Solstice Scents Review, Part 2

Solstice Scents, Part 2

Way back in February, I started a Solstice Scents review that I never quite finished. The reason is that I rarely wear perfume at home anymore. My kitty, Nox, has intestinal lymphoma, and one of the side effects of one of his medications is that he goes through cycles where he is VERY sensitive to scent. If he gets overwhelmed by too much scent, it affects his appetite. He started one of those cycles in the middle of my testing, and as Solstice Scents are the absolute strongest and most potent perfume oils I’ve ever tried, I discontinued testing them. He’s doing a lot better, which has allowed me to resume some scent-wearing (and candle-making), so now is as good a time as ever to finish those reviews!

COVERED BRIDGE – The Foxcroft Collection – Woods, Moss, Leaves, Wood Smoke, Dirt, Ozone, Fir Absolute

The opening notes are wet wood, dirt, and smoke. It’s a very very realistic woodlands blend, complete with notes of fresh Autumn air. I expected this to be similar to The Night Watcher, but it’s got a lot less cedar/balsalm/fir going on, and no tart berry note. Overall, I’d call this woodsy and unisex. I like it as a perfume, but it would also be amazing as an atmostpheric spray.

HIDDEN LODGE – Woodland Collection –  Dry Wood Blend, Oud, Woodsmoke, Spices, Castoreum

This, too, is a woody blend, but with the addition of a dry spice. The overall impression I got while it was wet was firewood and cardamom pods. However, after a few minutes, a weird note that I couldn’t place developed. It smelled feral in a bad way– musky and greasy. Like civet but not as dry. I actually checked to see if my cat hadn’t made a mess near me, because it smelled… kind of like when my boycat gets anal gland stank on something. Of the notes listed, the only one I was unfamiliar with was castoreum, so I googled what it smells like. One person described it as smelling like “the business end of a beaver.” Another like urine and cheese. Yep, that’s the culprit alright. YECH. I had to scrub this one off. It was terrible on me.

LIBRARY – The Manor Collection – Leather Bound Books, A Carved Rosewood Mantle, Dying Fireplace Embers, Wood Wainscoting, Cedar Shelving and Aged Paper

Soft brown leather, lignin, and a touch of rosewood. Oh, yeah. This one smells like a cozy library, and a day spent indoors by the fire. I want to slather my Kindle cover in this.

MAPLEWOOD INN –  The Foxcroft Collection – Maple, Woods, Amber, Benzoin, A Roaring Fire & A Hot Cup Of Frothy Vanilla Chai

When initially applied, I smell a woody scent with a strong maple sugar note. As it dries, much of the maple sweetness settles, leaving a smoky fireplace and amber scent. Many of the scents I chose for my samples had similar notes, so it’s unsurprising to me that this one smells similarly to several others I sampled. They all have very similar smoke + woods bases, but with differing top notes. This is cozy and nice.

MONARCH – The Woodland Collection – Rich Red Musk, Fir, Juniper, Cedar, Frankincense, Labdanum, Moss

Red musk, juniper, and frankincense when wet. Red musk, juniper, and frankincense when dry. Something about the way the juniper and the frankincense are combining just isn’t doing it for me– they are merging together to create something that smells like grape incense. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s also just not my cuppa.

SMOKY MOUNTAIN MALLOW – Wood Smoke, Fossilized Amber Resin, Lapsang Souchong CO2, Guaiacwood, Labdanum, Nutmeg EO, Marshmallow

MMMMMMM. Super smoky wood with the faintest hint of marshmallow. The marshmallow comes out more as it dries, but it’s not a sticky-sweet marshmallow, tempered as it is by dry nutmeg. A supremely comforting scent, and one of roasting sweets over an Autumn campfire.

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Perfume Review! Solstice Scents, Part 1

Solstice Scents, Part 1

Part one of my review of 12 Solstice Scents perfume oils. I ordered these shortly after they released their Woodland Collection, and have been slowly skin-testing them one at a time.

I had previously ordered from them a few years ago, though I wasn’t running a review blog at the time, and nothing I ordered is still available, so the point is rather moot. I consider this my first real order, and I was very pleased with it. For one, I find all of the little extras included (the bookmark, the postcard, a Foxcroft flier) all very well coordinated and professionally done. I received a very quick and friendly response to a customer service query, and in addition to my choice of freebie sample, Angela included an extra freebie (Hidden Lodge) she chose for me based on my scent preferences. My order shipped and arrived very quickly.

Generally, when I review perfumes, I review them two at a time, one per wrist. These babies are SO STRONG that there was no way I was going to get away with that. One a day. Possibly two if there was a shower in between. They have some serious sillage, and they stick around for HOURS.

Now that all of the basics are out of the way, here are reviews of the first six scents.

FIRES IN THE NIGHT –  The Night Collection – Sandalwood, Ginger, Clove, Orange, Amber, Wood Smoke, Cinnamon, Patchouli, Edge of the Night Base.

The first thing my skin pulls out is a clovey orange, much like a pomander. It’s buoyed up by round golden amber, and a hint of ginger. As the orange wore away, it left a smoky cinnamon amber that stuck close to the skin. A very nice wintry perfume. Unisex.

OUTPOST – Winter Collection – Sugar Crystals, Spruce, Fir, Soft Woods, Bayberry, Mistletoe, Amber.

This is the one that I expected to love. I love winter woods. I double love bayberry. I love amber and can take or leave sugar. So my thought was that this would be a bright, soft, scent. And that’s what the vial smells like. However, on my skin, it was actually quite heavy and dark. My skin, which generally amps sugary notes, inexplicably turned those glorious notes into leather and damp, rotting wood. I didn’t get any bayberry, either. Hmm. Well, I’m chalking this one up to weird skin chemistry, and passing it on to my husband.

WINSLOW’S  – Winter Collection – Rows of Christmas Trees, Clove Studded Oranges, Bayberry Tapers, Handcrafted Wreaths & Mistletoe.

YESSSSS. This is Christmas in a bottle. HERE are the bright, fresh trees I expected from Outpost, and I can smell the bayberry and pomanders quite prominently. It’s a wintry, aggressively cheerful scent. It also appears to be sold out. But when this rolls around again next year, I am buying it in ALL THE THINGS, because it’s perfect.

NIGHT WATCHER – Woodland Collection – Forest Floor, Tree Tops, Bark, Mountain Air, Fir Balsam, Juniper, Moss, Oud, Dried Herbs, Cedar Tips.

Oooh, this is nice. You get lots of dry greenness here, with a spicy undertone that is more suggested than at the fore. It smells like a distant campfire in an old wood forest, slightly damp. This is a great unisex scent. In fact, I plan on smearing it all over my husband, because it’s so damn sexy. A second wearing after some ageing (to compare with other scents) yielded a juniper top note that adds tartness and body.

CORVIN’S APPLE FEST – Foxcroft’s Autumn Festival Collection – Apple Pastries, Caramel Apples, Fresh Apples, Warm Apple Cider, Vanilla, Apple Pie, Apple Cream Cheese Danish. 

Freshly applied, my first impression was warm apple pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. There’s a strong bakery-pastry base, smothered in spiced apples and vanilla bean. Very sweet! Thankfully, this didn’t go at all caramel-y or cream-cheese-y on me, because while I enjoy those things, I very much do not enjoy smelling of those things. (Though it’s funny, when smelling the wand cap, I prominently smell cream cheese danish!) If you like to smell like dessert, try this one.

SYCAMORE CHAI – Foxcroft’s Autumn Festival Collection – Vanilla Chai Tea & A Ginger-Pumpkin Roll Filled With Marshmallow Creme. 

This is a super cozy gourmand scent. It smells like Oregon Vanilla Chai, heavy on the cardamom and ginger. As I wore it, the cream/marshmallow scents came to the fore, as it sweetened considerably over time. The spices were still there when I took it off at the end of the day, but they were much less present than at the beginning.

In my next review: Smoky Mountain Mallow, Maplewood Inn, Monarch, Covered Bridge, Library, and Hidden Lodge.

Deconstructing Eden Yule ’14 Reviews!

Hey everybody! I’m taking a break from working my fingers to the nubs to bring you some reviews of Deconstructing Eden‘s Yule/Winter Collection. I have tried everything except Three Kings.

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Ice King: Where the Snow Queen is soft, the Ice King is cold and brittle. Brittle white musk, dry cool air on a background of black pines and bare trees and snow. 

This one was very prominently white musk on me, and a little bit wooly. Very chilly. It wasn’t really my thing until about a half hour in, where in sweetened considerably on my skin, and I got subtle fruity notes. Something about the drydown reminded me of the lovechild of White Diamonds and Lolita Lempicka.

Snow Queen: A companion scent to my Ice King fragrance, this delicate and sweet tribute to the Snow Queen is powder soft snow, crisp cold air blowing through pine trees and a sweet dry down of vanilla.

On first spritz, it was a very grown up vanilla mint. The sweetness is very tightly controlled here– it is a very white scent, and the mintiness stays close to the skin. It is indeed quite soft, but also bright. I liked this one very much. I didn’t smell any pine until the drydown, and even so, it remained faint.

Winter ’14: Snow sparkling under a distant sun, cold winter air blowing through black pines and Douglas fir trees, snow crocuses sleeping under a blanket of snow on a base of very subtle base of cocoa, mint and vanilla. This unisex blend is the embodiment of a cold winter day.

Ah, a deeper, darker scent. Wet, I got pine, black musk, and something that almost took on a leathery tone to it. It’s actually a much warmer scent than I’d have thought by reading the description. On the drydown, the cocoa and mint come out, but they stay close to the skin. I’d call this one unisex. It was nice, and not too out-of-the-box that it wouldn’t make a good gift for someone who enjoys traditional colognes with a twist.

Yule ’14: Sweet and tart cranberries, bayberries, cold air and snow on a bed of deep wood, white chocolate and sweet vanilla.

This was allll cranberry & chill to me. Thankfully, I didn’t get any of the white chocolate, which often smells sour on me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much wood, either. It stayed pretty tart– cranberry and bayberry– all the way through, with some subtle vanilla on the drydown. I wore this Christmas ornament shopping and it was perfect. I love cranberry scents, so this was my favorite of the bunch. I need to layer this over something with a strong balsam note, and I’ll be in heaven.

The Magi’s Gifts: Deep and resinous, The Magi’s Gifts pays tribute to the gifts brought to infant Jesus. Frankincense, myrrh and golden amber this blend uses primarily essential oils for it deep woody character.

Yep! Warm golden resin-y goodness. It all blends together on a woody base– it’s kind of like a hug or a a favorite sweater. Very unisex.

Cocoa Pink Autumn Haul!

Cocoa Pink Autumn Haul

I have been a customer at Cocoa Pink for a few years now. I started trying their haircare products when I went SLS free for my hair, trying to mitigate the damage done to my hair from over-processing before I could (and did) chop the damage off. In fact, their Princess Poo (love the name, hah!) was my first exposure to the weirdness of lather-free shampoo.

Known for their nearly-overwhelming scent list that can be added to just about any of their base products, Cocoa Pink specializes in foodie/gourmand/sweet scents, although there are others to choose from as well. Here’s what I got in my latest haul!

Voluptuous Body Butter in Black Chocolate Pumpkin Slices of sweet pumpkin dipped in our bestselling Black Chocolate (Black Amber & Dark Chocolate).

Their incredibly thick, rich Voluptuous Body Butter is absolutely WONDERFUL on my dry legs when the weather turns cold. As for the scent, I had tried Black Chocolate before, after receiving a sample in a previous order. Generally, I steer clear of chocolate as a perfume / scent note, but I was shocked when I opened the sample to find that their Black Chocolate blend smelled of sinful dark chocolate, but not that weird plastic-y note I tend to associate with chocolate perfume accords. It’s definitely sexy-foody. So for fall, I tried the Black Chocolate Pumpkin variant, and I have to say I don’t smell a whole lot of pumpkin. It smells pretty close to Black Chocolate, like rich dark amber with a dark chocolate base. Perhaps the creaminess of the base enveloped it? I have noticed that some scents change from base to base, and the creamier they are, the more some notes get overtaken.  Anyway, it still smells mouth-watering. Yum. Continue reading

New Autumn & Halloween Scents from Deconstructing Eden!

Hey guys! Long time no post. Work has been BURYING ME. Technically, I am supposed to be on vacation for a week starting tomorrow. But while my family is chillaxing on the beach in North Carolina, I will be in the top deck of our beach house rental, working away. Looking at the ocean, working on Halloween. Talk about mental disconnect!

ANYWAY. I have been amassing things to share with you guys next week. I got a bunch of Aromaleigh shadows, the start of my Ipsy subscription, a few goodies from Sephora, and some new Autumn goodies from Cocoa Pink, among other things. I’ve already taken most of the swatches. Now, just to find the time to edit the photos and write the entries.

But in the meanwhile, I have some reviews from the Autumn / Halloween collection by Deconstructing Eden. Returning to this year’s collection is Jack ‘O Lantern, but as far as I can tell, it’s the same version as released last year. I reviewed it previously, but considering I’ve been wearing it a lot lately, I figured I’d drop you a link!

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New for this year:

Trick or Treat – Dark chocolates, jack o’ lanterns, honeyed cider, bonfire smoke and a touch of black pepper.

Sweet and spicy, this one opens with a basket full of apples and cider spices undercut by what smells to me like patchouli. As it dries, you get some of the smokiness also blended with dark chocolate– but this is definitely not a scent in which the candy is at the fore, nor is it overly sweet. It’s more like an artisan chocolate bar downed with dark apple cider. Very nice, I like this one a lot! Continue reading

Deconstructing Eden- Love: Light & Dark

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Hey everybody! I am back with some reviews from Deconstructing Eden‘s latest collection, Love: Light & Dark. I ordered 5 samples from the collection, plus a pair of Goddesses, Bast and Lakshmi, which are not part of the collection. I received Adore as a free sample.

 

Adore: A rich and sensual composition of violets, citrus, jasmine, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, magnolia, tuberose, lotus, iris, bourbon vanilla, white musk and rose.

This was the free sample I received. I don’t really have much to say on it beyond “it’s a cheerful, inoffensive floral” because it is the polar opposite of the things that I enjoy in a perfume.  The ylang ylang and tuberose are dominant.

Beloved: A soft, sweet romantic fragrance that is a subtle and delicate blend.
Pink lady apples, pink lilies, cucumber, gardenia, soft white woods, nectarine blossoms, linden blossoms and honey.

In the initial wet stage, this reminded me strikingly of BPAL’s Titania scent, with which it shares no actual notes, but a similar summer fruits and light florals theme. Fortunately for me, this does not turn into hairspray on my skin, as recent batches of Titania have done.  But, considering this reminds me of Titania-of-yore, it’s no surprise that I thought the initial wet stage was heavy on sweet pea, though it is not listed as a note. The wet stage also smells of sweet honeyed apples, but not overly cloying. As it dries, you get a nice bed of woody white with cucumber beneath the apples. This is a lovely daytime fruity-floral, juicy and fresh.

Dominate: Skin laid bare, the kiss of leather whips, blood red dragon’s blood, sharp juniper berries, petitgrain, opulent tobacco leaves, Peruvian clove leaf, a touch of Tahitian vanilla and Peru balsam.

Wow. This is a heavy, commanding scent, just as you would expect from the name. It certainly is an attention-grabber.  Right off the bat, you get heavy black leather, tobacco, and musk.  As it dries, you get a bit more of the juniper poking out, the bitter spice of clove. This is a unisex scent, incredibly and obviously sexy. It feels like my favorite slinky black leather corset. Wear this, and you’re sure to get noticed. Rawr.

Éros: Deep, dark amber, gardenia, lily of the valley, velvet red roses, cinnamon and Egyptian jasmine to evoke that earth shattering moment of instant attraction.

A spicy little oriental floral number. It begins with cinnamon-dusted rose petals on a bed of deep, sumptuous amber.  Thankfully no gardenia pokes through, although as it dries you do get a little bit of the same golden Jasmine used in Jasmine House. This would make for a lovely scent day or night. It’s got sex appeal, but it’s not too overwhelming for the office, either.

Jealousy: Green figs, linden blossom, lime, basil, herbal accord, green mandarin.

Ooh, this one is so refreshing! As someone with synasthesia, I love wearing “green” scents in the summer. We start with a cocktail of lip-puckering mandarin and lime tempered by herby basil, and rounded out by fig.  More of the herbs come out on drydown as the citrus topnotes burn off, and some of the linden lingers close to the skin. Overall, a great choice for warm weather.

Possession: An ode to another dark and unhealthy version of love, Possession is thick amber, the sting of black pepper, dark musks, dragon’s blood, dark woods, patchouli, orange blossom and narcotic honey.

Raise your hand if you have Sarah McLachlan stuck in your head right now.  All in all, this scent was much more subtle than I expected. I thought it would smell something like Dominate, but on my skin, it was much softer. The amber and honey are the strongest in this scent, with a bit of wood in the background. I get none of the pepper, the patchouli, or the dragon’s blood, which I generally amp. On the drydown, it remains, on me, honeyed amber. Which is perfectly lovely– but if you’re expecting something dark and heavy, I did not find that to be the case.

 

Bast: Jasmine essential oil, Rose absolute, rich ambers, a drop of spice, frankincense and myrrh and Egyptian Sandalwood combine to create a beautiful and warm blend with just the barest trace of feral wildness.

I have to say– this is my absolute favorite of the Deconstructing Eden perfumes thus far. It’s just– so gorgeous. It opens with a bouquet of sandalwood rose, subtly spiced on a bed of amber. The amber here is so creamy and luxurious, like silk.  It stays basically the same through the drydown, with maybe a touch of myrrh blending in with the spice. This scent is feminine, sensual, and feels like a satin robe on soft skin. It’s just wonderful.

Lakshmi: Deep, velvety red roses, two different types of amber, a touch of Sambac jasmine, and creamy mysore sandalwood.

Right off the bat, this is red roses, make not doubt about it. It’s not at all an artificial smelling rose, but what you’d smell if you shoved your nose into a vase of fresh-cut stems. There’s a little bit of the sharpness of jasmine in the background, but it stays fairly subdued. As it dries, the unmistakable scent of mysore sandalwood comes out, providing a soft bed of wood for the fragrant rose petals. If you’re a rose lover, this is a definite one to try.

 

In this batch, I basically batted 100%. The only scent I did not care for was a freebie! Score!

Deconstructing Eden: Kushiel’s Legacy Perfume Reviews, Part III

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For the third installment of my perfume reviews of Deconstructing Eden‘s Kushiel’s Legacy scents, I bring you four of the houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers. As you might have surmised, these are all quite floral, which tends not to be my thing so much, but I am trying to branch out.

Cereus House: Pale, fair skin; cereus blossoms, moonflower and scattering of white rose petals for Naamah.

Of the scents I’ve reviewed previously, this reminds me most strongly of Phèdre. It is faint, floral, and creamy. Two sprays yield very little sillage. I would guess that what I’m smelling is moonflower– there is an incredible softness here, a demureness. It’s completely the opposite of everything that I personally look for in a perfume, but if you like white flowers or soft florals in general, this is probably right up your alley.

Eglantine House: Honeyed roses, a touch of mahogany, plums, an elegant amber accord, Champaca flowers, and of course, Eglantine roses, on a lovely white musk.

Upon initial application, there is a strong burst of mahogany wood, deep and rich and dark, underscored by the spiky insistence of the white musk. As it begins to dry, roses and greenery peek out, which also disappear as the perfume enters the drydown phase, which, on my skin is all soft white musk and honey.

Orchis House: Rare and precious orchids, a drop of vanilla orchid, living peach and pear, a soft touch of Naamah’s roses, topped with a sparkling citrus cocktail of pink grapefruit and sweet orange.

The intial application of this scent is a complete delight. There’s a burst of fizzy champagne mixed with grapefruit, utterly delicious, with undertones of juicy peaches and pears. Those fruity notes dull over time, as topnotes are wont to do, and eventually settle into a much less riotous white orchid and rose with subtle pear overtones. At the extreme end of wear, it almost gets a muzzy, ‘wool’-like note, like the one used in Joscelin.

Jasmine House: Bright and brassy on first application, Jasmine House smolders down to a warm and subtle sensuality. Three types of jasmine, on a bed of creamy sandalwood, Krishna amber, a scattering of deep, dark roses and a drop of coriander.

If you’d have told me that I’d love this scent, I probably would have outright called you a liar. Jasmine, when worn on my skin, inevitably turns to a sour scent like cat pee. Or not so inevitably, as it turns out. This smells awesome on me.  I actually didn’t think it smelled brassy at all in its wet stage. Bright, yes. But not metallic or strident or astringent in any way. After about 10 minutes, it smells like a positively creamy jasmine, probably from the sandalwood underpinnings. I don’t actually smell any amber here, but there is also a sort of velvety quality that I associate with certain rose oils, so that might be it. Oh goodness, this is a good one. It’s a classy floral that you can wear in warm weather or cool. It’s bright and sunny but also very well rounded. Well done.