Friday, August 23, 2019

Arcana Wildcraft: Night-Tripping Fairies

These perfumes were sent as a gift from Julia. All opinions are my own.

Julia, the perfumer at Arcana Wildcraft, released a late summer collection of scents built around Midsummer fairies and it is as enchanting as it sounds. I am thrilled to not only announce this opening but also the fact that Julia is selling samples!!! A 1/3 dram is $6, a 5ml bottle is $26 and a 15ml bottle is $76. Orders over $40 ship for free. Are you ready to float down into A Midsummer Night's scented Dream?

Puck- Notes: An impish, confounding blend of cotton candy, green fig, coconut milk, cannabis bud, mugwort, Indian sandalwood, Omani frankincense, brown sugar and a sprinkle of fairy dust.

Puck is one mischievous and sexy scented sprite. Rays of sunshine spark off shimmering yellow drops of frankincense resins clinging to tree bark, or is that the glimmer of clever eyes from some spry fiend? Either way that frankincense is heady with sweetness and a touch of grassy hemp when sniffed from the bottle. Dancing on the wrists, the opulent resins lose some of their haughtiness, gamboling with creamy figs and earthen mugwort. These are the true treasures of the woods, guarded with zeal and zest. As the incense and dulcet figs twirl slower and slower, their cadence lulling into a waltz, a lock of sweet dark smoke curls delicately at the edges of the frolicsome forest scene. Molasses blackened sugar and incensed sandalwood are the final slow dance partners, smoldering in the darkness. Puck is sweetly saturnine. If you like dark incense with dusky figs and a touch of smoldering woods then this is a must. It is my new favorite fig fragrance.

Cobweb- Notes: Pistachio gelato and vanilla ice cream over soft forest mosses and wild-harvested fir tips.

Creamy pistachio ice cream, light on the sugar and heavy on the custardy texture, lies in a pine hewn bowl with a sprig of evergreen tucked into the side as a garnish. The evergreen aroma is very subdued with a gray mossy base. These impressions arise fresh from the bottle. Once on the skin the pistachio emits a feathery almond aroma wrapped in its papery seed coat. Desiccated vanilla bean husks infuse the gossamer-light pistachio ice cream while earthy bark supports those delicate strands of confection. This is a fragile beauty that dances the line between gourmand vanilla treat and dry darkling humus. How are these perfumes orchestrated so intricately? Cobweb is my new favorite pistachio scent. I am sensing a trend with this collection.

Titania- Notes: Freshly baked vanilla cakes, sweet honeysuckle blossoms and a soft, warm bed of summer grass.

Titania's fragrant dichotomy between living grass with a bouquet of lemony honeysuckle and caramel vanilla baked goods emerges from the bottle in a surprisingly festive aroma. A summer picnic with grass blades bending in pillowy hills under a white linen blanket come to mind. Honeysuckle vines twine with passion flowers and jasmine, out climbing each other up lemon trees. The citrus boughs hanging with bright coins of yellow fruit over a wicker basket stuffed with honeyed cakes. The perfume of festivity and romance on a sunny day. On the tender skin of the wrists Titania vacillates between those creamy vanilla fairy cake notes and lemongrass tartness. The heart of Titania holds loamy soil in its gingery roots along with the sweets and emerald grass. As it dries down a camphorous zing illuminates the vanilla and greenery, much like a spark of turpentine. Is is pine? Patchouli? Rosemary? Perhaps none of them, but it adds an element of mystery to the queen's sunlit domain. 

Quick Bright Things (new formula)- Notes: Sweet lavender absolute, French vanilla, wild orange, ruby grapefruit, sandalwood, amber resin, a dash of cognac, and a hint of green violet absolute.

Julia announced during this release that she had always desired to reformulate Quick Bright Things and this collection was the ideal opportunity for that to happen. I was gifted the original version of this scent by my friend Lizzie in a swap and instantly fell head over heels for it. I was curious as to what changes Julia wanted to make to it. Here is my previous review:

In the bottle lies a dreamy mixture perfect for summertime: melting vanilla and orange Dreamcicles and sugared lavender buds. Hyppo gourmet ice pops should make this a flavor- lavender and blood orange sorbet swirled with vanilla bean custard. Oh my. Dabbed onto the wrists the same scent lifts up then the lavender truly spouts into a field of purple spikes that sway under the beat of tiny fairy wings. Julia crafts magic with her lavender notes, this one is earthen, piney and a smidge smoky. The citrus glints in the aroma like sunset hued fireflies sparking above the lavender fields. A grounding of smooth woods and resins enrich the perfume and lend the Quick Bright Things that flutter within the scent a stillness and a quiet place to land. This is a beautiful perfume that wears easily in spring and summer time.

l find the new formula is just as lovely but with different nuances. Where the original opens with a strong creamy orange vanilla smack, the newer one actually leans more piney lavender and violet in its opening. Though the orange sherbet and vanilla treat still lingers in Quick Bright Things, the essence has shifted into something more tangibly magical and therapeutic. I love both versions and will keep and wear them but what tickles me is to have this experience of seeing a perfume's evolution through a perfumer's process like this. I think I will be very happy wearing one on my right arm and one on my left and truly feeling how they morph and twist as the day goes by. Ratios are cool.

Moth- Notes: Lilac-infused champagne, wild-harvested juniper berries and boughs, white iris, dry vanilla bean soda, silken wings and cool water.

Moth is beautiful. Bubbly juniper with gin-like aquatic dewdrops on full bodied iris petals flutters from the bottle. Dappled on the skin, the perfume of silvery iris and velvety lilac flit along the wind carried by fizzy aldehydes. As the breeze lightens the florals, a cottony juniper fluffs out the heart of the scent. Powdery light as the scales on a moth's wing and just as beautiful in the bargain. Paired with a leathery suppleness. As it dries down hints of vanillic yet hay-like coumarin seep into the base. Moth is simply gorgeous.

Mustardseed- Notes: Jasmine sambac, amber resin, woody amber accord, abmre blanc, dragon's blood resin and a curl of smoke.

Based on scent notes alone I knew this one would go straight to my heart. Boozy amber, woody dragon's blood and the smallest exhale of jasmine lift its spore from the glass bottle. Jasmine blooms in profusion as the gilded perfume oil trails down the skin, wet and shimmering. The narcotic and creamy bursts of jasmine are quickly joined by rusty hued dragon's blood incense and slivers of kindling. Amber with leather and wood tones act as the fecund and nourishing bed that the other notes sprout out of. Mustardseed is the scent of Radagast the Brown's warm sepia heart where all flora and fauna are nurtured with magic and love. 

Oberon- Notes: Wild-harvested pine needles, wild sweet orange, Atlas cedarwood, cypress leaf, fir branch, pink pepper, wet stone, honeywood, and shimmering salt crystals. 

Pine, cedar and wet dewy green leaves germinate from the vial. On the flesh the pine and cedar truly come to life. Julia is a master perfumer but her work with woods and mosses, specifically pine and evergreens, is iconic. This fragrance illustrates why. Pliant pine needles rustle against balsamic cedars, their papery barks peppering the air. One of my favorite Serge Lutens perfumes, Fille en Aiguilles actually comes to mind. Julia is incredible. The natural spice and nuances of these trees comes across beautifully while the rounded and gilded tang of orange serves to only highlight their complexity. Oberon is the coniferous soul of the woods, aromatic and benevolent.

Peaseblossom- Notes: Blushing sakura blossoms entwine with delicate orchids, pink patchouli, wild raspberries and gold pomelo.

Peaseblossom tips fruity-floral on its ear by adding a darkly delicious wildness to the genre. Sticky sweet raspberries and sugared ruby grapefruits bob up from the vial in an intoxicating elixir infused with magenta blooms. The merest whiff of minty patchouli lurks in the feral places within. On the skin the raspberry and robust pomelo take on a juicy tartness that grafts effortlessly with the musk of pink cherry blossoms. The sakura swell into drifts of snowy petals in the heart of the scent. Soft downy patchouli, more clean than earthen, tucks the petals in for the evening to rest amid the spent leaves. 

I appreciate perfume and fragrance. That is known. I also want to acknowledge that being able to sit and mellow in these scents was highly therapeutic for me this week. I needed this time to focus only on my senses and the beauty I was experiencing. Julia has crafted an extremely cohesive yet beguiling line with this. I am infatuated with many of these. My very dear favorites are: Oberon (pine and cedar lovers please get it), Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed and Puck with Quick Bright Things right there in the oldie but goodie spot. Are you a Shakespeare fan? What perfume notes are you gravitating towards right now?


  1. I totally wanted to order just about this whole collection when I heard about it and also learned about the new sample size.
    I did good until I read your reviews. Lol I read and went ahead and ordered all but 2. :D I ordered Friday and they're already in my hands as of Monday! <3

    1. I adored Julia's Witch Collection (which JUST dropped again by the way) and ordered every scent except Sea Witch and loved them all. And I loved the spirit deer collection to pieces but this one is probably my new favorite. Every scent is so unique yet lovely, wearable yet evocative. So many new fantastic scents in this one. And the fact that she has sample sizes now is the bee's knees.

      I hope you love the scents as much as I did. They really resonated with me. <3

  2. Okey doke, here's a story I think you'll appreciate, especially in light of this post.

    Years ago, my mom and I had tickets for the classical ballet series at the National Arts Centre here in Ottawa. It covered three productions over the season, usually two Canadian troupes and then an international troupe. And it wasn't always the case, but usually one of those two Canadian spots was occupied by the National Ballet of Canada, who are known for their more avant garde pieces. As in the Nutcracker I went to as a kid that had no costuming or sets, just the dancers in barre wear standing, indeed, at a barre, doing warm-up exercises to the Nutcracker Suite for an hour and a half. They're not always bad, but when the National Ballet screws up, it's stupendous.

    Anyhow, maybe six or seven years ago my mom and I went to a production of A Midsummer's Night Dream by the National Ballet, and it was...memorable. Mostly for the fact that after the lusty lovers fell into their forest-shrouded slumber, Oberon comes out, BUCK BARE ASSED NAKED in a pair of assless leather leggings ON A SEGWAY with a giant, droopy flower dangling from the front, which he'd maneuver, badly, because he did not have control of that Segway, over in front of the lovers' faces, where some sort of mist would shoot out of the stamens into their mouths. Was it fairy dust? Dunno. But I'm not joking about any of this, or even exaggerating. And that's just the stuff we saw! Because we left at the halfway mark, because we could NOT stop laughing. Like, c'mon, assless centaurs nearly crashing their hoverboards off the stage and droopy dick flowers? Bahahahahaha! It was outstanding. Bless the National Ballet, truly.

    1. Oh my gosh!!! I am trying to wrap my mind around the striped bare Nutcracker. That must have been catatonic. But that Midsummer Night(mare) sounds freaking HILARIOUS!! I would be cackling like a maniac right along with you. Hopefully in the back and wearing sunglasses and a hat so we wouldn't be judged. I can't believe you had the will power to leave such a production, who knows what you missed?!?! I am dying. I bet you and your mom still get a laugh out of that one. My only Shakespeare play experience was watching The Tempest with my stepdad while I elbowed him awake every few minutes since he was snoring. I feel like I am missing out on good theater. I need to come watch the National Ballet. <3 I will say Oberon in this iteration smells much better than electrical fog machine juice and malfunctions silk flowers. This one is pretty sexy.