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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Solstice Scents ~ Hand of Darkness

Hello, sweet sparkly gems! Though the summers here are long and excruciating, I've never been much of a fan of summer releases. The Autumn collections are my absolute favorite, and I'm okay with smelling like Manor all year! However, there was a huge standout perfume in the Solstice Scents Summer release: Hand of Darkness. I knew I had to have it upon reading the scent description.

The following scent description is from Solstice Scents:

Oceanic Accord, Rain Accord, Woods Blend, Black Pitch, Buddha Wood, Lime, Coriander, Tarragon, Amber - 5ml


The Hand of Darkness is a term coined by seafarers to describe the loss of the guiding light of the moon as it vanishes behind a thick misty veil. The resulting darkness makes the seas treacherous and difficult to navigate. This phenomena strikes fear into the heart of even the most grizzled mariner.

Hand of Darkness is a dark aquatic and woods blend. It opens with a tumultuous and disconcerting blend of oceanic accord (a blend of fragrance oils and seaweed absolute to evoke a realistic scent of the ocean), chilly rainwater, black pitch and the saturated planks of a wooden ship. On initial application expect to be pelted with a strong blast of cold rain and oceanic brine. The black pitch in between each of the ship's planks adds a dank quality at the base while the lime EO provides a jolting top note. After a few minutes, the danger begins to recede as the rain slows and a sliver of moon reveals a promise of visibility. At this stage, the light woods blend comprised of teak, copal and blue cypress begins to emerge along with a splash of sea spray. Shortly thereafter, the moon fully emerges and the calm seas signal the retreat to the dry warm Captain's quarters. Here the true dry down of this evocative scent is revealed. A tendril of spicy buddha wood EO begins to unfurl from the warm wooden base. The buddha wood will grow stronger over time but the dry wood notes remain unchanged. The dry down is achieved very quickly but you have to journey through the story of this scent to get to the finale. You must skin test Hand of Darkness in order to assess its true character. This scent hugs close to the skin and liberal application is recommended. Even though this scent starts out strong and masculine, the dry down is very wearable and may be enjoyed by Women who like darker wood blends.

Hand of Darkness is comprised along with several fragrance oils along with the following essential oils, absolute, CO2s and attars: mitti, blue cypress, copal bark, fossilized amber, swiss stone pine, lime, galbanum, coriander, seaweed, kapur kachari, tarragon and a small amount of lavender absolute.

This is the first premium perfume I have been able to try by Solstice Scents. I absolutely love the inspiration behind this perfume. I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but I really find that Solstice Scents perfumes really take you on a sensory and visual journey; and Hand of Darkness holds true to that.

The cold sniff is a bit perplexing. The lime is quite strong and paired with a mixture danky, mossy, seaweed. It really smells weird... But that's okay, because the initial application and drydown are on a whole new level of cool.

Initial application has kept me on my toes, because this perfume is quite a morpher. It starts with a strong, tropical lime note that immediately morphs into into the most amazing and realistic oceanic aroma. It completely lives up to its name as a "dark aquatic" (the dark woods come in later). The seaweed and oceanic notes give it a realistic scent of an angry, roaring sea. It's really neat, and VERY far from any aquatic scent I've come across. I mean, this is straight up Davey Jones oceanic. There is also a very realistic, ozoney note of pouring rain that so many other perfumes have a hard time achieving.

The drydown truly comes almost instantly in this blend. The dark, woodsy aspect to this perfume unfolds in a very beautiful manner; with the hearts of the ship crew still beating tumultuously. The blend of woods that are supposed to be present at this point are teak, copal and blue cypress. I can definitely detect the teak, though I am not familiar with the other notes (unfortunately). The Buddha wood adds a pleasant and spicy aroma to the already beautiful woody blend this scent has become.

This scent is definitely very dark and equally beautiful. It couldn't be further from the mass produced, light, feminine leaning aquatics like those from Bath and Body Works. And I think that's what's so charming about this perfume. I also like how it morphs beautifully from the initial application to the drydown. It is truly a dark and masculine blend, so this won't be your cup of tea if you're not into that sort of thing :)

Thank you guys for reading. Until next time, take care!

DISCLAIMER- All items mentioned were purchased by me for my own personal usage. I am not affiliated with or compensated by any of the companies mentioned. All opinions are my own and honest.


  1. jealous!!!! That was some fast shipping! I am just waiting for a restock of whipped soaps to make my order. Did you get to try the sample of Tenebrous Mist I sent you? How do you think they compare? I adore TM so I assume I would like Hand of Darkness too, but I'm debating doing a sample or full size first. Great review :)

    1. I can send you some if I figure out how to get the rollerball off! Do you know how to do that? I truly wouldn't mind! I was planning on doing a Tenebrous Mist review soon. They're really really different, at least on me. TM was more smoky sea spray awesomeness, and HOD was a lot more knarly and like what a pirate might smell like, aha! But yeah I'd love to send ya some, I'll google how to get that dang rollerball off :D I'd recommend a sample first because Hod is SO dark and different...

    2. Aww, thank you for the offer, but I will be ordering some anyway in the next day or so, as soon as the soaps get restocked. I was just debating getting a sample first or just going ahead and doing the full size. It's good to know they are quite different, sounds like TM is more musky and HoD is more wood-based. Heh heh...knarly sounds intriguing. Maybe I will just do a sample first since HoG just posted about an Indian Summer release and I must try those too! I'm able to use a safety pin or something like that to pry off the roller ball at the base(the clear part). It is a little trickier with the premium bottles!

    3. No problem! One thing that I should mention is that silage is pretty low on Hand of Darkness. I never really talk about silage, mainly because most perfumes don't last long on me for whatever reason; but this one does hug close to the skin! But exactly, TM is musky and smoky; HOD is definitely wood based. It dries down to the spicy wood blend on me, so initial application is the "Knarly pirate" part for me ;) But I just got an email saying SS got their whipped soaps restocked :D I can't wait to see what you get and hear your thoughts! <3

  2. Oh dear, I was terribly bad. With everything I wanted I was getting close to getting free shipping, so I figured it would be a terrible waste to pay for shipping when I could be spending it on product, so, um, I bought more until I got there. In my defense I bought at at least one with G in mind. I haven't done a big order like this since fall,but they all sounded so good! Will do a post when it all arrives! And the HoG indian summer ones sound lovely too.decisions, decisions...

    1. Don't feel bad about anything. You truly deserve to treat yourself! What would be the point of working jobs that can be toilsome on our wellbeing if we never did something nice for ourselves? An order of perfume and whipped soaps is such a small deal in the grand scheme of things. I shouldn't have got Hand of Darkness because I literally only have enough money to buy my medicine for the week tomorrow... But I Haven't bought anything in months and needed a little something to make me smile through all this stress, even if it's just a perfume.

      I am so excited to see what you ordered!!! I love SS whipped soaps. I love how they contain more product that HoG whipped soap, and are a lot "fluffier," at least in my experience. I go through HoG whipped soaps so fast, I have to resort to using my bf's body wash! Heh! I looked on the HoG website, but I didn't see any new fragrances for the summer collection- maybe they've sold out? Anyways, take care, my dear!!!

    2. Thank you, I feel better about it now! I always say, there are much worse vices to have :)I did go a little overboard but I am all set until autumn now, I think. I got a wee bonus at work for not taking any sick days this quarter so it went towards my order, and a friend gave me a 10 dollar GC just for funsies so that helped the damage. That sucks about the medicine, it's not right when medical costs take up so much of your income :(

      I got full sizes of pretty much everything, if there is anything you'd like a sample of, just let me know. The HoG release is under Reverie, most of it appears to still be available. It's Indian Summer themed, sort of pre-harvest. I love the sizes of SS whipped soaps too, they seem to last longer. But I LOVE the texture of HoG whipped soaps for use as shaving cream (which is sooooo not cost effective but it's very soothing to my sensitive skin). I hate that I can't get any more until the weather cools down. Tracking says I'm set to get both my SS and HoG order tomorrow...can't wait!

    3. No need to thank me, sweet one! There are much worse vices to have indeed. Perfume and soaps are something you can use every day! And like you said, you're set for a while now! That's awesome that you got a bonus for not using sick days this quarter, and equally awesome that you had the gift card. But even if you didn't have those things, it's still ok to be kind to yourself!

      I am getting way too excited to read about your goodies! You are so kind to offer, but you've already spoiled me! Speaking of that, is there any scents you would like to hear my thoughts on first? Thanks for letting me know about the HoG collection being under reverie! The scents sound so so good!! I love using the HoG whipped soaps for shaving cream too- which is why I go through them so fast, haha! It is a bummer that they melt in the summer and can't be shipped, but it's exciting to look forward to the autumn scents that will be available in whipped soaps!! I can't wait to see the new scents that will be out for autumn!

    4. If you change your mind about samples after I post about my order, you're welcome to let me know :) I can't remember everything I sent you, I totally forgot to write it down. I think I sent you some Darling Clandestine though and I'd love to hear your thoughts on those, mostly because they are often so hard to describe!

    5. Oh you are so sweet! I assure you I need nothing else. You and the other girls have been so kind to me, I'd never be able to accept anything in good conscious without being able to give back. Having no work during the summer is a downside of both my jobs, and I can't get unemployment for it. Real teachers get money taken from their paycheck to last the summers, but I don't make enough for that. I've been looking for a full time job ever since I graduated in 2009, and I'm still looking. Something's gotta give some day, right? Haha. It just sucks because there's so much stuff I want to be able to share with you and the other girls, but I can't right now and it makes me so sad.

      I'm glad you said something, I forgot to edit the thank you post to add the list of scents- I'm off to do it now <3

    6. Ok I edited the Thank You post to include the list of perfumes now <3 I wish I could copy and paste it here, but it won't let me because I'm on the iPad. Boo :( I'm sorry!

  3. This sounds like it smells really interesting...


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