Friday, March 23, 2018

Arcana Wildcraft: Spring Collection

These perfumes were sent by Julia as a gift. All thoughts on the scents are my own.

Julia at Arcana Wildcraft has released her Spring Collection and many of the perfumes are based upon the "Crazy Jane" poems by William Butler Yeats. Arcana Wildcraft used to sell their items directly via the Arcana Wildcraft eBay store, but Julia has recently changed her business model and will now be selling her perfume oils at stockists such as Nui Cobalt Designs, Sihaya and Company, Femme Fatale and Pretty Indulgent. There has been a small price increase to $26 per bottle. These changes do not bother me whatsoever, and I will still be buying and growing my Arcana collection as I see fit. Heck. I already did. I picked up Tammany Hall from Sihaya and Company this past weekend. 

The grass my bed- Notes: Red rose petals, green grass, spring rain, and a bed of  soft Scots pine needles.

Wounded rose petals fallen onto tender blue blades of grass, plucked and torn by a delicate hand. Bleeding their scent. This is the aroma that lifts from the bottle, pliant and lush and a touch melancholy. Pressed into the skin, the wild rose and sweet grass emerge dew dropped, the fragrant offerings unfolding from Mother Earth's verdant hands. A pure rosebud, fresh and clean as the first inhale at sunrise, it never feels powdery or peppery and not candied at all. The grass weaves the perfect nest for the rose, creating a lovely soft spring scent. Just slightly watery at the edges. As it dries, the rose fades as its youth escapes, the grass mellows and the merest hint of woods lingers. The offering accepted and pressed into the pages of the heart. 

Her coal-black hair- Notes: Blackened oudh, dry sandalwood, a drop of orris and a faint memory of violet perfume. 

Smoky dark oudh, feathered and black like a charcoal sketch, is shadowed with the soft purple hue of aged violets. Smudged. Bruised. Tender as the skin under gleaming eyes. Painted on the wrist, tiny wild violets bloom in a dark hollow of the forest. Their leonine faces are carefully herded into a woven basket and made into a tincture for the glossy blue-black tresses of the hand who gathered them. Fanned across the muslin pillow in her humble cottage, the black vines of her hair fragrant the room with violet water and smoke from the hearth fire, inky as the hollow in a tree. As her eyes drift shut (oh those jet eyes that gleam), the delicate violets fade and the effluvia of smoldering embers, dried wood and tarry night steal in. I have never had a dark violet. This is an exquisite scent I am thrilled to have in my collection.

Cursing the Bishop- Notes: An ominous mix of dragonsblood, black pepper, crimson amber, Tahitian vanilla, brown sugar, bewitched parchment paper, and tiny hints of vetiver and kush.

A brief inhale of the elixir within the glass amber bottle reveals a musty and earthy wintergreen aroma that possesses a subtle dark sweetness. It smells of the breath that offers curses and kisses under the same moon. Anointed onto the skin, the earthy dank vetiver grass smells secretive and salacious. There is a saltiness to it, of skin and musk, but still that touch of wintergreen persists to my nose. Wintergreen obviously is not present in this perfume but the effect remains in my perception, at least for a brief moment. As the scent sinks further into the skin and shifts through its phases, the earthiness wanes and sweet amber melded with dragon's blood incense waxes full. Even more time passes and the vanilla melts off the amber and leaves a beautiful ambered sandalwood in its wake. I will be the first to admit that wintergreen conjures up some strange memories of the past that I don't always enjoy (and yes, there is no wintergreen there but the nose sniffs what the nose sniffs) but the brown sugar and amber infused dragon's blood resin at the heart and the woodsy base of this scent is worth experiencing. I will happily be slathering this on and Cursing the Bishop all the while for the invention of wintergreen Skoal. 

Side note. Just for fun I asked my daughter what she smelled from the bottle and she spun a yarn about sitting around a campfire and eating hotdogs and dessert. I am excited to read other reviews about this perfume because I have a feeling it is a real changeling and will give everyone a run for their money. I love it.

Love is like the lion's tooth- Notes: A bright mix of young honeysuckle blossoms, intense ginger, golden musk and sweet figs. 

How does Julia craft a scent that appears intensely sunny and innocent but leaves a subtle foreshadowing at the edges? Sniffing from the bottle is much like the urge to gaze at the brilliant sun as a thin veil of clouds temporarily mutes it... the brilliance beckons to be witnessed but there is risk involved. Bright can be dangerous. Dangerously beautiful. Lemony tart ginger and the barest heady whiff of honeysuckle dazzle the senses, but behind the golden duo lurks the sultry stickiness of suggestive figs and their womb-like shape. Ripe. Full of sweetness. This same scent briefly makes its appearance on the wrist, then in the blink of an eye the lemon hearted honeysuckle cascades off the skin like a waterfall of scent, the balmy breath of a Floridian summer night. An exhale of humid honeysuckle, at first indolic and creamy and redolent of jasmine but then more mellow with citrus nectar, stimulates the senses like the first flush of love. As the scent ages on the flesh, the ginger's heat adds spice to the honeysuckle's nectar and ripe maroon figs add depth. Much like love, what started as lighthearted shifts into a deeper intimacy and then you are in the mouth of the lion before you realize it. This fragrance is hypnotizing. A beautifully crafted honeysuckle that is perfect for spring and summer. It will bloom in the heat. 

Wild Jack for a lover- Notes: Whiskey, red ale, woodsmoke, worn alder wood and dry, manly musk.

Jack is indeed wild. That man. That man. He is drinking and rambling and the rolling stone that gathers no moss. He enjoys his whisky warm from the flask by the campfire while his horse nickers behind him in the woods. Is this Josey Wales at the fire? His craggy jaw and capable form are silhouetted in the flames, silhouetted in the fumes that rise from the bottle. Amber whiskey, arid woods and musk. Branded onto the wrist, the silhouette morphs into a ghost of peat smoke that is soon imbued with the yeasty sweetness of whiskey that was aged in birch caskets. Wild Jack's kiss tastes of grains and woods, firewater and rebellion. Risk and rye. Sin and spirits. The whiskey is never cloying or overwhelming, but blended smoothly and tempered with oak and birch, woods and musky leather. Gauzy woodsmoke lingers in his beard, his only familiar and constant in his labyrinthine life. Wild Jack smells dead sexy and I am just as content to be called Wild Julie when I wear it.

Eye under eyelids did so gleam- Notes: Lacrima water, ivory tuberose, gardenia, Tiare flowers, blushing narcissus, sea salt and dulse.

Tropical flowers, intoxicating and awash in the scents of the sea, ebb and flow, opening and closing their blossoms under the influence of the seasons like the anemones in a reef. These undulating flowers sway from the lip of the bottle ever so tantalizing under my nose. Washed onto the flesh the perfume froths with a sea foam composed of white florals. Tuberose and gardenias with their thick white petals dripping honeyed beeswax and cream, dripping tears of milk and nectar and their own unique golden perfume fall and float in the eddies of warm tropical waters that lap at the shore. The saline pools on the shore of a fluttering crescent of eye, thickly lashed with coal black shadows. My how those pools did gleam. The dulse, which is a variety of seaweed, lends just a subtle salty greenness to the flowers so their headiness doesn't overflow in exceeding abundance. The base is fragrant with the salty green dulse and perhaps a nod to oakmoss and driftwood. A beautifully rendered white floral fragrance that wears effortlessly, much like plucked flowers adorned in the hair. Natural beauty. 

Vanilla Craves Sugar Cookies- Notes: Warm sugar cookies infused with three gourmand vanillas and a hint of vanilla musk.

The aroma wafting out the vial is mouth watering. Chewy vanilla laden sugar cookies and sweetened condensed milk. Drizzled onto the wrists, the thick sticky dulcet tones of sweetened condensed milk remain. Please don't misinterpret me. This is not a colorless canned scent of milk and sugar. This fragrance swells with nuances of caramel and sugared vanilla, sweet cream and vanilla beans. As the scent mixes and combines and folds into the skin, a whiff more of the cookie aroma arises, but just a whiff of that chewy rich sugar cookie. This is a delectable vanilla scent that falls more into the gourmand territory with its belly full of  caramel and cream and warm thickness.

Strawberries Crave Ice Cream- Notes: Pink strawberries crushed with Mexican vanilla beans and blended into vegan accords of fresh milk, sugar and cream.

A sniff of the perfume in the bottle does remind me of the fresh strawberry milkshakes that my husband, girls and I love to buy at Parksdale Farms while strawberry season is in full swing. Deep red berries suspended in dark pink ice cream that is heavy with cream and sugar and milky wholesomeness. Dabbed onto the skin, the image of heart shaped strawberries swells to fill my senses, the plump ripeness, jammy and bright. The berries are sliced and piled in a small ceramic bowl then drenched in sugared milk. As it settles in its sweetness the milky hues drift on and the strawberries return as preserves freshly set. The longer the fragrance wears on the skin, the ruby berries evanesce into a blissful pale pink strawberry musk. 

I have enjoyed my experiences with all these lovely fragrances. I have to admit that Savanna snuck off with Strawberries Crave Ice Cream. She opened the package when it arrived and immediately was drawn to it. After patiently waiting all week for me to write about it, she is thrilled to finally claim it. Though I did make her promise I could wear it if I had the hankering for it (and I am sure I will). Black hair, Lion's tooth, Eyes gleam and Wild Jack are the stand outs for me. Lion's tooth and Eyes gleaming are just the scents I am craving for spring. If you could have a perfume created from a poem what poem would it be? I have to say mine would be "Goblin Feet" by J. R. R. Tolkien. 


  1. Hello, Sugar Cookies, that one sounds scrumptious, or maybe you're just making it sound extra delicious. I have a Vanilla Ice Cream scent from Demeter that hits that mega bakery thing for me pretty well - it smells a lot of waffle cone, actually, which keeps it from being too cloying. Vanilla Craves Sugar Cookies sounds like it might smell a bit like that.

    I love that your daughter made off with your goodies. :) And an excellent choice, too. You've got such cool mom stuff coming in, I don't know how they keep their hands off of it! I certainly would not!

    1. Nah. I only write about what I smell, whatever form that takes. Demeter is super fun. I spent some time in a Duane Reade store in NYC while my sisters and I were scarfing down some street vendor food and I sniffed a ton of Demeters they had on display. VCSC is a very nice solid vanilla scent. Not too much. Not too simple.

      She totally has been hounding me about some of my perfumes. I have enough that I don't mind giving them to her. She has my Nocturne Alchemy Blueberry Cake too. She is getting older and I remember beginning to like perfume at her age. Love's Baby Soft, Exclamation, Sunflowers, all those crazy potent scents. There was one called Head Over Heels or something like that, that I particularly loved.

      Hope you are doing well! Is it warming up at all up there? I love following your Disney planning. Florida residents have a three day park deal for $150 each that you have me thinking real hard about. It is a great deal but still pretty steep for a family of four. I might save for it though. I only have until June to take advantage of it.

  2. Oh my gosh, Love's Baby Soft and Exclamation! I did both. And Sunflowers, too, even though it always felt a touch too "old," you know? And do you remember those perfumes the Gap sold in the mid-90s? They were EVERYWHERE - like, I swear, every single one of my friends and acquaintances wore Dream, because it smelled the best. :)

    I'm doing well, thank you for asking! And glad you're enjoying my Disney planning, because I seriously can't shut up about it. I don't know if it's sad or not that the most interesting thing about us is our vacation planning! That's a pretty decent deal for three days, but yes, like everything at Disney, steep, particularly when you multiply it by four people. I really don't know how large families (or even mid-sized families like yours) do it; I find it to be a reach for just two. But I so hope you get to take advantage of it - Disney's just such a special experience. I loved the holidays I took with my parents as a kid, they were just the best. :)