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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review & Recommendation: 11 Arcana Yule 2014 Scents

I got decants of 10 Arcana Yule 2013 scents from Ajevie! I bought a full bottle of a Rhinestone housewife exclusive, McNaughty Nog, and I'll be reviewing that as well.  

If you haven't given Ajevie's decants a try, please do! It's a great way to try out a bunch of scents and her customer service is impeccable. All these scents are still available for sale from The Rhinestone Housewife,  or from the Arcana eBay account.

I know I rave about her a LOT, but Jeanine of Rhinestone Housewife is one of my favourite distributors ever. Her customer service is always amazing and she always adds in free samples! This was what I got from my order:

I love handwritten notes!

The wax tart is from Two Timing Tart and the scent is Innocence and here's the scent description:

"The very concept of innocence as a thing that you can lose is an adult idea. Sugar, spice and everything nice, with a decidedly adult bent: brown sugar, nutmeg, and an anise chaser."

It smells like an edible, slightly woody vanilla-ish scent that just hits your stomach in a good way. I unfortunately don't have a wax burner, so I didn't try melting it. I passed it on to /u/Stone_Conquerer instead. Btw, I met up with her IRL and she's awesome!

Anyway, back to Arcana! For my previous reviews of Arcana scents, which include a discussion of their longevity and sillage, you can click on the Arcana label on the right or here. As usual, reviews are done blind until the TL;DR's written. If anything surprises me, I write an overview.


Come to Krampus 

"Blackest musk, charred vanilla beans, kush, thick opium, and oudh." 

It's that usual cottony scent only this is a bit higher and sharper, making this scent more grown up rather than baby-ish. There's a woody scent in this too, and hints of a waxed dried grass sort of scent. The woody bit got a bit more prominent as the scent wears on, and the smell starts reminding me of an Indonesian massage oil. I can see this scent smelling very exotic and unique for non-Indonesians, but as an Indonesian, it just smells like I've just finished taking a massage.

TL;DR: Indonesian massage oil.



"Perfect vanilla, frozen honey, white chocolate, oudh, skin musk, and one drop of patchouli."

Chocolate and vanilla with perfumed wood. The perfumed wood bit has a thin and high quality to it. Like if it were a music note, it'll be a high note. High enough to hit the spot but not piercing to me. Even though it's a gourmand, it somehow smells clean as well. It's a great scent for someone who wants to smell edible, but not to the point where you smell like ants are crawling all over you.

TL;DR: Velvety vanilla chocolate with perfumed wood.



"Sugar cookies with frosted tuberose petals, white tiare, gardenia, star jasmine, skin musk, ivory musk, and pink sugar."

Initially I got a perfumed tutti frutti gum but this scent rallied and turned awesome. I got clean, white florals with a green woodiness and a hint of tartness. I think I got a whiff of jasmines but I'm not sure. The scent is really clean, elegant, yet with a deadly seductiveness. It's the scent of a woman who looks like an untouchable, elegant, pristine beauty who could only be admired from afar, then one smouldering glance from her lets you know that she's definitely commanding you to do more than touching. And there's no way you can resist.

If I'm perfectly honest, the perfect photo to capture this scent will definitely be NSFW. However, my parents read my blog, so I'm going to go with this more SFW pic:

Some girls just rock that smouldering look. I usually just look like I'm holding in a fart.
Gorgeous shot by Frederic Noyon. His gallery is VERY NSFW so click with caution.

TL;DR: An elegant seductress. 

Overview: I think the sugar cookies may be going sour on me. I tend to identify gardenias as clean florals with green woodiness, so if you like gardenias, they're prominent in this scent. 


Krampus Nog

"Eggnog with vodka, rum, sweet cream, nutmeg, and wicked amber."

Eggnog. With extra booze. And hints of buttered caramel popcorn.

After about 20 min, the buttered caramel popcorn smells more like caramelized nuts and it balances with the extra boozy eggnog scent to create a scent that just makes you want to curl up with a good book while cocooned in a fluffy comforter. It's that feeling when you're warm and tipsy, and the world feels so comfortable.

TL;DR: Caramelized nuts and eggnog with extra booze. 

Overview: I'm actually not sure how they make this scent smell so very boozy. I'm really impressed. 



"Old leather, infernal smoke, vintage patchouli, cubeb, ho wood, a drop of fir oil, and a touch of brisk Alpine night air."

There's sour old leather and blue notes.  The leather is the rather heavy, heady leather that can be too heavy for some people. I actually like the blue bit, it's a woody, icy blue that smells very icy when I sniff close to my skin but closer to deep, still blue water when I catch whiffs of it from afar. Unfortunately, I really don't like the old & sour bit in this. It makes me think of an old library with leather chairs and old wood but the scents are overwhelmingly prominent, so it kinda reminds me of the times I got carsick as a kid, because the strong leather smell from my dad's car was making me nauseous.

TL;DR: Sour, heavy old leather and wood with icy blue notes.

Overview: I had to check out what cubebs are and apparently it's a pepper. According to Wikipedia:

The odor of cubebs is described as agreeable and aromatic and the taste as pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent. It has been described as tasting like allspice, or like a cross between allspice and black pepper.

I'm guessing that's what was going sour on me.


Lebkuchen Krampus

"Blood red musk flows through intense gingerbread, chai spices, cardamom, white pepper, incense, and sweet clove."

This kinda smells like a warm, slightly herbal ginger milk with sweet incense. The incense is more of those red, woody and slightly game-y smelling ones.

This is the closest picture I can find.
Image courtesy of

Calling it a warm scent will be an understatement, it's definitely a hot scent which I can see as being comforting in cold weather. It's most certainly not a warm weather sort of scent.

I actually like everything about this scent except for the game-y incense smell. It's not as bad as NAVA's incense, which smells like buffalo milk and bush meat, but there's hints of that game-y smells and it's enough to turn me off. Everything else smells so good though!

TL;DR: Slightly herbal ginger milk with sweet incense. 


McNaughty Nog 

"Eggnog, Arcana's beloved yellow cake note, rum, fresh milk, nutmeg, and a drizzle of toasty caramel."

This is a very, very sweet caramel vanilla with hints of eggnog and milk. If you like Possets' Gelato: Vaniglia, this is similar in that warm, sweet vanilla sort of way. The difference is that while Gelato: Vaniglia has an almost raisin-like sweetness and has a strong cinnamon scent, this has a caramel-like sweetness and a boozy eggnog and milk scent. The milk isn't one of those artificial "milk" sort of scents. It smells like actual milk or coffee creamers. The milk bit starts of subtle at first, but after about 10 min, it's definitely prominent.

This is a very warm scent and definitely perfect for winter.

TL;DR: Sweet caramel vanilla with boozy eggnog & milk.



"For the long, dark nights. Vanilla oleoresin, pure sandalwood, benzoin, balsam of Peru, 10 year aged labdanum absolute, cassia, Omani frankincense, and white cognac oil."

What am I smelling??? It smells like something from my childhood and not the good kind. It's a musty, old and medicinal smell. I think I must have smelled it either as some kind of Chinese old man salve, in a musty warehouse or store selling traditional Chinese prayer papers, as some kind of traditional Chinese medicine my grandmother once made me drink (this is definitely a cloying syrup instead of the dried, powdery ones), or a combination of all 3 at once. I'm leaning towards a combination of all 3.

A faux retro filter still can't capture how old these stores smell.
Image courtesy of Buckeroomama

Oh and this scent is strong. Very strong. I can still smell it over a thick coat.

The dry down is a more sour dry, incense-ish wood with some cloying berry tartness, mixed with old parchment. It's not as bad as it was before, and it's kinda nice in the old crypt/haunted library sort of way. My friend says it smells like being in a church with church incense burning, and brings back fond memories for her (she says she won't wear it as a perfume though). I guess this is one of those scents that you love or hate, depending on your cultural background. If you've had fond memories of church incense, you probably would like it. Unfortunately, you have to endure about 2h of strong, old, musty bitterness.

TL;DR: Old dude wearing Chinese old man salve in a musty warehouse selling Chinese prayer papers, chugging some traditional Chinese medicinal syrup.

Overview: Yup. All those ingredients can be found in that scenario.



Ribbons & Teddy Bears

"Remnants of French vanilla and pistachio ice creams, apricot jam, sugared peach, melty chocolate, sticky candy canes, orange peels, and sweet coconut."

Colourful Christmas candies!

Imagine this x10.
Image courtesy of

The gourmet, handcrafted kind that doesn't smell highly artificial or toothache inducing. There's vanilla peppermint & slightly fizzy passionfruit! I feel like a kid entering my first fancy candy store! There's a blend of all sorts of candy from the sweet & fruity to the heavy & creamy, but they somehow blend together to make a delicious scent that just makes you smile.  

TL;DR: Entering a gourmet candy store as a kid.


Schnaps Mit Krampus  

"A boozy, rummy blend of apple, tangerine, and pear schnaps over woodsmoke, labdanum, and a hint of Arcana's Growl blend."

This scent went crazy on me. There's a mix of tart fruits that goes room spray-ish on me, as well as a very warm, heavy creamy foodie scent –like a very oily, buttery vanilla sort of scent. The oily, buttery foodie scent is the kind that I find cloyingly heavy, and the searing room spray sort of tart fruit mix is also another headache inducing scent for me. The mixture is just too much for me. After 20 min, it's mostly the searing tart, fruity room spray.  

TL;DR: Cloying, oily gourmand with fruity room spray.

Overview: I had to check out what Arcana's Growl blend is and here are the notes:

"Caramel, chandan, tiger maple, burnt vanilla, smoky musk, and vetiver."

Chandan is apparently sandalwood. Yup. I can see a combination of that going really wrong on some skin chemistries. I'm pretty sure that was the scent that went cloying and oily gourmand on me, and the rest made up the room spray.


Winter Wolves

"The scent of the Great Forest itself: a silent blanket of snow, fir needle, juniper, black spruce, cold white violets, and a small howl of peppermint."

This is an icy green scent that normally will smell like your typical winter room scent, but it has a sweetness in it that makes it a bit more wearable. The sweetness in it is more of a peppermint candy sort of sweetness and there's a slight tartness to it . After about 20 min, there's an actual grassy sort of scent to this.

It makes me think of how you'd expect this scent to smell like:

Cool, grassy, pepperminty...and the sweet part comes from you. Oh snap! /copyrights cheesy pick up line
Amazing photography by Paparwin Tanupatarachai

TL;DR: Icy green winter room scent with peppermint candy and crushed grass.

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