I've only had my samples from the brand spanking new Woodland Collection from Solstice Scents for two days, but I'm getting my review done quickly this time so my first impressions are fresh in my mind. I can tell straight away that my loyalties are likely to shift from one scent to another as I spend more time with them- I like them all but it will take a little while before I can decide which ones I must have full size bottles of.
Brief first impressions are written blind, then I go back in and add more details and observations as needed. 

 

Winter Dove
Vanilla Crystals, Spicy Carnation, Nutmeg, Cream

Carnation, a little spicy. Smooth, cool, creamy. Vanilla- has a kind of sweet frosting tone. Almost butterscotchy- ah, no, it's boozy. Almost Irish Creme. 

 It was clear that this was Winter Dove because of the carnation, but it took me a minute to remember that it had nutmeg in it and was supposed to have a subtle eggnog note. This is beautiful- I'm normally not a huge eggnog fan but it actually complements the spicy carnation very well. It's not the same by any means, but if you are missing Lace Draped Spectre, there is a fair chance you will like this. It's got the same elegant, refined, slightly haunting feel that LDS evokes for me. But a little more jovial and festive because, yay, eggnog!

Hidden Lodge
  Dry Wood Blend, Oud, Woodsmoke, Spices, Castoreum (Botanical Interpretation)

Tobacco- rich, spicy, warm. Smokey, woodsy, dry. Reminds me of scents like Sirocco and High Noon.

So, I butchered part of that. Don't know why I thought it was tobacco. Everything else stands, though. I think the dry spiciness is what brought Sirocco to mind, but there is something underneath that feels a little more animalic- extremely faint, but it's pleasant to me. I'm not familiar with Castoreum as a note (googled it- wow.), but I'm guessing that's it. It leans traditionally masculine but it settles beautifully on me- that woodsy, smokey dry down that Solstice Scents does so expertly. 




White Fox
Vanilla Musk, White Fur, Wood Blend, Frozen Dirt, Snow

Delicate, white, musky. Cozy, fluffy. Nostalgic somehow. A hint of cedar.

 This one was easy to put a name to as well- it really does have a furry feel to it. I definitely get a pale woodsy, cedar note especially once it starts drying down. It reminds me of something but I can't decide if it's a childhood memory kind of thing or just an echo of some other scent I've tried. I've tried so many it's hard to keep track any more! There is an interesting contrast to this- the chilliness of dirt and snow, the warmth of fur. It's a softer, more skin-hugging scent, but wearing it early today I would get little wafts here and there, so it has some tenacity though it's more subtle. This may be a good work appropriate scent.


Grey's Cabin
Smoked Cocoa, Cedar, Embers, Black Musk, Copal Bark, Tobacco, Spice

Chocolate, syrupy, sweet and dark. Inviting. Makes me think of Halloween candy.

This is seriously chocolate at first, but there are so many other things going on. The chocolate/foody/Halloween candy pail elements seem to fade quite quickly and what's left is just comforting goodness. Sweet, smokey, softly smoldering (alliteration alert!) I don't know copal bark, but perhaps it's the syrupy, resinous note I'm smelling. Or maybe it's the tobacco! Either way, it's intoxicating. Do I wear this myself- or give it a certain special someone? Decisions, decisions.

That chili recipe is looking seriously yummy, I may have to try it

Monarch
Rich Red Musk, Fir, Juniper, Cedar, Frankincense, Labdanum, Moss

Well, hello beautiful! Deep, red, musky. Powerful and intense. But cooler and greener too- some shadowiness. Dark, mysterious forest.

I knew this was Monarch because it was the scent I was most skeptical about- red musk and fir? That was a world gone mad in my book. I had no idea how those would play together. Ah, but this is Solstice Scents, and I shouldn't have doubted- they play together very nicely. They are really blended seamlessly together, so what I smell is mostly a red musk with just some faint, cool woodsiness and greenery weaving in and out. And as it dries down it becomes more of a warm, sexy,  resinous incense with the frankincense and labdanum. Really love this one.

Night Watcher
Forest Floor, Tree Tops, Bark, Mountain Air, Fir Balsam, Juniper, Moss, Oud, Dried Herbs, Cedar Tips

Grape? I know it's not but it has a "purple" feel- dusky. Then something green/herbal/fern-like. Reminds me of Solarium, but not humid.

This is an evocative one- I don't know if it's just the scent's picture on the website influencing me, but it really does bring to mind the woods at twilight, where it's getting darker and the forest is full of mysterious, disembodied noises- creatures calling and rustling through the leaf-strewn forest floor. Like Solarium from the Manor Collection- it does have that purple/green tone, but instead of a humid greenhouse, it's a cool, mossy forest. The dry down is fainter on the herbal, airy notes and focuses more on the woods and deep, dark greens. This has a lot going on- need to spend more time with it!

My haul this weekend also included two full sizes of favorites of mine- Edge of the Night and Foxcroft Fairgrounds.

Lots of adventurous things going on in this collection- you might think think that a woodland collection might start to smell "same-y" but all of the scents have complex, unique profiles that really bring to mind a variety of places, animals, moods, etc., that keeps it interesting. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!



I think I am pretty much stocked up on skin care products for a while. I got an Ulta gift card for our Christmas family gift exchange (kudos to G for suggesting it to his brother-in-law, who drew my name) and I decided to use it during their Love Your Skin event for maximum bang for my buck. They had a promotion early in the month where, if you bought 65 dollars worth of skin care products, you would get a tote bag chock-full of skin care samples, some of them deluxe, Birchbox-sized samples. It was a lot more impressive than I expected!


This is what I actually purchased online:

Clean and Clear Advantage Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer Miracle Skin Transformer Transformation TrioNeutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes 25 CtNaturals Purifying Pore Scrub Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser Pore Refining Moisturizer (free full size GWP) The Body Shop Seaweed Iconic Clay Mask Aveeno Eczema Therapy CreamL'Oreal Hydra Fresh TonerDr Teal's  Eucalyptus Epsom Salt Relax    
 

 The rest were all freebies that came in the green tote bag!
I've used some of the purchased products before. I love the Miracle Skin Transformer as a primer and the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Creme is my go-to lotion when my skin is being itchy and difficult. I just finished a bottle (it lasted me a good four months of regular use) and this was a re-purchase. It's gentle enough for me to use on my face and is rich but doesn't feel oily. I've never bought the Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts before, but I will definitely repurchase. It's cheap, smells amazing, and is great for soaking sore muscles.

Ahhhh... nothing makes me happier than a huge pile of samples to try. I'm kind of overwhelmed by the options! This was an awesome promo, really glad I got it.


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