Saturday, February 22, 2014

Arcana Valentines 2014

A couple of weeks ago, Julia from Arcana Soaps made a short-term offer on Twitter for her followers - pay for shipping and she would send some samples from the new Valentine's Day collection The Beast. Since Arcana doesn't do retail samples for limited edition collections (that I know of) and I am too lazy to bother with decants, I jumped at the chance to try some. I expected maybe two, which I would have been jazzed with, but instead I received five, plus one from the regular catalogue. All for $6US postage. SCORE.

All of these have medium to highish sillage and they last for hours and hours. I could still smell them the following morning on my wrist before I'd had a shower. 

Simbi d'l'Eau
A Loa with the unpredictability and immense power of the oceans, he is pleased by offerings of water and green ribbons. A fresh, aquatic mix of tart raspberry, rainwater, green musk, clematis, osmanthus, tiare blossoms, and ambergris. Part of the New Orleans Trio, from the February 2014 Collection. 

In the vial this smells like a green aquatic - not my cup of tea but I'm always happy to try new things. Unfortunately it turned to soap on my skin immediately. Not unpleasant, but just... well, soap. I'll be passing this one on to someone else to have crack at. 

Lusty Victorian ladies who foolishly admitted to liking sex wound up with this diagnosis. Eating too much chocolate, reading too many books, and wearing enticing perfumes were all among the causative factors. (Which explains a lot, no?) An indulgent blend of smoked frankincense, golden amber, warmly spiced vodka, thick myrrh, ruby guava, black tea, tobacco leaf, and pink pepper.

This is a deep, smokey, slightly feminine scent but definitely leans unisex. It's quite potent, and there is a spiciness to it that is most likely the pepper. The smell of tea is prominent in the vial but I didn't pick it up on my skin - it was all frankincense and amber and that smokey tobacco on me. I liked it a lot but I don't think I'd get a full bottle as it's not one I'd wear all that often.  

Little Man In The Boat
Serving no procreative purpose, the clitoris exists only for pleasure. Definitive proof that we were designed for bliss? Of course! Peach nectar and delicate musk dripping with Tupelo honey, Clover honey, and one dainty tuberose petal.
All I can say is that this does definitely conjure up the aroma of... well... It is what it says it is. It's a musky peach scent with a slight sweetness from the honey. Not my thing because I really don't much like peach, but I imagine loads of people would love this one.   

Maman Brigitte
The bawdy, fun-loving queen of death, Maman Brigitte guards the cemetery, protects prostitutes, gets down on the dance floor, and curses like a Somali sailor. Black amber, cherry-infused red musk, animalic musk, cocoa absolute, white amber, clove bud, tobacco, and the smallest sprig of graveyard mint. Part of the New Orleans Trio, from the February 2014 Collection. 
One of my favourites, and definitely a full bottle purchase. In the vial it smells like bitter chocolate and tobacco, but it mellows on the skin to a deep smokey, musky amber. It's not for the faint-hearted, but it's bloody gorgeous. Every now and then I think I can catch that mint, but it's so fleeting I don't know if I've just convinced myself it's there. LOVE. 

It exists between ecstasy and quietude. The soft euphoria of white amber, vanilla bean, vanilla milk, Malbec grapes, Arcana's own Lust blend, cognac absolute, and a drop of cool peppermint.

Another on the full bottle list for me. A warm, milky vanilla (not that sickly milk, though it does teeter a bit when first applied), the grapes and the cognac are more prominent in the vial than on the skin for me. I do wish they came out a bit more because I love the notes in the vial. The peppermint is there but it's not 'minty' as such. It adds a sort of snowy note, just to keep it from being a full on warm vanilla. Gorgeous. 

The Darling Buds
The fresh essence of the darling buds of May. Baby cucumber, strawberry, petitgrain, grapefruit, pomegranate, basil and a splash of pink rosewater.
This is a strong fruity, slightly spicy scent that I can appreciate aesthetically as a blend, but that doesn't do a lot for me on a personal level. I'm just not a fan of fruit. The basil really amped on me a lot - I guess that was the spicy element. I do love the smell of basil, but more so in the kitchen than on my wrist. It's fun, but not me. 

Arcana limited editions stay around for ages, and you can easily find decant circles for them on indie perfume forums. They don't have an online store, but sell through other etailers such as The Rhinestone Housewife and The Soap Box Co, both of whom ship internationally and have excellent customer service (beware Rhinestone Housewife's shipping though - it's the $25 flat pack kind for international, which is bearable if you're buying a lot but not worth it if you just want a bottle or two). 

Overall, I love Arcana perfumes - they are fantastic quality and last for ages. And Julia is a gem. 


  1. Thank's for the reviews! That was so nice of her offering free samples to her followers. Now I wish I was on twitter too!
    Afterglow sounds amazing, at first I thought I could pass it because I have a lot of vanilla mint perfumes but now after your review I think I may end up with a bottle!

  2. Missing your presence on twitter Dee, did you get my email (it was just a lame attempt to say hi and I'm missing you).

    Afterglow and Little man in the boat sound gorgeous :)

  3. FYI, I'm totally happy to ship cheap internationally, just send an email and I'll make up a custom invoice for shipping or Paypal....I'm always happy to do it. ;-)

    ~The Rhinestone Housewife