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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Review & Recommendation: Arcana Sunk Lyonesse Collection (7 Scents) + 2 Halloween Scents

Ok, so I finally got my Arcana scents and finally finished reviewing them! For my previous Arcana reviews, which include a discussion of their longevity and sillage, you can click on the Arcana label on the right or here.

For this review, I'm reviewing every scent in the Sunk Lyonesse Collection except for Sabbath Eve. So 7 scents in total. I'm also reviewing 2 additional Halloween scents, Little Ghoulie and Poison Candy.

As of publishing date, most of the scents are still available, but Arcana sells out fast. Some of the scents from those two collections are returns from previous years' collections, so if you missed them this time, they may come back!

If you're looking to buy these scents, there are several places where you can buy Arcana scents:
And if you're interested in getting Arcana decants, definitely check out Ajevie's Circles! I can't recommend Ajevie enough! Her scents are always professionally packaged, her service is amazing, and the items ship fast.


Review Notes

As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: I like it and may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.


Sunk Lyonesse Collection



"White chocolate, pale almond milk, delicate vanilla, cream, and a touch of sheer musk."

At first I got delicious chocolate but soon, this almond cream scent emerges. At first they were like two separate scents, but then they merged into this one, delicious almond cream with chocolate flakes scent. It's definitely Chinese style almond cream dessert, that's usually the most fragrant, rich almond dessert I've ever encountered. It looks like this:

Check out Christine's Recipes for the SUPER EASY recipe!

I've always been on the hunt for a realistic almond cream scent, since almond notes have the tendency to come out as cherry cordial instead (I'm not the only one, Evonne from DC discussed this and talked about how hard it is to get an actual almond scent in her interview). Arcana totally succeeded in getting this to smell like almonds. It's amazing.

The chocolate also smells super realistic, like freshly shaved chocolate flakes.

Almond cream and shaved chocolates may sound simple, but the scent is so realistic, rich and complex, that I'm pretty sure 20+ different notes went into it to get this amazing scent.  I need this in everything!

The almond cream bit fades faster than the chocolate, so after about 30 min, it slowly morphs into a thick and creamy chocolate drink that's still light and not overly heavy. As the scent fades, there's hints of sandalwood lingering on my skin.

TL;DR: Almond cream and freshly shaved chocolate.

Overview: I'm willing to bet there are way more notes than the 5 listed.

Final Verdict: LOVE.


Marble Flowers

"Opulent tuberose petals, neroli, sheer bergamot, white amber, pearl musk, and white cognac absolute."

Ok, marble flowers is an apt name, because that does describe the scent. This is definitely a floral scent, and there's a coolness in it that's not icy at all, and comparing it to a marble sort of coolness is definitely apt. The florals are slightly sharp and makes me think of pink and purple florals, and at the base of this scent, there's this sort of light, lotion-y musk that makes me think of white marble. The light, lotion-y musk is very familiar and is one of those scents I associate with Arcana. I'm trying to place what it is.

After about 10 min, there's a sort of boozy scent that reminds me of Arcana's Frisk. Now it smells like tropical, lotion-y florals. It's a great summer scent, but still very elegant and demure. It's like the scent for elegant socialite moms on vacation. You know those kind of moms –the kind that can still look elegant, poised and perfectly made up while on vacation and running around after her children, instead of sweating and melting under the sun. Basically a woman who can look poised and pretty, even after having a handful of sand thrown at her like this woman:

How are people this gorgeous? If I attempted this, I'd look like I just got my ass kicked by a mob of kids high on sugar. The model's name is Lera but that's it. No further info. So sad I can't stalk her because she's just stunning!
Stunning photography by Kerry Moore

And yes, it makes me think more of a resort pool rather than a beach. Something in this has a scent that reminds me of pool towels for some reason. I really don't know how Arcana does it. There's none of the typical citrus or pineapples, but somehow, they just evoke summer.

The scent is too floral for me, but I can see this being very popular.

TL;DR: Elegant, lotiony summer florals.

Overview: Oh yes...the pearl musk and the cognac note. The cognac note seem to be in every scent that gives me that summer poolside feeling, and the pearl musk seems to be the one responsible for this distinct, Arcana lotion-y musk. I need to look out for them because they're awesome.

Final Verdict: Ok



"Shimmering water, sweet apples, Tiare, rain, pink jasmine, green musk, and wildflowers."

Ok. I'm getting a room spray blue and that cottony musk that makes you think of baby rooms and baby oil. The cottony musk does make the strongly clean, room spray blue more wearable and I can see people liking this, but I'm not a fan of super clean blues in general. It's definitely one of those room sprays with names like, "Morning Rain", or "Blue Lake", or.....ok. I suck at naming room sprays. You get the drift. You know, the kind of room sprays that would have a picture that looks something like this on the can:

Well...maybe something like this, but cheesier looking and less well shot.
Amazing landscape shot by Michael Thien

After about 15-20 min, the room spray bit calmed down and became less sharp. Now it smells like a cool, almost candied blue room spray, with a cottony musk. It definitely got more bearable for me at this point, but unfortunately, the cottony musk bit fades faster on me than the room spray blue. Towards the end, it smells more like walking into a room where someone just went crazy with a "Morning Rain" (yes, I'm rolling with it) type of room spray, and crashing into an elegant young mother who smells of baby oil turned into a delicate, beautiful perfume. Objectively, it's nice enough, but it's not for me.

TL;DR: Blue room spray and cottony musk.

Final Verdict: Destash


The Kraken

"There's a Kraken in the Celtic Sea? Of course! There's a Kraken in every sea. Gorgeous smoked vanilla, black vanilla, saltwater, China musk, and black musk."

Oh this is gorgeous. It's such a familiar scent, but I can't really place it. It's one of those scents you expect to smell in hotel, spa or country club toiletries. There's this lotiony sort of musk that makes you think of light, milky body lotions, a delicate powderiness that's light enough that it won't turn men off, and a really clean scent that makes you think of fluffy, fresh towels.

I'm surprised by how delicate this scent is. From the name of the scent, I'm expecting something more....dark and stormy, I guess? Instead, this is just so light, delicate, dainty and clean. It's the kind of scent that can only be described as pretty. It's the kind of perfume I see on one of those women who are extremely pretty in a dainty, sweet sort of way. The kind of women you instinctively handle with care because they look like they can shatter to bits. If I'm naming this perfume, it'll be something like Seraphim Feathers Lightly Floating In A Super Duper Gentle Breeze Over A Calm And Not So Salty Ocean, or something. Definitely not The Kraken.

Wearing this scent makes me want to wear flowing skirts, talk softly, giggle more (in my mind, it'll be one of those tinkly sort of giggles instead of a cross between a cackle and a squawk). It's the kind of scent I want to wear and also dab on little kids (of both sexes) to make them smell more adorable. Maybe I'll even dab this on my fiancé when he's in one of those emo moods after I force him to share his dessert. I wish Arcana makes bath products too, because I want this scent in my conditioner, body lotions, cuticle balms, EVERYTHING.

It's not an overly "perfumed" scent, and smells more like you've stepped out of the bath after using some high end toiletry. I can see this scent on men, women and children. Well, it's not a unisex scent, but if a dude's wearing it, it just smells like he just finished showering with the free toiletry from the luxury hotel/spa/country club.

It's basically how you expect this scene to smell like:

After about 30-40 min, I'm getting an almost almond like scent. It's more of the powdery "almond" note rather than actual almonds though. Overall, the scent stayed pretty much stable – pretty, dainty and clean.

TL;DR: Pretty, dainty, clean type of scent that you can find in country club/luxury hotel toiletries.

Final Verdict: Love


The Sullen Courts of Sleep

"A tenebrous blend of amber resin, coconut milk, skin musk, and French cognac."

Mmmmm....there's this boozy coconut that I just love! It's the same boozy coconut as in Arcana's Frisk and it's so uniquely Arcana. Coconut notes are hard to do and often descend into the sunblock territory, but this is just delicious, boozy coconut. If you love Frisk, you'll love this. They're actually really, really close together. The difference is that this has a warm, resinous, almost "dusty", wood, while Frisk has a more cool, sweet, tropical twist to it. If Frisk is the summer version of Arcana's boozy coconut scent, Sullen Courts of Sleep is the winter version.

The warm, woody part is also another familiar Arcana note that I just can't place. If I remember it, I'll definitely update this review! This scent is like the product of two great Arcana scents mated together.

Anyway, even though I own Frisk, I definitely need a pair of these scents. They're so similar yet so distinct.

If Frisk is sitting with a coconut cocktail (not piña's way more unique) by the poolside in summer, The Sullen Courts of Sleep is sitting in a wooden alcove in winter, watching the snow while sipping on a warmed coconut cocktail and buried in cushions and a thick blanket. It's beautiful!

Look at those stockings. They hint at the existence of multiple kids in the household. You definitely want booze.
Gorgeous pic by Alexandra Erofeeva

TL;DR: Sitting in a wooden alcove in winter, watching the snow while sipping on a warmed coconut cocktail and buried in cushions and a thick blanket.

Final Verdict: Love



"Sandalwood, caramel, animalic musk, sweet tree roots, and a hint of Cornish violets."

Overall, the scent is this heavy, musky caramel. Underneath, there's this sweet, red boiled candy scent that I like, and there's some wood too. The heavy, musky caramel and wood makes me think of one of soft, luxurious fur coats. It's a scent I see on posh older women.

Ok...after 5 min, the red candy part gets a bit nauseating actually.  Mixed with everything else, it smells like that sickly sweet odour rotting fruits give off. I keep thinking this smells like puke on a fur coat. I love the boiled candy part, I love the woody, musky caramel part...but together, they smell like puke on a fur coat.

After about 20 min, the sweetness gets less pungent and now it smells like jackfruits that have been out in the sun for too long, waxy almonds and musky wood. I'm still not a fan. Hopefully this ages well after a year?

TL;DR: Puke on a fur coat

Overview: That's so weird...I normally like violets. All those notes sound like notes I like, but maybe they just don't go together.

Final Verdict: Age it.


Unearthly Lovely

"Dusty honey, bee pollen, and vanilla bean."

Oh gods. This smells sooooo good. It's definitely vanilla, but there's something else in it making it so unique. There's definitely that coconut sort of creaminess to it, but there's no scent of coconuts in this.   It's just such a soft, fluffy vanilla that makes me think of how I imagined marshmallows would smell like if I've never smelled marshmallows before.

There's a beautiful sweetness that I just love –it makes me think of golden boiled candies. It's one of those sweetness that make you imagine melodic high notes. The scent pretty much stays balanced and steady as I wear it. The vanilla's a cozy sort of vanilla, but the light sweetness pulls it away from being too heavy. It ends up cozy and cool, comforting and light, at the same time.

I smell like I'm sinking into a cool, fluffy bed made out of a giant marshmallow. It's cozy but not heavy, sweet but not too sugary, powdery but in a light, fluffy sort of way, and absolutely delicious. Here's an old but perfect picture for this scent:

Anyone knows the source of this? It's been around for so long and reposted so often, I don't even know who the original photographer is.

Seriously, this scent is awesome.

TL;DR: Sinking into a cool, fluffy bed made out of a giant marshmallow.

Final Verdict: LOVE.


Other Halloween Scents


Poison Candy

"Ripe pink strawberries are tainted with musky ambrette seed, pure cassia, rich cream, cinnamon sugar, honey, copaiba, and wild oat extract."

This scent turned me off in the bottle but I was hoping it'll smell good on my skin. Wrong. In the bottle, there's a rotten sort of sourness to the scent. On me, it smells like rotting tropical fruits. In Indonesia, there's a lot of uncovered street side trash cans, and it smells like walking past the trash can next to a rojak (a kind of Indonesia fruit salad) or fruit juice stall. It even has that boozy, fermented sort of scent.

For my fellow South East Asians in countries where wet markets still exists, you know that scent when you walk past a fruit stall in a wet market and there's always a trash can that must be full of several day's worth of rotting fruits? That scent.

As the scent wears on, it gets more boozy and sweet, and some people may even like it since it smells like boozy, fermented jackfruits. Unfortunately, to me, it ends up being associated with rotting tropical fruits that have been out for so long, they turn boozy.

I tried giving this away for FREE during the LA meet up I had with other people from /r/IndieMakeupAndMore, and guess what? There were no takers. What the hell is this scent? It's like Arcana's taking the name literally and creating something you'd gift to someone you hate but are obliged to buy a gift for. I've given this to someone who likes sweet scents and seem to have the opposite skin chemistry as me, and I'm dying to know her opinion of this scent. If she hates it too, there's no saving it.

It doesn't get better as it dries down too. It just smells like you've gotten puked on and the puke has all dried up.

TL;DR: Rotting tropical fruits.

Overview: I was wondering why the hell I got this scent until I read the notes. Wtf! They sound amazing! Wtf is this??

Final Verdict: DESTASH.


Little Ghoulie

"All the scents of a small, terribly excited newbie to the trick-or-treat scene. Jack o’ Lanterns, ginger cookies, chocolate candy, and a frisson of overwhelming delight."

Oh gods. Chocolate. It's that nutty, dark chocolate scent that's soooo good. It's not one of those protein bar sort of artificial chocolate, it's actual chocolate. It's the less milky type of dark chocolate though –the kind that's over 90% cocoa, tastes bitter and kinda sour like coffee, but supposedly good for your health. After about 5 min, I'm starting to get a soapy spearmint scent mingling with the nutty chocolate. It's nice and icy and just makes me think of drinking hot chocolate in a café that has that slightly soapy spearmint room fragrance.

By about 20-30 min, the soapy spearmint part has morphed into this sweet, clean and slightly soapy fragrance that reminds me of office buildings. This now smells like drinking a heavy hot chocolate in your office, after it just got cleaned.

I first tried this in the US during winter and it was soooo perfect. Now that I'm back in Indonesia where it's hot and humid, the scent is too heavy for me and gets a bit heady. I definitely want a bath melt in this scent, and sniffing this on my pillow while sleeping in an air-conditioned room sounds perfect. Wearing it out though? Too heavy.

TL;DR: Heavy, heady hot chocolate in a newly cleaned office.

Final Verdict: Like

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