Two of the top things on the various no-buy wishlists I made this summer were a couple of Arcana's scents from their summer releases (and as an aside, I noticed last week that Arcana changed their name from Arcana Scents and Soaps to Arcana Wildcraft. What does this mean??? New products? New direction? I'm incurably nosy; I need to know). And after much deliberating and waiting and looking at the calendar and calculating, I decided to order them, use a friend's mailbox, and have them sent to me before I went on vacation I planned on bringing very few perfumes with me to Belgium, and that would be a great time to test, right? Plus wearing a perfume This is Not Canada in a country that's not Canada made me smile, as silly as it is.
I also picked up Apples Crave Porches because I'm still obsessed with apple scents, and I really liked the inspiration for the Porches collection: a nice wrap-around porch in the late summer. While I don't have a wrap-around porch or a nice view from it, I have spent a lot of time there this summer, and I've felt very fond of the idea ever since. I haven't even put my porch chairs away yet, even though it's pretty clear that summer is over (but heat is not on yet. I will triumph over the tyranny of climate! For a little while).
I did do a bad thing, though. I didn't realize that my contact lens case is a total piece of shit and would leak solution all over the inside of my liquids bag on the way to Belgium. So my labels are mostly intact, but bear the scars of having Boston Advance drip all over them. Which brings me to my one complaint about Arcana perfumes: the labels are paper and thus susceptible to my destructive tendencies.
I did bring a few other perfumes with me to Belgium (Haus of Gloi Cozy Sweater, Midsummer Dreams Apothecary Mermaid, Darling Clandestine Cloudswing, which finally lost potency after two and a half years and so I ended up throwing it out partway through our trip. Don't buy solid scents if you're a perfume collector, kids) but mostly ended up wearing This is Not Canada and Apples Crave Porches when I did wear perfume. The dirty secret of my vacation is that I managed to catch a cold in transit and spent the first few days of my vacation in sniffling, coughing, stuffed up hell. And I have a lingering cough that will not leave. So I didn't get to do quite as much testing as I wanted, alas.
This is Not Canada is described as "Sweet, jammy Canadian fir absolute and wildcrafted Canadian black spruce, suffused by three golden ambers." This is Not Canada is from the 2016 Wanderlost collection, which includes two other scents, This is Not Mexico and the GWP Call the Embassy. The story behind this collection is that Hippy, partner of Julia of Arcana, accidentally crossed into Canada last winter, proclaiming "This is not Canada!" and was wrong. And he had also done this in Mexico too. While I don't have a habit of wandering across international borders, I felt duty-bound to get This is Not Canada. Some deep-seated patriotism, maybe.
In the bottle, This is Not Canada smells like an evergreen, kind of like you're burrowing your nose into one at Christmas. Considering it's got both fir and spruce, this was pretty much expected. On my skin is where it got interesting. I spent a long time reading the notes list and trying to figure out how a fir absolute could be jammy - but of course, I'm not a perfumer and therefore was mostly running on layperson's speculation - but I get it now. The scent takes on a slightly fruity edge, sweet and rich. This is a fairly heavy scent, probably more suited to cooler weather, like now versus the 30 degree blistering hell I suffered in Belgium (exaggeration, but I am really not good at heat). However, it's not pure evergreen, and I think the fruity quality that the scent has keeps me from smelling like I had a bad Christmas-related accident. As it dries down, it gets a little warmer and muskier, but is still mainly fruity evergreen. I really love this scent, more than I originally thought I might.
It's got great sillage, on the high-moderate side. You would be able to smell me standing next to me, but I wouldn't overwhelm you. It also has excellent staying power, lasting twelve hours on my skin before it's completely dissipated.
Apples Crave Porches is a completely different kind of scent and different story. I'll spoil it and say I'm still not really sure how I feel about it, even after wearing it half a dozen times for full days wears each time. It's described as "Tart green apples and ripe cherries with vanilla gelato, creamy lilac sherbet, and cane sugar."
In the bottle, I get a lot of cherry and vanilla, with a tart edge. It's mainly cherries, though. There's also a slight floral note. On my skin, it's cherries, apples, and vanilla, with a dash of lilac. As the the oil sinks into my skin, the lilac gets more prominent, but it overwhelmingly is cherries and vanilla on me, with the teensiest hint of apple. And I think this is why I'm not super sure how I feel about it: I like the cherries and vanilla and lilac, but I wish the apple was more prominent, and that's what I expected.
It gets richer and sweeter as it dries down, though never cloying. It remains the same slightly tart cherry vanilla lilac scent for a couple of hours, before getting more floral. It doesn't have the greatest longevity on me, getting about five hours of wear. The sillage is low, hugging close to my skin, and only wafting about for the first hour or so. It's nice, but...I shouldn't be keeping anything with a "but..." BUT (oh I'm hilarious) I don't have any objections to the scent. I will probably let it age some more and then make my final verdict on it.
I'm not sure how Apples Crave Porches will stand up to this already cool, frosty fall, but I see This is Not Canada getting a lot of mileage. I'm not really enthused about a lot of the usual fall releases, since I've tried most of what interests me and any new additions from my usual brands haven't piqued my interest. There are only so many apple cider and pumpkin scents one can sniff. Is this me really saying that? It seems so.