soil. This is very fresh for a dirt scent. (Reviewed!)

Lassi: Gummy bears. The pumpkin butter is less tart than the perfume oil. (Reviewed!)

Selkie: Smells like the ocean, in the best way. (Reviewed!)

Orange Blossom Bee Hive: Orange cream candy.

Strawberries & Cream: Just as described, except less creamy than I expected. Orange Blossom Bee Hive actually smells creamier to me than this one does.

As always, all of this is available from Haus of Gloi.