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Monday, December 1, 2014

Review & Recommendation: 12 Scents from Arcana

Continuing my Arcana reviews, here's Part 2 of the review of Arcana's Fall/Halloween scents. You can find Part 1 here.

For this review, I'm reviewing 5 Halloween scents and 7 Pumpkins Crave scents. You can purchase these from The Rhinestone Housewife, or from the Arcana eBay account. The Arcana eBay account is having a $1 off sale on these scents, and The Rhinestone Housewife is having an even bigger sale. With the coupon code YULE2014  you'll get 20% off all orders between $10.01-50.00, 30% off all orders $50.01-100.00 and a 40% off all orders above $100.01.

As usual, they're done blind until the TL;DR's written. If anything in the notes surprise me, I write an overview.


Pumpkins Crave...



"Sugar pumpkin with maple, nutmeg, and smoky bacon accord."

Oh wow..this is so delicious. It smells like a filling maple syrup drizzled bacon. The bacon bit is not that oily bacon smell, so I'm happy about that. It smells like one of those extremely dry, baked bacon that has most of it's oils dripped out.
Kinda like this, but with even less oil.
Image courtesy of
Basically a dieter's bacon, but I guess I'm lucky because that's the only type of bacon I can stomach. 

I'm so hungry now. I hate bacon but this is definitely something I'm craving. 

TL;DR: Maple syrup drizzled dry bacon.



"Super roasted coffee bean EO, vanilla milk, pumpkin, and rum with shots of blackberry and black raspberry syrup."

There's either sugared plums in this or a caramel note that goes sugared plums on me. It's mostly sugared plums and a watery coffee scent. Pretty sure it's meant to be coffee with caramel, but now it smells like a café with a delicious winter-themed candle burning. The candle is the kind that smells like tart, winter-themed fruits (sugared plums, lingonberries, cranberries, etc. muddled together to create a vaguely tart, fruity scent), pumpkins & fall spices.

I was searching for Christmas themed photos and found this picture. If anyone knows who the photographer is, let me know. I tried searching for the photographer because I thought the picture's so creative, but only found various reblogs on tumblr & We Heart It. Mini rant, I HATE We Heart It. It's a website that just steals photos without ever crediting the photographers.

TL;DR: Café with a winter berries candle burning.

Overview: I suck at identifying berries.



"Spiced calabaza and beeswax candles, acacia honey, buckwheat honey, and mead."

Spiced pumpkin and honey. The honey bit is a very wearable type of fragrant (almost perfumed) honey that almost has a raisin sweetness to it. This is one of my favourite honey notes ever, it's a sophisticated type of honey perfume. My description really doesn't do it justice, it's a scent that makes you want to curl up in bed feeling like you've just finished off a giant pumpkin pie, while still feeling so sophisticated...which is something that never happens after I finish pigging out. This is a scent I'm getting a full size in.

TL;DR: Spiced pumpkin & sophisticated honey.



"Gilded amber, black amber, 10 year old labdanum absolute, black tea, and boozy golden gourd."

There's definitely wood resins in this, and it's the sharp, stinging type you get from fresh planks of wood. The pumpkin bit is a bit of a savoury sort of pumpkin too. I ended up being a bit confused by this smell –it's like having a savoury pumpkin purée while shaving wood. I keep expecting to accidentally eat sawdust.

While searching for pictures of sawdust, I actually found a picture of Sawdust Pie. Luckily, this one is made of coconut shavings.
The recipe is by Mother Rabbit Says and you can find it on her blog here.

The wood resin bit mellowed out after about 15 min, but it's still there. The resulting scent is like perfumed pumpkin purée. As in someone spilling oud-based perfume on pumpkin purée, not a perfume scented like pumpkin purée.

TL;DR: Perfumed pumpkin purée.



"Our Holy Terror(burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles) blend with glowing pumpkin and a small dash of pie spices."

This smells like a really delicious pumpkin pie. There's something that smells like sandalwood, but it could also be a very dry cinnamon note. As it dries down, it becomes that dry, woody potpourri scent with hints of pumpkin pie.

You know the wooden smell you'll always get at the end of the day. No matter what the initial potpourri scent is, you'll always end up with that particular woody scent as if there's some potpourri conspiracy to make every home smell like that cursed woody smell.
Image found on

While I hate the dry down, the initial scent was so delicious, I'm getting this in full size.

TL;DR: Extremely delicious pumpkin pie, turning into woody potpourri.

Overview: I've noticed frankincense and myrrh tend to smell like woody potpourri. I wonder if it's because a lot of woody potpourri are created to smell like frankincense & myrrh. 



"Rum-laced caramel, cane sugar, pumpkin custard, and delicate, vanilla-infused marshmallows."

Slightly soured pumpkin pie. The sour bit could be vanilla or caramel going wrong on me. Luckily it disappeared after about 15 min leaving me with this delicious coffee & pumpkin pie scent. This scent will make you so hungry.

TL;DR: Coffee & pumpkin pie.

Overview: I think the rum & caramel going wrong on me is creating that coffee scent.



"Purple violets, lemongrass, Oregon lavender, coconut milk, and gently spiced pumpkin flesh."

There's that candied violets scent that's like Choward's violet candy. Unfortunately, it's paired with a soggy pumpkin scent. 

TL;DR: Choward's violet candy with soggy pumpkin.



"Black amber, black musk, labdanum resin, incense, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa absolute, and woodsmoke snaking through old trees."

There's that game-y incense note again, as well as a suede-like, chocolatey musk. There's something sweet and nice in this that I keep wishing would come out more but noooo. The game-y incense is the strongest. 

TL;DR: Game-y incense with suede-like, chocolatey musk.



"Ripe pomegranate and black cherry with hints of ginger, vanilla, and cardamom."

This smells like a cherry fruit roll up for the first 5 min but luckily, that artificial cherry scent calmed down. It starts smelling like one of those gourmet cherry sort of teas that are a tad woody and very powdery. It's the kind of very girly tea that'll be served in a café that looks like this:

Basically a girly overload that only girls below age 12 and women above age 40 seem to like.
Photography by photography blog is awesome!

This definitely gets very powdery pink. It's not a girlish scent, but rather a more mature scent that's going for girly. The scent ends up making me think of a woman in her late 30s or mid-40s who's clinging on to her youth by adopting an affected girlishness. 

TL;DR: Dolores Umbridge.



"Black opium, green musk, rain, sea water, petitgrain, and gloomy grapefruit."

Fresh, watery scent with the bitterness of orchards. It's a sweet, blue floral, and it's a sort of scent I imagine smart, charming women who are doctors or dentists would wear. It's elegant, clean and almost clinical, and is feminine enough to soften the clinical bit without being girly. Definitely a very work appropriate scent.

It's really sad that when I searched for "doctor" non-stock photo images are mostly male doctors or sexualized female doctors.
Photography by Andrea Da-Ryte

Unfortunately, my skin starts making this too sweet after about 30 min. Otherwise, I'd totally consider this in full size.

TL;DR: Clean & clinical yet feminine & elegant.



"Beautiful, horrifying Medusa could turn anyone to stone with a glance. Hot cinnamon and spiced lime with dirty musk and sugar."

Creamy cinnamon and fizzy lime soda. If you're confused imagining how that smells like, don't worry, my nose is confused too. The fizziness is the first to go and is pretty much gone by 20-25 min, but it's still creamy cinnamon with a sharp lime. My nose is still confused.

TL;DR: Creamy cinnamon and fizzy lime.



"Rich amber resin, whiskey, tobacco, coconut meat, and white musk."

Oh wow. The coconut in this is an actual creamy coconut. The coconut comes with a chocolatey musk scent. The scent makes me think of drinking a coconut cocktail in one of those lounges that look like an old school library. It smells so good and makes you just want to sink into a leather couch and fall asleep right there.

As it dries down, the scent starts smelling like Body Shop's coconut body butter that I used to use right before I go to sleep (because it's too sticky for me to comfortably move around after I apply it).

I used to love Body Shop...before I discovered L'Occitane & Crabtree & Evelyn. Then I discovered Haus of Gloi and stopped loving them too.
Image courtesy of US Magazine

That scent is so associated with going to bed in my mind, that this scent is making me sleepy.

TL;DR: Coconut cocktail in a lounge turning into Body Shop's coconut body butter.

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