6 Sihaya Reviews: Full Moon + Sisterhood of the Moon + Conversations with the Moon + Amber & Velvet + Equinox + Secret Society
So, full admission, I'm an utter ding-dong. I've been hustling these Sihaya reviews to get them up before their Autumn/Halloween collection comes down. Sihaya had sent me a ton of tea candle samples and I had like... 10 more to get through. I assumed (this will backfire shortly) that everything that had been sent to me was Halloween or Autumn collection without checking. So I just went through the 10 remaining scents, saw 3 mentioned 'moon' in the name and figured I'd group those... and then just grabbed 3 more that smelled good to me unlit. I figured if the press I was going to be able to give was limited that I might as well shoot for the stuff I really like.
And so, I reviewed 6 candles today! I spend over an hour total per candle! This is important because I was 5 candles in before I realized that:
A: Full Moon, Sisterhood of the Moon, and Conversations with the Moon are all not part of the Autumn/Halloween collection
B: Of the three scents of the Autumn/Halloween collection I'd grabbed two (Amber & Velvet and Equinox) were sold out.
I believe there is value in reviewing stuff that isn't currently for sale. I'm ultimately not a sales person, affiliated with any brand beyond occasionally collaborating with a couple of 'em, and I try to be as honest as I can be with my opinions. I sometimes review stuff that's sold out or has come down because well... stuff shows up on the second hand market, sometimes stuff returns, and my feedback might be helpful as constructive critique to brand owners beyond just y'know... letting consumers know what exists and what I think of it.
I think of my role in reviewing as bridging consumer and maker and I want to do my best to help everyone involved. ALL OF THAT SAID I still want to get reviews out for stuff you guys can actually buy at the time of review posting.
So here's what we're gonna do. All of these scent reviews are going up today, whether they're available or not. Of the four scents I haven't reviewed there are two that are still available ( Sacred Autumn and The Autumnvale Cafe). With those two I will put up a mini-review tomorrow of those two. FLAMES FOR THE CANDLE GODS.
(Putting up the links to the sold out stuff in case someone wants to go look at the product page for whatever reason)
All candles in this review were allowed to rest for several days (A couple of weeks for these) after arrival. The candles were kept in the dark in a drawer if small enough. If too large for a drawer they generally sit on top of a bookcase or bedside table. I did crack them open to sniff them directly after arrival, and with a couple to do an initial test. The reviews are not based off of these initial impressions - though if a rest did change the smell I’ll note that.
Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off). I also am often wearing scented lotion on my feet and ankles (that I do not wash off). Sometimes I wear scented hair products simultaneously. Theoretically there could be cross-contamination. Occasionally when reviewing candles I will have a perfume on that I applied earlier that day.
With these candles I did an hour long (or even longer) test period. The candles had their wicks trimmed and then were lit using a plain lighter.
Each review is written without looking at the notes in that moment. Frequently I will glance at a product's notes beforehand. At the end of the review I will list what the official notes are and comment on how I think they interacted.
See my previous review here for the tea candles [ link ].
A reminder: each nose is different. Your mileage may vary.
Unlit: Milky vanilla, white musk, and something marshmallowy without being too sweet. Maybe mallow root? It’s a very creamy, slightly musky, very white-glowing scent. It’s very appropriate for invoking the moon.
Freshly lit: Silky smooth vanilla, honeyed milk, white musk and marshmallows. I’m going wild over this particular scent y’all. While it’s not something I’d wear as a personal scent it is absolutely something I’d want every corner of my house to smell like. It’s slightly warm, comforting, lunar and juuuuust sweet enough. I really hope it stays stable because this is great. It makes me feel like an autumnal moon-emperor sinking into my milky moon-bath to rejuvenate my moon-powers.
After half an hour: If anything the scent has intensified and I feel like I’m getting the tiniest hint of a lemony floral in there. Maybe an orchid? Or a tree bloom? Anyway, if anything this just makes me like the scent more. So it’s like… topnotes of honeyed milk and vanilla with midnotes of nutty marshmallow (not too sweet) and a thick musk base with faint edges of some soft lemony white floral: think a lily or orchid maybe.
Great throw for a tea candle. I’m deep in a vanilla cloud of awesome.
After an hour: Still going strong, same as the half hour mark except I’m not getting that floral right now and am wondering if I either imagined it or if it was some cross contamination from something else in the room. Oh well! Doesn’t matter! Candle still makes my house smell like milky vanilla magic.
Official notes: Toasted almond, dripping honey, and smoked vanilla.
So the dripping honey is that milky-honey scent, the vanilla is the vanilla, and the toasted almond must be what smelled like nutty marshmallow to me. No florals - so that was just some cross contamination.
Verdict: A++ scent. Will be upsizing. Big fan.
Sisterhood of the Moon
Unlit: Hard to smell - I think this one that will open up once lit. I feel like I’m getting a flormand with a textile note but that might be waaay off or cross contamination from other stuff it say in the box with. Let’s light it and see what happens.
Freshly lit: Dried wildflowers at the top over chocolate covered berries and something a little gourmand (or that might just be part of the chocolate). Resinous base. I can’t decide if there’s a textile note in here or not.
This one is taking a bit of warming to really open up - I had to blow out the flame to sniff if to figure out what I was sniffing because up close the flame, wax, and burning wick smell overpower the candle’s scent.
After half an hour: Chocolate covered berries with edges of some sweetness that I associate with dried wildflowers. Under that is some sort of resin - a dragon’s blood or an amber or something (it accentuates the berries smell) and what I’m gonna guess is a cashmere note.
After an hour+: It’s formed a solid cloud of scent - Chocolate covered berries (with a bit of almost citrus tartness - might be a bergamot note in there or something), resin, and that soft scent I think might be cashmere. Faint edges of that kind of dried-wildflower smell but I’d say the chocolate covered berries are the most prominent note.
Official notes: Amber, crackling fires, woody oakmoss, and warm vanilla.
Well, the amber is the resin I was getting. I suppose the vanilla blending with the oakmoss is what I was reading as chocolate. The berries/citrus smell must be part of the ‘crackling fire’ accord - and I wonder if there’s cashmere as part of that accord too.
No clue what was giving me dried wildflower vibes. The amber? The fire accord? Who knows.
Verdict: Overall a nice candle and one I’ll be burning the tea candle of again for sure… but not ‘my thing’ enough to merit an upsize. This would be the candle to pick up for someone looking for a kind of soft, resinous, dark gourmand-fruity comfort scent.
Conversations with the Moon
Unlit: Another one I think will open up more when it’s lit. Unlit I’m getting smoke, something almost aquatic and slightly green, and a dark-musky-botanical note at the base.
Freshly lit: Something very herbal at the top - mint or sage. Under that is something smoky-resinous and something fruity. Still a little bit of that hard-to-place reminiscent-of-an-aquatic note.
After half an hour: At the top I think I’m getting pine and sage. It’s a little metallic too - I’m not sure if there’s a specific metal note or if the pine is just kinda metallic. Under that the note I was reading as aquatic I think it actually oudh. The base is still musky. Touch of smoke.
So in sum I’m getting pine and sage - kind of metallic - layered over oudh and dark musk. Edges of smoke.
After an hour: About the same as it was at 30 minutes - sage, pine (kind of metallic), oudh, musk with smokey edges.
Official notes: Lavender, tonka bean, sage, chamomile, and a pinch of sea salt
Okay! So - what I was reading as pine is the lavender. It’s not a sweet lavender in this one… very herbal. The sage is the sage. The tonka bean and chamomile blend here to give that impression of oudh to my nose - it’s kind of got that ‘drying slightly decayed hay’ smell that coumarin/tonka can kind of get and that broad, flat smell from the chamomile. Part of the chamomile (already a musky flower) blending with the salt is what was reading as a dark musk to my nose. No clue what smelled smokey. Maybe part of the sage?
A surprisingly heavy, thick, dark musky scent given the notes. This isn’t heavily floral at all - much more herbal. There’s hardly any sweetness to this at all.
Verdict: Sage and I are not bosom friends and this scent is herbal in a very sage-y way. It’s a pass from me, but, I suspect someone fond of herbal (but not overly green) dark scents without a lot of sweetness to them would be into this.
Amber + Velvet
Unlit: This one is one of the ones I picked because it smelled nice to me unlit. I like amber! The amber-y the amber the better! But I have a rough relationship with velvet. I suspect there’s more to this scent than just straight amber and velvet though.
At the top I get something almost like smoke but like… clean smoke? Then below that the velvet accord ( a little animalistic-musky-faintly-leathery-but-not-leather smell. Kind of soft and fuzzy but also with a bit of an animalistic-musky sharp edge to it). Then some earthiness. Maybe some black patchouli or similar dark resin? There might also be a kiss of spice in here. We’ll see when it gets lit.
Freshly lit: Bright amber and almost citrusy velvet over earthy tones. Don’t get me wrong - the velvet is still… velvet. It’s got that kind of flat, soft-fuzzy, golden-brown smell but here it’s paired with something brighter and a little bitter. The amber is a nice, resinous amber that isn’t too sweet. Overall this scent is golden, bitter-citrusy, soft, and with an earthy base.
After half an hour: Amber dominates the scent, golden and a little sweet (kinda reminds me of berries). The bitter/animalistic qualities to the scent have died back significantly - the velvet is more of a soft note that enhances the golden amber. It, or it combining with that earthy note from earlier (or maybe just a new note coming out) reminds me of the smell of brown, crunchy, fallen leaves that have dried. There’s just a tiny, tiny bit of that bitterness which adds interest to the scent.
After an hour: About the same as half an hour. Up close to the candle I get more of that bitterness and edge while at a distance I get more of the soft, golden tones. Kind of a neat effect. Mild throw on it - but definitely getting whiffs of scent from a few feet away.
Official notes: two ambers, sweet patchouli, and a whisper of cedar.
Oh hey! This didn’t actually have a velvet accord. WHOOPS. That’s probably why I preferred it. One of those ambers is kind of animalistic though. I can definitely see the cedar as the kind of citrusy-bitter smell. The patchouli is that earthiness at the base, and probably some of the bitterness/animalistic qualities..
Verdict: I’m all like ‘Oh, I liked this better than I thought I would for a velvet scent’ and… it ended up not having a velvet in it. Welp. This one is really nice - it’s in the ‘if I had infinite money I’d upsize’ category. It’s not my favorite of today’s reviews, but if I were ordering like 10 full sized candles at once it would be a contender. Worth trying for fans of not-too-sweet ambers and like a bit of bitterness and animalistic qualities to their amber.
Unlit: Caramel! Apples? Spiced caramel apples? Definitely a gourmand - remind me a bit of the butterscotch notes in Butterbeer. I feel like I’m maybe getting some fruitiness and/or fallen leaves in there.
Freshly lit: Buttery baked goods! Butterscotch/caramel! Apples! Is this an apple pie scent? I’m into it.
After half an hour: Yup, spiced apple-caramel pie. Very into this. Apples are my fall scent of preference and though for me gourmands can often be overwhelming as personal scents I’m into my favorite gourmand smells as room scents! Digging this as a candle. A house full of apple pie without the effort? Nice.
After an hour: Still caramel apple pie (heavy on the caramel and pie crust). The crust is a very buttery, flaky smelling crust, the apple is red smelling apple, and the caramel smells like a rich, thick salted caramel.Nice scent cloud on this… basically it’s a ‘what more could you want from your apple pie candle’.
Official notes: Ripe red apples, sweet cider, and falling red maple leaves.
I definitely get the apples, and up close I get some of that piquancy that codes as cider. But mostly I get buttery-gourmand smell… which I’m guessing is a strong ‘maple’ note in this. It’s much more of a maple-as-caramel-and-buttery-pie-crust than a ‘leafy’ smell to me though.
Verdict: Upsize! Apples = fall for me and this is a very nice apple gourmand. Update: alas this is sold out. This is my penance for being too slow on the draw.
Unlit: Sihaya’s leather note, something like bergamot… and I think I remember this having a tobacco smoke note? Maybe a woodsy base? Like I could buy this being leather, cedar, tobacco smoke with just a kiss of bergamot at the edges.
Freshly lit: Getting the leather at the top for sure, then under that the kind of slightly-bitter-citrus I associate with bergamot. I feel like there’s a splash of something alcoholic in here that comes out once its lit. There might be a touch of tobacco in here or that might be my imagination inserting things… I’m going to guess right now for the notes: Leather, cedar, tobacco, whisky and a touch of bergamot and smoke.
After half an hour: Soft leather and whisky, maybe a touch of tobacco (not much - mostly just leather) and that kind of cedar-bergamot-smoke smell. Basically similar to how it was freshly lit… with a soft cloud that permeates the room. My husband walked into the house and was like ‘Oh, nice candle smell in here’ while this one was burning. It doesn’t dominate the room - more adds to the atmosphere.
After an hour: Soft, glossy leather, whisky, a bit more of the tobacco (definitely getting a smokey note from this now!) and the cedar-bergamot scent. As at the half hour mark it has nicely suffused my home.
Official notes: Leatherbound books, rich mahogany and teak woods, smooth bourbon, and a crackling fireplace.
So the glossy leather is the books, the cedar type smell is probably the mahogany and teak, the bourbon is what I was reading as whiskey and the crackling fireplace is what I was reading as tobacco smoke + that kind of bergamot smell.
Verdict: So, for a leather scent from this collection which one I upsized would be between this and Sleepy Hollow. Sihaya has a great leather note - not at all acrid, smells like real leather. I think this one wins out because it more subtly blends with the living space and because it got my husband’s attention enough to comment on it.