One of the huge names in Indie perfume is ARCANA! I’ve heard great things about it, especially the quality of the oils and the depth of the smells. When I saw on r/imam that her shop was up and running on eBay, I snagged myself three bottles-Love, Snug and Unearthly Lovely (I got Two Fingers Ballet from a swap)!
I ordered it on January 31st, and it shipped on February 4th and arrived two days after that! In the indie world, that’s as fast of a turn around time as I can really expect!
- Love: Splendid, dazzling devotion. A breathtaking vanilla accord is accompanied by fresh cream, sugarcane, soft musk, and a pinch of tea leaves. Out of the bottle, this smells SOUR to me, so so sour. Almost like curdled yogurt/milk, or super tart lemon yogurt. Either way, we’re not off to a great start. I let it rest for about a week and give it another go. I decide to just apply to my skin instead of doing a bottle sniff. On the skin, it’s still quite sour, it’s died down a bit but still prominent. Two hours later, the sour is actually almost completely gone! I’m left with this soft, sugary musk. It’s so awesome at this stage!! I’m not sure if I can make it through the first phase to get to this point. Super sad that the cream note doesn’t work with my skin. I can’t speak to the throw, as I ended up scrubbing this one off.
- Snug: The scent of staying in to watch the snow fall: dark honey amber, marshmallow, and the glow of beeswax candles. Out of the bottle, it’s strongly beeswax!! It veers between plasticky and ambery. On the skin, I definitely get that honey amber now. About an hour in, the plasticky wax melts (ha ha) away and I have a light mallow, amber honey scent. This to me is very unisex, and is an ideal sleeping scent. I’m actually wrapped in a fuzzy robe, and this scent fits in perfectly. Throw is fairly high on this one, I went to sleep with it and had whiffs of it on my clothing in the morning.
- Unearthly Lovely: Dusty honey, bee pollen, and vanilla bean. Vanilla, I can definitely smell the vanilla, and right behind it a strong honey scent, almost like hay and honey put together. I wouldn’t describe it as green, but definitely is not just straight golden honey either. Almost a darker honey if that makes sense. On the skin, vanilla is still the first note, then the bee pollen then the honey. This is a winner for me, I find it extremely similar to Snug, but a bit more feminine with the prominence of the vanilla bean. If I had to chose between the two, I’d go with Unearthly Lovely, but they’re both great! Throw is on par with snug.
- Two Fingers Ballet: A delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, and the smallest dab of opium. OMG OUT OF THE BOTTLE, IT SMELLS LIKE ALMONDS, where am I getting the almonds?! It’s not even in the notes-it must be the white amber, or caramel? On the skin, it smells like Taiwanese almond milk tea. I can’t get enough of it. THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR. This smell is delicious, it’s foody without being overwhelming and just so absolutely beautiful. I love this so much and may have gotten two back ups. I get vanilla bean, and caramel goodness at the end. The throw is decent, on my skin I’d say about 5 hours but I can still get whiffs of it on my clothing throughout the day.
My first venture into Arcana and I’m really pleased! The scents are nothing like I’ve ever smelled before and being able to capture “dusty honey” and “dab(s) of opium” are signs of a gifted perfumer. I don’t think my skin can do that “fresh cream” note, so I’m probably staying away from those. She uses the standard glass 5 ml bottles, and are priced on the higher end ($19-$20) through her eBay shop.
Her Valentine’s Day release just came out too, so may have to pick up a few of those! Can’t wait to try more.