Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Episode 49: Solstice Scents Samples & First Impression (or, Branching, Branching Out)

I'm one of those people who likes to stay in my comfort zone. I don't like to experiment, I don't like to deviate from brands and products that I know I will like, especially when my skin and my wallet are on the line. That's why, when it comes to indies, I have a tendency to stick with the tried and true. The last couple of times I branched out, it ended in disaster. (See, my excruciating ordeal with Debaucherous Bath & Body)

However, I've felt like it's time for some fresh blood lately, so on some recommendations, and some of my own volition, I will be testing and talking about some indie companies that I have either never tried, or that is has been so long since I tried them, I need to give it another go. Here is the first one!

Solstice Scents First Impression

I ordered a five-pack of samples from indie perfumer Solstice Scents based on the recommendation of some lovely ladies I chat with at http://allthesparkles.com. The scent descriptions sound too good to pass up, and I especially fell in love with the adorable theme of the website. As a new customer, I was also given my choice of two free sample scents, so I have seven that I will mention. I'm also going to touch briefly on the ordering process and customer service as a whole (if applicable). So, let's do the site and the ordering first.
Solstice Scents offers a variety of unique scents, many of them centered around the (fictional?) town of Foxcroft, Maine. The site its self is super cute and easy to navigate, and the Master Scent List is easy to find - no hunting for scent descriptions here. They offer perfume oils, as well as other bath and body products, but everything is made in small batches, so the entire catalog is not always available at the same time. They also offer seasonal and limited scents.
Checkout, for me, was a breeze. They offer a variety of payment options, and you earn points on each purchase, good toward a future gift card, if you make an account with them. You receive a free sample scent with every order, conveniently selected by drop down. For my order, I had to leave a note with my desired scents and there was no problem. My order shipped within 48 hours, and I had it in my hot little hands less than a week after I got my shipping notice.

via Olfactory Exploits
I'm pretty picky about scent, and I didn't want to go crazy, buying something outside of my comfort zone from a brand I've never tried. So, I picked up the following:
Cellar: Damp Earth and Stone, Wooden Casks, Cool Fall Air, Crisp Apple, Pear and Broom Corn. Part of the Manor Collection. This scent was so interesting - I could immediately smell the damp, earthy stones and the sweet apple. It smelled so nice and earthy, this is definitely on my "to buy" list.
via Olfactory Exploits
Covered Bridge: Woods, Moss, Leaves, Wood Smoke, Dirt, Ozone, Fir Absolute. Part of the Foxcroft Collection. This was a nice scent, definitely up my alley but was a little generic - I am almost positive I already own something similar to this, but I'm not sure what. The scent was nice, but I don't plan to purchase a full size at this time.
Black Forest: Agarwood, Nagarmotha EO, Tobacco Absolute, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Cocoa Absolute, Maraschino Cherries, Black Cherries, Hay Absolute, Sandalwood EO, Whipped Cream & a drop of Pink Peppercorn Essential Oil. Ohh my god. This smells nothing like cake, but is so sweet (but not sticky sweet) and chocolate-y and cherry-y and woody and sexy. I wanted to eat my own hand. This is going on my "buy immediately" list.
Foxcroft Fairgrounds: Cotton Candy, Cream Soda, Vanilla Taffy, Gridling's Funnel Cakes, Powdered Sugar, Crisp Fall Air, Woodsmoke & a Tendril of Incense. Part of the Foxcroft's Autumn Festival Collection. This was nice, but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped to. It was quite sweet, with just a hint of smokey air, and I mostly smelled the funnel cakes and vanilla. I liked it, but I don't plan to purchase a full size at this time.
Grey's Cabin: Smoked Cocoa, Cedar, Embers, Black Musk, Copal Bark, Tobacco, Spice. Part of The Woodland Collection. One of the scents I was most looking forward to, and probably my biggest disappointment. All I smelled from this was a heavy scent of artificial cocoa, and just the slightest hint of cedar. I was really hoping for more cedar and tobacco, with a hint of cocoa. Oh well, can't win them all. I'd not purchase this.
Old Havana: Tobacco, Woods, Spices, Sea Mist, Lime. Premium fragrance. DING DING DING we have a winner folks! This. Smells. Amazing. If you like tobacco scents, this is like - holy grail status. It smells exactly how I would imagine a little cigar bar in old Havana might smell - tobacco is the main note, but it's just a little salty and just a little crisp. Perfect. Going on my "buy immediately" list.
via Olfactory Exploits
White Fox: Vanilla Musk, White Fur, Wood Blend, Frozen Dirt, Snow. Part of The Woodland Collection. I think this was the most interesting of all the scents I sampled. It is a really unique mix of sweet vanilla, and crisp, snowy air with just a hint of raw dirt and musk. I couldn't decide if I like it or not, and then it grew on me and I definitely like it. So much so, that it is going on my "buy immediately" list.
Regarding customer service, I did not have to contact Solstice Scents about any troubles with my order. They will be on vacation until June 14, 2015 and both the closure dates as well as final cut off for placing orders was clearly stated on both the index page of the website, and their Facebook page. All in all, my experience with the company was good.
I am very happy with the quality of the fragrances, as well. Three I plan to purchase as soon as the shop re-opens, one will wait for a sale, two were good, but not amazing and out of the seven only one was a total dud - that's a pretty good ratio. Also, Old Havana, which is a Premium scent, really does express a higher quality feeling than the general catalog. The perfume concentration was denser, the scent lasted longer (five hours with just a teeny drop on the back of my hand) and the throw was greater. Although all the scents were of good quality, I'd definitely be willing to pay more for Old Havana because I can see the premium quality is there.
So, in total, my first impression of Solstice Scents was very good - good experience, good products (I only tried perfume oils in this case). I definitely plan on purchasing from the company again, and I would feel very comfortable recommending the products. A+

Oh shit, I meant to add pictures. Lemme do that now. Okay, yeah, sorry that one is sideways I am too tired to deal with these pictures having a mind of their own. This is a new type of post for me, and I will probably do more unboxing and first impression posts over the next few weeks, as I have several fragrance orders outstanding. All indie, too, so if you like hearing about indie perfume, keep checking back. If you see any scents you'd like a full review on - let me know! I'd be especially willing to go more in-depth on scents I didn't like, and why, to help make purchasing decisions. As always just leave me a comment if you'd like that, and pleasant journeys~

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