Friday, September 9, 2011

Solstice Scents Autumn sampler

I got my autumn sample set from Solstice Scents today. I've been very excited about this set as it seems to vary from the traditional pumpkin and spices melange usually offered this time of year. Not that I don't love all that, I do, passionately, but it's fun to sample some of the other fragrances this time of year has to offer, like drying herbs, the last fruits of the year or a few faded flowers.

Thornwood Thicket -(Sugared Blackberries, Black Agarwood, Aloeswood, Sweet and Smokey Guaiacwood & Amber) the last harvest of summer. Robust ripe berries and fruits and a glass of mulled autumn wine. Deep, rich and dark, this one is delicious, like a bowl of black grapes, blackberries and a smoky wine and cheese sideboard. Imagine a Dutch still life distilled into an essence - this is it. Wine, fruit; it smells like wet purple silk, or a plate of juicy damson plums. I'd almost call this a late summer perfume - somewhere between the dregs of summer and the creep of autumn, the last few gatherings from the garden while the golden light of summer's afternoon fades into fall.
Frans Snyder 1616

Foxcroft - (Ozone, Rustling Leaves, Rich Black Soil, Chimney Smoke & Woods) Pumpkin guts. And I mean that in the best possible way. This one smells like walking through a pumpkin patch on a damp, chilly autumn day. There's the scent of earth, the promise of frost in the air and the green and spice scent of melons, the ones waiting to ripen and the overripe ones, that have spilled their entrails on the ground for next year's harvest. That smell, unique to the inside of a pumpkin, whether hollowed out for a jack-o-lantern, or split into the damp, leafy ground. This one really captures the essence of an autumn day in the country, more than anything I've ever smelled.

Witch's Cottage. (Warm Baked Goods, Dried Herbs, Sweet Annie, Soft Woods & Fragrant Hearth Smoke) The faded green scent of drying herbs with an undercurrent of spice and smoke. Stand outside the kitchen window on a warm autumn day. Breathe in the scent of the last of the garden, the herbs and a few diligent vegetables waiting to be gathered in for one last harvest. Through the open window you can smell something rich and savory in the oven. The more this dries down, the spicier it gets as if you were moving from outdoors to in. I hope she makes this one in a room spray. This is what I want my house to smell like all the time. The perfect blend of garden, kitchen and hearth.

Devil's Tongue - (Chypre, Brown Leather, Warm Tobacco, Woods & More) A brackish stream winding through the woods to a forest grove. There's green in this one too, but the deep shaded green of a well-worn path through the woods. The brightness of the bergamot and the creamy amber are like dappled light along the road. A mossy dampness lies underneath it all. This is a masculine scent, a woodcutter or huntsman in an ancient forest. I smell Robin Hood or Wayland Smith in this, but a Maid Marion could wear it as well, with a tomboy's grace and nonchalance. Devil's Tongue is a variety of Arum, also called Corpse Flower, Voodoo Lily, Snake Palm. They like shade and wet, loamy soil.

Manor - (Woody-Vanilla Musk, Vanilla Accord, Glorious Black Agarwood & Exquisite Aloeswood) Resinous. Almost sweet, like incense way. This one surprised me. It is rich and dark, like an old, wood-paneled room, but there's a creeping sweetness mixed in. The site describes this one as an abandoned manor house. I'd call it an abandoned plantation, an old southern home just on the edge of the bayou. Old and forgotten, with burnt down candles, dust-covered, warping furniture and the gardens turned dark and wild. It's a skeleton of wooden walls and silken drapery, silently waiting for the swamp to reclaim it. This is the most haunting scent of the collection, full of echoes of things that once were and will never be again.

Gehenna - (Red Musk, Dragon's Blood Resin, Burning Wood, Somalian Myrrh & Egyptian Musk) This one has musk in it, red and egyptian, at least one of which is triggering a migraine for me, so I'll only give it the briefest sniff.  It's sweet in a musky, incens-y way. Similar to Manor but with more the feel of an exotic oil or sticky resin. It's a good smell, but it doesn't seem autumnish to me. I'd put this in a Christmas set, as a "We Three Kings" type aroma. Probably the myrrh that brings that to mind. It's  like a warm, costly golden perfumed oil, glistening in the shade of an oasis. Shame about the musk - I'd like it otherwise. Gehenna is a place just outside of Jerusalem where the pagans sacrificed their children to the god Moloch. I didn't know that until I just now looked it up, but it's an apt name for something that smells like the desert and anointing oils and resins.

I like them all, as I expected, and it's hard to put my finger on a favourite. I think Foxcroft and Witch's Cottage are the ones I like the most, but I expect I'll get Manor and Thornwood Thicket in one form or another as well. I'll have to pass on Gehenna, and I'm still up in the air about Devil's Tongue - I like it, but I like some of the others better. It'll come down to time and funds, I expect.

All products were purchased by me for my own use. My opinions are my own and always will be. Your mileage may vary.


  1. I'd choose Foxcroft. Your description of it was beautiful!

    P.S. I discovered your blog as I was blogging my way through blogger.

  2. Hello Paul, you handsome devil you. Glad to see you!

  3. This scent sounds right up your alley, Zillah: