Friday, November 13, 2015

Moonalisa Hallows - Scent Reviews

Disclaimer - all products were purchased by me.

It didn't take long for me to fall down the Moonalisa rabbit hole after receiving my first order last year. The hype and anticipation of a restock was easy to get sucked into, and once I had my order in hand I was already looking forward to placing another order...which I inevitably did. Again and again. Soooo since I've acquired quite a few Moona scents over the past year I figured this would be a good chance to review a bunch of her scents in one place. My stash has gotten a bit large so I'll do a series of posts instead of one massive post.  I'll do some product reviews down the road but for now I'll focus on scents.

Beautiful label artwork 

In no particular order -

Swirly Pop - Halloween is complete with this delightful treat of sweet orange essential oil, caramel, vanilla and spun sugar! The orange dominates this scent with hints of caramel and sugar peeking through. This isn't a creamsicle scent though; the orange is pretty realistic. It's mostly tangy with a bit of sweetness added in but altogether it just smells like a fresh cut orange.

Salted Honey Caramel - a salty mouth watering confection of caramel and vanilla and warm honey! A warm, creamy type of scent with a bit of sweetness. I'm mostly getting the salted caramel with a little vanilla, not too much honey though. The salty element really helps balance this scent so it isn't too sugary sweet. It's nice but not what I was expecting. Overall it's a warm bakery type of scent and not as sweet as I was expecting.

Wicked Apple - a buttery toffee apple scent with a wicked blend of amber. My personal favorite from this collection. A realistic gooey caramel apple scent with a hint of amber to add a little depth. Normally I'm wary of amber but this one was done just right. Not too heavy or dark, it adds a little something extra to keep this scent from being too sweet. It's still a sweet scent but the amber helps ground it a bit.

Hay Ride - harvest hay, bonfires and dried leaves mix with amber, smoky sandalwood and musk. In the distance you are anxious to get back to the circle with the promise of roasted marshmallows and other seasonal sugary treats! I'm mostly getting the sandalwood and dried leaves with a hint of the bonfire. No sugary sweet notes, just a dry and crisp atmospheric type of scent. I'm pretty sure I've smelled this scent before from other indie sellers which is fine with me...I adore this scent and already ordered more because I can't imagine autumn without it.

Late Harvest - ripe juicy apples, fresh cut lavender EO, wild oak and a hint of the last harvest bonfire. Red apples, herbal lavender and oak. No smoky bonfire note that I can detect. The lavender is dominant here with the apples trailing behind and the oak present in the background. I love oak scents so this one is a winner. And super strong in the hair conditioner. I can still smell it after 24 hours.

Faustine - ...sweet fruits such as plums, blood oranges and cherries doused with raw sugar and a huge dollop of freshly made vanilla and tonka bean cream, spiced cardamom and cloves. I'm not sure about this one. I was expecting a creamy fruit scent but instead I smell celery.  Yes, celery. I was convinced for the longest time that this was mislabeled but after reading some reviews and seeing words like "celery" and "cough syrup" used to describe Faustine, I guess it's not mislabeled after all. So yeah, celery.

Dance of the Dead - lingering sweet decay of fresh and dead roses, embalming resins like labdanum absolute and others, and the unmistakable faint aroma of smoke from the crematorium. OK, I'm going to have a hard time with this one. I'm not familiar with labdanum so I can't comment on that note and I don't smell any rose or smoke. This has a bit of a sharp aroma though. Now that I think about it, maybe its the dead roses I'm smelling? It's one of a kind in my collection so I don't have anything to compare it to.

Chocolate Butter Rum Beignet - dark rich premium chocolate covers a deep fried beignet soaked in buttery rum sauce. Mostly chocolate with a smooth bakery note and a touch of rum. This one isn't as boozy as The Gilded Bat, which is heavy on the Irish whiskey. Chocolate butter rum beignet is dominant on the chocolate with the rum peeking out on occasion. And the chocolate is pretty nice...not too sweet, not too bitter, very authentic. I'm not big on chocolate scents but this one is a winner.

Bonfire Redux 2014 - ...a smoky fiery brew, with faint hints of fields of sweet hay and a slight aroma of harvest picked fruits and mulled wine. The scent is a bit light so hopefully it will become stronger as it cures but all I'm getting here is fruit and wine. No smokiness at all which is what I was expecting from a scent called Bonfire. It's a nice scent and I'll have to try it in other products but it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

Durga -...gingery, buttery, spicy brown sugar and a hint of grounding earthy patchouli and neroli. Smells like the MOST delicious Halloween cookies baking and a breath of autumn graveyard air. There's an abundance of spices in this along with a small hint of earthiness which I imagine is the patchouli. That note is extremely light so even if you don't care for patchouli you still may enjoy this. The spice reminds me  of clove and maybe ginger. I don't smell any brown sugar or cookies or anything remotely bakery...just strong spices and a little earthiness.

Marzipan Corn Cakes - sweet creamy corn sugar which is a really rich and sweet creamy scent, and blends beautifully with these oils. Don't let the word corn scare you. The description is pretty accurate...warm, sweet and creamy although I do smell a bit of spice. I'm not sure what corn sugar is but I don't smell corn in here, just a sweet almond-y marzipan.

Smoked Apple - I don't see a description for this one but it smells pretty straightforward. Like wood smoke and apples. The sweet apple is dominant with the wood smoke weaving in and out. This scent was really light when I first received it but after a little cure time it's a little stronger. Moona is known for her chocolate blends but I'm surprised I haven't seen more talk about her apple blends. So far they're all great and I have two more on the way which I'm sure I'll love.

The Gilded Bat - flasks of Irish whiskey are gayly infused with drops of sweet amber resin layered between soft worn leather.    Followed by ephemeral tendrils of smoke from golden coal and glowing firewood embers. Grounded by intoxicating sensual agar wood, dipped into dark mysterious chocolate liquor, on crushed remnants of cocoa beans. Finished off with rich, natural and eternal sandalwood with the tiniest touch of notes in earthly reminders of patchouli and Peruvian clove. Whew! What a description! Individual notes I can detect are the whiskey and chocolate with hints of leather and amber. Overall this one smells like boozy chocolate which I don't think I've seen before in the indie perfume world. This is a great unisex scent (although it leans a bit masculine to my nose).

The Evil Garden - the peaches, apples, plums and pears that are guarded by ferocious bears. Too bad the nurse has disappeared, but in her place has revered, gorgeous flowers that have a smell, which causes one to feel unwell (but you won't). I'm smelling a mixture of grape and pineapple, maybe a little floral in the background but I can't tell what it is. I'm reminded of a grape-pineapple scent that another vendor makes which is strange because neither of those notes are listed. Either way it's a nice fruity sweet scent and I really like it! I can see this working well for summer.

The Blue Aspic - woods of birch, sandalwood and cedar blended with bits of autumn's golden hay and tobacco, soaked in aged tropical rum. On a bed of a warm vanilla orchid accord and balsamic amber. Topping off with spices of nutmeg, cinnamon and brightened with accents of crystalized gingered citrus rinds. A complex woodsy scent that leans a little masculine. The sandalwood is the first thing that jumps out at me, followed by a touch of cedar and amber. The gingered citrus is detectable while the rum weaves in and out. There's an interesting contrast between the fresh gingered citrus and the deeper amber and woods. I swear I smell different notes each time I sniff this. I wasn't sure I would like this based off the description but the risk paid off.

Funnel Cakes You to Hell! - grip tightly your carnival ride seat before this salty sweet confection blend of salted caramels and vanilla bean with funnel cake takes you to Hell and back! It's been a long time since I've had funnel cake but I don't remember it smelling like this. I get salty dough with an emphasis on salty. I'm struggling to smell any sweetness from the vanilla and caramel notes listed in the description.

Harvest cake - a traditional harvest care of Vermont made with Vermont maple syrup, butter, raisins, walnuts, almonds, apples, apricots, carrots, cranberries, and currants all soaked in a delicious boozy brandy. I have no idea what a harvest cake smells like but this smells like straight up carrot cake with the most delicious cream cheese frosting. I'm getting whiffs of buttery maple syrup but no fruits or brandy, just a moist carrot cake with mounds of gooey frosting. This is a definite repurchase and honestly I'm tempted to lick my arm while wearing this scent.

No Witches on a Crackling Fire - a berry rich type of smoldering wood, if you try to smell the distinctive notes separate you smell berry and woods, but it blends all together and comes in to me as a very realistic outdoor camping fire with that kind of sweet wet smolder in the damp morning woods. I'm mostly smelling sweet berries in the bottle but once applied to the skin the wood smoke comes on strong. The smoky note in here is quite literal and it smells just like burning wood with a touch of sweetness from the fruit. I'm not sure how Moona managed to capture the smell of a campfire but she hit the nail on the head with this.

The Rumpkin - delicious pumpkin goodies with a twist of fresh sweet lavender essential oil. This was an unexpected love! At first I smelled sweet lavender but once this cured the lavender doesn't stand out anymore. Instead this is now a bright and uplifting foody scent that smells good enough to eat. It's not overly warm or bakery smelling and the pumpkin smells a bit spices that I can pick up on.

Starlight Woods - take a walk under the dark night sky with cool air and twinkling starlight. A woody smoky soft amber with wafts of incense. This is a scent I received as a free sample from the ready to ship sale and I'm glad it was included because I never would've given this one a second thought. Woodsy scents just aren't something I gravitate to but now I'm hoping it will be available in the near future because this one is great. I only smell the woodsy note in here... no amber, smoke or incense. There's a bit of coldness in here that gives a slight cooling sensation in my nose. This is a great unisex scent that will be a nice change from all the foody/fruity scents that I normally wear. Highly recommended!

And because I only picked up two scents that were offered in last year's Yule release I'll review them here instead of making a separate post.

Cranberry Marshmallow Fluff - I can't find a description but it seems pretty straightforward. Tart cranberries with a touch of marshmallow sweetness. Overall it has an almost effervescent quality to it. I'll be picking up more of this when it's offered again.

Tangerine Coconut Crunch aka Christmas Coconut - vanilla bean infused coconut with tangerine EO. An unusual offering for a Yule collection but it sounded good so I grabbed it up. I mostly get tangerine with a hint of coconut. The vanilla bean isn't detectable to my nose but it helps soften the tangy tangerine. However this isn't a creamsicle scent. It reminds me of a slightly less sweeter version of Swirly Pop. I'll be reaching for this in the summer.

I'll be reviewing the scents I ordered for the second Moonalisa Halloween/autumn collection as soon as it arrives in a few weeks. Overall I really enjoyed this collection and my top picks  are Wicked Apple, The Rumpkin, Halloween Hay Ride, Harvest Cake and Starlight Woods. Moona is only open for a few days every couple months and items sell out fast so the best way to keep up with upcoming releases is to follow her on Facebook.

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