Thursday, April 17, 2014

Solstice Scents - Winter Collection

Because I smell how I want when I want.

I know that it's spring already (although, in Iowa you can never be sure what the season is) so the fact that I'm reviewing Solstice Scents' winter collection may seem a bit off. However, this is my first foray into Solstice Scents territory and I figured I'd give their winter collection a try while it was still available. Everything sounded so delicious I just had to. I also picked up a few samples from their general catalog just to round out my order a bit.

My order arrived in a nice and timely manner. The packaging was extremely secure - no leaks in site. As for branding? These folks have it down. Just look! It's obvious that there is so much time and effort put into everything they do. There seems to be a bigger sprawling story that encompasses all their products and if that doesn't get the nerd in me all sorts of excited than nothing ever will.

The swag. Yeah, I said swag - wanna fight about it?
Before I get on to the winter collection I'll go over the few samples I picked up from the general catalog along with my free sample. I grabbed the perfume sampler 3 pack and chose Cenobite, Nightgown and Smoky Mountain Mallow. For my free sample I went with what seemed to be a foodie favorite: Kitchen.

Cenobite, Nightgown, Smoky Mountain Mallow, Kitchen
Cenobite: A Deep and Rich Vanilla for Vanilla Lovers.
Hey, I'm a vanilla lover so pickin' up a sample of this was a no-brainer. Plus, it seems to be a popular Solstice Scents choice. Out of the vial, Cenobite smells just like vanilla extract. Very warm and boozy which is so very pleasant. Sadly, it did not play nice with my skin. The vanilla kind of disappeared leaving behind a slightly vanilla tinged alcohol tone. I thought perhaps it would work for layering but after giving it some time to settle and dry down I only got an artificial, plastic scent. Cenobite was fairly disappointing.

Nightgown: Vanilla, White Chocolate, Tuberose & Tiare Flowers.
I'd heard almost all good things about Nightgown so I made it my second pick in my sample set. From the vial it is sweet and slightly floral. A very nice delicate, feminine type of perfume. On my skin it became more floral than sweet which isn't really something that lights my fires. The white chocolate does peek out eventually but overall I found it to be fairly dull. Nice and demure but boring.

Smoky Mountain Mallow: Wood Smoke, Fossilized Amber Resin, Lapsang Souchong CO2, Guaiacwood, Labdanum, Nutmeg EO, Marshmallow.
This is another fairly popular recommendation so I figured I couldn't really pass it up. With the cold sniff I definitely get the smokiness with just a touch of nutmeg. I didn't get any sweetness from it though. Once I applied it I could only think of BBQ. I smelled like meat, you guys. Delicious smoked meats, of course, but meat nonetheless. I kept waiting for the marshmallow to show and it finally did (very faintly) much later. It may end up being something nice to layer with a fall type scent but on it's own - I'll have to pass.

Kitchen: Pumpkin, Sugar Cookies, Peach Preserves, Spice Breads, Danishes, Caramel, Vanilla & Sweet Wood Smoke.
Kitchen is from Solstice Scents' Manor collection which was released alongside their fall collection. It was recommended to me so I had to pick up a sample. I immediately get pumpkin sugar cookies from this one. Very sweet! The caramel and vanilla are fairly easy to pick out as well. The spice breads linger somewhere in the background but come out very nicely on the skin. It does remind me a bit of a Bath and Body Works candle I have stashed away somewhere though. After a bit I catch the peach preserves - warm and a bit spicy. The sweet wood smoke comes out as it dries down. It's a much more pleasant, less meaty smoke than the note from Smoky Mountain Mallow. I count Kitchen as the first success.

I suppose it's safe to say that I wasn't terribly impressed with the first few Solstice Scent perfumes that I tried. As much as I liked Kitchen, I can't really say that I loved it. So, moving on to the Winter Collection, I was hoping to find something that worked a bit better for me. (Heads up - I did.)

Buttered Rum Mallow, Dark Ginger Spicecake, Flintlock, Lemon Ginger Creams
Buttered Rum Mallow: Rum, Marshmallow, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Clove, Butter, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Brown Sugar & All Spice.
I was super pumped to try Buttered Rum Mallow - I mean, just look at that list of notes. I imagined it as some sort of wonderful butterbeer concoction. And that was pretty close to what I got. From the vial I got mostly butter and the spices. Delicious but almost too food-like. Once applied, the clove amped up pretty hard. It's a very Christmasy scent but also reminded me of sitting around with friends at the local hookah bar as we smoked clove cigarettes. A very silly sort of nostalgia. After a few hours I was left with vanilla, butter and a touch of the marshmallow. It's very subtle but warm, wintery and comforting. I love it!

Dark Ginger Spicecake: Gingerbread, Woodsy Musk, Patchouli EO and Vetiver EO.
This is another scent I was looking forward to! I was hoping for something warm, sweet and spicy. But with that patchouli lingering around in there I should have known better. From the vial, patchouli manages to overpower what little gingerbread there may have been. I was a bit apprehensive to give this one a go at this point and I was right to be. On my skin the only thing I could smell was the patchouli. Disappointing but it is what it is. At the very least I've learned that patchouli and I are not friends.

Flintlock: Tobacco, Saddle Leather, Virginia Cedar, Black Pepper, Woods, Bayberry and Evergreens.
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this one. Out of the vial it is very woodsy - the evergreens and cedar stand out the most and there's the slightest touch of tobacco. Applied, the cedar really takes charge. It's a very masculine scent! As it dries down the leather starts to surface. There's something terribly familiar about it, like those old fashioned shops that have rock candy in jars and barrels everywhere. After a while the tobacco comes out to shine. The cedar does continue to come on a little strong at times though. It's definitely different from anything else I've tried but I think I like it. It makes me think of a sexy tobacco trader leading his ware-laden reindeer through a cold, bright coniferous forest. Or maybe I tested this scent right after I watched Frozen for the first time.

Lemon Ginger Creams: Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies Filled With Vanilla-Lemon Cream.
I want to eat this perfume based on the description alone. Straight from the vial I get sweet, sweet gingersnap cookies. There's also a bit of cream with a touch of lemon. So tasty, you guys. So tasty. Surprisingly, the lemon was what stood out strongest when first applied. I didn't hate it but it wasn't what I was expecting. It just overpowered the cookie a bit. The lemon eventually dries down and the ginger comes back out and we end up with a perfume that is soft, sweet and warm. It's really lovely. I will definitely be grabbing up a full size of Lemon Ginger Creams with my next purchase.

Side note: I tested Flintlock and Lemon Ginger Creams together (but on different wrists!) and they pair quite well together! Imagine that sexy tobacco trader feeding you delicious cookies. Yeah, it's like that.

Nightstar, Outpost, Russian Caravan, Shadows in the Night
Nightstar: Nutmeg, Patchouli, Frankincense, Myrrh, Woods and Lemon.
The description of Nightstar didn't particularly pique my interest so I was not very disappointed when all I got from the cold sniff was woods and patchouli. It's a very, very strong incense scent. So I didn't even give this one a test wear. #sorrynotsorry 

Outpost: Sugar Crystals, Spruce, Fir, Soft Woods, Bayberry, Mistletoe, Amber.
On first sniff Outpost is very similar to Flintlock but much sweeter and without the masculinity that came from Flintlock's tobacco/leather notes. It's very wintery. Applied, I feel like I smell like a Christmas tree. It's a decent enough scent but doesn't do much for me perfume-wise. It eventually mellows out but never loses that 'Christmas Eve at your Great Aunt's' quality. It's definitely safe to say that this is not a perfume for me.

Russian Caravan: Smoked Black Tea, Leather, Pomegranate, Black Currant, Amber & Pink Peppercorn.
Russian Caravan is very nice right out of the vial. It leans a bit masculine with the leather and smoked tea but the pomegranate and currant keep it sweet. It definitely gives you the idea of a caravan/camp type of situation. Once applied the leather takes over for a bit. Then eventually, as it dries, the tea starts to peek out again.  It's pretty interesting and my sample will get occasional use but it's not any sort of everyday perfume.

Shadows In The Night: White Amber, White Musk, Somalian Frankincense, Elemi, Bayberry, Spruce, Amber, Peppermint, A Puff of Incense, Edge of the Night Base.
Out of the vial Shadows In The Night is sweet. It's a very "Christmas" smell, if that makes any sense. Almost too much like a Christmas candle, however. The peppermint sits at the top and beneath that I can pick out the spruce/fir. That puff of incense is there. And it's definitely just a puff - which I find hilariously accurate. It went a bit soapy on application. Then became very soapy. Like the super old bottle of orange colored dial my grandma had in her camper. Sadly, this perfume went downhill fast. No thanks.

Snowmint Mallow, Snowshoe Pass, Sugarvale, Winslow's
Snowmint Mallow: Peppermint, Vanilla Cake, Flaked Coconut, Sugar Cookies & Marshmallow Creme.
So minty! I can pick out the sweet cake and coconut right away. Very delicious. There's not much change initially from vial to skin which I really appreciate. The peppermint is the strongest note starting off but it sweetens and warms up as it dries down. The marshmallow comes out later and then the coconut returns. It's really just all around amazing. I definitely want a full size of this tasty little masterpiece!

Snowshoe Pass: White Amber, White Musk, Vanilla Accord, Peppermint Cream, Cold Winds.
This one manages to come across as cold and creamy from the vial. Very slightly minty. The amber and musk make it a bit more of a mature scent than Snowmint Mallow. There's something almost piney about it but I'm not sure which note that might be. I'd say the scent  is fairly unisex. Applied it has a clean, fresh out of the shower scent with a touch of musk but remains fairly sweet. It dries down a tad bland after that but give it a few hours and the vanilla comes out. It's very subtle, sweet and clean. Not a full size buy for me but I'll for sure use the sample from time to time.

Sugarvale: Candied Pecans, Butterscotch, Buttered Rum, Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Hot Pralines & Milk Chocolate Cocoa.
From the vial? BUTTERSCOTCH. It's so strong and so sweet! Under that is the somewhat boozy buttered rum and hot pralines. It's very much a sugar overload sort of perfume. Once applied I can pick out the candied pecans and then just a touch of the cocoa. Finally, after all that, the maple syrup shows it's face. At this point it's almost too sweet. Eventually either the syrup or cocoa goes rogue on me and the whole assortment turns a bit plasticy. Disappointing for sure but the perfume may find some success in my oil warmer.

Winslow's: Rows of Christmas Trees, Clove Studded Oranges, Bayberry Tapers, Handcrafted Wreaths & Mistletoe.
This perfume smells just like Christmas Trees! A lot of the other ones had a Christmas Tree quality to them but Winslow's is the real deal. I can catch the clove studded oranges a bit underneath. It's quite nice but I'm not really sold on it being a grand idea as a perfume. On the skin it is very piney but the clove makes it a dark, spicy pine as opposed to a bright pine along the lines of Outpost. The orange seems to come out now and then but it's so faint I can't decide if it's actually there or if I'm only imagining it. There's something about it that I like but I can't see myself actually wearing it. Maybe only around Christmas time. (Perhaps I'm not as contrary as I like to think I am.)

To conclude - I wasn't as impressed as I was hoping to be with my first Solstice Scents order. Granted, there were definitely some winners in there (Lemon Ginger Creams and Snowmallow Mint for sure!) and a few that deserve some good commendations. Only a couple turned out to be real flops - at least, to my tastes. I was impressed with the order in general however! A very quick and problem free ordering process/delivery. I will be making another order for sure. Maybe I'll have more luck with items that are a bit more seasonally appropriate, haha.


P.S. - I hope to be posting more regularly in the near future! I've been down and out with a wicked cold (I couldn't smell anything for a while.) and wrote half of this post while doped up on Nyquil Cold & Flu. But I've got a Shiro Mega Haul that's just itchin' to be photographed and posted about. (I may have to split it into a couple posts just for the ease of it.) Just some things to look for in the near future!


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