Usually when most people think about celebrity fragrances, they don't think of niche scents. Most perfumes with celebrity's names attached are meant to sell to a wide audience of fans, so they're designed to have mass appeal. There's always an exception to the rule, however, and in this case the exception is Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's fragrance line Elizabeth + James Nirvana.
We're not talking about the Olsen twins of "Full House" fame in this context; no, this fragrance line fully reflects the savvy, sophisticated businesswomen that the Olsens grew up to be. It's very likely that you've already heard of their perfume (and possibly didn't even realize that it was theirs). Elizabeth and James Nirvana started out as just two fragrances, White and Black, which you may have seen at Sephora.
I've tried both and each fragrance impressed me immensely, so when I heard that they were coming out with a new fragrance duo I knew I had to test them out. Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon are the two new fragrances from Elizabeth and James, available now at Sephora for $65 (for 1 oz) each. I've had a chance to try both of them so if you've been curious about them and considering purchasing one (or both) for yourself, here is everything you need to know about these two new fragrances.
Nirvana Rose ($65, Sephora) surprised me. In general, I gravitate more towards spicy, woody scents than floral fragrances and I definitely never considered myself a rose fan. However, there's just something about this fragrance that makes it hard to stop sniffing my wrist. If you're looking for a straight-up rose fragrance — one that's bold and sophisticated without a ton of other notes elbowing the rose out of the way — then this is for you.
Right from the beginning, the first note is a very strong, sexy rose de mai. This rose is dark, rich, and heady right from the start. It's not a fruity rose for teens and it's not an old-fashioned grandma rose perfume either. Although the rose note has the spotlight I can also detect an earthy, grassy background behind the rose thanks to the vetiver, which I find makes it the ideal rose fragrance for fall. It also has a geranium note but my nose couldn't really pick it out from the roses.
As for how strong it is, I found that Rose wafted off my skin more powerfully than Bourbon. It lasted for about the same amount of time as Bourbon but it stayed strong longer. After some time has passed, the dry-down is a softer, warmer, and a bit powdery.
I would describe Nirvana Rose as sultry and feminine: perfect for fancy date nights this fall. I don't typically wear floral perfumes but I can see myself reaching for this one a lot.
I was more excited for Nirvana Bourbon ($65, Sephora) than Rose, since its notes (bourbon vanilla, tuberose, and oak wood) are right up my alley. The notes definitely smell just as good as I had hoped. It opens with the oak note as your nose is enveloped in a very smoky wood, like that of a cozy fire in the winter. Then the vanilla quickly follows. It's not an overly sweet gourmand vanilla like in a bakery; the bourbon gives it a nice kick, sort of like if you poured bourbon on top of vanilla ice cream. Then the white flower of tuberose starts to peek out before blooming, but the smoky wood scent stays fairly prominent throughout.
This is a very warm, cozy skin scent (meaning, it sticks very close to the skin). I love the combination of the notes but overall it errs on the faint side. It's great if you want a more subtle, intimate scent for cuddling in the fall and winter. After some time, the dry-down becomes very soft and comforting, like the embers in the fireplace a few hours after the fire has gone out.
I would describe Nirvana Bourbon as a sexy, cozy unisex scent. Women won't find it too masculine and men won't find it too sweet. The vanilla, bourbon, wood, and white floral notes all balance each other out perfectly. I only wish the scent was more powerful and lasted longer. In that regard, Nirvana Rose wins, even though I don't find its notes to be as complex.
I highly recommend trying both fragrances if the notes sound appealing to you. The rollerballs are only $25 each, but if you end up falling in love with Nirvana Rose or Nirvana Bourbon, I think their beautiful bottles are definitely worth purchasing to display on your vanity. (The rollerballs are pretty too but I tend to get them mixed up very easily, just FYI.) You could also layer these scents with each other or with Nirvana White and Nirvana Black, which I definitely plan to do for every single event and date night this fall.
Images: Kelly Dougher