30 Days of Scent 2.0, day 2: Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black


After my experience with Elizabeth and James Nirvana White last summer, I was looking forward to trying Nirvana Black. Normally I don’t tend to like celebrity fragrances (Madonna’s Truth or Dare and Queen Latifah’s Queen being notable exceptions), but the freebie of Nirvana White impressed me enough that I thought it would be worthwhile to check out the Olsen twins’ other fragrance. Plus, it came in the newest Sephora Sampler, so that’s a plus.*

This isn’t a complicated or subtle fragrance. Its notes of violet, sandalwood, and vanilla are pretty simple, but they’re blended to good effect. My first impression was of a watered-down Dior Addict, with the prominent sandalwood note and the vanilla. For some reason, on me, the violets just fade to the background on me, a great disappointment since I love a powdery note. It’s a very linear fragrance, smelling just the same 4 hours in as it did when first sprayed, and I usually prefer something with some progression to it. However, it’s fairly well-executed, and a good example of a dry vanilla without the gourmand sweetness that often comes with that note.

If a bottle of this cost $35 like any other celebrity fragrance, I’d be on that like white on rice, because on days like today when there’s snow on the ground, it works beautifully. At two sprays, the projection is out to about arm’s length. I get a solid 4-5 hours of wear out of the eau de parfum, which is pretty average. However, with it having so little complexity, I don’t think it’s worth the $75 for the 50ml bottle. I may pick up the rollerball at some point, though.

The technical stuff:

Released: 2013

Availability: exclusive to Sephora

Perfumer: Pierre Negrin

Overall rating: 6/10

*I do recommend the Sephora Samplers very highly, particularly if there is more than one scent in them that you’re interested in trying. They include an assortment of samples, along with a voucher for a full bottle of the one you like best. At about $50-60 for the sampler, it’s definitely worth looking at, since you’re paying the same as you would for one bottle but trying out 10-14 of them before you buy. With the most recent one I got, there were 4 scents in it that I wanted to try, and the one that I settled on for my full bottle was one I completely didn’t expect to like.


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