nava apricot kobalt, blueberry crystal special edition, and bastet’s snow white

Standard

apricot_blueberryse_snowwhiteAnother trio of random NAVAs today! Kind of quick-fire reviews as opposed to the more in-depth bottle/wet/dry run-down, because I made notes on these throughout last week rather than testing them all on one day.


Apricot Kobalt: African Apricot, Apricot Cream, Vanilla Cream, Nokturne:Kobalt.

A beautiful, rich apricot vanilla scent. The apricot is fuzzy and freshly sweet, distinctly apricot and not peach. I really like Kobalt, it’s deep and creamy, not too sugary sweet, with a slight floral/fruity edge that complements the apricot really well.

Apricot Kobalt reminds me a little of a scent I liked back in the day before I got into indies – Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Abricot, but richer and just better.

 

Blueberry Crystal Special Edition: Egyptian Summer Blueberry within the beauty of harmonized Vanilla and Musk (Nokturne:Crystal). Supple and fresh.  +Egyptian Frankincense, Rich NA Solar Amber, Green Peppercorn E/O and original Nokturne (Egyptian Musk).

I bought this by mistake – I had a sample of regular Blueberry Crystal and loved it, so when I saw a bottle listed in a destash that I was buying other things from, I grabbed that too. Except that when it got to me, it wasn’t regular Blueberry Crystal, it was a “special edition” version with a bunch of things I don’t care for added in. It was an honest mistake on the part of the seller, but was still pretty disappointing since I don’t actually like this version.

OG Blueberry Crystal is a sweet blueberry and vanilla scent, not too candy-like, with a bit of soft musk. Simple, beautiful. The Special Edition version is not as sweet, and as it dries down it gets muskier, and I get a lot of frankincense and a little bite of pepper, neither of which I’m really fond of, and both of which detract from what I like about Blueberry Crystal in the first place.

So that was a fail. I ordered a bottle of regular old Blueberry Crystal from NAVA, and will probably destash Special Edition to someone who likes their blueberry with a heavy dose of musky frankincense.

 

Bastet’s Snow White: A variety of 15 Vanilla Beans from Madagascar, France, Egypt, and all over the world. Crystalline and Crystal. Butter and caramel essences. Moonstone and Egyptian White Musk.

This scent is what prompted my first NAVA order – it got nothing but raves on IMAM while it was around, so I blind-bought a bottle and a set of samples. It didn’t disappoint, but it’s not my favorite of all the scents I’ve tried from them at this point either.

Bastet’s Snow White is a pretty vanilla musk with a very slight floral edge. It smooths out and gets less sweet and more musky with wear, but it never changes drastically on me. Having tried Crystalline alone, I can definitely pick it out here, fluffy and cloud-like. Overall I like it, but I think I was expecting something more mind-blowing from all the reviews. Still, it’s pretty and if you like vanilla, you’d like this.


Overall Thoughts: Apricot Kobalt is the easy favorite out of this group, but I do like Bastet’s Snow White as well. Blueberry Crystal Special Edition was a sad disappointment for me all around, but I’m sure someone else will love it.

nava coconut cockatoo, devil cake kobalt, and eternal egypt summer

Standard

cockatoo_devil_summerI’ve been picking up NAVA bottles and samples from destashes here and there lately – I’m really trying not to blind-buy too much from them, since they’re a very new and not entirely successful brand for me, but since prices tend to be a bit lower destashes are hard to resist! Anyway, here are three that I tried out recently.


Coconut Cockatoo: Coconut Husk, Coconut Milk, Coconut Sugar all bound together in the harmony of Crystalline vanilla.

In the bottle: Musky sugared coconut, it smells very white. Maybe slightly artificial.

Wet on skin: Warmer coconut, but not too sweet. Very beachy smelling, kind of light and sandy.

Dry down: That artificial edge has returned with a vengeance – I’m not sure what it is, but something about this smells almost plasticky. Like if Strawberry Shortcake had a friend named Coconut Cupcake and she was made into one of those scented plastic dolls, she would smell like this. Warm, mild, slightly plasticky coconut. It’s not unpleasant, exactly, but I’m not sure I want to smell like it.

Short & Sweet: Coconut-scented plastic.

Well, that was disappointing. Thankfully I found a new home for this guy over on IMAM, so it’ll be going to someone who will appreciate it.

 

Devil Cake Kobalt: Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Frosting, Sugar, Evil, Cocoa Dust, Kobalt Vanilla Orchid, Egyptian Musk and Vanilla Musk. (Rhinestone Housewife Exclusive)

In the bottle: Dark chocolate and vanilla, sugar, musk.

Wet on skin: Chocolate and Kobalt (vanilla orchid). The chocolate is pretty dark at first but lightens into a more milk chocolate/chocolate fudge cake situation pretty quickly. The deep, creamy, ever-so-slightly floral Kobalt is very present here. (Which is a plus as I really enjoy Kobalt.)

Dry down: Lots of Kobalt! The chocolate is present but the balance of chocolate and vanilla seems pretty equal on my skin. Creamy, almost fruity Kobalt and mild fudgy chocolate. The Kobalt keeps it from being heavily foodie or overly sweet.

Short & Sweet: Creamy, almost fruity Kobalt and mild fudgy chocolate. A balanced mix of chocolate and vanilla, not heavily foodie or overly sweet.

Chocolate scents can by iffy for me (with the exception of sixteen92’s magical chocolate scents), but I like this one. Of course, I think I mostly like it because of the Kobalt vanilla, but still. You get to stay, Devil Cake.

 

Eternal Egypt Summer: White Amber, Limestone Essence, Lime Leaf, Lime Zest, Saffron, White Tea Leaf, Sandalwood, Mandarin

In the bottle: Lots of citrus – orange and lime.

Wet on skin: Heavy citrus, mostly lime with some juicy mandarin, over a base of creamy white amber. I’m a bit wary of white amber because it has a tendency to go kind of chalky or powdery on me, but this is really quite nice. After a minute or so I get a subtle hint of tea, and something smooth – at this point it reminds me a bit of Mighty Leaf’s Chamomile Citrus tea.

Dry down: This has developed a sort of stony edge, cool and earthy, and the citrus has calmed down a bit. It’s smoother and a little deeper, though it’s still a rather light scent. I can smell the saffron more now, deep and earthy but slightly sweet.

Short & Sweet: Smooth citrus and a bit of tea over a base of creamy white amber and earthy. A bit of a stony edge. Deep but light. Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus tea.

This was sent as a freebie with a large destash order and I have to say I didn’t expect to like it at all – I never would’ve tried it based on the description. But I actually like it quite a bit. Nice surprise!


Overall Thoughts: Coconut Cockatoo was such a let down! The notes all sound lovely, I generally love coconut scents, and I’ve tried and enjoy Crystalline on its own. Sadly it seems like NAVA’s coconut may not be so great on me – I have a sample of Coconut Moonstone as well, and the notes from my initial testing are “really mild coconut, kind of plasticky?” I’m seeing a theme develop, unfortunately. But I like Devil Cake Kobalt – I think I might like anything heavy on the Kobalt to be honest – and Eternal Egypt Summer was a nice surprise, because I expected it to be an immediate destash.

nava resurgence: art of love reviews

Standard
artoflove2016

This picture is terrible, I don’t know what was up with my camera settings.

I’ve been dipping my toes into the mysterious and frankly pretty intimidating world of Nocturne Alchemy/VApothecary (otherwise known as NAVA) lately, to somewhat mixed results. I’ve found a few things I love, a few things I hate, and a lot that fall somewhere in between. It’s been interesting because when you’re familiar with a perfume house you already have a sense of how things will work on you – I’m comfortable blind-buying full sizes from Arcana and Solstice Scents because nine times out of ten, I can tell if I’m going to like something just from the notes list. But NAVA is a mystery to me, with their esoteric Egyptian theme, extensive catalog, elaborate but not always terribly helpful scent write-ups, and specific yet confusing names for particular notes or blends (Crystal vs Crystalline vs Kobalt vs Moonstone vs Diamond vs Crimson vs N2 vs N4???). I have virtually no idea, at first glance, whether I’ll like something, and am still compiling my mental database of how their scents work with my skin chemistry. It’s an adventure… one that I was trying to avoid because the last thing I need is to get into another perfume house, but what can I say, all the raves intrigued me.

Which brings me to this review! These are not the first things from NAVA that I’ve acquired, but they are the first ones that I’ve gotten around to photographing, and since this collection is still currently available it seems like a good place to start. I picked up a handful of decants from Ajevie, and blind-bought one full size direct from NAVA because I was 99.9% sure I’d love it and I like to live on the financially irresponsible edge.

Ariadne: Somnambulist Almond-Cherry-Heliotrope infusion, Blue Sugar, Crimson Musk, Black Cherry Peel and White Coconut-sugar.

Ariadne is sweet cherry or amaretto in the vial. On skin it’s all amaretto, strong boozy cherry/almond. That’s really all there is to this one on me, first to last.

The Roses of Heliogabalus: Apricot seed essence, Roman Desert Rose accord, Bastet’s Rose Red Accord, Pyramid Sand accord, Crystalline, Rosewood eo infused with Cherry Skin, Nutmeg eo, Blue & White & Limestone Amber with a touch of Santalum.

In the vial: sweet honeyed rose. Very similar on skin, rich honey and roses, not too perfumey. It reminds me a bit of HoG Come Hither, but with more rose. After a few minutes it does get a bit perfumey and more floral on my skin, which I’m not as fond of. I like my rose scents to be quite sweet. A little while later I get some green that tempers the floral bits nicely.

It’s actually quite pretty, but I don’t think I need more than a decant.

Miranda the Tempest: Blueberry-infused-Lemongrass Water, Alexandrian Sea Salt, Blackberry Wine, Crystalline-Amber with Salted Caramel and Egyptian Blue Sugar crystals.

Musky berries and citrus in the vial, a little sweet. On skin it’s berry lemonade with a similar skin musk feel to Adele. Sweet but not too sweet, musky, soft, not too tart. The berries are a touch artificial smelling, but berry scents often are to my nose. I like it, though. This would be a great summer scent, because it’s got that warm, salty-sweet skin musk going on.

Later on the artificial tang fades and the salty-sweet musk is stronger. There’s a sort of spicy wine thing going on too. I think it’s the wine that gives this a slight sour tang that I don’t really care for. That plus the lemongrass, which skews a bit citric acid-y (think powdered lemonade mix) on my skin. I like it but don’t love it… I’m a bit torn. Further testing is required.

This is one I nearly blind-bought, because I love pretty much everything in the notes list, but I’m glad I didn’t in the end… something about it doesn’t work as well as I’d like.

Ophelia: Japanese Plum, Cranberry Absolute, Crystalline Essence (softer version of SL Crystalline), Crimson Musk, Sweet Musk, Pink Sugar Cube, Kobalt Blue and SL N4 Musk.

In the vial Ophelia is all juicy red fruits. On skin it’s sweet and juicy but also a tiny bit soapy? Not sure what’s doing that. It’s a musky-soapy-fruity-smelling thing. I’m not a fan.

Mariamne: Greek Honeysuckle, Japanese Vanilla Milk, White Sandalwood, Apricot Essence, N2 Musk, Crystalline Vanilla Water and soft Japanese Umber Incense.

Strong honeysuckle in the bottle, very floral. Wet on skin it’s softer and a bit milky, but still predominantly floral honeysuckle. It doesn’t smell like real honeysuckle to me at all. It smells like a honeysuckle candle or air freshener. There’s a sharp, powdery sort of incense thing going on as well.

After a while it takes on an almost soapy tone? It smells like strong honeysuckle soap with a little vanilla. Eech. I really don’t like this. Scrubber.

The Lady of Shalott: Lightly scented Clover infused with Kobalt Vanilla, Alyssum Flower, Santalum White, Spun Sugar and White Musk.

Beautiful sweet vanilla and greenery in the vial. Soft. Pretty. On skin it’s soft vanilla musk with hints of fresh green. It reminds me a little bit of sixteen92 Talia, but turned up to 11. After a few minutes the green and some clean floral notes do come out more, but they never overpower the vanilla musk.

I almost blind-bought a bottle of this one but held off because I read a review describing it as a sort of clean laundry scent – it’s not that on my skin, though I can see it reading that way because there’s definitely a cleanness to it. But I really like it! It’s soft and pretty and feminine without being a typical heady floral. I’ve already purchased a bottle.

adeleAdele: Gold Alexandria Sea salt, Gold Peach Skin, Crystal Vanilla, Kobalt Vanilla and a kiss from Moonstone.

This is the bottle I blind-bought (obviously). I’d heard nothing but raves and there isn’t a single thing in the scent list that I wasn’t drawn to, so I just went for it. It’s stunning in the bottle, peaches and cream but not too sweet. On skin it’s a subtle peachy skin musk scent. It’s a tiny, tiny bit perfumey for a little while, but that fades quickly enough and I’m left with a very pretty, not too sweet musky peach with a bit of soft vanilla. It’s a “skin scent” to me, because for some reason it seems to almost meld with my skin and it’s like I just smell like this naturally and not because I’m wearing perfume. It’s an odd thing that’s hard to describe, but you know it when it happens.

Obviously I love this one. Good buy, no regrets, highly recommend.

Overall Thoughts: Mixed! I love Adele and went back for a bottle of Lady of Shalott, so those are the clear winners. Most of the rest fall in the middle of the pack, with the exception of Mariamne and Ophelia, both of which have an odd soapy quality that I really dislike. I’m finding that NAVA is definitely more hit-or-miss for me, but when something works it’s really lovely. I’ll keep feeling out the brand but I’m definitely inclined to stick to samples or decants when I can. (She says, having blind-bought several full size bottles in the last few weeks. Do as I say, not as I do.)