Friday, February 26, 2021

Arcana Wildcraft: Sunk Lyonesse Collection

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

Julia at Arcana Wildcraft composed and curated this Valentine collection around this poem:

Sunk Lyonesse 

In sea-cold Lyonesse,
When the Sabbath eve shafts down
On the roofs, walls, belfries
Of the foundered town,
The Nereids pluck their lyres
Where the green translucency beats,
And with motionless eyes at gaze
Make ministrely in the streets.

And the ocean water stirs
In salt-worn casement and porch.
Plies the blunt-nosed fish
With fire in his skull for torch.
And the ringing wires resound;
And the unearthly lovely weep,
In lament of the music they make
In the sullen courts of sleep:
Whose marble flowers bloom for aye:
And - lapped by the moon-guiled tide -
Mock their carver with heart of stone,
Caged in his stone-ribbed side.

--Walter de la Mare

She incorporated Tristan and Isolde then threw in a Kraken for good measure. I possess and adore The Kraken and Sabbath Eve, but they are the only scents from this collection that I have had experience with so I was quite thrilled to have a chance to spend some time with them all as a cohesive gathering of fragrances.

Fire in his Skull- Notes: Cinnamon cakes, vanilla icing, crimson musk, light brown sugar, aged patchouli, and maple cookies. $26

I am a freak for spiced patchouli. I was excited for this one. Fire in His Skull possesses an incredibly rich patchouli straight from the vial. On the wrists that same divine patchouli ignites with tongues of crimson musk licking the edges and a crystalized crust of brown sugar sweetening up the center like an abyssal geode treasure. This is one of those fragrances where proximity changes which notes are picked up. From farther away my nose picks up more of the maple vanilla sweetness, while when sniffed more intimately the patchouli is vibrantly present. I love it. I knew this would be a favorite of mine from the get-go and I was not wrong. If you love an unapologetic patchouli, this is for you (and me).

Ringing Wires- Notes: A cloak of soft velvet is filled with tart pears, sugared lemons, wild-harvested lemongrass, cassis berries, silver coins, and a sliver of driftwood. $26

In the bottle pears lie. It is the juice, the simple clear essence of a pear in there, reflecting back echoes of shiny metallic stars. Drizzled on the skin the pear forms fully, mirroring its own smooth flesh on mine. I can taste that brief moment when the pear instantly dehydrates the mouth when biting into the flesh before flooding with its own honeyed nectar. But the juiciness doesn't emerge. You are frozen in that moment when the skin is just barely breaking under the pressure of teeth. Instead it is indeed velvety and plush, the cassis berries and lemongrass lend a tart aridness to the pear skin and citrus. It does vibrate. It does tingle the senses and awake the brain. There is a palpable energy in this fragrance. The cassis berries remind me faintly of currants. The humming wires do emit faint sparks of silver metal in a cloud of fine sheen. Eventually the drydown forms a halo of oxidized silver, pale wood and lemon pith. It is ethereal and unique. 

Unearthly Lovely- Notes: Dusty honey, bee pollen, and vanilla bean. $26

Honey and cream, golden and viscous, lush and delicious. Julia spins honeyed notes like so much golden straw. She has a magically deft hand for it. The honey starts out sticky and honeycomb fresh, dripping slowly, heavy with wild nectars. As the perfumed oil settles the honey does become dusted with time and mellowed with a touch of powdery pollen. Subtle shades of lemon and earthy florals highlight the pollen and honey. Fuzzy anthers, sticky stigmas, obsessive menage a trois between flowers and the bee. It is rather unearthly lovely. It dries down into dusky vanilla bean pods and honey dust. It is stunning all the way through.  

Sabbath Eve- Notes: Crisp, dead leaves, evening woodsmoke, dark amber, and smoking church incense. $26

My previous review of Sabbath Eve three years ago:

The amber phial releases puffs of charred embers and smoke along with a dank and almost acetic incense that gives interest, perhaps even a little foreboding. Poured onto the tender area inside the elbow Sabbath Eve kindles smoking embers to life. Piles of desiccated and withered leaves ignite into ashen flurries and molten sparks that gambol upwards into the Plutonian sky. The mounds of burning brush and foliage dot the landscape to welcome the holy event that began at sunset and continues into the darkness. Tallow candles illuminate the homes and temples and incense and offerings lace the night air with their pungent breath. 

When I wear Sabbath Eve once again with an eye to it details I do get swallowed up by the gorgeous smoky haze that is layered with so many nuances. This is not a perfume to judge from the bottle sniff because it completely and utterly morphs when graced on the skin. It starts chewy and sticky, almost sour and sweet in its richness of resin and enkindled embers. Let it play out. There is more to the nighttide. The pungency wanes, allowing the more delicate ringlets of woodsmoke to be detected. The dusk may begin at the church, but it ends in the wilds. From a cupped and nestled sanctuary hazy with burnt offerings to the wide open pastoral parish of nature where the fires burn brighter but do not suffocate. Autumnal breezes and frangible leaves join the whisper of woodsmoke in the atmosphere. This is a beautiful fireside scent that is a pleasure to wear. I need to reach for it more often.

Isolde- Notes: White chocolate, pale almond milk, delicate vanilla, cream, and a touch of sheer musk. $26

Almond pastries filled with thick sweet cream on fine bone china plates greet the nose when graced on the skin. A diaphanous tendril of that sheer musk plays about for brief moments then folds back into the scent for later viewing. The heart holds the white chocolate, just like a velvety filling in the heart of a fine patisserie treat. It pairs well against the almond flavoring. They are both robust enough to stand up to each other but play sweetly on the skin. A satiny cocoa butter texture pervades the white chocolate. The almond is true without overt cherry tones. This duo gently transmutes into silken vanilla cream that has a touch of sweetened condensed milk to it. Isolde emits a snuggly and velveteen aroma that is sure to draw in the honeybees. I don't normally enjoy and keep almond scents but this one I will hang on to for the drydown alone. 

Marble Flowers- Notes: Opulent tuberose petals, neroli, sheer bergamot, white amber, pearl musk, and white cognac absolute. $26

Marble Flowers promises to guide you by the hand to Bonaventure Cemetery on a balmy late spring evening when the white moon flowers begin to open their hearts and hidden parts for the nocturnal beings. Ghosts and hummingbird moths and flitter-mice hover close to inhale the white floral elixir housed in the vial. On eager skin this perfume unfurls into a hand-tied, wild bouquet of orange blossoms and tuberose flowers placed lovingly on the marble shelf of a tombstone. Their feral effluvia intoxicates the senses naturally, but with an added dash of cognac that effect is maximized. These are the tokens of reverence to those departed from us. As Marble Flowers shifts deeper into itself the pale glowing tuberose petals are dusted with a gentle amber musk. Though the white florals are heady and elegant in this perfume they are never overly indolic. I don't get the bubble gum or plastic nuances I sometimes can with tuberose. Just simply that stunning creamy, almost lemony gardenia-like, fragrance. Its brilliance is perfect for any time of the year but I will enjoy wearing it during my humid and hot Florida summers where it will really blossom out into a bold voluptuous beauty. If you enjoy white florals, this one will call out to you. If you wish to dip your toes into more heady florals this is a wonderful one to start with. She will treat you right.

Tristan- Notes: Sandalwood, caramel, animalic musk, sweet tree roots, and a hint of Cornish violets. $26

In the bottle Tristan is parchment wrapped handmade caramels with a single violet tenderly placed in the center of each. Violet infused caramels greet the nose upon application as well. And now I want to eat them. They are tiny and cheerful, a touch watery with morning dew and sweet as sunshine. Something a touch like ambrette, a musky and lightly sugared vegetal, slinks its earthy way into the heart where it then warms and grows fur. Instead of just caramel and violets it becomes caramel and violets and purrs. Tristan shifts and transforms until it settles down into a gorgeous burnished sandalwood with hints of sparkling amber around the edges. The base is impeccable. I will be happily wearing this one often. 

The Kraken- Notes: Gorgeous smoked vanilla, black vanilla, saltwater, China musk, and black musk. $26

I have reviewed Kraken in the past and these were my thoughts:
Out of the amber glass, Kraken smells faintly of smoke and musk. Once it rests damply on the skin, that smoke forms a corporeal silhouette, inky with burned sugar and thrown into relief with salt encrusted fog. As it dries, a slight rawhide leather accord emerges, all the while remaining smoky sweet. The Kraken is one sexy beast.

As you know I like to revisit perfumes as tastes and noses and associations can change over time. Since my last review was over 4 years ago I was looking forward to settling in with this aquatic cryptid once again. From the bottle and fresh on the wrist, The Kraken exudes a dark, salted musk. Craggy oyster shells, shimmering pearls and a dandy captain's quarters all come to mind. There is a sultry and slightly taboo tang to this scent. Something very naughty is transpiring out on the briny waves. Tendrils wrapping, suckers seeking, flesh quivering. This time around the dank musk strikes the cord most resonantly. This is not an ozonic or sharp aquatic. This is a below decks sea shanty. This is rounded by the salted vanilla. This is softened by sooty and powdery textures, perhaps of goods housed in wooden barrels deep in the galley. It breathes like the sea, but the darker hidden grottos rather than the bright misty sprays from a sunny shoreline. As it dries down the vanilla creates a more malleable texture and it finishes beautifully soft.

I very much enjoyed these beauties and want to share some with you! I am giving away Love, The Kraken (I don't need to be greedy with having two!), Sabbath Eve (again, share the wealth Julie- don't need a back up), and even a Moonalisa that was accidentally sent in error to me and several samples. 

If you would like to enter, please leave a comment below that tells me one of your favorite books (sheepishly just loved reading Warm Bodies), something I should try at Trader Joe's (love their Tea Tree shampoo), or an indie maker/artisan you are jonesing to buy from (Lotus Blu Book Art- hubba hubba). 

I will randomly draw the winner next Sunday. Good luck!


  1. Hi there! I loved, loved, loved Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Water Dancer--magical! I don't shop at TJ's so much due to long lines, but I am intrigued by the Rose Facial Oil that can be used on hair as well. Love that Tea Tree shampoo also. For makers, I loved Emily Balivet's Soma Goddess on Etsy (Soma Goddess 11x14 Print Pagan Mythology Art Deco Art Nouveau Psychedelic Mushroom Bohemian). Thank you for your passionate descriptions!

    1. Thank you for the recs! The rose facial oil sounds lovely. I am a huge fan of oils. I will have to hunt it down. I don't go to TJ's often either, maybe a couple times a year, but I do like to stock up on goodies while I am there. You are right. The lines are awful. The Water Dancer will go on my book list. And I adore artwork. That art print is stunning.

  2. It’s always so hard to pick a favorite because I love sooooo many books 😍😍 I have to say though, I loved The Night Circus 🎪 It was the first time the author had ever written anything that was put into that genre of mystery, fairytale, and crimes. She loves Stephen King, so this was the first book she decided to write going off a twist and adventure that has his writing style to it. Absolutely enchanting and enticingly witty. As you read you definitely feel as though you have become part of the story! I will say though, Do Not Watch The Movie... They did a horrible job on it and it will ruin the book:( One of my favorite things at Trader Joe’s is their Toasted Marshmallow Shimmer Body Wash 🌟🌟🌟 it is so sweet and delicious, leaves your skin super soft and smelling amazing! I would love to get a piece of jewelry from @Ithuriell on Etsy. Her pieces would make one feel as though they just stepped out of the shire or somewhere in a fairytale 🧚🏻‍♀️ Their are crowns that I’m sure when you put them on, take you back to Narnia or somewhere far into the enchanted forests 🌳!! So thank you as always for sharing all of your beautiful descriptions and always helping to lend some advice on choosing one:) I always want them all!!! Lol

    1. I am a book hound too. I have a ton but I am always on the lookout for the next read. I loved The Night Circus too. It was fantastically written. I had no idea she loved Stephen King but I did know she loves indie perfume like BPAL. How cool!! I had no idea they made it into a movie. Wow. I will skip it. That body wash sounds delicious! I will have to check it out. And I just peeped Ithuriell jewelry on Etsy and those pieces are breathtaking. I particularly love the crystal branches necklace. Wowza! Magic! Thank you for being always being a bright spot on my IG feed. I love hanging along with you!

  3. Sawkill girls by Claire legrand magical realism’s, something is in the woods, small town horror mystery... thing. I could not have anticipated that ending the book was a welcome change in pace. Try Trader Joe’s lime tea cookies or the Greek chesse spiral

    1. Thank you for the book rec! I will absolutely check it out! I have a small town prompt on my reading challenge this sounds like it would fit perfectly into. I placed an order on ThirftBooks and have it coming in a week or so. Lime tea cookies will be purchased as well as a lovely sounding snack for reading. Thanks for swinging by, Taylor! You were drawn as the winner of the perfumes. Please shoot me a DM on IG with your address and I will mail out these perfumes to you!! Congrats!

  4. I love tjs orange blossom soap and cedar cleanser. And for a book I really enjoyed the bohemian manifesto by Laren Stover. You have prolly read all my favorites. You are such a lovely writer!

    1. Ooooo, Doreen! I have not tried either of those but you sold me at cedar and orange blossom. Thank you! I am adding Bohemian Manifesto to my reading list on ThriftBooks. I see that it looks to be a fabulous guide for inspiring creativity and full living. And I appreciate that! I have loved seeing your gorgeous wintery scenes online. Those snowy sunsets and incredible. <3

      Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate it!

  5. Loved your reviews! You're actually the one that's finally nudged me off the fence for The Kraken. As a Sea of Gray (by Solstice Scents) lover, this just sounds RIGHT up my alley.

    You know, I used to be THE most avid bookworm but somewhere along the way I just lost touch. I reckon it was all the moving and leaving/donating my books. I know there's always the kindle, but I was just reluctant to get another device. That being said, if you're into true crime, I HIGHLY rec "RedHanded" the podcast. The 2 girls just have THE best chemistry, are respectable of the victims and their story telling and most importantly, don't have voices that grate on you. And if you like myths and legends, well, "Myths and Legends" is the other haha. I've also just bought my bestie a long distance gift by the Etsy shop "SugarandSloth". You MUST check em out, they've got the cutest things. I never really buy stuff for myself but I just had to get a pin from them. Just.Too.Cute.

    1. Thank you! I hope you love The Kraken. It isn't as stark as Sea of Gray can be, but I do feel they both capture a moody seaside experience. Angela did some real magic with that one.

      Thank you for the podcast recs!! I have a few I have been listening to and will happily add these as well. I just popped over to Sugar and Sloth and they have the cutest cards and pins!! Thanks!! I hope you are having a good weekend.