Solstice Scents: Dark Spring 2013

Recently Solstice Scents released a small spring collection that was comprised of not-exactly-typical spring scents. This was a dark spring collection, for those who can't abide the sweet,light,  floral stuff! Two other exciting things about this release:  Angela reformulated a classic Solstice Scents fragrance, Conjure, and last spring's Vanilla Pipe Tobacco, and she also released samples of uberprecious, rare, and chock-full of home-grown gardenia blossoms gardenia enfleurage. Check out this blog post that explains how this scent was produced.

Here is what I got for this release:

Reformulated Conjure and Conjure Ganache
samples of Vanilla Pipe Tobacco
Midnight Oil
Private Eye
Gardenia Enfleurage
sample of Nag Champa

Reforumulated Conjure
A Magical Blend of Vanilla, Amber, Cedar, Spices & Cauldron Smoke

I once had a full size of the original Conjure and somehow, I don't know how, it's gone missing. I've looked under the couch, in old purses, nothing. It will show up one day, I hope. But if memory serves, this new version smells pretty close to the original. Even, I think, a little smoother and softer, as the scent description suggests. Basically a creamy, woodsy vanilla with a touch of smokey incense. Beautiful and classic.

Vanilla Pipe Tobacco
Vanilla Absolute, Tobacco Absolute, Tonka Bean Absolute & Sweet Clover Absolute - 5ml

The original Vanilla Pipe Tobacco from last spring was just too much for me. The tobacco was quite strong and cloying, almost sticky-fruity in a way, and the alcohol base just made it worse. This one, though, is awesome. It is quite different from the original, so if you were scared off by the strong tobacco in the original, it may be worth your while to give the new version a try. It's sweeter and more palatable leaning towards the vanilla and delicious tonka, and while the tobacco is definitely present and robust, it's not overpowering. I was surprised to love this so much the second time around, but I think I need a full size of this.

Midnight Oil
Cocoa Absolute, Blood Orange EO, Yellow Mandarin EO, Aged Patchouli EO, Labdanum Absolute, Coffee EO & Mushroom Absolute - 5ml

Like the name, this scent has a shimmering, iridescent quality indeed reminiscent of shifting colors in an oil slick. Even the perfume itself is dark and slightly more viscous from the cocoa absolute. The first thing I get from this is a burst of fresh, bright, juicy orange, followed by a dark and rich chocolate. The base is definitely heavy on patchouli, but there's so much going on in the scent that even those not fond of it may find this acceptable. It's an interesting juxtaposition of dark, dank, and earthy along with the sweeter foodie notes. I admit I never tried this when it was first available as a scrub because the mushroom absolute scared me off. I loathe mushrooms, and even though I knew technically there was no way the scent would actually smell like mushrooms, I was still apprehensive. No, this doesn't smell like mushrooms at all. I suspect that it simply lends the scent its dank, earthy element. This may be a full size for me, but I'm undecided as to whether I want it for the summer or would rather get it for cooler weather down the road.

Private Eye

Cocoa Absolute, Myrrh EO, Pink Pepper EO, Black Pepper EO, Tonka absolute, Buddha Wood, Tobacco absolute, Coffee EO, Guiacwood, Rosewood EO, etc.

This is a complex one! Dark, masculine, mysteriously intense and debonair. This would certainly be someone I'd like to get to know better! The first thing I smell with this is a strong spicy/peppery note. The cocoa absolute isn't as apparent to me as it is in Midnight Oil. And not to oversimplify it, because it's not at all simple, but the dry down makes me think of what would happen if Library from the Manor Collection and Sirocco from Summer 2012 got together and had a baby. If you haven't smelled those, it's got the refined leathery elegance and dark woodsiness of Library, and the dry, exotic spiciness and resinous quality of Sirocco. There's other stuff going on as well that are not common to either of those scents, but that's what it made me think of.

Nag Champa
An Exotic Incensey Blend of Champa Flowers, Vanilla, Jasmine & Spices

I usually love incensey scents and I really love burning it, but this one was a little too strong, powdery, dusty even, on me. I'm not sure if it's the jasmine or the champa flowers, but it gave me the first twinges of a headache, which very rarely happens to me. It has the sort of clean quality that I got when I sampled  Pharaoh a while back, and that one also unfortunately wasn't for me. Maybe I would like burning this better than wearing it?

Gardenia Enfleurage
100% Pure Gardenia Absolute In Perfumer's Alcohol

I'm sure I've smelled real gardenias at some point in my life, I just can't pinpoint any specific instances. If I could, I suspect it would smell exactly like this scent. I can't imagine a perfume smelling more authentic or true to life than this. I wouldn't even say I'm a huge gardenia fan; I don't actively seek the note out in perfumes or anything like that, but I really wanted to try this just to appreciate the artistry behind it. And it is quite a masterpiece. Angela warns that it doesn't have quite the sillage or staying power of traditional perfumes but it lasted several hours on me, and smelled just like someone had brought a fresh bouquet inside, creamy with a light, fresh green quality. I will take this out whenever I need a refreshing whiff of spring.

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  1. I was so excited when I heard she reformulated Conjure that I basically did a little happy dance. It is one of my favorite perfumes of all time and I had stuck it away in my perfume box because I felt like I was using it too fast (and I didn't know when she would replace it). So I busted it out immediately and slathered it all over (SOOO GOOOD!), ordered a Conjure ganache to go with it and ordered Private Eye on a random whim. I turned out to really enjoy Private Eye too. This collection totally rekindled my love for Solstice Scents (not that it ever went away, I just hadn't ordered in awhile).

    1. I love that she went in a different, unusual direction with this release too. Several unexpected wins for me too. Can't wait to see what she's planning for summer!

  2. I recently got to try some SS stuff and I liked most of them. Nightgown is my fave! Manor was a bit dusty but I guess that is the awesomeness of it.

    1.'s about time Su! Nightgown is lovely, and Manor is one of my all time favorites. I love the sweet dustiness of the agarwood in that one. It's so atmospheric!

  3. So I asked Angela about the lifespan of Gardenia, and she said it would last a long time - the fat is used in the production but isn't in the final product so it's just Gardenia essence and perfumer's alcohol.

    Going to tuck away one or two of my samples for that moment something extra special happens then!

    1. Thanks for letting me know! I figured it was filtered out but I wasn't sure how. So now maybe you can hedonistically slather yourself with one and save the others for that perfect moment without worry :)


Please leave me comments if anything strikes your fancy or if you have any helpful suggestions. Remember, I'm no expert and am just sharing my truth. Hopefully you will find something useful to take with you!

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