((Hesitantly opens hatch on underground bunker…squints at brightness)) Hello out there. Um, is there anyone out there? I know it’s been loooong time, no post, and although I am sorry about that, it has been a bit crazy in the world these last few months. With the onslaught of dire daily news, I’m convinced we are living through the early chapters of a dystopian novel. My focus resides elsewhere most days, however, I know my friends and followers will understand my absence. Unless, of course, you fall into the ‘it’s all a worldwide conspiracy’ camp, in which case feel free to skip down to the scent descriptions.
Dessa’s Homespun Scents
After a major wax buying lull in the winter and surreal spring of 2020, my dam of restraint broke in June and I went hog wild. Although I occasionally got an itch to post some wax haulage, it was fleeting. Apparently, I am utterly unable to compartmentalize my emotional and blogging capacities as the foul mess of this pandemic has permeated through life. But we are fortunately all healthy here and with fall approaching I wish to try; no better reason to resume wax writing than this major Dessa’s fall haul. Bring on the retail (aroma) therapy:
Dessa’s Homespun Scents embodies fall wax vibes, from her charming aesthetic to her crowd-pleasing autumnal aromas. Although I can testify Dessa has killer winter scents and a playful Disney’s Main Street-inspired catalog too, her wide variety of fall blends garners bushels of buzzworthy attention. To feel cozy and connected to the earth this autumn is more important than ever and many of these scents embrace that feeling. From the mid-June preorder, arrived in six weeks.
Wax cups- 1.5 oz., $1.95 ea. (HB)=house blend
Let’s get the summery blends outta’ the way first, so we can move on to the fall goods:
ENCHANTED-“sweetened almond cream, sea salt and subtle hints of coconut.” Sophisticated, ethereal scents like these put me in the clouds. Silky creaminess reminiscent of shea butter plays well with the delicate nuttiness bestowed by coconut and almond. Kissed with a sprinkling of salty tang, this scent nearly achieves that elusive complexity of all the scent categories in one: sweet, salty, tangy, bitter and savory. *Would repurchase.
BEACH HOUSE (HB)-“Spend the day at the beach basking in the sun while the cool brisk breeze brushes your face. Salty sea air meets a hint of coconut sun tan lotion.” The refreshing feel of windswept beach days, hair tangled and flying, sandy toes, your coverup whirling around as you layer on cool coconutty lotion. Not as salty as Enchanted, mellower. Wafts of amber appear and when melted, it becomes an intangible marriage of sea, sand and sky.
ALOE & RAIN WATER (HB)- ‘A calm and refreshing blend of green aloe and summer rain water. A beautiful, clean and fresh blend.” Pure water and greenery. A serene lake lies encircled by plush, shadowy foliage. An after-the-rain ozonic freshness is discernable but delicate. I adore crisp, watery notes like this; saving for melting at the first sign of spring.
Two things to know about my waxie habits: I am lazy when it comes to chopping wax and I enjoy creating my own mixed up/customized blends. Dessa’s Blender Bits are perfectly sized pieces made for fragrance mixing. I grabbed some staples and took a chance on one or two.
Blender Bits: 3.5 – 3.8 oz., $4.75 one scent per bag:
SALTY SEA AIR-“Imagine the sand between your toes and the warm salty ocean spray splashing your face. Fresh ozone, salty sea spray, seaweed and sun-weathered driftwood.” I tend to create custom blends using SSA but have never owned the single oil. Crisp, but not as bracing as other SSA blends. Awash in cooling ozone yet grounded by earthy wood. I’ll mix with lavender, marshmallow, fireside, rose, pink sugar, fruits-you name it.
CHARRED OUD VANILLA (HB)-“A masculine blend of exotic oud wood blended with sultry charred vanilla. This is a warm and earthy scent.” Borrowing his cozy flannel buttondown faintly smelling of smoke, cologne and night air. Stoking last night’s dying campfire embers in the quiet dawn. Resplendent with crackling woods, vanilla and warmth. Dead sexy scent, would repurchase, yes mam!
ORANGE BLOSSOM-“The sweet delicate flowers of an orange grove in full bloom on a bright spring day.” For some reason, I think orange blossom should be a light gentle floral, it is not. Looking for a citrusy mixer, I might have gone with a juicy orange instead. The neroli releases an acidic shot in the arm too bitter for my taste. If you like a big, hardy floral that is a bit unusual, this could be for you. So far, I mixed with patchouli and sent my husband running from the house.
COTTON CANDY CONFECTION (HB)(MSM)-“The classic sweet and sticky spun sugar treat.” I always need a neutral sweet blender, similar to swizzle sticks, to take the edge off some notes. On cold, bubble gum-like fruitiness, but warmed, this brings a real-deal fluffy cotton candy that settles into an airy indistinct bouquet of ‘sweet’. Plans to blend with fruits, SSA, ocean and tart scents.
ICE-CREAM PARLOR (HB)(MSM)-“Treat yourself to a freshly made classic golden waffle cone topped with a mound of sweet cream ice cream.” Conjures up the exact scent memory of stepping into a boardwalk ice cream shoppe guided by the wafting aroma of just out of the oven waffle cones. Oh, to be on vacation again!! I’ll use this scent as I would a Vanilla bean noel, or Nilla wafers, although it is a bit cloying and creamier.
CRANBERRY VANILLA CAMPFIRE (HB)-“A warm autumn fusion of spiced cranberry, smoked vanilla and a gentle hint of campfire smoke.” Lit with firey cinnamon sticks, the lucious cranberries deliver a feast of fall bounty. Unfortunately the latent smokiness evaporates into thin air when warmed, giving rise to an everyday spiced berry note rather than the fruit + earthy woods I anticipated. Spice lovers will be stoked by the powerful throw.
AUTUMN CAMPFIRE (HB)-“The essence of fall- cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie, warmed apples, gingerbread, hot cider and a touch of marshmallow toasted over a campfire.” Hot cider itself is relaxing to me rather than stimulating. Because on the rare occasions when I sip cider, I’m strolling a farmer’s market or picking pumpkins on an October afternoon, savoring the steamy liquid. A quintessential fall note of craft store spice is smoothed out by mallow cream, stoked with warming ginger and a fragrant apple finish. Medium spice level out of these 3 blends, and perfectly homespun.
PUMPKIN BONFIRE (HB)-“Fresh pumpkin puree, sweet cream, a light sprinkling of cinnamon and a background of hickory smoke from a crackling bonfire.” Invokes scenes of an idyllic farmhouse kitchen in the crisp autumn dusk. The woodstove is lit while the hearth crackles merrily. Fat orange and yellow pumpkins are patch-picked and piled on the rustic farmhouse table, wating to be split, roasted and sprinkled with an intoxicating blend of harvest spices before they’re baked into comforting pies. Lighter spiced than Autumn Campfire, finished with a still tangible ‘green garden vine’ on the pumpkin. Not sure if the fact that I rarely buy pumpkin scents gives me more credibility or less, but I think this is a good’un. *Would repurchase.
LIBRARY OF ENCHANTMENT (HB)(MSM)-“Century old books of aged parchment with leather bound spines, and the gently smoldering remnants of the massive fireplace come together in this enchanting library blend (previously Spellbound).” Familiar to me as I must have smelled this oil before; it mingles sultry perfume with faded pages from thick library tomes. Dusty florals and smooth leather uplift the redolence rather than weigh it down as a sooty note dirties it up a bit. Muted conceptual tones are not for everyone, however, if the scents of old books, enduring embers and flowers followed me the rest of my days, I’d be content.
CEDAR WOOD-“Warm, earthy, aromatic fresh cedar–reminiscent of the inside of a hope chest.” Dessa’s cedar wood oil is one of the best, but I have to disagree with the similarity to a hope chest. That type of cedar is dry and raspy while this oil is dewy and musky, saturated with moist earthiness. However one describes it, I promise it’s a plush, cuddly cedar. *Repurchase.
WITCHES FLY AT NIGHT (HB)-“There is magic in the air as they glide through the night. A haunting blend of warm woods, musky vanilla, charred embers, dark spices, and brisk night air.” Shrouded in dense woodsy accents like rugged hardwoods and cedar compels me to breathe deeply and inhale this spicy odor embedded with cloves. Flickers of intoxicating sweetness lure me back when the spice edges close to overpowering. Injected with dark radiance, this melt channels major Halloween essence. Might repurchase.
HARVEST MARMALADE BREAD (HB)-“Tart apricots, fresh oranges, and cranberry chutney are combined to create a delicious harvest marmalade, served on top of a slice of warm crusty bread.” Cram-jam full of sunshine-infused autumn fruits and crunchy baked goods in perfectly equal measures. Minor bready notes unfold into a warm panettone, studded with honeyed drupelets and candied jam. If this scent materialized as a dessert challege on the Great British Baking show it would earn a “Hollywood handshake”. A gourmand standout from my pre-order.
ICED CIRCUS COOKIES (HB)-“Nostalgic, sweet, and undeniably delicious. Crunchy animal shaped sugar cookies covered in sweet pink and white icing, topped with rainbow candy sprinkles.” Behold the heralded Circus cookie scent, also known as, Frosted Animal Crackers. Not my typical purchase but I had to sniff to find out if it was worth the hype. On cold, I picked up the most generic vanilla note and not much else. First thought: What am I missing?? I cut a third of the wax to melt and once this fuschia pink parcel opened up, I was truly impressed. Buttery-rich whirls, with that soft-baked cookie dough that doesn’t crumble apart as much as yield into your hands like a spongy cloud. The kind that’s slathered with a half-inch thick creamy frosting and is puffed in the middle with a crispy edge…sublime. It has been a long time since I’ve eaten iced animal cookies, but I don’t remember them ever smelling this good. *Would repurchase, on it’s own or to blend.
BEWITCHED BREW (HB)-“A wicked concoction of rich roasted coffee, dark buttered rum, molten marshmallow, and drizzled with scorched butterscotch.” Scorched butterscotch? Oh behave! What a unique, complex and slightly curious house blend. I like it, I think. It takes a beat to get past the coffee note, which is hardly ever done justice in a fragrance oil. But underneath–the silkiest latte of whipped milk froth. Natural bittersweetness provides bite while sinfully rich butterscotch heightens the creamy cup of warmth. No sourness or burnt notes equates a balanced coffee blend, bewitching indeed.
YOU HAD ME AT MERLOT -“Deep, rich, full bodied black cherry, velvety smooth Merlot, sweetened with a hint of raspberry.” Cherry is right up front in the description and yet, I must have been blinded by the wine to try it. Drunken cherries by the dramful overload my nose and in fact saturate this wax with fragrance oil, visibly seeping through. A thick balsamic brew as festive as a punch bowl of mulled wine with cherries floating in it. Too bold for my palate, passing it on.
Shapes in 5-packs of various molds from buttons to pumpkins, approx. 5 oz. $6.00-6.75
Mason Jar ($6.25)- FIREFLIES (HB)-“Fireflies bring magic to summer nights. Warm cedar wood, damp night air, campfire smoke, and the gentle sweetness of roasting marshmallows are combined to create this magical blend.” A deep whiff of this transports me to carefree evenings from childhood. It is twilight in summer, the trees are green and verdant and the sun is on the verge of disappearing over the horizon. Frolicking around the front yard with my brother and sisters, we attempt to capture lightning bugs blinking and twinkling among us. The feel of bare feet on damp grass, cool breezes, distant bonfire smoke wafting through the neighborhood, and the promise of a sweet treat as we’re called back inside. We exhale the excitement of a fading summer day and release our tiny glowing insects into the gloaming. Perfectly named and realized scent immortalizes those long lost moments *definite repurchase.
Confetti pops ($6.75)– SWEET ON PARIS (type)-“The sweet and delightful scent of blackberry, lemon meringue, and buttery vanilla. A BBW type (retired).” I don’t believe I’ve ever smelled the BBW version, but I had an abscense of sweet, tart blends in my stash so I gave it a shot. A blast of sugar is most evident, followed by zingy lemon cutting through the sweetness. My husband and I agree even though it’s potent enough to be smelled outside, it’s not too sharp. The vanilla softens it to a candied-like glaze, I just wish the blackberry was more prevalent. Dessa’s confetti lollipop shapes are so colorful and fun though, the tie-dyed effect of the “candied bits” are very Wonka-esque.
Build a bar mini-loaf: 5.8 oz, $7.25
I know I said I’m lazy when it comes to chopping, it’s true, but since these are mini-loaves I couldn’t resist creating a few blends when given the chance. I appreciate how they are packaged in zip-lock bags, so no tins to cut around or rebagging necessary.
Blackberry buckle overpour/Apricot nectar chunks– These scent descriptions are no longer on Dessa’s scent list as she removed some summery ones for her fall opening. The blackberry buckle is unique, not a blackberry jam cookie, however, butter is unmistakable in the background. Unsure what a buckle is exactly, but I think it’s similar to a baked fruit crumble. This is heavier on the fruity than the bakery, and the berry isn’t quite authentic. I was worried the apricot would overpower, but it imparts a gentle, honeyed note, barely there. This turned out a lively, late summer blend that I’m so pleased to have created. *Would repurchase.
Haunted Hayride overpour/Cold Barn mornigs chunks- HH- “Take a ride on a hayride on a chilly fall evening. Surround yourself with scents of hay, crisp leaves, Macintosh apples and hints of cinnamon. CBM-Step into the barn on a cold dewy morning in the fall. Surround yourself with the aroma of fresh bales of hay, rich cedar wood, and the damp morning air after the rain.“
I’ve tried both scents previously, Cold Barn Mornings is my favorite Dessa’s scent (and top 10 wax scent of all time) previously reviewed here. Putting these two together is an intense scent experience, i.e. the type my husband hates, sorry honey. With the heady mustiness of Cold Barn Mornings hovering in the background, Haunted Hayride is a deeply earthy fragrance. It puts me in a glowing field of rolled hay bales. Under a shady apple tree, leaves lie in heaps and scatters. A brisk breeze caresses the dry grasses, while vivid apples shiver in their branches. The sun beams incandescant in the pale glow of the infinite autumn sky.
Sigh, some of these fragrances actually make me ache for fall. And that’s saying something if you know how I embrace all the pleasures summer possesses.
Samples, about .75 oz.each:
ORANGE & CLOVE SPICE (HB)-“Mandarin oranges are decorated with clove buds to fill the air with the old fashioned traditional scents of Christmas.” A Victorian-style dried citrus pomander type, a holiday classic.
PINEAPPLE CILANTRO-“A tropical treat…fresh, island pineapple served with a citrus touch of cilantro and sweet coconut.” This combo actually made me choke when I worked at Yankee Candle. My tastes have changed over time and now I can enjoy the sorbet-like aspect in moderation. Love those cute popsicles shapes!
CUPCAKES AT TIFFANY’S-“Sweet buttery vanilla cake topped with bits of crushed toffee, hints of chocolate and rich buttercream.” This popular oil has a weird sugar note that smells similar to play-doh to me. Not my thing, but those buttons shapes do separate, perfect size to try in a mixology blend.
SECRET GARDEN- bright grassy woods and a hint of something I can’t put my finger on, fresh not floral.
If you haven’t heard–Dessa is re-opening tomorrow! A FALL HALLOWEEN CHRISTMAS unlimited pre-order is set for Sat, 8/22 @ 10 a.m (PST) 1 p.m. (EST). She recommends ordering as soon as you can, as the website will close when it reaches pre-order capacity, typically within 2 hours. A few of the brand new blends she’s listed: Hocus Pocus, Incantations, and Scarecrow, have caught my eye. I’m sorely missing her Apples & Evergreen blend too…do I need to create a custom mini-loaf using Fireflies? Maybe.
Something to look forward to come early October will be lovely. Composing scent descriptions and capturing wax photos again was gratifying, but I don’t know how many more wax reviews I have left in me. If this is to be my last, then I’m going out on a high note. Know that I am always up for chatting scented wax on Instagram @ The Scented Library too. Please take care now, friends.