Solstice Scents Late Summer Collection Review + Giveaway | Haute Macabre

Solstice Scents Late Summer Collection Review + Giveaway

Solstice Scents’ Late Summer collection, released in the latter portion of this past August, revolves around natural atmospheres of desertscapes, conifers, and coast. These fragrances both uniquely transcend the season and are at the same time a paean to the long days, sultry nights, and soaring temperatures that go hand-in-hand with this sun-drenched time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the various magical ways with which we experience it.

Offered in this release are: Cliffside Bonfire, Desert Thunderstorm, Heat of the Night, High Desert, Old Havana, Sacred Vow, Sea of Grey, Sirocco, Sun-Warmed Honey, Tropical Moon.

See below for reviews of some of our favorites, and leave a comment to be eligible for a giveaway of a sample pack of the late summer collection scents!


SEA OF GRAY: Vanilla rain, saltwater, seaweed, ambergris (vegan), white amber, roasted seashells, frangipani.
The concept behind this scent is that you’re strolling along the beach and as tide rolls in, the sky darkens and the first drops of rain begin to fall, you take refuge in a nearby ice cream parlor. I would take this one step further; this is a seaside ice cream shoppe in Innsmouth, and you’re on a date with with of its fish-people denizens. This is not to say that Sea of Gray is a fishy scent, but there is more than a hint of murky dankness upon initial application, and, if only for a moment, you’re swept away in scents of sand, sedge-grass, and stunted shrubbery that gives way to crumbling houses and their repellent inhabitants, and a feeling of overall disquiet and decay. This feeling passes as soon as you cross the threshold into the cool, bright interior of the frozen dessert establishment; the cheery clanking of small metal spoons gently scraping faceted sundae glasses and the soft, vanillic aroma of cold, creamy confections lulls you into a feeling of well being as you glimpse the sun peeking out from behind the clouds again, and all that’s left of your brush with the murky seaside secrets of that shadowed port town is the salt-spray on your skin. Your fishy paramour is nowhere to be seen.


DESERT THUNDERSTORM: Desert Sage, Pinyon Pine & Resin, Petrichor, Sweetgrass, Creosote Bush, Sand, Ponderosa Pine, Smoke Scientist Richard Thomas explains that many natural dry clays and soils “…evolve a peculiarly characteristic odor when in contact with moisture,” and notes that this odor is particularly prevalent in arid regions and widely associated with the first rains after a period of drought. Thomas, working with partner Joy Bear, discovered a yellowish oil–trapped in rocks and soil but released by moisture–that appeared to be responsible for this smell, and the oil itself came to be named petrichor (from the Greek petra, meaning stone, and ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.) This scent of petrichor –the blood of the stone– is the powerful opening blast of Desert Thunderstorm. Steaming gusts of hot stone and earth, upon which beads of moisture dance and sizzle, and release a fizz of aerosols resulting in the scent of wet dirt and minerals. Later, the fragrance of peppery, sun-baked sagebrush and pine’s verdant astringency mingles with the dusty, resinous scent of distant canyon fire and the subtle sweetness of milky, musty sweetgrass. I’ve never spent time meditating in the desert (or any time in any desert at all, actually) but this is precisely how I envision a strange desert journey alone, curling inward with myself and my demons, for a spell of mediation and healing.

Solstice Scents cliffside_bonfire_EDP

CLIFFSIDE BONFIRE: Conifers, dry woods, rain, saltwater, seaweed, ambergris (vegan), charred wood, smoke.
I don’t much care for the gendering of scents, but I suppose this is the most traditionally “masculine” of the bunch. Cliffside Bonfire is a woody, coniferous aquatic fragrance–and before you immediately tune out, let me assure you that this is not the sort of milquetoast, watery “aquatic” that you may remember from high school in the 90’s, though anecdotally, this does remind me of certain high school experiences. This is dry woods,  sea spray-kissed skin, and the barest hint of pine and spruce; I don’t get very much smoke or fire or char from this at all.  It vividly recalls for me sunset streaked summer evenings after spending from noon until nightfall at the beach with my freshman year-boyfriend. Skin too hot to the touch from sun and hormones, sand in our hair and on our tongues, salt-tinged kisses and the impatient, inexperienced fumbling at damp swimsuit strings..twenty five years later this perfume causes a sweet, clenching ache, low in my stomach (and a strange, sexy nostalgia for a dude that kind of turned out to be a turd.)

Solstice Scents sacredvowedp

SACRED VOW: Vanilla, bay rum, amber, saffron, sandalwood, oak, patchouli, vetiver, lime.
There is something delightfully old-fashioned feeling about Sacred Vow, and I mean that in the most beautiful way possible, not in the “ew this smells like old lady” sense that you sometimes see mentioned on perfume reviewing forums. (An aside: someone told me once that they knew a coder on one of these forums, and between the two of them they were so annoyed at this lazy description on the part of reviewers, that they programmed it so that every time someone typed in “old lady” to describe a perfume, it would appear as “bank of  England.” HA! I don’t know if this is true, but I love it, anyway.) Warm, spicy, and resinous, Sacred Vow is  an amber-focused Oriental blend with the faintest trace of floral notes.  With its heart of bay rum and amber, touches of oak, vetiver and jasmine, it reminds me very much of my late grandmother’s bottle of Youth Dew by Estée Lauder; her small, mirrored tray of compacts and lipsticks, and a velvet-lined, mother of pearl jewelry box that held all of her sparkling costume jewelry–all of these luxuries specific to her rituals of beautification smelled softly of Youth Dew’s heady glamour. A strange, witches brew of balsamic resins, amber’s golden glow, and a soft, powdery vanilla.

Find Solstice Scents: website // instagram // facebook // twitter

Solstice Scents has generously offered has a sample set of Late Summer Collection scents to one reader!

To enter to win, let us know in the comments what scents from this release you’d like to try, and follow Haute Macabre and Solstice Scents on Instagram! The winner will be chosen on Monday, September 25th.

51 Comment

  1. I have not had a chance to try Solstice Scents before, but these all sound amazing. Sacred Vow in particular sounds particularly like something I’d wear.

  2. Lol I love these write ups, especially Sea of Gray, I could almost taste the ice cream and smell the innsmouth stink! Hope I win as I’m looking forward to testing the Solstice acquatic and pine notes, I normally shy away from these but I love Angela’s resins (Minister) and leather (Black leather Red Lace is my favourite leather perfume!) as well as the longevity of her oils so I’m intrigued…

  3. I would love to try sacred vow! I recently bought a sample of Jack and the Devil, and it smells exactly like halloween! Love it

  4. I like the ~idea~ of Cliffside Bonfire, but I love smoky woody scents and less aquatic. I think Desert Thunderstorm would be the one for me, I’ve been burning a lot of desert sage scented incense lately!

  5. Tropical Moon – Gardenia is one of my favourites, fond memories of my gran’s house and a perfume she had when I was young, that with coconut and lime sounds delicious
    Heat of the Night – Sounds beautifully rounded, deep and sweet.

  6. You’ve done for perfume reviews what the New Yorker did for restaurant reviews, which I hope you’ll take as a complement – I read them for the writing and not the content since I’m not really a perfume fan. That being said, you made me curious try Sea of Gray or Cliffside Bonfire. I love the smell of rain.

  7. Desert Thunderstorm with its Desert Sage and other tantalizing sounds like a scent that could you could have dreams about. Would love to try it. What a perfect give away, thanks.

  8. I’d love to try Desert Thunderstorm. As a Great Lakes resident, the hot, dry, sunny desert is almost as otherworldly and exotic as it gets! There’s no way to truly replicate the feeling of being out West in the desert, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

  9. Sea of Gray is intriguing. I’ve never had a Soltice Scent with vanilla anything that I didn’t absolutely love.

  10. Desert Thunderstorm sounds right up my alley. For my money, no house does atmospheric fragrances better than Solstice Scents. The Summer 2012 formulation of Sirocco is easily the most beloved fragrance in my collection. Following under @clograh

  11. I think I would love Sun-warmed Honey and Heat of the Night because my favored smells are food smells ? But I’m interested in High Desert and Desert Thunderstorm. My hometown is a high desert so I think these sents with remind me of home.

  12. I visited Arizona in 2014 for my honeymoon and never felt more grounded than I did in the desert. I think Desert Thunderstorm could help me relive those memories!

  13. Desert Thunderstorm sounds really intriguing, but I think I’d get more wearability out of Old Havana or Sun Warmed Honey.

  14. I’m most intrigued by Sacred Vow as it contains two of my favorite scents Patchouli and Sandalwood. I find that I feel the most grounded and secure when I wear those scents and they make me think of Fall nights where I light candles, these scented incense and curl up with a cup of tea and listen to FKA Twigs.

  15. Solstice Scents make the most ENCHANTING perfumes. This house is far superior to most high priced niche brands. If you haven’t yet tried Solstice , you are missing out. They’ve some of the most intriguing , mysterious, dark, conjuring fragrances that are sure to transport you to a place that you never knew about but have always wanted to visit. The quality of these perfumes is unreal for the price point. If you are waiting to pull the trigger on buying, wait no longer. These are worth it and a little goes a long way.

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