Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Arcana Wildcraft: Winter Layering Perfumes

The following scents were gifted from Julia at Arcana. All reviews are my own thoughts.

Julia stocked her eBay store with the most epic Yule and winter releases and buckwildness ensued. I ordered several from her new Yule creations and several from some past Yule scents she scrounged up from around her shop. Those will be featured later in the month. This line of winter layering perfume oils, however, was a gift and I cannot wait to show them to you. These can be worn on their own or paired up with other scents.

Gingerbread- Notes: Luxe golden ginger, gingerbread, warm ginger cookies and delicately piped icing.
In the bottle, a tiny rare crop of wild North American ginger springs up with gnarly roots and the promise of scrumptious zippy spiced baked goods to come from its fibrous flaxen belly. Once pressed into the flesh, that instantly recognizable confection of gingerbread cookies comes to life. These snappy ginger treats tingle the tongue and nose with their fiery tang, their lemony brightness that splinters like shards of sunlight on the palate, yet the pillowy softness of vanilla and cakes assuage some of the heat. As it dries down the cakes disappear (naturally, I mean how long do cakes stay around anyway? Don't they always get gobbled up with gluttonous glee?) and the woody peppery side of ginger takes center stage of the senses. The long drydown reveals a touch of the other spices in the gingerbread, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, the faithful trio of all things baked and delicious. 

I wore this to work the other day and a student came to sit by me and get some help with their assignment and he immediately asked "what smells like gingerbread?" Well son, that would be me. I smell like gingerbread and Merry Christmas. 

Hot Cocoa- Notes: A rich cocoa CO2 infusion melds with finest dark chocolate and a mug full of fluffy white marshmallows.
A satiny dark chocolate truffle holding a treasure of mocha brownie ganache in its womb rises up to tantalize once the lid is unscrewed from the bottle. Valiantly restraining myself from taking a tipple, I battle my hand to move father away from my eager lips and press it down and away toward my wrist. Once the tempting perfume glazes the skin, the boozy and creamy aroma of chocolate liquor and hot cocoa wends its way into memories of past mugs warming small hands and leaving sweetness behind in a frothy arch that straddles the delicious line between the nose and mouth, the tender strip of naked skin where both smell and taste can meet and join and dance together intimately. As it dries, marshmallows rise to bob on the surface of the steaming hot milk chocolate. The vanilla and chocolate are plush and realistic, frothy and whipped. There is nothing artificial or overwrought about this scent. It is pure and simple, the best homemade hot cocoa you could ever crave. I can see it pairing with Gingerbread perfectly.

Trees- Notes: Jammy fir absolute with sugared pine, earthy black spruce, Canadian fir needle and a touch of Atlas cedarwood.
I own quite a few versions of Julia's evergreen perfumes, yet each one manages to smell as different as the rings inside of different trees.  If any of them relay the authentic scent of a Fraser fir Christmas tree in your home, this is it. Sniffing the vial makes my finger tips sticky with sap and palms prickle with the grasp of verdant stubby needles. On the skin, aromatic cedar wafts up like the heart of hope chests and the hearths of quaint cottages. The cedar lifts away to reveal the evergreens lurking beneath. A Yule tree, a Christmas tree, a tree symbolizing the never sleeping beautiful nature brought into the heart of the home. This is exactly how my home smelled when we brought in our North Carolina Fraser fir and set it in a place of reverence to be lavished with baubles and twinkling lights in a rainbow of colors. Decorated with memories and traditions. Tiny hands and wizened hands, maternal hands and innocent hands all lend their work to honor the tree in festive delight. Wearing this scent brings years of that tradition to mind in an instant. 

Fire- Notes: Scorched black tea leaves, with curls wisps of woodsmoke, Arcana's Holy Terror and a splash of hot toddy.
A witch's brew of inky fermented tea leaves and cauldron smoke burbles to the top of the vial to stimulate the nose. The tea leaves and smoke almost suggest nicotine in their intensity, but on the skin this lessens and does not present so strongly. Licking the skin, the perfume's flames hum warmly of ember and blaze and kindle. Minute cinders fly heavenward from the conflagration to join the stars in the sky and from fiery constellations of their own, temporary but just as beautiful. Ruby gold instead of blue silver. The tea and fire simmer together, twining and flickering, one is more evident first then the other.  One burns brighter then in turn goes dim to allow the other to glow. The smoke is thin veil that enhances the flame and turns the fire softly sweet rather than acrid. I think this is the Holy Terror, as I love that scent and can detect just a trace of its smooth incense. As the fire dwindles and the last living coals pulse, the incense of Holy Terror finishes the fire. 

Snow- Notes: Layers of gourmand vanilla are shot through with ice crystals, coconut sugar and a tiny teacup of polar eggnog.
Coconut cream lies atop a bed of vanilla custard, fresh from the vial. Drenched on the skin, thick cool coquito is served up Puerto Rican style. This latin version of eggnog flows with churned coconut cream. The coquito leans more and more to its coconut origins and soon instead of sipping an eggnog like beverage I am sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico drinking from the fresh brown shell of a coconut. But just briefly, ever so briefly. Then once again, vanilla and coconut emerge but with a creamy musk diaphaneity like the first tender flurries of early winter. Snow would be dreamy with Fire, as it would mimic a hot brew of sweet black tea and milk. 

These perfumes are brilliant and will be a joy to layer among each other and with my other perfumes to lend a festive flair. They run $23 each or the whole set can be purchased for $110 at Arcana Wildcraft's eBay store here. 

Do you wear holiday scents? Do you have any layering combos you love? 


  1. Ooh, those all sound divine! I find I'm much more open to scent experimentation during the holiday season - I'll try all sorts of things I wouldn't usually. Even that Tree one sounds superb to me, although you've got me thinking all sorts of delicious thoughts about Snow. Seems like you've been on a bit of a gourmand kick lately with your scents - I highly approve (not that you need it!)

    1. Yes! I am open to more bakery and foodie scents at Christmastime. Right now I smell like a coffeehouse in the woods? Yeah. But I love it. Gourmand all winter long! I need to start melting some more bakery scents too. All my yummy vanilla spiced bakery goodness from VCS. Are you sporting your Snowmint Mallow?