Picking it up fresh for the new year. I *just* put on my perfume for the next several hours, so I'll update with greater detail later, but here we go~
The following scents are all from Arcana Wildcraft or Arcana Craves or just Arcana Soaps, which is what she called the company before deciding to split the themes. I'll include the notes for all of these since they won't be easily searchable on the forum. It's worth noting that they close on the regular to catch up on orders & stock, so ordering from them can be a little difficult at times, but please trust me when I say it's easier now than it used to be when they were available at a number of etailers at random times, and more straightforward than when it was an ebay-based business. 😂
January 1: Scàiltìn -- A festive Gaelic beverage which was first introduced hundreds of years ago. Fresh milk and silky cream are heated and gently whipped with confectionary sugar, warmly spiced honey, Réunion Island vanilla beans, sweet tonka, Irish wh!skey, grated nutmeg, and a bit of butter. -- This is new and currently available in the Winter collection. In the bottle, it's quite boozy & the whiskey is very prominent. Once on the skin, it's a creamy sweet bliss. The honey is definitely present, as is the nutmeg and the vanilla-y/hay-like tonka. ....I'm strongly tempted to look up a recipe for this, holy cats. I love milk punch and hot cocktails, and this sounds like (and if it's anything like the perfume, smells like) something I would love to drink. As it dries, it becomes a sweet honeyed milk and the spices and whiskey completely drop away. I don't always get along with Julia's milk notes, but here, it's lovely. This is overall a very cozy and friendly scent for me, and I'm glad I picked up a full bottle of it. It has almost no throw, though it may develop more of one as it ages, it's quite new, but it's still going strong at six and a half hours later. (the ! in the notes is present on the AW website; I copy-pasted the description directly, in case you were wondering. XD)
January 2: Rapunzel -- Imprisonment, innocence and ceaseless faith. Damascus rose and rose geranium are delicately stroked with vanilla, milk, sugar and a hint of soft white flowers. -- This one is one of my oldest Arcana bottles, from ~2008, and has been discontinued for around a decade. It's mostly a very lovely rose and rose geranium, lightly sweetened and a touch milky, but only a touch. It was beautiful fresh and is still beautiful aged and wears like a dream of flowing dresses, tall towers, and impossibly long hair. I have a second bottle from 2011 as well, one of the last ones she had available. It makes me think of milk baths with rose petals and Waterhouse paintings of girls with pale skin and rosy cheeks. It doesn't have a large throw, though I can smell it from a few inches away, so it's definitely got some, and it lasts for a few hours at strength then tapers off until it's gone ~hour 6 or so. (As an aside, I had a beverage the other night that was mostly rose geranium & black currant leaves and it was like drinking very delicious perfume because I'm so used to smelling that as a perfume note. I enjoyed it quite a bit.)
January 3: Wolfling -- An innocently feral opening of sweet marzipan and wild cherry leads to a heart of warm cardamom, sugared vanilla beans, soft wolfing fur, Cashmeran, and gentle gourmand musk. -- Another newer one, originally a GWP, but went live as part of the 2021 Halloween collection later. This smells much stronger of cherry in the bottle than it does at any point on my skin, mostly it's like the first two notes disappear completely in favor of cardamon, vanilla, furry musk, and a particular odd note that I know is the cashmeran but also smells a bit like amber and play-doh (this may partly be the cherry/almond attempting to stage a comeback without really standing out). It's pretty good, but I find it reminds me a lot of a very old perfume from a very long-defunct company, Good Judy, Kemonomimi. The notes for that are: Vanilla bean, rum, chocolate covered cherries, black figs, amber, cardamom, coriander, so perhaps you can see how they might feel a bit similar. Wolfling is muskier and Kemonomimi is a bit sweeter with a pretty decent chocolate note, but the vanilla bean, cherry, cardamom, and amber combo brings them to similar places on my skin, at least until the late drydown of Wolfling, where the Cashmeran and cardamom are all that's left. It's got pretty good lasting power and an interestingly variable throw depending on how warm my skin is. I feel like I might wear this more as a layering perfume with something much sweeter, maybe Scàltìn, or something with a nice sandalwood note if I wanted it to lean that way. Possibly a fir or pine note would be nice, as well. Hm.
January 4: Honey Craves Moonlit Paths -- All the scents of night-hiking in a deciduous forest with only the moon to light your way. Beeswax absolute, forest floor, damp, decaying leaves, fragrant mosses, wild honey, sleeping trees, and a whiff of feral fur. -- This was originally released a while back, I'm not entirely sure how long since I haven't tracked Craves as well as I have her Wildcraft line, but it came to me this year. I swapped for a sample and loved it, so when Craves reopened, I jumped on it. For me, this is heavy on the beeswax, which for Arcana is a very dense, sticky note that has a fairly massive throw and lingers. It's made one scent unwearable for me (Alhambra, the pomegranate/patchouli/rosemary/beeswax combo remains one of the worst things I've ever put on my skin, and the beeswax made it cling) and made a few absolute hits. This one's definitely my favorite of those. It's mostly beeswax and tree notes, though I'm not sure if it's the same as her Trees layering note or her Forest Floor layering note. Maybe it's both. Either way, it's a little damp, a little dirty, and entirely gorgeous. I don't get any honey at all, just wax. It doesn't smell so much like hiking to me, more like the way that a sleepaway camp cabin being used for larping does, with beeswax candles lit instead of electric lights. Brings back some memories from my late teens/early twenties. Lasts forever, throws like a monster, but mostly wax. (This one is, unfortunately, in her discontinued list, which probably means that there's a component she can't currently source. Things have been known to be resurrected before, however.)
January 5: Her Faefolk -- The scent of the elves, fairies, nisser, and other supernatural beings who accompany The Great Herd. A soft bed of young green clover is sparked with bright raspberries, sugared coconut husks, and fuzzy peach skin. -- Another Winter 2021 release, purchased at the same time as Scàltìn. This is mostly sweet, soft peach with a bit of tart raspberry and a tiny bit of coconut on me. The clover is present in the bottle sniff, but doesn't really do much on my skin. It's a nice, pleasantly fruity little scent, but I would be lying if I said that at this point in the aging process it really felt evocative of the inspiration for me. However. Julia's scents often age into much greater depth and presence, so I'm keeping this around in hopes that it develops further in time. Currently it sticks extremely close to the skin and is completely gone after about four hours.
January 6: Eleanor of Aquitaine -- The scent of vivacity, beauty, royalty, wisdom, and an absolute, unfaltering strength. Precious attar of roses, rare chandan wood, cinnamon leaf, cream accord, aged vetiver, and a hint of thorny green stems hidden under fragrant velvet petals. -- (Chandan appears to be another name for sandalwood) Another very old bottle, from 2011, and predictably long discontinued. This is one of my very favorite woods-and-rose scents that I own, and has been for a long time. It's very regal, rich, and deep, with a strong vetiver presence and very big, very dark, red rose notes assisted by the sandalwood and cinnamon. I've never actually gotten any cream from this, but it's probably there keeping the sharper notes in check. Interestingly, there's a similarity to a few BPAL scents with a thorn accord that I hadn't really noticed before, but I really took note of that one last year, so it stands out a bit more to me now. It lasts forever and has an extremely strong throw and I love it and will treasure this bottle as long as it lasts. : )
January 7: Blue Amber layering note -- Fresh white amber, crystal blue aquatic notes, sea air, and a bit of Egyptian blue chamomile. -- I'd contemplated this one on the site for a while, then a decanter whose circle I joined had this on their sale list, so I bought it. : ) The oil itself is blue, as is the case with most (all?) oils containing blue chamomile (or blue tansy, since apparently 'true' blue chamomile is German chamomile, and blue tansy is also known as Moroccan chamomile -- I swear to all the gods I don't believe in that the peculiarities of naming of essences, extracts, oils, and derivatives of various plants is one of the most fun and also incredibly annoying things about this hobby! There's always another ten sites/books/articles to look at, and half of them disagree with each other or are some variation of, yeah, they're almost the same, but actually derived from different plants in the same species, or the only difference is how they're processed. ANYWAY.) The strongest note is white amber, but there's a distinctive hay-like note (chamomile) and mostly in the throw, a hint of salt and ozone. It's very fresh, almost laundry-like, and the white amber is interestingly unsweet. I'm kind of torn on whether I really like it or not, but I am tempted to use it for layering sometime, if I can think of anything that needs a hint of ...this. Hm. Throw is powerful, lasts for ~four-five hours then completely vanishes without any fade. Overall: odd duck.
Jan 8: Got my booster yesterday evening and could barely move all day. 😢
Jan 9: Still feeling bad, and my sense of smell is weirdly heightened? ...Idk, I'm just really uncomfortable right now.
Feeling a little better today, so on with it. : )
January 10: Glittering Milk -- Sweet, chilled milk with our Glittering White (an opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). -- This is another new one from the 2021 Winter collection, and will probably be available once she reopens. I have and have enjoyed other scents in the Glittering Collection, but this one's not really my jam. The milk is a bit sour and it ends up not really adding much to the base scent, imo. It does give me a very particular scent memory, of some gluten-free cookies one of my former coworkers made and the extremely weird but oddly tasty icing that, one year, they added a bit of mint extract to. ...Yeah, it really reminds me of those cookies. I'm glad I went for a sample size of this one instead of a full bottle, but I'm also very glad I tried it. No throw in particular, doesn't last that long, but will probably increase in strength over time.
January 11: Glittering Lavender -- Smooth, sweet, buttery French lavender absolute with our Glittering White (an opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). -- I have a few of the Glittering blends. I bought this one last year, but it was resurrected for this year as well. It's very mellow, the lavender is very soft and mild. Maybe a little too mild; after about fifteen minutes, all I can smell is the Glittering base and the barest hint of a lavender bud in the distance. This one is fine, I like it a bit more than Milk, and after a year of aging it has a bit of throw and lasts quite a while, but I'm not super-duper in love with it.
January 12: Glittering Ginger -- Ginger cookies, gingerbread, and fresh gingerroot are blended with our Glittering White (an opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). -- Another new one. It's got a lovely sharp and spicy ginger bite at first, but it doesn't last terribly long. I'm hoping that with a bit of age the ginger will deepen up and get some longevity, because otherwise, it's just a bottle of Glittering White with some top notes. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and I do really enjoy the ginger as well as the base, but in buying multiple bottles of scents with a similar base, you do generally hope they feel more distinct. Fairly low throw & longevity in general, but it's only a few weeks old at this point.
January 13: Glittering Green -- The scent of eating mint-laced white chocolates in a huge old growth forest. Jammy fir balsam, a bit of black spruce, and our Glittering White (an opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). -- I bought this last year as well, and it's also back again. This is my favorite of all the Glittering scents I have, the evergreen notes plus the sweeter notes is *chef's kiss* just gorgeous and both aspects stay balanced through the entire wearlength, which is about average, maybe 4-6 hours.
January 14: Glittering Cherry -- Candied maraschino cherries with our Glittering White (an opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). -- Second-to-last one, and probably my least favorite. I'm not averse to cherry perfumes, but I really prefer it to be darker, fruitier cherry, not the sticky candied maraschino note in this perfume. It reminds me a bit of chapstick or cough syrup, that kind of shiny red "cherry" note. Fortunately (?) the cherry doesn't last very long, and then it's just Glittering White for the next while. It's still pretty fresh and compared to some of my slightly older iterations, has little throw or longevity. This was a sample-sized GWP from the 2021 Winter release, though it may appear in a future update. I wouldn't have bought it on its own.
January 15: Glittering Pink -- A sugary sweet melange of pink pistachio candy, pink peppermint ice cream, pink musk, and our Glittering White (an opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). -- Last one! I got this in a swap earlier this year, a decant in a small jar-style vial. I think it was on offer last year, but did not return for this year. The pink notes here really complement the base, the mint is stronger than in any of the other iterations I have, and the candy is very nougat-y on my skin. If it weren't for the doll-like pink musk, this would be extremely edible, but the musk pushes it past that almost into the realm of scented toys. Okay, maybe actually into it. 😂 It's giving me flashbacks to a peppermint-scented My Little Pony I had as a kid. Like Green, the balance stays pretty true through most of the wear time. Unlike any of the others, it fades into the pink notes instead of the base, which is a neat trick. I like this pretty well, but it's not actually that fantastic on my skin, since it leans just a bit towards the plastic.
Whew, halfway through the month already? How is this possible?
January 16: Cherry Blossom single/layering note -- Julia was running special request LNs last spring, and I picked this up then. She's since stopped doing them, and this isn't a note that shows up with great frequency in her catalogue, but I love it. BPAL's cherry blossom is very dry and clean on me, often leaning towards the dryer sheets side of the scent spectrum. This one is a little bit as well, but much damper and with a stronger cherry aspect. It's pinker in tone as well, and is the second most accurate to being in the PNW in March/April and standing in a grove of slightly damp sakura trees. The first one that made me !!!!! 🌸!!! when I sniffed it was Olympic Orchids Sakura. I've done hanami with friends for most of the last couple of decades and it just nailed it. This is very close, but a little heavier and more perfume-like, while Sakura is lighter. It has that pale and ethereal yet slightly fleshy aspect of the petals themselves. IDK if you've ever had anything made with sakura blossoms before, particularly pickled ones, but that's the sort of thing this reminds me of. Fairly low throw unless I really pour it on, low longevity, which I'd somewhat expect with nothing to tether it down -- it drifts off gracefully after maybe an hour or two.
January 17: Pushpadhanva -- Our tribute to Pushpadhanva, Kamadeva, Manmatha, Ragavrinta: god of love, stalk of passion, shooter of arrows, churner of hearts. Scented with sweet, sharp ginger, mango juice, black tea, baked crumpets and a hint of milk. -- Another very, very old one, I bought this in 2008 and it was originally part of a Valentine's release. It's still very lovely, fruity and cake-like. Well. Not exactly, it actually does smell more like crumpets than cake, but even more than that -- there's a crumpet shop near where I worked for a long time and they make a scone that is more cake-like than the standard coffeeshop scone. It's baked in a round and not quite sweet and that, almost exactly, is what that note reminds me of. If I put ginger-mango jam on that scone and a little clotted cream and drank their house blend tea, that would perfectly represent this perfume. I have no particular connection to the specific inspiration, but it does feel like a really good midwinter perfume, a little golden brightness in the darker months. It's got a bit of throw, but impressive longevity. I can still smell it on me after work if I put it on in the morning. (I also bought this as a soap and loved it. ❤️ Good stuff.)
January 18: Twirling the Pearl -- Rich, golden honey, marshmallow, lavender milk, soft musk, and a tiny hint of green galbanum. -- An older one, but one that's come back a few times. This was originally a Valentine's scent. I have both a very aged decant and a newer full (2 years-ish) bottle of it. There's more than a hint of galbanum here, that's the note that dominates on my skin for the first few minutes. It settles down to a background hum after that, but it never fully goes away. I love that note, so this is great for me. The honey is probably the next loudest note, followed by the lavender. The musk, marshmallow, and milk aspects mostly serve to settle it into a soft slightly-more-than-skin scent after it dries without being especially distinct. It's really nice, just on the lightly honeyed green side of my-skin-but-better for me. Throw varies a lot over the life of the scent, but ends up pretty mild after drydown, but that drydown lasts and lasts.
January 19: White Bear -- Bourbon vanilla ice cream, coconut husks, coconut creme, and foraged wild blackberries. -- This came to me secondhand last year, but it looks like it was originally released in 2017. It's ...fine. I persist in having difficulty with blackberry notes, no matter how much I want them to work. But the blackberry here adds a very necessary tartness to an otherwise very sweet perfume. It's very creamy and I can't help but think it might be boosted a bit by adding a little sandalwood or possibly furry musk, because I don't usually think 'ice cream shop' when I think 'white bear' or even of the fairy tale that it was inspired by (East of the Sun, West of the Moon), so I may find a light scent with one of those aspects to try layering with it. Oddly, despite being full of coconut notes, it doesn't read as that coconutty on my skin. It's definitely present, but not forward. It reminds me a bit of ice cream made with coconut milk -- if you know you're eating coconut milk ice cream, even if it's chocolate or whatever, you can kind of tell, but if you didn't know, you might not think to say oh, yes, this tastes like coconut. This is vanilla-blackberry ice cream, and if I sniff very deeply and think coconut thoughts, I can tell there's some coconut in there as well. This is a lot of words for a perfume that is just okay on me. No throw, moderate longevity. As an aside, this came to me with a reducer cap. I don't know if it originally came with one, but none of my other Arcana scents have ever had them. I hate them and have a weird feeling (with zero evidence) that they may alter scents a little, so ngl, if this ever gets re-released, I'd probably buy a fresh one direct. Just, you know, to see. 😂 I love my perfume superstitions. 😂
January 20: Peaches Crave Haint -- The gossamer sweetness of delicate white peaches with Arcana Wildcraft's Haint (white musk, vanilla musk, Madagascar vanilla, sugarcane, and a faint trail of white pepper). -- This has been around a while, but I picked it up during the most recent Craves opening. I like this more than regular Haint, tbqh. The original scent is very lovely, but adding peach to it gives it a lot more interest for me and again, a bit of fruity tartness that I really enjoy. The peach lingers through the entire weartime, which considering how strong the musks and pepper are. It's a deceptively light scent at first, but the longer it's on my skin, the brighter and more intense it smells. Throw goes from meh to whoa over the course of about an hour, then tapers off again over the next hour or so, but the scent remains present for several hours. I really like this one.
January 21: Snow Witch: Familiar -- The scent of a witch and her animal companions snuggling on a quiet, snow-muffled day. Cafe au lait, vanilla-infused cheesecake, a soft woolen blanket, and warm fur. -- I picked this up last winter and, honestly, I'm still pretty lukewarm on it. It's primarily a milky coffee scent with a hint of tang from the cheesecake note. There's a bit of furriness that comes out after it dries, but it remains mostly milky coffee. Which, I mean, it's nice, but it's not very interesting on my skin, and I like the idea of it more than I like the actual fragrance. Light but persistent throw, moderate longevity. My cat thinks it's interesting but stinky, in that she'll come up and sniff my hands when I wear it and then wince away with that 'eww!!' face that she normally reserves for citrus and mint. 😂
January 22: Dia de los Muertos -- Though Spanish conquistadores tried to put the kibosh on this Aztec ritual for the dead, the holiday not only endured but retained its flamingly pagan core. Celebrate, honor, and even laugh at death with our fusion of spices, honey, tobacco and dark chocolate. -- Another ancient bottle, though this scent has come back a few times since I bought it in '08. It is one of those scents that does exactly and precisely what it says it does on the tin. It is a spicy, chocolatey honey-with-tobacco scent. The spices are mostly cinnamon and maybe a little clove. There might be a tiny bit of nutmeg as well. It's so smoothly blended it almost feels like a layering note, but it's so huffable and delicious that I don't mind the relative simplicity. Medium throw that I can sort of taste in the back of my throat, very good longevity, 7+ hours.
January 23: Tart -- Sweet lemon cakes, fluffy coconut frosting, and a dash of bergamot. -- I picked this up, if I recall correctly, winter/valentines of 2020 because I'd just gotten a lotion from another company that was lemon and coconut and was obsessed with it, and this had recently gotten a re-release and I wanted it. At first it was wayyyyy too lemony, but in the time since, it's mellowed a lot and become something I really enjoy. The bergamot threatens to go a little soapy for a few moments, but it never really materializes or gains any strength and that aspect eventually dissipates. It's not overly strong and doesn't have a lot of throw, but it lingers and smells like an amazing dessert, if you like lemony desserts. I enjoy this one a lot, and cheerfully layer it with the lotion, which I have since repurchased.
January 24: Egyptian Musk single/layering note -- An exotic, sensual, honeyed, smooth Egyptian musk. -- I got this as part of a decant circle many years ago, but it's still available, or will be whenever Craves reopens. It's one of my favorite musks, very smooth and deep without being at all overpowering or too, er, musky, as it were. It resembles a skin musk and sits very close to the skin, but isn't quite a my-skin-but-better-scent on me. It doesn't smell of honey at all, if you're worried about that; I don't think that's a component, or if it is, it's not the usual Arcana honey note, but it is sweeter than many musks are. It's just a gorgeous pure musk. 10/10, would buy again once this very low partial runs out. When I see Egyptian musk as a note in another perfume, I will always give it a second look, unless it also has several notes I absolutely know I hate.