Monday, 31 August 2015

Arcana Summer Cravings: A Tale of Scarcity

Once upon a time, there was an independent perfumerie known as Arcana Perfumes and Soaps (or Scents and Soaps, or Soaps and Scents - depends on where you look and does it really matter? No). In the fall of 2014, Arcana released the Cravings collection: tow lines of scents, one focused on apples (Apples Crave...) and Pumpkins (Pumpkins Crave...). These were reasonably popular, and the idea grew and grew - even including joke suggestions, like Apples Crave Apples.

In the spring of 2015, Arcana announced that there was going to release more scents in the idea of the Cravings: this time, with peaches and strawberries. As well as an Apples Crave Apples scent. Buzzing immediately began, with people waiting to hear the lineup of scents. And when they did...

The popularity of this release was insane. I was there and participated in it and I still don't quite believe it. It sold out so fast, decant circle demand far outstripped the actual supply, and since then, people have been on the prowl in destashes to find the scents they missed or desperately need. Arcana knocked it out of the park with this one, and it shows. Fortunately, some of the Summer Cravings scents made it to the general catalogue. 

I was insanely lucky, possibly because I am a seasoned veteran of fast purchasing, but also just a whole lot of luck. My original Summer Cravings purchase was a full bottle of Apple Crave Apples, and decants of Peaches Crave Dolci, Peaches Crave Vanilla, Peaches Crave Mambo, Strawberries Crave Helios, Strawberries Crave Rococo, and Strawberries Crave Waterfalls. Later, I bought the Rhinestone Housewife exclusive, Strawberries Crave Rhinestones, and the Pretty Indulgent exclusive, Strawberries Crave Indulgence. And my true triumph: I nabbed a bottle of Strawberries Crave Helios in July.

After my first round of testing of the decants, I knew that the ones I loved would be hard to find. Peaches Crave Vanilla was a favourite, but had been made part of the general catalogue, so I was free to ignore that one. I liked Strawberries Crave Waterfalls, but that seemed like it would be impossible to find. Same with Peaches Crave Dolci. But Strawberries Crave Helios. I resigned myself to combing destash sales and holding onto my decant. However, one morning, I woke up and started flipping through Facebook on my phone to motivate myself to get out of bed. Or at least motivate myself to be vaguely awake. 

And then I saw it.

A post from The Rhinestone Housewife about a decant circle order that was cancelled and there were some Summer Cravings bottles on the website, including a bottle of Strawberries Crave Helios. I don't think I breathed until I got my confirmation e-mail that my order for it had been made. Considering that the post had been made five hours previous to the moment I saw it, that was seriously lucky.

So after all of that to say that these scents are incredibly difficult to find, why am I still reviewing them? Posterity, mostly. But also because they still pop up in destashes, and if you're wily, you may get them. And some of them are actually still available. And I love them.

Apples Crave Apples

Notes of golden apple, green apple, Winesap, Fuji, fresh apple, baked apple, spiced apple, apple cider, and a hint of apple.

This one started off as a joke on reddit (you can see the thread here, and further discussion here) and morphed into a real scent. Apples, how I love thee. When it first arrived, I couldn't help myself and immediately slapped it on. So of course, the spice notes were dominant and I reminded myself why it's important to let perfumes rest and placed it in my perfume drawer. I may have pulled it out a few times to look at it longingly because I have a problem.

In the bottle, this smells like cinnamon and apples, a lot like a good mulled apple cider. I like apple and cinnamon together well enough, but tend to prefer fresh apples. On my skin, the focus is on fresh apples. This is such a lovely, crisp, sweet, perfect apple scent. There's a little bit of cinnamon in there, but it is almost entirely fresh apples. It's like going to Stirlings, an apple stand near my parents' house, and sticking my nose in all of the baskets of apples. I am in a cloud of apple bliss when I wear this. The sillage is on the lower side, and it lasted about seven hours on my skin. Seven magic, appley hours. Can you tell I'm mad about this one?

This one was very limited, so nigh impossible to find in destashes, and definitely sold out everywhere - but it was hinted that it may make a return for the fall, so cross various limbs.

Strawberries Crave Helios

Strawberry jam with juicy blackberries, lemonade, limeade, and pure white amber.

Helios is the perfect summer scent. In the bottle, it smells like strawberries and limeade. It reminds me a bit of a strawberry daiquiri - sweet strawberries with a squeeze of lime. It makes me want a cocktail really badly. Since I pounced on this one so quickly, it's pretty obvious I love it. It's sweet and summery, and there's something a little deeper in there too. I think the amber keeps it from being sticky sweet. It's got moderate sillage and great staying power: it lasted ten hours on my skin. 

This one appears to be sold out everywhere, so keep an eye on destashes.

Strawberries Crave Indulgence

French vanilla, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, lady finger cookies, opium, strawberry creme, and the faintest whiff of tobacco.

The draw of this one, for many, is its similarity to Two Finger Ballet. I wasn't really into Two Finger Ballet, but Indulgence is amazing. It's probably the fruit that draws me, wheras Two Finger Ballet doesn't have fruit. In the bottle, this is a delicious vanilla cake scent with a scattering of strawberries. On my skin, this fleshes out into a rich vanilla cake, with whipped cream and strawberries and it's both light and fluffy and airy, as well a little deeper smokier. It's like the best, most delicious strawberry shortcake I can imagine. I adore strawberry shortcake. Definitely a gourmand and definitely sinful. I almost didn't get this one - for shame, self. The sillage on this one is on the higher end of moderate, and it lasted for ten hours on my skin.

This one is still available at Pretty Indulgent (and you should get it). 

Strawberries Crave Rhinestones

Sparkle strawberry with pink frosting, white musk, black raspberry, black cherry, pink pepper, and a drop of champagne.

Another one I almost didn't get - the notes were just a little too sweet sounding when I read them at the time I was placing my decant circle order, but then people kept saying it was in the vein of Arcana Dollface, pink and bubbly. I love Dollface. So I placed an order for Rhinestones when it was restocked. Despite the notes, this isn't the sickly sweet, cloying scent I feared. It's a lot fresher and fruitier than I though it would be, with a nice bubbly background. In the bottle, it's fresh berries and champagne. It sweetens up a teeny, tiny bit on my skin, but remains fresh berries and bubbles. It's a very pink, girly scent, and yes, if you do like Dollface, Rhinestones is for you. The sillage on this one is moderate, and it lasts about eight hours on my skin.

This one appears to be sold out, so look out for it in destashes. if it does return, it'll be at The Rhinestone Housewife.

Strawberries Crave Rococo

Tiny strawberries with Madagascar vanilla, Tahitian vanilla, apricot, white musk, and skin musk.

This is one is like the non-gourmand version of Indulgence. It smells like fresh strawberries and vanilla in the vial, with a soft tang of apricot. On my skin, it's a musky vanilla and the fresh fruit. This one doesn't quite hit the same level of love that Indulgence does. It's similar, but very different. I like this one well enough, but I'm not in love with it. It's got a very fresh, ripe strawberry note in it. All of the scents have different strawberry notes in them, and I think this is my favourite one. The sillage on this one is moderate, and it lasted eight hours on my skin.

This one appears to be sold out everywhere, so look out for it in destashes.

Strawberries Crave Waterfalls

Rain, woodland strawberries, fresh water, petitgrain, osmanthus, clover, and smooth amber.

In the vial, this smells like berries and cool water, and clover. Green and fresh and cool - perfect for summer. On my skin, it's grassy and rainy, with a hint of berries and some deeper dirtier notes pulling it all together. Kind of like going for a hike to a swimming hole and then finding some wild berries nearby. It's lovely. It's very different from all of the other ones I picked up, and I'm in love. The sillage is on the lower side and it lasted about ten hours on my skin, fading to a beautiful blue water scent. Since I didn't realize I'd love it in time to grab a bottle, I'm going to spend the rest of my life crying into my decant. 

This one appears to be sold out everywhere (to my great dismay), so look out for it in destashes.

Peaches Crave Dolci

Peach gelato and pistachio gelato with 3 golden bakery cakes.

This is another delicious gourmand. In the vial, it smells like creamy peaches, pistachio, and fluffy cake. On my skin, the notes blend together a little more, and become a peach-pistachio cake, with a generous helping of ice cream. It's very rich and delicious. I was a little worried that it would be too similar to Aestas, which is peaches and yellow cake, but they really aren't anything alike. The peach note here is very tangy and creamy, while the peach note in Aestas is syrupy. I love this one, but I'm not sure if I can bear the heartache of looking for it. And I do have other peach and cake scents tor try and fill the hole in my heart. The throw on this one is moderate, and it lasted nine hours on my skin.

This one appears to be sold out everywhere, so look out for it in destashes.

Peaches Crave Mambo

Cuban tobacco, dark vanilla, sweet rum, tonka, white musk, and sun-warmed peaches.

Of the collection that I tried, this is the one I'm most lacklustre about. I somehow missed the fact that there's tobacco in this scent, tobacco notes and I are not really friends. In the vial, this is very boozy, like a peach-tinged rum, and very heavy on the tobacco. On my skin, it's a vanilla-peach tobacco and rum. Very, very heavy on the tobacco. I'm not a huge fan of it. It's too heavy for my liking, though it is the most unisex to masculine scent of the Cravings that I tried, and I can see the appeal. The sillage is on the lower end of moderate, and it lased eleven hours on my skin.

This one appears to be sold out everywhere, so look out for it in destashes.

Peaches Crave Vanilla

Sugared peach, glorious vanilla, marshmallows, sweet milk, and sheer musk.

I love Apples Crave Vanilla, so I was excited to give this one a go. I'm less enamoured with Peaches Crave Vanilla, but really, could you expect a peach to beat an apple? I don't think so. But this is still pretty good, and at some point, I'll pick up a bottle of it. In the vial, this is like a more sophisticated version of Fuzzy Peaches and a creamy, sweet vanilla. It doesn't morph much on my skin, remaining a tangy sour peach and sweet vanilla with just a bit of powder - but like powdered sugar. I suspect the marshamallow. It fades to a slightly tangy vanilla cream. The sillage is on the lower side, and it lasted about nine hours on my skin.

This one is part of the general catalogue now, so if it's not at the Arcana eBay store, The Rhinestone Housewife, or Pretty Indulgent right now, it will be soon.

It's funny - I thought I would be all about the peach scents, but I actually preferred the strawberry ones more. But all of these are really, really lovely. One of my favourite collections of perfume, ever.

There are still a few bottles of the line kicking around on all three retailers, but are not any of the ones that I tried. Good luck in finding them, if you're still looking!


  1. I got the Apples Crave Apples, Strawberries Crave Rhinestones and Strawberries Crave Summer from a decant circle. Haven't tried either yet but your description for the first two sound so good!

    1. I've been hearing really good things about Strawberries Crave Summer too...but I haven't decided yet if I want to track it down.


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