Thursday, August 31, 2017

Some Arcana Scents

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

Hey guys, today I have some random Arcana scents for you. I made an order a while back when the shop was briefly opened after a short hiatus and have that order here to review along with a bunch of others that have been hanging around the stash. There's a variety of scents here ranging from fruity, beachy, a couple vanillas and atmospheric blends, BBQ sauce, you name it. Wait...BBQ sauce? That's not a typo. Yes, BBQ sauce.

The first three are the newest additions that I picked up during the last opening. Surf is general catalog and should be available when she reopens, Strawberries Crave Pie was a limited edition scent from last year and may or may not return, and Black Sand was a gift with purchase. No word on whether that one will return though.

Orange blossoms with coconut, skin musk and warm sand

A golden of floral is the best way to describe it. Warm and sunny with fragrant orange blossoms and hints of crisp wet sand. Think of Bobbi Brown Beach with added orange blossom and you have Surf. It becomes sweeter in the dry down, almost like there is a drop of honey in the bottle, but that's from the orange blossom note that Arcana uses. It's similar to Qedesha from the Valentine's collection last year. One of my favorites, both Surf and Qedesha.

Strawberries Crave Pie
Pink and red strawberries with tender pie crust, vanilla bean and a sprinkling of brown and white sugars

This opens with a blast of brown sugar, thick and syrupy, before settling into a sweet strawberry with hints of bakery swirling around the edges. It's a thick strawberry and more like the glaze instead of fresh picked fruit that unfortunately begins to turn artificial and plasticky on my skin.

Strawberries Crave Black Sand
The scent of a warm night on a dark, sandy beach. Atmospheric sweetness with a hint of salt air and a subtle undercurrent of danger. The richest amber resin with black coconut, coconut husks, smoky vetiver and a sliver of almost overripe strawberry

This was a free bottle that was included with the purchase of three or more bottles. Vetiver stands out from start to finish. Bright and almost lemony, a little grassy, but with a soft, smoldering smokiness mixed throughout. A sweet strawberry glaze peaks in the first ten minutes but quickly disappears. An interesting blend but one dimensional for the most part. I'm sure this would make a great layering scent but I don't know what vetiver would layer with.

The next three are older scents that were limited but have now gone general catalog. These were all part of the Meow collection from two years ago, a collection inspired by the, ahem, "art of female masturbation."  I love the witty names and theme, although I'm waiting on the male version to round out the theme =P

Two Finger Ballet
A delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel and the smallest dab of opium

I know this is pretty much blasphemy because this is such a well loved scent by many, but this one didn't work out as well as I had hoped. It's a super sweet blend that reminds me more of white sugar laced with caramel than vanilla but underneath that is something sharp and dry, sort of acidic, that makes me think vinegar. The sweet aspect of this scent is great but that sharp note is distracting and persists throughout the dry down.

Fluffing the Bunny
Madagascar vanilla, Tahitian vanilla, apricot, white musk, skin musk and a tiny tickle of mint

An opening of peppermint and leaves, cold and green, settling into an apricot and vanilla blend. It's very sweet and thick, reminding me of dried apricots, with a creamy vanilla mixed in. The dry down is a skin-hugging clean musk.

Twirling the Pearl
Rich, golden honey, marshmallow, lavender milk, soft musk and a tiny hint of green galbanum

Hands down, one of my favorite Arcana's. It begins as an herbal lavender, a little chilly, with a heavy milky note. Not the same milk/cream note that usually goes sour on my skin, but more of a coconut milk. The lavender quickly takes a back seat as thick honey and vanilla marshmallow with hints of coconut begin to push forward. It becomes sweeter and a little powdery as it dries down, but there is something hanging out far in the background with an herbal edge that keeps this from becoming too sugary. That could be the lavender but I suspect it's galbanum, although I'm unfamiliar with that note. This is a light enough blend to wear during the day and snuggly enough to wear at bedtime.

And the remaining scents are all samples that were included with various orders I've placed over the years. I know some are popular general catalog scents like Philtre and Filthy Viking. I'm not sure whether the others are available year round though.

Alec d'Urberville
The profligate essence of an aristocratic libertine. Amber resin, charred Madagascar vanilla, French cognac, clove, sandalwood and dark musk

Not the usual type of scent I go for but damn, this one is good! A glass of cognac by a smoldering fireplace and the smell of sweet clove cigarettes swirling through the air. It's a sexy man scent, mysterious and alluring. The wood and smoke notes are strongest followed by the cognac and clove and it dries down to a clean musk that stays close to my skin.

Filthy Viking
Between the sea voyages and the pillaging, it must have been difficult for Odin's henchmen to stay fresh. Too bad they didn't have this ferocious blend of scents from the Viking world: Norwegian juniper, frigid Icelandic mint and the hardy wood of a longship. 

This is pretty much all peppermint extract on my wrist but I do pick up some sweet juniper and cedar underneath. The mint hangs around for a surprisingly long time, but by the time it fades, the other notes have disappeared as well.

Horned trickster, lord of the forest, god of the wild hunt. Cassia cinnamon, Atlas cedarwood, fir needle oil and a whiff of Herne's holy oak tree. 

It starts out as cinnamon, cedar and fir in that order. Very spicy and fresh woods with a bit of wintery coolness although the cinnamon smells more like chewing gum than the real thing. Still, it's nice for now until the drydown hits and things begin to go awry. The cinnamon is still prominent but the cedar starts to take on a chemical industrial smell like a blend of household pesticide spray and motor oil. Needless to say, this was scrubbed off after a few hours. As promising as the opening is, I still wouldn't be able to wear it since it left my skin bright red and irritated wherever I applied it.

A zingy scent for the mischievous prankster wood sprites of Okinawa. Grapefruit, yuzu fruit, rice milk, rice wine, massoia bark, lemongrass and banyan

This is an unusual one that works rather well. It starts out as a citrus blend of yuzu, grapefruit and lemon with just a touch of sweet grass mixed in, all smoothed together by the creamy rice milk. It's tangy and fresh mostly, but the rice milk adds a soft floral sweetness that doesn't turn sour as Arcana's milk notes tend to do. At this point it reminds me of a citrus and B&BW Rice Flower & Shea blend. The dry down morphs into a peachy apricot and cream scent.

Philtre: Amity
Based on a long-forgotten love potion which aided seduction with abundance of harmony and joy. Three jasmines, pink grapefruit, rainwater, white musk, French cognac, pink pepper, a hint of strawberry and a drop of patchouli

This opens with a quick blast of pepper and quickly settles in to the jasmine soaked by rain droplets. It's heady, sweet and creamy with an atmospheric freshness. The jasmine disappears rather quickly and is replaced by the grapefruit which complements the aquatic notes nicely. It feels a little out of order because the grapefruit usually comes first and jasmine tends to hang around on my skin for longer than a few minutes. The dry down is a fresh and clean smelling aquatic that stays close to the skin.

T. S. Goodfellow's Winter Correctives: Laughter
Bright raspberry with sparks of pink and black pepper, and what Goodfellow himself describes as "a gay tangle of euphoric herbs" which combine to form an olfactory resemblance to rich cheesecake

I don't know about raspberry cheesecake because this just smells like barbeque sauce from the very beginning until I washed it off a couple hours later. It's nice if that is what you want to smell like. I personally don't though.

Surf and Twirling the Pearl (that name tho!) are two of my most beloved Arcana scents and would definitely repurchase if I ever ran out. Alec ended up being another favorite although I'm not sure how often I will reach for it. If I ever ran outI would look for another sample, but not a full bottle.

Right now the shop is in vacation mode with no set date for reopening. Knowing Julia though, she will have tons of scents available for when she does return.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rosegirls July Preorder

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

The third and final Rosegirls haul post for the month, these are the scents I picked up in the preorder back in mid-July. I went with mostly fall scents this time around because...fall scents. Even though it's been triple digits here in Southern California with no end in sight, I can't wait to get melting and pretend that it's fall outside. 

Chunk bags are $10.50 each and weigh 8 ounces each. Scents from left to right are Pumpkin Pecan Waffle Sugar Cookie Dough Gilligan's Brew, Circus Concession, Light as a Feather and Cider Lane Pumpkin Cheesecake Vanilla Ice Cream.

Cider Lane / Pumpkin Cheesecake / Vanilla Ice Cream

Cider Lane is what mainly stands out and warmed by a thick, lightly spiced pumpkin. It's pretty good, but I do hope the pumpkin and vanilla will come out more in the warmer. 

Circus Concession
Macintosh Madness, cotton candy frosting, ooey gooey caramel and funnel cake

This smells just like a caramel apple with a touch of warm bakery to temper the sweetness. Lots of caramel and crisp red apple with just enough funnel cake to add a cozy feel.

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board
Leaves, amber, vanilla, sandalwood and gooey toasted marshmallows

Smoky, woodsy and a heavy hand of deep, seductive amber. It's along the same lines as Wisconsin Woods down below except this one is more of a cologne type blend while Wisconsin is a more realistic woodsy blend. I prefer Wisconsin a little more but both are nice and will get a lot of use in the coming months.

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles / Sugar Cookie Dough / Gilligan's Brew

A buttery, golden blend of sweet cookies and cozy waffles with a creamy background from the coconut in Gilligan's Brew. It doesn't actually smell like coconut but just adds additional smoothness. Cookie is mostly what I smell followed closely by the waffle.

Chunk muffins are $7 for a set of two that weigh between 5.2 - 5.7 ounces. From left to right are Cucumber Limeade, Sarah's Blend and Wisconsin Woods.

Sarah's Blend
Blackberry jam, coffee and hot fudge brownie

Dark, roasted coffee beans and an ultra creamy brownie batter swirling with sweet blackberry. It's mostly a coffee and chocolate blend with the berry adding an incredibly unique twist. I keep coming back to sniff this and didn't even think I would like it much when I ordered it.

Cucumber Limeade
Crisp, fruity and refreshing

More of a cucumber blend, mellow, green and smooth, with just a pinch of zesty lime freshness. 

Wisconsin Woods
Earthy woody blend that smells like home

A complex blend that is absolute perfection! It's chilly from the pine needles, woodsy like tree bark and pine cones and smoky from a smoldering campfire nearby. Smoky, woody and cold in that order.

Cider Delight

A free mini melter sampler that was generously included, this is a B&BW Cider Lane dupe that mostly smells of warm and cozy apple cider, no spices, but there's an added bakery note underneath of funnel cake or muffins.

Great stuff! Favorites are Wisconsin Woods, Sarah's Blend and the PPW-Gilligan blend.

The next preorder opening takes place on Friday and the scent list has already been posted. Are you planning on making an order? There are two muffin scents I'm looking at but may sit it out. The $10 shipping for a $14 order is making me double guess things although realistically, I'll probably order. That pumpkin butterscotch blend is really calling out!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wonderberry June Preorder - Samplers

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

Like last time, I'll be breaking this order up into two separate posts. This first part features samplers from the June 17th wax-only restock. They had a good selection of scents this time with plenty of fun samplers to choose from.

Beach Please

12 scent shots for $15 for the set. This ended up being my favorite part of the order.

Beach Boardwalk
Saltwater taffy, summer scoop and acai berries

Strawberries with a touch of vanilla saltwater taffy. For a berry scent, this is pretty realistic - tart, juicy and a little bit of green stem included.

Beach Towels
Seaside cotton and citrus linen

A favorite from this sampler. The linen is starchy but with a delicate sweetness and fresh orange floating just above it.

Cake Pops by the Ocean
Our Cake Pops fragrance blended with creamy mango sorbet and coconut milk

Fresh mango, smooth and kinda sweet. It's light on cold sniff which is probably from the cake and coconut notes, although I don't smell them. It's all mango but softer like it has been watered down.

Coconut Coast
Fresh coconut, tropical fruits, bamboo leaves and Tahitian vanilla beans

This smells more like a blend of various apples with a touch of creamy coconut. I've smelled this recently and want to say it's the same as Wylde Ivy Cabana.

Frosted Pink Pineapples
Pineapple slices topped with strawberry cotton candy frosting and sprinkled with Pink Sugar

The top layer is strawberry and it leans a bit sour and artificial, but the pineapple underneath is tart, juicy and incredibly realistic. It's pretty good and I'm hoping the pineapple will be strong enough to overtake the strawberry in the warmer.

Hawaiian Melonade
Blue Hawaiian blended with sweet and tangy melonade

The Blue Hawaiian is strong, smelling like a pina colada topped with a maraschino cherry, and just underneath I get a touch of sweet watermelon.

Hula Dance
Island plumeria, lemon, lime and grapefruit

Sweet and heady plumeria with just a drop of lime juice in the bottom layer.

Mermaid Lagoon
Salty sea air, sweet lavender, vanilla sandalwood and Pink Sugar

Herbal lavender made extra fresh with the addition of sea salt. It's nearly identical to their Beach Nights scent, which is another lavender and sea salt blend. The only difference is Mermaid Lagoon has a trace of sweet Pink Sugar although it is extremely subtle and I suspect it will get buried under the other notes in the warmer.

Snow Cones
A sugary citrus fruit syrup drizzled over a pile of tropical blue raspberry shaved ice

Smells like Volcano is in here somewhere because I get a creamy orange and lemon, but it's mostly sweet blue raspberry. A candy type of scent.

Summer Glow
Coppertone suntan lotion and Pink Sands type

A little bit of summery floral sweetness from the Pink Sands but mostly that beachy chemical goodness that is Coppertone.

Swim-Up Bar
Sparkling watermelon limoncello and ocean water

I'm surprised by the description because this smells more like cucumber and linen. Green, fresh and mellow with a soft clean note underneath.

Tropical Fruit Dip
Our Fruit Dip fragrance blended with a deliciously sweet tropical fruit salad of pineapples, bananas, coconut and kiwi

The top layer is sweet pineapple and banana with a touch of smooth coconut; the bottom layer is a creamy orange blend.

I just loved this sampler and these are some of my favorite Wonderberry scents so far. Top picks are Beach Towels, Tropical Fruit Dip and Summer Glow.

Birthday Trio

$3.75 for the set. These are birthday cake blends to celebrate the two year anniversary of Wonderberry.

Birthday Cake Shake
Fluffy chunks of birthday cake blended into a frosty vanilla milkshake and dusted with candy sprinkles

A thick vanilla cream, not very sweet but just rich and creamy, sitting on top of a layer of buttery yellow cake. This one has a plasticky feel overall.

Birthday PiƱata
Birthday cake, skittles and rainbow lollipops

A sweet and mixed fruity blend that smells just like a bag of Skittles. There's a sharp lemon mixed in that is probably from the lollipop along with that plasticky cake note from above.

Wonderberry Birthday Cake
Raspberry vanilla amaretto birthday cake

The amaretto is pretty strong here with a sharp chemical-smelling almond much like pistachio pudding cake with that plasticky cake note underneath. None of these scents really did anything for me and sadly, it looks like I'll be avoiding their cake note in the future.

Disney Sampler

$7.50 for the set. These were the winners of a customer create-a-scent contest.

Aurora's Slumber
Lavender chamomile Love Spell

Very heavy on the calming chamomile with a base of mixed florals and sensual musk.

Cinderella's Midnight Dessert
Coconut cream pie, pistachio pudding cake and ice cream scoop bread

A top layer of sweet, buttery and ultra creamy coconut pie over a layer of pistachio pudding cake. That almondy note is pretty strong so I'm hoping the coconut will tame it in the warmer. My second favorite from this set.

I Wanna Be Like You
Monkey farts, zucchini bread and vanilla bean noel

Sweet banana candy on top of creamy (no spices) zucchini bread. It smells different from other zucchini bread scents I've tried. Still a warm bakery scent but a little bland and plasticky.

Les Poissons
Saltwater taffy, Pink Sugar, mango and champagne

This is well blended so all of the notes are present. A little bit of musk from the Pink Sugar, sweet and fresh mango, a creamy vanilla with a little tang from the salt, and just a drop of crisp champagne underneath it all. I can't wait to stick this in the warmer.

My Friend Pooh
Honey graham crackers, blackberry jam butter cookies and toasted marshmallows

Mostly a sweet blackberry (no floral notes) with golden graham crackers and some warm toasty notes. Toasted marshmallow always smells like burning plastic to my nose so I would've liked to see regular marshmallow in here, but this is my favorite from the sampler.

Orange creamsicle and salty sea air

Mostly salty sea air - crisp like ozone, tangy from the salt with a touch of blue waves in the background - with a little bit of sweet orange and vanilla cream on top.

Mini Samplers

There are two samplers here, each has 6 scents for a total of $6. The first is a fall sampler, the second is spa themed.

Fall Festival

Sweet red apples coated in golden butterscotch.

Homebrewed Cider

A sweet and aromatic cup of lightly spiced apple cider.


Sweet apple cider, lightly spiced, against a background of colorful dried leaves and soft hints of dirt. A popular dupe that is a must for autumn weather.

Magic Shoppe

Sweet clove and plums lightly dusted with sugar.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

A popcorn scent I can get behind. Very buttery and warm, straight from the microwave, with gooey caramel drizzled on top. Popcorn scents tend to smell stale to my nose but this one is perfect.

Sweater Weather

A dupe of the popular BBW scent. Sweet and chilly juniper with a soft minty freshness.

And the Spa Day sampler...

Bamboo & White Grapefruit

Sparkling and crisp grapefruit with an occasional whiff of earthy, green bamboo.

Cucumber Splash

More of a sweet red berry and tangy lemon blend than a spa one. It's punchy and summery, very pretty, but the oddball of the group.

Icy Shine

Clean and kind of sweet with floral accents just like fabric softener but with the teensiest hint of peppermint.

Parisian Spa

Fresh grapefruit on top of an earthy and mellow, almost vegetal, green blend. I know I've smelled this before from another vendor but can't place it. Maybe TBG Venetian Spa?

Stress Relief

Peppermint and fresh greens, but primarily a soapy clean scent.

Tranquil Oasis

A masculine, aftershave type of scent. Lots of fresh greens and citrus with a heavy aquatic background.

Tarts for a Cause

And finally, tarts for a cause. This special creation was made for a member of the wax community who sadly lost her daughter Nora earlier this year. An awful tragedy and baby Nora's family is certainly in my thoughts during this difficult time.

Comfort Zone Camp is an organization that depends on donations to help children cope with and heal from their grief during such a time. Proceeds from the sale of this tart have been donated in Nora's memory, and a total of $150 was raised. 

Frosted Blueberry Bread
Cream cheese frosted blueberry muffins and zucchini bread (something Nora would have loved to eat)

Sweet blueberries and rich cream are at the heart of this fragrance with a buttery background that leans more pie crust than zucchini bread. It's a delicious scent and positively mouthwatering. 

These were all great samplers and my favorite order from Wonderberry so far. The beach set and Nora's scent are the ones I'd definitely purchase again. I still have more from this restock so part two will be coming soon.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NAVA Bastet's Garden - Part 1

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

I have a few more Nocturne Alchemy scents today, this time from the permanent Bastet's Garden collection. This is a rather large collection of fruit and floral blends that I've been slowly accumulating here and there. Eventually I hope to have most of the scents and will keep adding reviews.

The gold labels come directly from Nocturne Alchemy, the white labels are from Ajevie who has most of the scents available as decant sizes that are ready to ship.

Apricot Kobalt
African apricot, apricot cream, vanilla cream, SL:Kobalt

I just love their apricot note which is unusual for me to say. Usually apricot notes smell peachy and the line between the two is blurred, but their apricot actually smells like apricot and not peach. Anyway, the apricot starts out strong in this blend, juicy and sweet, fresh and not syrupy artificial, with soft green hints. There's a sweet orchid underneath that begins to emerge and the two notes strong arm each other for the dominant role for a while. More fruity one minute and floral the next. Just when I think the orchid is about to win, the apricot pushes it to the background and that is where it remains. The vanilla cream is more of a sugary vanilla cloud that blends beautifully with the orchid, making this a touch sweeter and lighter than Kobalt itself. For most of the wear, this is a sweet apricot and vanilla blend with touches of orchid. 

Blueberry Crystal
Egyptian summer blueberry within the beauty of harmonized vanilla and musk (Nokturne:Crystal)

A deep and robust blueberry opens this blend, true to the fruit and not at all candy-like, that becomes sweeter and lighter in the dry down with the emergence of the vanilla. The vanilla in this one is different than when I wore Crystal by itself, which was a deep, sort of boozy vanilla. This one is more airy and playful. A straightforward blueberry and vanilla scent that I love.

Cairo Rose Santalum
Egyptian white rose from Cairo, NA rose accord, White Santalum (sandalwood) of Cairo, blue sandalwood from the Arabian Sea and soft undertones of Moonstone and white musk

Rose opens this blend for the first few minutes, the deepest shade of crimson with a soft, green freshness. It is quickly replaced by a masculine leaning "blue" note that gives an overall melancholy feel. It's smooth like sandalwood and a little musky, but "blue" is the best way I can describe it. It's a linear scent that didn't morph beyond the first couple minutes and it lasted well into the following day, but this just isn't for me.

Daffodil Empire Musk
Egyptian daffodil essence, philae empire musk flower, Egyptian musk and a drop of crimson musk

Very fresh and spring-like but also clean with a fabric softener type quality to it. The red musk eventually pushes forward and really amps on my skin, adding a sensual element that I'm not too fond of, but this remains more of a clean floral through the dry down. I really like this one but would enjoy it more if the musk was left out of the blend.

Violet Santalum Sweet
Egyptian and French violet, Egyptian jasmine and lilac, sandalwood sugar from a natural occurring sandalwood cask and Santalum Sweet

Lots of florals in the description but violet is the one that stands out most. A little  powdery but with a strong fresh, green note mixed in to temper the sweetness. I notice the jasmine very briefly in the opening but it's pretty subtle and not at all overpowering. As it dries down, this perfume becomes sharper and the green note becomes more pronounced with occasional hints of cucumber that I assume are violet leaf. No sandalwood though, just powdery sweet petals on top of a sharp base of greenery. 

Apricot and Blueberry are the two I will be reaching for and will probably reorder a decant of each at some point. They're sweet, fun, and great for summer. Daffodil would be my next favorite although that musk didn't quite agree with me. I'll try reaching for it again in the spring. Now Violet and Cairo Rose are two that get a pass. I like violet scents to be sweet and this one was really green while Cairo Rose wasn't really rosey at all.

You can find all of these and many more on the website in 2 ml sample sizes and full bottles. 1 ml decants are available through Ajevie. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Epically Epic It's Still Summer

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

I just can't get enough of these lip balms from Epically Epic. She has the most unique and true-to-life flavors of any vendor and the formula is absolute perfection. Of course, I had to add a few other things to this order.

Bluebell Knoll
Delicate bluebells and light, fluffy vanillas 

It's sort of a floral blend, smooth and "blue", but really more of a creamy tropical fruit blend like marshmallow and pineapple.

Blue Moon Ice Cream
The flavor is a mystery - some say it tastes like pineapple, others say marshmallow or Froot Loops. 

Oh this is yummy! A pina colada flavor with lots of tangy pineapple and rum.

Daiquiri Ice
Iced lime and rum sorbet

THE best ice cream ever and she nailed this scent because it smells so realistic. A fresh lime, slightly sweet but mostly tangy and fresh, with a slushy sorbet quality to it. Not a boozy scent though but neither is the ice cream. It's like a lime snow cone rather than an actual daiquiri.

An eight berry blend with raspberry, cherry, strawberry, lingonberry, blackberry, blueberry, acai and huckleberry

A smooth blend of sweet raspberry and hints of tangy cranberry and blueberry. It all comes together to smell similar to raspberry sherbert though.

Pumpkin Bread

Sweet pumpkin puree and soft, warm bread that smells just like an autumn kitchen. It does have the teensiest artificial smell to it but overall it's pretty accurate. This was a free sample and isn't listed on the website yet.

Remarried to the Sea
Grapefruit, lime, coconut, sea salt and seagrass

Hints of fresh lime blended with sweet grass and crisp sea salt. It's a green and clean scent perfect for a morning eye-opener.

Another stellar order from this vendor! I highly recommend hopping over to her shop and checking things out. She's clearing out the website with a quickie sale for 15% sale with the code ECLIPSEBLUES from now until August 21.

NAVA Vanillas

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

I hope you love vanilla perfumes as much as I do because that's what I have for you today. Sweet, gourmand, woodsy, floral, musk...everything you could ask for in a vanilla perfume is all right here under one perfume house, Nocturne Alchemy. They were on hiatus for most of the year while they designed a new user friendly website, but they're back now. A couple decanters were kind enough to provide samples of a large portion of the website offerings and I jumped right in. I have many more samples to review but for now let's start with VANILLA!

Bastet's Ice Cream
Vanilla Crystalline cream, butter accord, caramel accord, French vanilla bean absolute, vanilla milk accord, vanilla orchid, Crystalline absolute and vanilla sugar

One of the most perfect vanilla scents I've tried. It's a rich and creamy vanilla bean that smells exactly like a bowl of melted ice cream. Neither buttery nor floral, sweet but not toothache inducing sweet like some of the others in this post. It does seem sweeter than I remember now that it has aged and that's because the caramel is coming through more. It's great as a stand alone scent but I imagine it will layer nicely as well. This is the one scent that is currently unavailable but it will return later in the year. 

Harvested in Egypt with Egyptian black vanilla pods, flecks extracted and blended  into a beautiful and smooth white musk

It's a little sweet and buttery like French vanilla ice cream but mostly a deep vanilla with hints of booziness. A clean smelling skin musk begins to emerge in the dry down as the vanilla becomes less sweet and more sensual, very similar to French Vanilla down below. It's been a while since I sniffed the sample I have but this is giving me Solstice Scents Cenobite vibes, a scent long discontinued and very hard to find now. Crystal makes a good substitute though and is readily available. 

A thick viscous vanilla that comes on soft and subtle then creates a cacophony of a beautiful cloud of vanilla purity. It is not a food vanilla but a vanilla that makes you feel at peace, tranquil and right with the world. One solid scent of an uplifting vanilla from the stigma of a vanilla orchid especially for this perfume

This starts out very white and sweet, airy like powdered sugar and marshmallow combined, with soft orchid notes underneath. As it dries down it becomes more thick like vanilla ice cream and the floral notes eventually disappear, but that white cloud of sugar still rests on top. It's a flirty daytime scent. 

Ember Vanilla
A haunting vanilla cream with accents of caramel and a sweet kiss of brown sugar, in which we mean, the vanilla is underneath teasing and sweetening the woods of exotic Indian sandalwood, American cedar, California redwood and the haunting decadence of our ICON Egyptian oudh as part of this blend. A log fire with vanilla accented in the smoldering wood

A sharp opening of fresh cedar that quickly softens with the emergence of a golden vanilla and brown sugar blend. The woodsy notes remain front and center but the vanilla begins to take on a deep, almost boozy tone. Occasionally I pick up on a swirl of campfire smoke around the edges, but it's pretty subtle. If you like Solstice Scents Manor, you'd probably enjoy this boozy version.

French Vanilla
French vanilla (slightly sweet and buttery vanilla, slightly toasted coconut due to the coconut barrel we aged this vanilla in, but completely a unique vanilla). French vanilla is blended with our Crystalline to enrapture the subtle elements of vanilla essence

Brown sugar and hints of boozy vanilla extract on a soft woodsy base opens this blend. Similar to Tahitian Vanilla initially, but softer, sweeter and not quite as boozy. As it wears, it becomes less sweet and deepens, combining with a clean musk. For most of the wear it is a clean skin musk with hints of a deep, mildly sweet French vanilla.

Exquisite vanilla accord of Cairo vanilla orchid leaves, pure E/O of a true non-hybrid Egyptian white vanilla grown specifically for NA by our beloved Egyptian alchemist based in Cairo. Blending with only the truest and highest quality of vanillas from around the world. 8 vanilla orchid oils of Cairo, Madagascar, Spain, Reunion and Comoros Islands, West Indies and Kenya

It starts out light and airy like Crystalline, a cloud of powdered sugar, but a heavy floral base of orchid takes over. Sort of violet-like in nature, but with an almost tropical feel. Eventually the sugary notes disappear and this is all orchid. It's an alluring evening scent but light enough to easily be worn during the day.

This was sold out and highly sought after and requested for a return. We found enough vanilla beans to cull the perfume again with the husk, fleck and essence of African white vanilla to bond with a dash of Crystalline

This is another "white" vanilla with a cloud of powdered sugar sweetness resting on top of thick vanilla ice cream and soft orchid accents. The black vanilla is hanging out in the distance, subtle but present enough to make itself known. It's pretty similar to the Crystalline dry down but slightly less sweet and the tiniest bit dirty. Out of the four main vanillas in the catalog (Crystal, Crystalline, Kobalt and Moonstone), this is my least favorite. It's like Moonstone wants to be sweet and demiure but the black vanilla dirties things up a bit. I prefer one or the other, not both at once. 

Pyramid Vanille #1
Kobalt (vanilla orchid of Cairo), Crystalline (Egyptian vanilla/stigma resin), Crystal (black vanilla bean musk) and Moonstone (African white vanilla)

Crystalline and Kobalt jump out right away. A sugary sweet cloud of vanilla resting on top of a heavy hand of orchid. It remains pretty consistent throughout the duration of wear until the very end when Moonstone begins to appear, transforming this scent into a thick white vanilla floral with a slight dirty edge from the blackened vanilla. 

Pyramid Vanille #2
French vanilla, Tahitian vanilla, Ember vanilla and Bastet's Ice Cream vanilla absolute (vanilla Crystalline cream, butter accord, caramel accord, French vanilla bean absolute, vanilla milk accord, vanilla orchid, Crystalline absolute and vanilla sugar)

It starts off as a golden vanilla and brown sugar blend that quickly deepens and becomes a boozy vanilla extract with a soft woodsy base. Like Pyramid #1, it stays fairly consistent for most of the time it's on my skin but towards the end, it settles into a sweet gourmand vanilla once more with a thick base from the ice cream. At this point it reminds me of custard. 

Vanilla essence, mallow root, whispers of sugar and unearthly spooktacular vanilla bean pod. New formulation with Bastet's Ice Cream Accord. It is quite spooktacular

This is the newer version and sadly I don't have the original to compare it to. It's a thick marshmallow floating on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Sweet and sugary but not excessively so nor is it airy. It's a very thick and rich white vanilla that remained consistent from start to finish.

Tahitian Vanilla
Tahitian vanilla bean, Crystalline vanilla and coconut husk essence

It starts out as a deep, boozy vanilla extract with hints of coconut milk and grounded by a soft woodsy base. The booze, wood and coconut fade pretty quickly and this blend becomes sweeter the longer it wears, eventually transforming into an airy, sugary French vanilla cream similar to West Indian Vanilla. 

Vanilla Noir #1
Hungarian black vanilla, a touch of bourbon affixed vanilla and a drop of Crystalline with a touch of aged Graveyard Musk breathing from underneath

This is similar to Crystal initially with a slightly sweet, golden vanilla with deep boozy undertones and a strong musk. However, the musk is very different. Crystal is more of a clear skin musk while Vanilla Noir is a dirtier musk, grey in color. The vanilla disappears quickly as the musk amps and it begins to give off an incense feel. My skin does strange things with this because a cherry almond begins to emerge and takes center stage for the remainder of wear. Like the Jergens lotion with musk and incense that also leaves a medicinal taste in my nose and mouth every time I sniff it. Unfortunately this was a scrubber. 

West Indian Vanilla
Rich aspects of vanilla ice cream essence, an ethereal French vanilla fleck, vanilla buttercream, beautiful on its own or layered with Crystalline, a touch of Kobalt, a little French vanilla pompona schiede and French vanilla fleck

A cream colored cloud of French vanilla sugary goodness. It's one of the sweetest vanillas here. Airy and fluffy like the consistency of cotton candy, but buttery and rich like buttercream frosting. It doesn't morph beyond that aside from becoming sweeter in the dry down, but it's perfect just the way it is. This was my favorite NAVA when I first reviewed it last year and after trying all these different vanillas, it is still my #1.

I don't know about you but I have a serious craving for vanilla ice cream after this! West Indian and Bastet's Ice Cream are my two old favorites that I've reviewed before with an honorable mention to Pyramid #1. New favorites include Kobalt, Spooktacular and Crystalline. Least favorites would be Vanilla Noir, Moonstone and Ember Vanilla in that order. They're all pretty good though and there's something here for every taste.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rosegirls Samplers

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me

Another Rosegirls post for the month and this time it's a set of two samplers that were available for preorder earlier this summer. Each was $24 and weighs a pound. The first is a sampler featuring the house blend Gilligan's Brew, described as a mix of Hawaiian coconut milk and heavy whipping cream.

Alice's Gone Wild
Honeydew, cotton candy, mango and Gilligan's Brew

Summery, fresh mango with a bit of a "green" lean and a touch of honeydew sweetness.

Blue Raspberry Slushie, Lemonade and Gilligan's Brew

Tart and fresh lemonade followed by hints of candy-like blue raspberry sweetness. No coconut.

Coconut Citrus Sorbet and Gilligan's Brew

Fresh orange blended with cream and a nutty coconut. Not a creamsicle scent though. Just pretty, fresh and summery.

Island Breeze
Secret RG blend of tropical fruits, flowers and Gilligan's Brew

A tropical floral blend (hibiscus?) with a fresh, spa-like feel. It smells "blue" and is very calming.

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, Sugar Cookie Dough and Gilligan's Brew

Similar to Wackadoodle Gilligan's Brew down below. This is a buttery and sweet cookie blend with that distinct waffle note from PPW. Not a lot of coconut but it does add an extra creaminess. I don't really enjoy PPW but this blend is great and I ordered it in the latest preorder opening.

Raspberry Coconut Cream Pie

A very tart raspberry, realistic for the most part but there is a slight perfumey quality going on. No coconut on cold sniff though. 

Strawberry Cherry Coconut

This is pretty much all cherry. Tart and candy-like, one of the nicer cherries I've found. No cough medicine or sweet almond notes. There's a little bit of coconut cream pie far in the background but this is pretty much straight cherry.

Wackadoodle Gilligan's Brew

Buttery and crunchy shortbread cookies blended with creamy, nutty coconut. More of a bakery blend though. This is my favorite from the Gilligan sampler and goes straight on the reorder list. 

Favorites from this half are Wackadoodle and Pumpkin Pecan Waffles. I do wish these were more coconut heavy but I ended up enjoying everything here.

The next sampler is fresh and clean. These aren't scents that I usually gravitate towards but have been enjoying these spa type of blends in the evenings.

Dragonfruit Awapuhi and Rainforest Sugarcane (BBW type)

A favorite from this sampler. Summer fruits reminiscent of mango blended with a fresh smelling floral. It's very clean like a shampoo. 

Lavender Bergamot Verbena

Lemony fresh verbena with soft green notes and just the teensiest touch of herbal lavender peeking through. 

Olive You

Sweet red apple and rose from the Lush So White dupe really jumps out but there's a little bit of greenery hanging around the edges. 

Pear and Hawaiian Hibiscus

A sweet and perfumey tropical floral blend. Sort of clean smelling but no pear notes on cold sniff. 

Raspberry Lilacs

Lilac is heavy at first, clean and sort of creamy, but then this delicious tart raspberry jam begins to push forward. This is the second lilac blend I've liked from Rosegirls and it may just be enough to convert this lilac hater. 

Rosemary Mint (Aveda type) and Gilligan's Brew

I'm actually not sure which sampler this belongs in since it can fall into either one, but it's a surprise favorite. Icy peppermint candies and refreshing rosemary fresh from the garden is all smoothed out by a rich coconut cream. Milky but also fresh and spa-like. I'll be on the lookout for this to return. 

Satsuma and White Nectarine & Pink Coral

Grapefruity satsuma, heady plumeria and crunchy nectarine in that order. Tangy and tropical with lots of floral. 

Under the Sea

Crisp and very green like a blend of freshly cut grass and hyacinth, but with a gentle background of blue waves and ozone freshness. I love this one and unfortunately just noticed that it was available in the last chunk preorder. I'll grab it next time though. 

White Tea, Green Tea and Ginger

BBW White Tea and Ginger make this a crisp, eye-opener of a scent with a trace of earthy green tea buried underneath.

Favorites from this round are Rosemary Mint, Under the Sea, and Dragonfruit Awapuhi. Really though, every one of these scents is good and smells strong on cold sniff. Samplers can be iffy but every single scent in this post is something I enjoy.

Jenny hasn't announced a future sampler sale yet but I know I'll order whatever she does next. These are no longer available on the website, but she has tons of Mini Melters for sale that can be used to recreate many of these blemnds.