book review

Screaming Mandrake Perfumes- A Review

In order to feel good, I need to smell good too. I think many people feel the same. The first stage of any ritual (witchcraft or you know, party) for me is always to get myself good and clean and make sure I feel amazing. When I was younger I fell into the expensive perfume trap and having a ‘signature scent’.

Although I do still love the smell of pure poison by dior I can’t justify it anymore; the expense, the chemicals, the big names holding so much profit in this world. Yes the bottles are pretty but it’s just status and it doesn’t vibe well with me now.

So, I looked for alternatives, first of all there are brands out there making amazing products with much smaller footprints, I love ‘kirbside violets’ by Lush. Then I found Screaming Mandrake on Instagram: Perfection. Love the concept. Love the packaging, and the maker is local to me in Devon (only 8 miles away in fact).

The product

I struggle to make decisions at the best of times and although I know what scents I like, it’s not the same as having a good old sniff in a shop. Imagine my delight in discovering that for a very affordable £25, you can choose 3 perfume oils. The descriptions on the website are beautifully evocative and I still found it difficult to choose. In the end I went for the following (descriptions are direct quotes):

Haunted Forest– haunted forest takes you by the hand to lead you into a dark deep forest full of secrets. Light to begin with it gives way to darker moss and fire wood scents. Will you enter the haunted forest. Top notes: bluebells. Heart notes: fallen leaves, bonfire. Base notes: moss, ferns, petrichor.

This is my favourite for everyday it’s my new signature scent. The floral bluebells and earthy tones just smell like home to me. A warm spring day in the woods. Petrichor is the scent released by rain on warm mulchy earth and it really comes through.

Blue Moon: A strange and rare thing. The blue moon is the unusual event of two full moons in one month-the second being a blue moon. Modern magical traditions associate the growth of knowledge and wisdom within the phases of a women’s life. Top Notes: Lilac, Lavender. Heart Notes: oud, blackberry, bergamot. Base Notes: egyptian musk, Amber.

This one has layers like a motherfucker, I get different notes everytime. Musky and almost sweet it’s perfect for when I want something subtle and sophisticated. Bergamot is one of my all time favourites to lift my mood as is Amber.

Beltane: Beltane feels to me like the gemini of our fragrances; it is playful, light and heady with florals. There is something of childhood about it. Long hot summer days that went on forever. Top notes: cherry blossom, orange blossom. Heart notes: sunshine, bluebells. Base notes: oak moss, velvet argan.

Beltane is my favourite for uplifting vibes. It does what it says on the tin and feels like long summer days are here to stay. It literally smells like sunshine. I use it when I’m going out partying or when I need a pick me up (which is often in these trying times)

One of the best things (after the smell) about these is the roller ball bottle. I’ve always drawn sigils and runes on myself to boost my intentions. With these little beauties it’s so easy to combine ritual and scent to anoint myself for everyday life or special occasions and rituals.

Screaming Mandrake Perfumes are so well thought out. I found myself wondering about the person behind it all so I got in touch with Cliara the one-woman-wonder behind it all and they very kindly answered a few questions for me.

Cliara Carnell grew up in the countryside and identifies as a solitary witch. I asked her how she came to the idea of Screaming Mandrake Perfumes and make the jump to full time boss witch:

I grew up in Devon and have so much countryside around that noticing the seasons and working with what nature gave us is a way of living it came very naturally to me. From picking blackberries, collecting hag stones on the beaches and using doc leaves when you get stung by nettles, it was a very gradual realisation that I was probably a witch/Wiccan before I even knew I was. I had worked lots of jobs and although very fulfilling in the most part I wanted to forge something that was mine alone. I have a very supportive partner and the encouragement I got was huge so took steps to start my own business. Although not created with magick my oils can be used in many magical practices. I make them to conjure images I see in my mind and hope people can see them too when they wear them.

A bit of Devon countryside for ya

I love this! I wonder if the images I see when I smell them are the same as what Cliara pictures. What wonderful magic, and I for one am grateful she has chosen to share her gifts because seriously, they are exactly what I was looking for. I asked Cliara which one was her favourite and to describe her process (without giving too much away):

I must admit I have a soft spot for my first fragrance I ever made, that being Ancient Land. Sometimes a name can come first and I can imagine just how I want it to smell. Other times I can be on a walk and smell wet moss or rotting wood and want to bottle that. It is very frustrating sometimes when I can’t find the exact oil I want. Most times I will sit down and look at my oil library and choose between 5-7 oils and do a test cotton pad with drops of different mixes and see what I need to add or take away and work from there.

The final factor of my infatuation with these oils is the packaging: With little charms, moss, crystals and beautiful labels; Cliara has made a product that feels empowering, looks great on my dressing table, is a delight to open and as intended, are evocative and exquisite to wear. Not to mention more affordable, natural, created by a real person and not some huge designer name for the sake of status and silly adverts that make no sense (fuck off Johnny Depp burying rings in the desert or some equally nonsensical wank) .

With a wide selection to choose from, I highly recommend these perfume oils. You can find them on the website or have a look on Instagram (the packaging makes them intstagrammable AF) . You’ll be swanning through haunted forests or howling at the Blue Moon before you know it.

If there are any products, books or artists you’d like me to look at, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

*I’m a one witch show. so, If you want to show your support for my work and make a donation; hit the button below. Any and all support is gratefully received*

Peace out witches ✌️

Love Kate xxx


1 thought on “Screaming Mandrake Perfumes- A Review”

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I also recently discovered Screaming Mandrake Perfumes and I’m in love. I don’t use big brands ’cause most test on animals, use chemicals and support consumerism and capitalism and stupid wanking celebrities. SM Perfumes is a breath of fresh, and very olfactory pleasing, air.

    Liked by 1 person

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