I've been trying to clear out my little container of errant samples over the last little while, testing them out. Since I've halted purchasing many scents, and I haven't been doing any decant circles (and also I have way too much perfume anyway - I want to get things out, not bring more little vials in to try), this pile has been happily dwindling. These two I picked up in two different Solstice Scents orders over the last eight months or so (oh goodness, it's really been that long). I grsbbed Cherry Vanilla Amberosia and Gibbon's Boarding School as my free samples, both scents in the general cstalogue, though they both started out in seasonal collections.
As an aside, I really like that Solstice Scents lets you pick your free sample. It's a great way to explore their catalogue a little more.
Cherry Vanilla Amberosia
Amber, Black Cherry, Maraschino Cherry, Deep Vanilla, Whipped Cream & Sweet Orange EO
The thing about Solstice Scents is that they have very detailed scent descriptions after the brief notes list. Which is great! You can always get a really, really good idea of how a scent will smell on you. But it's also like reading spoilers, because most of the time I have very little to offer other than "Yup, I agree." So, yup, I agree! But I'll tell you anyway especially since I'm not linking it since it wasn't in stock when I wrote this (and now that I'm checking again as I read over this, Solstice Scents is closed till May 9th).
In the vial, Cherry Vanilla Amberosia smells of syrupy cherry, veering on cought medicine for me. Very sweet. It's also got a very warm, golden amber note, all honey and caramel and musk. There's a brighter, sunnier note, which smells like a very ripe orange on a hot summer day. I've come to realize I don't really like oranges, but I like the smell of sweet ones. This note doesn't last into the wear, which is unfortunate, but it does provide some smoothness to the scent once it's on my skin.
It's very heavy on the cherry vanilla on my skin at first, and very sweet, almost cloying. It's a little too much for me at the point. As it dries down, the amber warms up and creates a warmer, muskier, almost caramel scent, with a heavy layer of cherries and a dark vanilla. It's still fairly sweet. The amber eventually becomes the main note, as the cherry and vanilla step back over time, though still present to sweeten the amber. It's got moderate-high throw, as well excellent staying power - it lasted nine hours on my skin.
I'm not a big fan of amber, or cherry in my scents, and while this is perfectly pleasant, it's not my thing. Cherry too often smells like cough medicine to me, and since I'm in the process of getting a cold again, it is most definitely not for me at the present.
Gibbon's Boarding School
Dusty Wooden Desks, Paper, Carefully Hidden Tobacco Pouch, Dying Fire, Dried Leaves, Leather Chairs, Autumn Breeze
I picked Gibbon's Boarding School because I read a description of it smelling like books. I have owned and enjoyed Solstice Scents' Library in the past, which does have some lovely book notes, but I eventually found it to be too ashy and heavy and dark for me to wear - plus most libraries aren't heavy, dark, wooden places filled with leather-bound books and so I don't associate those parts of the scent with books. Gibbon's Boarding School is a lighter scent, and I think that it's much closer to the scent of older books.
In the vial, it's a dry, dusty scent. Aged. It's got a bit of sweetness in the vial that doesn't remain on my skin. I get a stronger tobacco note in the vial, as well. It reminds me of the varnish on a battered school desk - it reminds me of the desk they lined up in the gym during exam time, though I couldn't tell you why, since those were cheap desks at a public university and don't evoke any pleasant thoughts or smelled at all like this perfume, but that's what this brings to mind.
On my skin, it's drier and dustier than the vial. It's more of the paper and the dried leaves - the leaves remind me of Foxcroft, so I suspect similar notes were used for this leaf note. It's interesting. Solstice Scents really excels at scents like this, atmospheric and interpretations of such specific kinds of spaces. Overall, this smells most like old books to me for the first hour or so of wear. After that, it fades considerably and hugs much closer to the skin. It gets a little smoky as it fades, though never full-on fire. Oddly, this one has terrible staying power on me. It lasted maybe four hours. I tried it several of times, and the same thing each test. The sillage starts off moderate, before dropping to hug very close to my skin. I really like Gibbon's, but the short wear gives me pause.
I haven't bought a ton from Solstice Scents in the last year or so, since they've been focusing on their EdPs, but the Rhinestone Housewife will be shipping full bottles of the EdPs to international customers, so I might be drawn back into the SS circle. They really do make beautiful, impressive scents. And finally a book scent that's pretty true!
On a much more sombre note, I want to talk about the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta. If you haven't heard, fires have been raging in the prairies for a while now - it's been very dry and unseasonably warm there, exacerbating the problem, and yesterday, the fires near Fort McMurray jumped into the city. The city has been evacuated, with over 80 000 people fleeing the fire - many of whom are not going to have homes to go back to - and fortunately no fatalities.
I bring this up because Fort Mac is near and not always that dear to Atlantic Canada. I've always reflected on how people here grow up and go west to live their real lives somewhere else, somewhere more prosperous. I fully expect that I will go west too, at some point. It's actually a fairly long standing tradition, dating back hundreds of years. Fort Mac is the heart of the oilsands, and somewhat jokingly referred to as Newfoundland's second-largest city. Cape Breton's too, and we all know many someones who work out and around Fort McMurray. We all know people who commute there and live here (three weeks on, one week off). We all know people who left for there and stayed. Fort McMurray is still one of those places, in a continent of those places, where people are from somewhere else. We always asked people who said they were from Fort McMurray where they were really from during frosh week, and the answers were "Nova Scotia," "PEI," "New Brunswick," "Newfoundland." We resent having to go there to make money, but we need Fort McMurray. And there's a lot of things you can say about the oilsands and Fort McMurray and Canadian federalism and pride and outmigration and transfer payments, many of them complex.That doesn't matter now.
Fort McMurray is in grave danger of being totally destroyed. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes. If you'd like to send some money to help out the relief right now, you can do so at the Canadian Red Cross. And hope for some better news, soon.