I’m so delighted to share a few reviews from Arcana Wildcraft’s new Hel’s Belles collection, a series of scents celebrating the goddesses of ancient Norse cosmology! Friends who have been reading my reviews for a while may recall my frequent mention of Arcana’s Holy Terror, a fragrance in my All-Time Top Ten favorites, so as you might imagine, I always thrill at the opportunity to try something new from them.
Frigg: (black tonka bean, raw cashmere wool, French bakery vanilla, soft warm skin, confectionery sugar, and sweet almond) is a really soft, intimate close to the skin scent, but it’s not really a skin scent, per se…unless your skin is comprised of the gentle sweetness of a dollop of real whipped cream atop a marzipan-stuffed almond sugar cookie. It is an achingly subtle, tender scent and I thought it was sold out but I must have imagined it because it is still available and you definitely need this one.
Valkyrie (mosses, tree resin, dry heart cedarwood) is all the gravitas and stillness of the strongest and most fragrant of the ancient woods, a fitting olfactory embodiment of these valorous women seen as transformative agents, both arbiters of fate and psychopomps of the dead.
Eir (Roman chamomile tea, wild lavender buds, vanilla bean, warm flannel, ivory patchouli, coconut milk, tuberose, and magnolia) is the loveliest, dreamist herbal dram of cozy nap-time herbs and flowers, sweetened with a scant sprinkle of vanilla sugar and a spoonful of mildy, milky coconut cream.
Nott (labdanum, Madagascar vanilla, benzoin, black cardamom, vintage patchouli) is the richest, chewiest amber and cardamom toffee caramels, all dense balsamic resins and buttery vanilla and wrapped in a smoked patchouli leaf. It’s A LOT and it is freaking devastating.
Lofn (rose, violet blossoms, iris petals, orris root, apple peel, the arc of a rainbow, and wild berry nectar) Unlike the previous scent in this collection of reviews, Lofn is not A LOT. It’s elusive. It’s subtle. It is also devastating…in a gorgeously quiet, low-key way. Rose is never going to be one of my favorite notes, and I’m always so surprised and grateful when someone creates a rose-centric that works for me. (I mean I know this scent wasn’t created for me, but I still appreciate it!) It begins as a jammy rose, but not obnoxiously so. This is a rose stewed with other flowers, not fruits. Those cool purple blooms, the iris and the violet, temper the exuberance and summeriness and passion and opulence that I often associate with roses. And it’s such a cool, level-headed rose that when it dries down it almost seems like there’s woods of some sort in there to ground it...like the peppery, cedary floral of rosewood …but again, I think it’s those sober-bordering-on-somber amethyst-lustered flowers doing the heavy lifting. I staunchly refuse to actually learn anything about perfume, so I don’t actually know that. This is really just all wild conjecture and FEELINGS. I’m okay with that, but I feel like I have to remind the people reading this every once in a while, heh heh.
Rán (caves filled with incense, tendrils of briny seaweed, slivers of amber emerging from salt-soaked earth, ocean-crashed rock, and damp blonde woods) is perhaps the most terrifying aromatic evocation I can imagine of a scent to honor a goddess who presides over the realm of the drowned dead…and I truly, truly respect that. Imagine an incense made from all of the flotsam and jetsam you’ve caught in your salt-crusted nets from the shallow, sandy tides of the ocean as well as its vast, lonely lightless depths, and burn it at the place where the waves break on a moonless night, in offering.
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