CURRENT OBSESSION: ELIZABETH & JAMES NIRVANA BLACK

I’m on an unending quest for the perfect fragrance, and seriously, there are so many good ones to choose from. But when fall rolls around I find myself distancing myself from floral scents in favor of fragrances that are a little richer and more sophisticated. It would be great to be richer and more sophisticated, as a general rule.

You know who does that really well? The damn Olsen twins. The success of their fashion/beauty empire has actually managed to completely eclipse any memory of their acting career[s], at least in my eyes. I’m not even getting paid to say that. I’ve always loved Elizabeth & James clothing, so when I received samples of their new Nirvana Black & White dual fragrance exclusive from Sephora, I was intrigued. Real talk: both of these scents are to-die-for.

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I opted for Nirvana Black, which is deep and earthy with notes of sandalwood, violet and vanilla. I wanted something woody with a slight hint of sweetness; a counterpoint to the fresh, green notes I’m usually drawn to during the summer. If I had named this scent, I would have called it “wealthy former hippie.” Basically, this perfume smells like the Bay Area. Like when you’re barefoot in your Calypso St. Barths tunic tending the herbs in the community garden, organic fair-trade soil between your toes, and it starts to get chilly so you run inside and grab that that trusty old Alpaca throw you bought with your last ten pesos the third time you quit your job to go backpacking in South America. Those days are long gone now; you made it big at a tech startup and could buy all the Alpaca throws you’d ever want, but that’s not the point. When you breathe in the smell of Nirvana Black, you’re bound to reminisce about life’s adventures… so many adventures. That’s what it is for me, anyway– an olfactory scrapbook of all the awesome shit that I haven’t done, but possibly could have done if I were that kind of person. The kind of person with stories to tell.

Nirvana White, on the other hand, is floral (peony and muguet, which is a fancy French way of saying Lily of the Valley) with a hint of musk (there’s that rich sophistication factor again). That description is probably a little reductive, but I liked it a teeny tiny bit less than Nirvana Black and therefore my brain is having trouble finding more words. Motivation is a fickle thing.

The Sephora salesgirl I spoke to did have an interesting suggestion: layering the two fragrances. I haven’t tried it yet, but gosh am I excited about the prospect. Like yin and yang or Mary-Kate and Ashley, the marriage of these scents just seems right. Who knows, it may even bring me to a state of enlightenment.

I’ll let you know if I get there.

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One Response to CURRENT OBSESSION: ELIZABETH & JAMES NIRVANA BLACK

  1. Susan Schmidt says:

    How do you write about a scent? This is how. A fantasy in Alpaca.

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