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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review & Recommendation: 7 Scents from Arcana's Hieronymus Bosch Collection

Well, apparently the full name of the collection is the Hieronymus Bosch's The Seven Deadly Sins and The Four Last Things series, but that's too long for a title. Thanks to the wonderful /u/Saffrin, I got to try 7 scents from this collection! Before I go on to the reviews, I need to get all of you to appreciate how amazing this woman is. This is how she sent the sniffies:

Yup. Name, Year, Brand, Collection, & General Collection/Limited Edition. AND handwritten.

Oh and she also sent me a bag full of Fantales, so I love her forever.

For the uninitiated, Fantales are awesome and Australia's greatest contribution to the world. Koala's are cute and all that, but Fantales are delicious. As far as I know, I can't eat a freaking koala so in my book, they're useless but cute balls of fluff.

They're pretty dumb too. If they weren't so cute, they'd be extinct.

Anyway, enough about my koala tangent and on to the scent reviews. As always, they're done blind until the TL;DRs are written.



"Sloth. Ripened figs, thick vanilla, languid kush smoke, beehive dross, frankincense, bergamot, and citron."

When I first put this on, this scent went nuts, morphing for a fruity tartness that lasted too short to identify to something vaguely cough syrup like, to a minty vanilla –this is all within the first minute. Finally, the scent that settled on my skin is this sweet, icy complex citrus. The icy bit is cool and light, not searingly icy like eucalyptus or tea tree oil, but definitely more icy than mint.

Now this scent is very dependent on my hormones. When I'm on my period, there's the smell of something waxy and something old underneath. It's mild and adds to the rich complexity of the fragrance. The citrus is also less prominent and smells more like vaguely sweet, tart fruits. When I'm not on my period, the smell underneath is waxy and old cardboards and it grosses me out. The waxy old box bit also thankfully disappeared after about 15 min, thought there's still hints of something old and cardboard-ish.

TL;DR: Icy, complex citrus vanilla with hints of old cardboard or icy complex vanilla tart fruits with hints of something old.

Overview: I'm guessing it's the frankincense and kush creating that old cardboard bit.



"Greed. A grabby, voracious mix of blueberries, salal berries, pomegranates, strawberries, and red currants over a base of creamy musk and white amber."

Delicious candied red berries. After about 10 min, there's this clean, yet cozy scent that makes the scent more wearable as a perfume rather than something that belongs strictly on the dessert table. The scent still stays light though! The scent is definitely very young, feminine, sweet, fun, yet elegant.

I somehow get reminded of winter, but maybe it's because it has those red berries scent that a lot of winter/Christmas scents seem to have. It's not a cozy, nostalgic sort of winter/Christmas feeling though. It's more of that giddy, giggly, excited feeling that you only get as a kid or as a grown up spending your first Christmas with a new love. Though maybe it's more fun as a grown up because on top of presents, you get to smugly be all nauseatingly cute and annoying everyone around you. And your family can't ask you why you're still single anymore.

Admit it, doing this in front of that annoying family member who's still single is much more fun than doing this in private.
Gorgeous photography by Olga Ordashevskaya

TL;DR: Giddy, giggly berries.

Overview: On second sniff, I do smell the blueberries. I normally hate blueberries but this goes great! I'm so impressed by Arcana's fruit notes.



"Envy. Green apples and winesap cider with bright Oman olibanum, white amber, pearl musk, and the biggest slice of cake."

This smells like cola with sugarcane juice at first, but after 5 min, it becomes the most fragrant, crisp green apple with champagne, mixed with a sugarcane sweetness. As the scent dries down about 40-50 min in, I get this most comforting warm musky scent at the base that makes me think of being wrapped in a soft, cashmere shawl. It's really the most gorgeous musk. There's just something so satisfying about this's like drinking a fresh, cold apple soda while wrapped in a warm cashmere shawl. It's an odd combination but oddly comforting.

TL;DR: Drinking a fresh, cold apple soda while wrapped in a warm cashmere shawl

Overview: I had to go for a second sniff and now I think I can smell the Arcana yellow cake note, only when blended with the fresh apples and winesap cider, it ends up being that sugarcane sweet bit.



"Pomegranate seeds, dragonsblood resin, black musk, and a smoldering lake of fire."

In the beginning, I got a burst of what seems to be nag champa, but it's gone pretty fast, blending into the scent. The scent settles into a red candy with clean smoke, and old wood you can find in Chinese temples. The red candy part is the same one as what I've sniffed Arcana's Murder Ballad Blues, so I think the two share similar notes. I describe the smoke as a "clean smoke" since it just smells like smoke –not a BBQ sort of smoke or a tobbaco smoke. It just smells like the scent left behind in romanticized smouldering ruins (the kind that's free of dead bodies, burnt plastic, etc.). The old Chinese temple wood is fortunately not so prominent on me, and just sits in the background.

I still feel like I'm eating red candy while walking through an old Chinese temple in winter (when the cold weather doesn't make the smoke unbearably searing), and passing by someone burning organic plant matter in the garden.

The scent left lingering on your skin when the perfume fades is that game-y incense smell NAVA loves using, with traces of red candy.

TL;DR:  Muted smoke, game-y incense & red candy.



"Heaven. An ecstatic blend of fresh tuberose, tiare, blackberry, raspberry, grapefruit, angelic musk, citron, and lavender."

This has that clean, floral-citrus that unfortunately reminds me of a bathroom freshener. Fortunately, it's not the searing sort of citrus that reminds me of air fresheners, but it's definitely one of those bathroom scents that's in the form of an oil that you just leave sitting there. There's a berries scent that blends into this scent to make it smell like a clean, high end oil diffuser in a 5-star hotel, but it's still something I personally associate with room fragrances rather than perfume. I blame the citrus.

Luckily, after about 20-30 min, the citrus part faded and now it's this heavenly soapy, musky tart fruits scent. Tart fruits are often light and sweet, but this one is more warm and heavy. It's like a florid, heavy, powdery sort of tart fruits scent. The powdery bit usually makes me think of old lady powder rooms, but this scent is definitely not old lady. Older, but not old.

While the scent's not for me, I'm still impressed how well they blended a typical fresh, light sort of scent with a heavy, old lady sort of scent and somehow make them work so well together. If you're looking for a fruity scent that smells not too young but aren't ready to go full old lady yet, this is it. It's still fresh, but grounded, with the sort of texture that's similar to soft cashmere. I wonder if this has the same musk as Invidia.

The heavy powderiness is the first to go as this scent dries down, and after an hour, the scent is more of a slightly musky tart fruits sort of scent.  

TL;DR: Powdery, musky tart fruits.



"Lust. Wild, carnal musk with blond tobacco, vanilla, dark resins, and sugared peach."

There's something sweet and delicious, lightly musky in this scent, that I can only describe as angelic.  It's warm, musky enough to be comforting, but light enough that it feels like you're being hugged by a bundle of feathers. The sweetness is complex and fragrant –it's some fleshy fruit I can't really identify since it's so blended into the scent. This smells like getting hugged by an angel while being bathed in the warm, evening light.

You know you want to be here.
Gorgeous photography by Anka Zhuravleva

Unfortunately, underneath it, I got that acrid, bitter, medicinal wood that can be a black tea note gone wrong. I'm kind of sad because this scent is amazing if not for that acrid, medicinal wood part. The acrid bit disappeared after about 5-10 min, but there's still this medicinally bitter wood at the base of this scent. It's like being hugged by an angel while being bathed in the warm, evening light....and knowing that any moment, she can drop you and send you plummeting to your death.

Enjoying a post-homicide smoke.
Gorgeous photography by Anka Zhuravleva

Fortunately, after close to 30 min, the bitterness finally completely disappears, and it becomes this powdery, musky, fleshy fruit scent that reminds me of another Arcana scent –Little Man on the Boat.

TL;DR: Darker version of Little Man on the Boat.

Overview: Here's the notes from Little Man on a Boat:

"Peach nectar and delicate musk dripping with Tupelo honey, Clover honey, and one dainty tuberose petal."

I'm guessing it's the peach & musk combo creating the similarities. I tried both of them together and I find that they're so similar but so different at the same time. Little Man on a Boat (LMOB) starts off as lighter, fresher and sweeter than Luxuria. Luxuria also starts off as a more powdery sort of scent. By 15 min both of them have this same comforting yet seductive fruity musk scent, only with different twists.  LMOB stayed more fresh and clean, and ended up having this twee sort of powderiness that makes you think of cute boudoirs that's most likely very, very pink. Luxuria has that dark, "dirty" and bitter bite to it –it makes you think of darker, more dangerous sort of boudoir where you want and don't want to be seduced at the same time. They're like the opposing sides of the same scent.



"Pride. Opulent vanilla musk and virgin coconut with Mysore sandalwood, neroli, cubeb, and petitgrain."

I got a burst of green when I first put it on, but it then gets enveloped in this cozy, amber-like vanilla note. After about 10 min, I got coconut too, but it's not a dessert sort of coconut. It's rich, creamy coconut oil, and more of a soothing rather than an edible smell. Eventually, the scent settled into the richest, most amazing coconut scent ever. This is the kind of coconut you want to bathe in and slather all over your body. It's buttery, rich and scented with opulent, warm vanilla and woody amber.

It's such a rich, decadent scent. It makes me think of languishing in chaise lounges, while a hoard of servants attend to my every needs. If I didn't know Invidia was sloth, I'd guess this was sloth. It's just an expensive, lavish yet sensual and cozy scent. I love this!

It does get very heavy at times, almost sickeningly so, but somehow it's a nice sort of sickening to me, if that makes any sense at all. It's the feeling of indulging in too much pleasure, but having no regrets despite the hangover/stomach ache/sore bodies.

Totally planning on indulging in gluttony only.
Gorgeous photography by Black ICE Studios

TL;DR: Rich coconut scent for someone who can live their entire life perched on a chaise lounge while getting pampered by a hoard of servants.


  1. I have Hell and Ira from the collection. Reading your review, I can't wait to try both, especially Hell.

    1. I hope you like them! Did you order them from the Arcana eBay?

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