Tuesday, December 18, 2018

NAliday 2018 Resurgence Impressions!

Hey, y'all. This is just a super quick impressions post about the Resurgence that I have from previous years - it's getting close to when Nocturne Alchemy takes their vacation, and I hope this may help you make some decisions if you want to place a last minute order. Bonus review of one of my favorites that is sold out, Victorian Candy Cane Crystalline, just in case anyone hunts it down in the secondary market and would like a little help. 

Fig & Amber:  French Fig, Green Fig, Amber Resin, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Coconut Milk, Cedar and Black Pepper *natural occurring resin may be present, this perfume will become more beautiful with aging.
I actually picked this one up in a swap in the spring with a friend of mine, and I thought it was really pretty, but hadn't touched it for months. When it started getting cool, I pulled it back out and was surprised by how beautifully it had developed - which makes me wonder if this is one of those scents that does better in certain weather, I believe Seth mentioned that to me at one point! At any rate, initially this reminded me a bit of a Holiday LC I have and love, Holiday Egyptian Gold Fig. I thought they were kind of sibling scents, but when I revisited it, Fig & Amber has done such a change, I think the only thing that makes me think of HEGF is the fact that the fig in this almost has a green feel to it, too. Usually with figs, I find them to come across as brown, almost dense and chewy, maybe kind of...spicy? In the way that fig can be spicy, I hope that makes sense. This, though, is more of a green, fruity, fresh fig. If you have ever experienced their figs, and like them - I would encourage you to grab this. It's definitely different enough from every fig blend I have (I'm obsessed, okay? Hah!) to warrant keeping the bottle of this. It's cozy, but sophisticated enough to wear out. It feels like a lovely cold weather, festive scent. I love the resins in this, and the slight hint of pepper. It's extremely well blended, I can't pick up too many individual notes, but I get the grounding that makes a lovely contrast to the bright freshness of the fig. If you haven't experienced their fig, again I encourage you to pick this one up - it's a good way to try it out, as this is a beautiful blend. 

Bastet's Potion Studio: potion n. 23 - Lily of the Valley, Italian Bergamot, Lemon zest, Skin Musk, Bastet’s Gold Amber, Ravensara and a drop of Ylang Ylang and Japanese Yuzu.
I cannot believe this hasn't sold out! If you loved Bastet's Potion Studio: Sleep Elixir, then you're going to adore this one as well. This was a sleeper hit for me, so I wanted to especially encourage you to consider it. I got this as a birthday present from one of my very best friends, and at first I was a little uncertain about it, but it needed a little time to recover from traveling last year, it was SO cold over the winter and it was pretty shocked!  So I put it away, and honestly kind of forgot about it. I pulled it out about a month and a half later and huffed at the bottle, and thought oh, there's a little familiarity there - and my mind turned to Sleep Elixir. Now, they're not the same, but if you missed that one and were really yearning for it, I think you would love this. It's elegant, and sexy. White, gauzy. You know how Kashmir is sort of bold, sassy and sexy? This is the opposite, this is flirting under lowered eyelids, a tilt of the lips, this wraps around you softly but before you know it you're in trouble. Hah! I hope that's not too over the top, but that's what it makes me think of. This blend is different from SE in that it's not at all herbal, but still has the floaty white florals. The musk lingers over long drydown, and it has surprisingly a long lasting life, where SE tends to disappear on me after a few hours. And don't be afraid of the musk, it's more along the lines of Egyptian Musk, rather than the red musk of Kashmir. Just...get it! 

California Redwood Crystal Musk:  California Redwood Oil Absolute, Vanilla Musk (Crystal from the Studio Limited), Crystalline Absolute, White Pear Skin and Bastet's Amber underneath.
This is one of my favorites, I wear this year round. I fell hard for this the first time it was released. If you like Diamond from the SLs, you'll like this too. The juicy, fresh wood that almost feels like fruit is present here, but it adds a vanilla musk to it that is just so enticing. I always catch whiffs of this hours after I put it on and smile, it definitely cheers me up. I don't really pick up on the pear, so it must be a supporting note, adding to the juicy, sort of fruity aspect of the redwood. I love both Crystal and Crystalline, but I think this is the first time I've had a blend with both of them together, and they play well together. I honestly feel like this one is seriously underrated, and I can't believe it doesn't sell out every single time they release it. 

Orange & Vanilla Sandalwood:  Orange Essential Oil, Orange Zest, Blood Orange, Vanilla Bean Whole, Australian Vanilla Bean Flecks, Vanilla Cream, Australian Sandalwood, Santalum and White Santalum (Sandalwoods from the Studio Limited) and a drop of Crimson Red Musk.
Man, I was disappointed when I couldn't wear Pomander Spice from the previous year. I mean, I could, but it disappeared from my skin within ten minutes. And oh, I loved it! It was so festive. I could slather it like crazy and it just ghosted on me. So I tried aging my decant - nope. Still no luck. Well, then they came out with Orange & Vanilla Sandalwood the year after. I took a deep breath and just jumped. Blind bottled it, hoping this time this one would work. YAY IT DOES! It's bright, and fresh and fun with the zesty orange. So realistic. The creaminess of the vanilla comes in, and with the musk and sandalwood, it's become my yearly tradition to wear this for Christmas. It's not at all creamsicle, if you're worried about that. The sandalwoods and musk keep it from straying, and provide a nice balance. However, if you ARE looking for that, this layers so, so well with Bastet's Ice Cream Accord. It's quite a yummy pairing in the summer! Surprisingly, the citrus lasts for quite a while, and there's a hint of it even towards the end of the wear time, although by then it's predominately vanilla, wood and musk. Lasts a good while, too. 

Bastet's Ice Cream: Cherry Crème*: Bavarian Black Cherry, Sandalwood, Nag Champa incense Essence, Vanilla Crystalline Cream, Butter accord, Caramel Accord, French Vanilla Bean Absolute, Vanilla Milk accord, Vanilla Orchid, Crystalline Absolute and Vanilla Sugar.  *Originally given out as a Holiday sample-present and called Bastet’s Nag Champa Cherry Crème but renamed from a customer poll to ‘BIC: Cherry Crème’ A Dark Cherry (no Nag Champa) Ice Cream is coming soon at a future update.
Bastet gave out a sample called Nag Champa Cherry Creme one year, and mentioned that it would probably never be made into a full bottle perfume. It was a huge fan favorite and so many of us yearned to see it again. I for one was hoarding my sample because I was absolutely gaga for it. Well, last year BIC: Cherry Creme made an appearance, and I noticed the notes included nag champa. Whaaaat? Of course, I had to ask, and they verified it was a reformulation of the sample Bastet had made! Well, this is divine. If you are familiar with NA's expert touch with nag champa, you will not be surprised that nag champa and cherry could be so beautiful. The cherry is bright and tart and yummy, not at all cough syrup. The ice cream base is so creamy and delicious, and I absolutely love it, even though I'm not much of a foodie fan, I'm pretty obsessed with her Ice Creams. I haven't been able to get nearly as many as I want, but I should try to be reasonable! The nag champa is a wonderful contrast to the sweetness of the ice cream. Total delight. Do NOT miss this.

Victorian Candy Cane Crystalline: Red and white striped candy cane created with the essence of pure Peppermint bark, Vanilla Cream, Vanilla Dust, a touch of Strawberry seed and a heavy hand of SL Crystalline Vanilla Absolute. *12.9.18
Well, this fan favorite sold out. Honestly I'm so happy they brought it back so other people could experience it! I wanted to get a backup, but I didn't get my order in time, and that's okay, I'm happy to have one at all, honestly. 
This is the quintessential candy cane I've been wanting ever since I fell into collecting indies. I'd tried several, but they were always too bitter and didn't do well on my skin. I wanted it to be more creamy! Well, this, ughhhhhh IT'S SO GOOD. There's a sugary peppermint aspect, absolutely wrapped up in creamy vanilla. The strawberry seed isn't noticeable at all, but adds a lovely subtle sweetness. It's just exactly the right balance, not too bitter so all you get is the harshness of the mint, and not too sweet or overwhelmingly vanilla. Seriously I know I gush over this all over the place, but this is the perfect Christmas Eve scent, and if you happen to come across it in the secondary market and you wanted it, better snatch it up quick, fast and in a hurry!
Okay, I hope that helps y'all with your last minute orders! I know it was a little rushed, so if you have any questions or need clarification, please let me know. And happy holidays! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

NAliday 2018 Impressions!

Hello, fren. It's been a quiet year here at Zombiiesque, I've been hit with a bunch of life stuff, so I've mostly been maintaining the LC Archive and that's IT. But....it's the NAliday season. I'm making cookies today, and I got my order in at the beginning of the week. They've had a little time to rest and recover (both Copals had some pretty rough mail shock!), so I wanted to give you some quick impressions. As a bonus, Crystal was included as a gift this round, and although I've been loving it for over a year now, I'll include my thoughts on that as well.
Let's dive right in, shall we? 

Eternal Egypt Gold – White Amber, Egyptian Musk, Bastet Amber, Sandalwood Absolute, Lily of the Valley, SL Crimson Absolute, NA Kyphi, Guaiac wood, Lavender, Mandarin, aged Moonstone (Studio Limited) and Eternal Ankh Vanilla Husk and fleck.
Y'ALL. Okay, I've had trouble with Eternal Ankh sitting right on my skin, so I didn't jump on the Eternal Ankh Colors train, but I've been head over heels for Eternal Egypt and all of its variations right from the beginning. It's a desert island scent for me. When I saw they had done an Eternal Egypt Color, I WAS NO MORE GOOD. I knew it was going to come home with me. Looking over the notes, it had to be a sort of white floral version. Wellll, I usually hate florals, but Bastet has slowly been winning me over and since I haven't tried a single Eternal Egypt I haven't liked, bring it on!  
I will say that this is probably really going to be incredible after a little aging. Eternal Egypt Decade took a full 6 months before it reached its zenith, honestly, and it's so good I could cry. I bought my 10ml of original Eternal Egypt this year, and it definitely needed a few months before it had that exact smell I was so nuts for. It's hard to describe, but you can definitely tell that it's going to be amazing, but it's not quite there yet. 
So when I got Eternal Egypt Gold, I knew it was going to take time, but I couldn't help myself, and I've worn it like three times already. I'm telling you what, if you don't usually like florals, THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR MIND. It smells expensive. It smells sophisticated. It smells like you know down deep something is incredibly sexy, but in the most hidden way...you just KNOW it's there, buried under a pretty smile, this is secretly smoldering with passion. Okay, I'm going a little far with my descriptives, but I think this is one that's flying under the radar when I can't believe it's not sold out.
It's super hard to pick out individual notes already. I don't get the kyphi, and I absolutely love kyphi. Maybe if I huff and huff at my wrist, it's there...but this is NA at the top of their game, it's like you flopped down into a fluffy white couch on the floor and you cannot tear yourself away, you're mesmerized, and you're happy to stay that way. You can smell everything all at once, you know it's there...but it's incredibly well blended, and instead you're presented with such a complete product, you can't help but be spellbound.
I SAID I WASN'T GOING TO DO THAT. Seriously, Niki, shut up and get on with it, already.
Hah. The florals are soft, white, pretty, just hanging out at the edge of that fabulous sandy fresh amber that Eternal Egypt is so famous for. It's elevating and already tranquil, stunning scent to another level. Someone said it reminded them of an expensive mainstream perfume, but yet not. I can understand that - but I'm going to say this. This is what those pretentious, expensive main stream perfumes WANT TO BE BUT THEY CANNOT GET THERE. Pffft. You wish, sister. Okay, I think that's all I've got. But I want y'all to know, this needs to be revisited after a few months, because it's going to change, it's going to develop into something even better than it already is. 
Oh! And I noticed, some folks are thinking this is a version of Eternal Ankh - it's most definitely Eternal Egypt. 

Vanilla Copal - Peruvian Copal EO, Copal Resin, Crystalline Absolute, Kobalt Absolute, NA Studio Snow Musk (sweet wood-infused musk), Vanilla Bean extract 12.13.18
Okay, so this just sold out today! I had a strong suspicion it would, I'm glad I snatched a bottle up before it got gone.
Okay, this one and its sister took significantly longer to recover from traveling across the country. It was hard for me to sit on my hands and wait, because I was looking forward to the copals - it's my favorite note. I definitely get a couple of different copals here - one is sweeter, and the other's smoky. Both are delightfully resinous, and snake gorgeously around the vanillas. I'm getting the sweetness of the Snow Musk - this is reminding me of Cemetary Musk, but a little chillier? Mama likes! Man. If you just got this, and you think it smells funky, I beg you - PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON IT. Give it a few days, like 4 or 5, and then try it again. It went from funky to absolutely mesmerizing. This feels...cozy. Like wood crackling in a fireplace, sitting wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket and reading while snow is falling outside of your window. The snow creates that quiet, spellbinding atmosphere....hang on, I just read a piece that describes that the other day. Okay, here it is! Anyway, it feels like that - it takes you out of the absolute frenetic energy of the season, it allows you to take a deep breath, and just calm down. What a gift this perfume is. So lovely. I wish I had been able to get a couple bottles of this. What a lovely meld of vanilla, resinous amber, and musk! Don't sleep on this, if you see it in the Marketplace, you might want to snatch a bottle up.  I am SO glad I don't have seller's regret on this, hah! But I've been through that with more than one perfume, and I knew it just needed a little time and it would be magical.

Sandalwood Copal – Venezuelan Copal EO, Copal Resin, Sandalwood, Tibetan Sandalwood (future SL), SL Crystal Absolute, Skin Musk, SL N8 Musk and Crimson Musk Absolute
Oh, my goodness. I think that, if possible, I might like this even more than Vanilla Copal! Hummmmm. This is....this is evening, whereas Vanilla Copal is afternoon. This is an evening of quiet and contentment, a mug of tea, the weather is cold, but you've got someone to keep you company and just have some time together to enjoy the season. Yeahhhh. So this has got a few musks, and I can actually pick out the Crimson and Skin Musk....I love NA's musks. They're all somewhat sexy, and I think that's why I'm even more in love with Sandalwood. The two copals, and two sandalwoods, are well blended here, but I can actually smell both and they're really so good together. I love woods, resins, and musks, so this is TOTALLY in my wheelhouse. I might require a backup. This needed aging too, but I actually knew a few days before Vanilla that this was going to blow me away. There's a cleanness in this that keeps this from being too deep in resin territory, and the Crystal is just a whisper here. Do you need both of these? YES. They're quite different, despite the commonality of copal. Unequivocably, yes. Both of them give a lovely sense of contentment and an oasis of peace in a busy, stressful season.

Crystal: Harvested in Egypt with Egyptian Black Vanilla pods, flecks extracted and blended into a beautiful and smooth White Musk. For this perfume, it is about precise binding and timing and we hope you enjoy it as it is one of our customer-favorite single notes.
I've had Crystal for probably about a year. To me, this is slightly chewier vanilla that Crystalline? Crystalline on me is lighter, more airy, a sort of floaty, transparent, gauzy vanilla. My favorite straight up vanilla, but Crystal has grown on me too. It's got more...texture and weight than Crystalline. There's nothing I've worn it with that it hasn't enhanced. It's more of a musky type, not foodie at all. My favorite pairings though are usually with patchouli, particularly Patchouli Ombre and Labyrinth. It's absolutely lovely on its own, and lasts quite a bit longer than Crystalline, which kind of fades after a while and needs to be reapplied, even when it's aged. Not that I'm complaining, I'm happy to slather it on, hah! Also, Crystal has a lot more throw - it's not shy. I've gotten quite a few compliments when wearing it! Especially when I pair it with patchouli, or musks. One of my favorite musks to wear with it is Egyptian Musk. *swoon*

Okay, fren. I promise to try and come back sooner this time, but I am still active in the Tent on Facebook, and of course the LC Archives. I hope you have a lovely holiday season. What NAliday scents did you treat yourself to, or are you still trying to decide what you've got to have?
I will try to get back and write up some of the Resurgence scents that I have, along with that incredible bottle of Christopher that you see in the photo.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

NAVA Mood Lifting Scents!

Clearwater, Florida

Hey y'all! I've actually been working on this idea for a while, and it's a little unusual, but I figured I can't be the only one who goes through struggles, and so for this I've asked for a few contributions from my fellow Nocturne Alchemy fans in the House of Nocturne Alchemy Tent (also affectionately known as the Tent, and my family!). I want to say straight away, I'm not a doctor of any kind, and I'm not here to tell you what will definitively make you feel better, but merely make some suggestions for you to try, if you struggle with similar issues. Also, I offer big, gentle, e-hugs.
I struggle. I struggle a lot with mental issues - they even keep me from writing, which is my joy, truly. Y'all probably noticed it took me quite a while to get back to this blog after dear Laura passed. And it wasn't just that, although I did have a hard time moving past it, and I'm still not fully over it. I miss her dearly. But shortly after that, I started spiraling into a rather deep depression, which combined with my anxiety and PTSD, and all the junk life was throwing at me, seemed to go on for quite a while. I'm slowly climbing my way out of the pit now, but it's not easy.
And honestly, when I'm struggling with these issues, there's not much that gives me ease. Scent is truly one of those things, and for me, music. It gives me the ability to take some deep breaths and get out of my own head, and tell myself, I'm OKAY. It's going to be okay.
So, all that said, I thought I might offer up some ideas, and I asked others what soothes them.
The biggest point to make, though, I think, is that scent, and what makes us feel better in scent, is intensely personal, and varies so widely from person to person. My aromatherapist friend, Rain, says that a lot of folks associate pine with Christmas (or Yule), and for her pine is death - she's literally severely allergic to it, and so for her Christmas is scotch tape and paper and MINT. So that's a great example of how personal scent actually is. Therefore, I'm going to reiterate that these are merely suggestions.
Now that I've beleaguered that point, I'll give you a list of notes that I love and then some particular suggestions, both from me, and my NA Tent family!
What started all of this, for me, was in the fall of 2015, Nocturne Alchemy had their Halloween Part 1 release, and sent out samples of Bastet Halloween 2016. This was actually part of the permanent catalogue (PC), at that time in the VA section under the All Hallows' Eve heading. Every year they put out a Halloween perfume in the PC for the following year, so it's always available, and that year they put out a matching pair, so both Bastet and Anubis were released, and the sample I got was instantly loved, and upgraded to a full bottle. It's become such a comfort scent to me, and has pulled me through some very dark days. I realized that I found myself reaching for it constantly when I was at my lowest points.
Notes that I really love when I'm down or anxious are sandalwood, frankincense, copal. So resins, they feel like a nice warm hug. I find the NA oudh absolutely sublime for this, too. And there's something very comforting about Nocturne Alchemy's ambers, too. That kind of falls in between two categories for me, as I also like fresh, clean scents, or herbal scents, and the ambers can be very fresh, and also resinous. I love sage, chamomile, patchouli, citrus, and occasionally lavender from the fresh/herbal/medicinal/clean category. Citrus can be such an uplifting note (or notes!) when you need your day brightened. I also find NA nag champa,or incense heavy blends, soothing.
But a lot of times it's sort of a gut instinct/strong scent memory that makes you feel like you're wearing scent armor. Rain mentioned that she loves her Eternal Ankh Anniversary during such times.
So a little list of possible scent suggestions.
From the SLs, Hessonite, Ember, Santal Ombre, Patchouli Ombre, Santalum, Pyramid Santalum, Frankincense Ombre, and even the new Oud Ombre. Eternal Ankh Anniversary, Eternal Egypt Anniversary are others to consider, if you find vanillas to be your "blanket" you might like Crystal, Crystalline, Kobalt, etcetera from that line.  I really love the OP line, it gives me a boost of confidence and the incense is incredibly settling for me, particularly OP Baba, because of the nag champa and black musk - musks are a power scent type for me. I forgot to mention I like myrrh also as a comforting resin, so definitely Myrrh Ombre, one of my first purchases!
From the PCs, I cannot recommend the OM NAs enough. Temple NA, Eternity, and Balance in particular, although I should really try Khet, as it sounds lovely. Gabriel from the 7 section has both frankincense and myrrh. I like to layer Raphael, as I find it clean and fresh, with Santalum. The Royal Amber section is a veritable treasure trove of comfort scents, particularly Bastet Amber, Sekhmet Amber, Thoth Amber, Temple Amber, and Sky Amber. I'm wanting to add Priestess Amber to my collection, as all of the sandalwoods and amber sound like an amazing combination and I've been lucky enough to smell Rain's bottle and fallen in love. I have a full bottle of Black Frankincense from the Desecrated Tomb section that I find absolutely heavenly, and it layers well with so many SLs - and the Prehistoric collection, too, for that matter, but that's for my LC suggestion list. There's also a veritable treasure trove in the Eternals, but I will say for me the biggest one is Eternal Egypt. It's become just such a signature scent for me. I
Another set of oils to consider are the NA Purpose Oils, which can be found offsite at The Blackest Rose. I have Protection, and I find it absolutely fantastic, but I really want to get Strength and Guidance.
Now, there's also several LC (limited, seasonal collections) perfumes that I absolutely adore for these purposes, which have been occasionally brought back as Resurgence, but you could put out an "ISO" (in search of) in the NAVA Marketplace or Indie Perfume Lovers groups on Facebook. For me Horus Haven 2 is a warm hug of a scent. I also really love Polter-Guests, it's got that herbal/clean thing going on. And I always, always reach for my Holiday Egyptian Frankincense for layering. There's a whole treasure trove in the Prehistorics, Pteranodon is fantastic for adding sandalwood to any perfume, and of course I love Cryolophosaurus for the patch and amber. Camarasaurus from last year has become a huge favorite of mine, because copal just makes me feel like myself again. I'm going to go ahead and mention NA oudh, the Icons. I find their oudh to be so gloriously beautiful, and the ones I own are Egyptian Temple Oudh, Labyrinth, and of course my beloved Copal Oudh. Phantasm Kiss from the 2016 Halloween release is so good, I bought 2 bottles of it, and I wear it alone and layered with other perfumes to boost my spirits. There was a series of Dream Bottles that came out with the winter collection the year I started collecting NA, and it taught me that I could, indeed, wear and love lavender, so I'll mention the Blue Egypt and Dead Can Sleep Dream Bottles. There was a sandalwood as well, which I totally regret not nabbing! But although those were pretty exclusive and hard to find, you can still find the original Dead Can Sleep and Blue Egypt in the PC section.
I'm going to close this by giving you various suggestions from my Tent family. But I also wrote and asked if the NA crew had any suggestions for you, and Freja said she would recommend OM NA: Balance, Crystalline, and the Purpose Oil: Inner Love (which is also one of my friend Rain's favorites!). Suggestions from fans include Lavender Santalum, Pink Grapefruit Frankincense, Moonstone, Holiday Egyptian Sandalwood, Myrrh and White Amber from the LC Holiday 2017 Collection, OP Set (huuuuge fan of OP Set so I second this motion!), Santalum, OM NA Eternity, Orange and Sandalwood Vanilla which is an LC Holiday scent and SO comforting!...from my lovely friend Heather - Santal Ombre, Ember, Pteranodon, Protection, Speaking with Spirits! So, some great suggestions there, and definitely worth hunting down, I particularly had forgotten about Speaking With Spirits, and would add from that same LC Halloween 2017 collection, when I'm really struggling with sleeping, Sleep Elixir is absolutely divine. I can't wear it without falling asleep in minutes.
So, really there's a wide range of possibilities here, but just know, whatever makes you feel most comforted in a scent will really help you when you feel down. I forgot something that I should have mentioned, I also like peppermint for uplifting, and two LCs I absolutely adore are Victorian Candy Cane Crystalline and Bastet's Pink Snow. I'll close with a quote from the Eagles:
I wish you peace when times are hard
A light to guide you through the dark
And when storms are high and your, your dreams are low

I wish you the strength to let love grow,
Oh I wish you the strength to let love flow,

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Nocturne Alchemy Valentine Resurgence 2018

Hi y'all! I wanted to get a few impressions of the Resurgence for the Nocturne Alchemy Valentine's collection, I don't have them all but I have some!
So let's dive right in.

The Egyptologist Collection:

1922 Perfume: Pure Sandalwood, Incense Accord, Myrrh, Frankincense, Kobalt Vanilla Essence and a drop of NAVA Oudh.
Oh, this is such a gold scent. It's grown up and sexy resinous incense, with a kick of the luscious Kobalt vanilla. On me Kobalt is a little more foodie than say Crystal or Crystalline, but here it adds almost a vanilla musk scent to the other notes. And the oudh, it just floats up through the other notes and wraps it in a bit of smoky warmth. It screams date night to me, but more of a casual jeans and black boots date night, or....Netflix and chill? *giggles* But it's definitely a very grown woman scent. Total win.

Carter Perfume: White Frankincense, Gold Amber, Black Tea, Gold Myrrh, White Amber and Tibetan Crystalline. Mmm the myrrh adds a nice resinous sweetness.
Oh, my GODS this is another sexy one. This is more of a formal grown up sexy date night perfume, something you wear a dress and heels for. And I love the tea aspect, it's not like the Summer Teas at all, this is warm and golden and oh so beautiful. I don't actually get much of the Tibetan Crystalline, it is a supporting note, but it's there for sure. The gold amber adds a golden tone to this and I love the feel of the white amber, it adds a lovely freshness. Oh yes. Mmm the myrrh brings a nice resinous sweetness.

Petrie Perfume: Gold Amber Resin, Sand Accord, Lime, Santalum White, Green Pepper, Nag Champa Incense and Black Vanilla.
NAG CHAMPA SUMMER EDITION. Okay, Nocturne Alchemy does some crazy things with nag champa, seriously. I love it. Who would have thought that lime and green pepper would work ? They did, and it does. It's got almost a cool serene tone, and the bleached, slightly coconutty Santalum White intensifies the feel of this, making it even more summer-y. I love it. And if you were curious, it's totally different than Tibetan Crystalline. Another win!

The Pastels Collection (previously known as the Spring Pastels):

Nag Champa Seahorse: is filled with little horses?  No, it's filled with decadent incense smoke that runs around inside the bottle.  We love incense including the very beautiful yet authentic Nag Champa incense. To create this we needed only the best essential oils and absolutes of patchouli, sandalwood and dragon's blood swirled into Crystalline vanilla, the scent is simple yet decadent, evocative and yet brings content to each inhale.
This is such a classic fan favorite. It's nag champa incense done RIGHT, and I love the touch of Crystalline. If you want, which I often do, you can layer this with Crystalline for more of that, but so many of the SLs layer well with this, Kashmir, Diamond, Bloodstone....Hessonite! It's not too heavy, either. This is such a must for nag champa incense fans.

Coconut Cockatoo: is filled with Coconut Husk, Coconut Milk, Coconut Sugar all bound together in the harmony of Crystalline vanilla.
Okay, so this one absolutely SCREAMS summer at the beach. It's coconut and coconut milk, with a vanilla sugar musk. Oh yes. So, coconut vanilla sugar musk. It's not a strong scent - it's more of a close skin scent that although isn't overly potent, it does last all day. I love to pair it with Coconut Milk from the Summer Tea Service, but you might also try Parasaurolophus!

And lastly, Kalabrias: Indian White Nag Champa Incense NAVA Accord, Romanian Sweet Red Wine, Kashmir Musk, Hungarian Cedar and Patchouli, Santalum Absolute and California Redwood.
Okay, where Petrie is cool and serene and summery, this is totally a winter nag champa. For me, anyway. I wear it from the time fall hits until the weather stops being so frigid, and I always get a flannel lounge pants and a warm fire feel, it's so cozy. The wine is a surprising twist, and it just works! I love the woods and the red musk, obviously. They add, with the red wine, some juiciness, and it is so friendly and it makes me want to curl up in a big cozy chair and read books by the fire all day. It's SO easy to wear.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Nocturne Alchemy NEW Studio Limiteds!

In December, Nocturne Alchemy introduced several new Studio Limiteds - Anniversaries, Ombres. and "single notes". I recently nabbed a bunch on my wishlist and I haven't written a proper review in FOREVER, so I thought I would post my first impressions.
Quick note - these babies take more time to fully develop their personalities than the regular LC/PC perfumes, because I feel like the quality of notes is even finer, so I will need to revisit this in about a month or so when they've had time to fully develop.
I picked up Sky Amber too, one of the two new offerings of Royal Ambers from the grand reopening, and I had previously grabbed Temple Amber, so now I have both of them and I can honestly say they are both amazing and totally different. If you are looking for an alternative to Eternal Ankh and want a good vanilla and amber combination, I would strongly recommend Sky Amber. It has that gorgeous Royal Amber base, and it just melds into gorgeousness with the vanilla used in this offering. I for some reason cannot wear the original version of Eternal Ankh, it just doesn't work on my skin (I HAS THE SAD), so I'm super excited to have an alternative. I did spring for the Eternal Ankh Anniversary and that one is a huge win for me, so I can't be too upset. And Temple Amber? Oh. OH. That one, in a very short review, feels ANCIENT. It feels like lighting the fires sacred to the Gods, so if you are into that kind of thing, it's a must, I wear it a lot when I'm feeling the need for a strong spiritual connection, and it's amazing. It features a strong smoky vetiver note, and that's usually a huge no for me but it works here and I'm considering a backup.
So, let me give y'all some quick first impressions.
Crystalline DarkBeautiful aged Crystalline blended into dark notes of Black Amber, Black Musk and Black Vanilla, blended and aged two years in an oak barrel.  Apply SL Originals Crystalline to heighten the vanilla experience. 
Okay, OH EM EFFING GEE. I love Crystalline. Of all of the vanilla SLs, it was my first love, and my first foray into NA vanillas, and it was an instant win for me.This? This is Crystalline made super sexy, wearing big black stompy boots. The black musk is sublime here, not overly animalistic, just perfectly musky, and the black amber and black vanilla are so grown up, little black dress, I have an image in my head of what this woman looks like and she's both sexy and defiant. This is fun. This one is a total win already, so I imagine with age it's just going to get better.

Pink Quartz: Pink Vanilla Blossom, Crystalline, Crimson Egyptian Musk, Bastet’s White Amber Absolute and a minimal drop of aged Oak.
Okay, this one is definitely PINK. Very feminine, a pink vanilla musk. For me it will require some grounding, so I'll be trying it with for instance Pteranodon, or maybe a bit of Hessonite. It's a bit too far in the feminine zone for me, but the SLs have the bonus of being wonderfully paired with their other mates, so layering these is a no brainer. It is very beautifully done, and I'm hoping for a bit more of the other elements coming out to play with age, so I'll catch y'all up in a few weeks as it ages.

Pyramid Santalum: Four aged Sandalwood perfumes by Nocturne Alchemy, blended together in different quantities to create an aromatic sandalwood symphony.  When worn the sandalwood notes will vary in scent dependent on the wearer.  Santalum, Santalum White, Santalum Sweet and Mysore Santalum.
Ooooh. Okay, I wasn't completely sure about Santalum when I first got it, but it aged so gloriously I fell hard. And Santalum White was pretty much an instant win. This is an altogether different Santalum, it has that familiar feel, with the elements of Santalum and Santalum White, but this is incredible right off the bat. It's somehow lighter than Santalum, not as bleached and summery as Santalum White, so easily wearable. I can only imagine how well this is going to age, y'all. This is another that I feel is instant backup worthy. If you love sandalwood, I'm here to tell you, you need it.

And I recently added CrimsonA single note with accents given to enhance. A pure Egyptian Red Musk that is a skin musk the envelopes the wearer in a sheer, deep and aromatic scent that binds with the natural warmth of the skin and is both alluring and unisexual.  The colour is a rich vibrant red from the Red Musk petals used during the perfume process.  Apply sparingly to enjoy the natural colour of the red musk petals.  A very soft etherial perfume.
This. This is between the sexy red musk of Kashmir, and the ethereal Egyptian Musk. It's clean, and more present than Egyptian Musk, which is considerably lighter and more of a skin musk. It's slightly spicy, and oh so beautifully done. I actually paired it with Bastet's Potion Number 23 from the Holiday update and it was amazing. And it layered well with Pyramid Santalum, too. Oh. So beautiful. If Kashmir is a bit too forward for you, Crimson may be the red musk you seek. I'm personally in love with both, and they are different enough from each other to warrant owning both.

From the new Ombres, I chose Oud Ombre #23: Exotic Indian grown Oud aged in Black Oak, NA Oudh ICON Absolute, Perfume Attar of Rare Black Amber, Black Patchouli Amber, Black Frankincense and Black Myrrh.
Hnnnnnng I love the Ombres, and I love oudh. Oh Gods. This is going to need some time to develop, but it has that dark incredible Ombre base, and the oudh is so smoky and sexy and gorgeous, this is going to be a favorite, right next to Santal Ombre. But it definitely needs some aging to reach its full potential, so if you aren't impressed straight out of the mail, give it a few weeks. I've had it for 4 days and I can see the potential already. YES.

And I have an original bottle of Fig Noir Ombre, so I thought I would give my impressions of that as well. Green Fig aged, Black Fig Essence aged, sweet Fig Leaf, a clove left in and then removed (subtle, but necessary), Perfume Attar of Rare Black Amber, Black Patchouli Amber, Black Frankincense and Black Myrrh.  New 2017 version.
I haven't smelled the new version, but this is a deep fig, chewy, and sexy with the Ombre base. This is a sexy fig, if that's somehow possible, NA did it. It's a wrap dress and stacked heels. Yassss. If you like NA fig, GET IT. I'm going to grab a new bottle to age, myself. I love it so much.

So there you have it. Also in my order were Eternal Egypt Anniversary, which is a deeper, woodier version of Eternal Egypt, and gorgeous in its own right. Emerson, which is a cozy, comforting, beautiful scent. And Eternal Underworld, a cherry that is not cough syrup, but resinous amber and oh so well done, I would not have thought I would love a cherry scent this much but I'm pretty obsessed.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

In Memorium: Dear Laura, Decantress and Scribe Extraordinaire

I'm not really sure how to start this, as I'm still rather reeling with the shock. On Saturday, the indie perfume community found out that our dear friend Laura, who has been decanting for NAVA for more than 8 years, passed away suddenly due to an illness. I'm not sure there are enough superlatives for me to describe this incredible lady, who made such an impact on our little world, but I hope, today, to do some honor to her, from my very fond memories of the friendship that she gifted me with.
I met Laura more than 3 years ago, when I was just starting my incredible discovery of the Nocturne Alchemy brand. I wasn't really sure where to start, and some kind souls pointed me in her direction, as she was decanting the current Limited Collection, as she always did. I found her Facebook group and Livejournal, and sent her an email. Hah! Gods bless her, she was gracious from the very first time I spoke with her. I told her that I was very, very new to NAVA and that I had never joined a circle before, could she offer a little guidance? And she did, she made things so very easy for me, and we started speaking regularly. I remember that she told me she loved my username! She was a big fan of the show The Walking Dead (see photo above, we are both Daryl fans, and I told her that my fiance is rather Daryl-esque in character). Well, that started us on a little path of long emails, and eventually we had a few phone conversations too! I always wanted to speak more with her but our schedules were opposite, so we only got to have a few marathon conversations on the phone. But I felt instantly connected with her, like we had known each other for years. I think Laura was one of those truly gifted and intuitive people who were able to make everyone comfortable, to make people feel really good while they were speaking with her. How incredibly lovely. I so enjoyed talking to her, about anything under the sun. And she knew my struggles with depression, without me going too deeply into it - and it always seemed to me that Laura was shining a light in my darkness. She always had something sweet to say, some kindness to pass on, something to make me laugh out loud. That was another thing - she had an absolutely fantastic sense of humor. I always enjoyed her posts on her Facebook or in her group. I enjoyed the little blurbs she wrote at the top of each circle for us as well. I'm remembering so many things she spoke of with such fondness, but overwhelmingly, it's her kindness, and the light in the dark that she held, I'm sure not just for me, but for many.
And she was an incredibly busy lady. She was professional, and organized, and she kept notes on quite a huge catalogue of NAVA perfumes. She started the NAVA Wiki after their fan forum was closed, and that in itself is quite the undertaking. Her journal has provided so many of us with notes for perfumes that we couldn't find elsewhere on the internet, she's left quite a legacy behind in our small world. She sent out the most wonderful packages. Everything was done just so, and there was always a little sniffie of something interesting, as well as something fun in keeping with the theme of that season or collection. My first package had tiny little pink umbrellas! I still have them and so many other little mementos from her in a little box. And I bought many a bottle or partial bottle from her sales entries, which was absolutely chock full of treasures. That was absolutely invalueable in helping me learn what notes I liked from NAVA, and whenever someone new asked about them, I would send them her sales page, saying that it's an excellent way to dip your toes in and find out what you like - because it was true.
I actually made her the graphic you see in my sidebar. She sent me the original graphic - so cute! - and I sent her what I had made, and she loved it. I had planned to make a few more for her in a variety of sizes, but I got sick and seemed to stay that way for almost a month after we moved, and hadn't got back into it. I actually had my graphics program open the day I found out she passed away, as I was going to get back into making my graphics - as you see, I'd redone my header for the blog, but not the css yet. I was planning on writing her a nice long email, because I know she'd been behind due to her internet being down, but was getting ready to start the new decanting for the grand reopening. I'm a little upset with myself I didn't get around to it. I think that we always live with some regrets when someone we love passes, and Laura made quite an impact on me, she was more than just a lady I bought perfume samples from, she was a very good friend.
Laura was preceded in death by the love of her life, her husband Bob. She talked about him quite a lot with me, and I felt really honored that she would share her story with me. That was very sweet and touching that she trusted her feelings with me, and I truly valued that.  I know, now, that she is with her love, and her precious cat, and she is happy. Her heart is full. Her body no longer aches, she's not tired, or lonely, or missing her husband any longer, she is at peace. And that's all I could truly wish for dear Laura. I will hold you in my heart, dear friend, and remember the gifts that you gave me, and I will hold the light now. Love you very much. Wish you peace, Laura.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Nocturne Alchemy Seth's Dinosaur Collection - PART TWO

Hi y'all! I'm back at it again today. And crossing my fingers I don't get pulled away from the computer, so I can get this up for y'all.  It's a gorgeous day out, and we haven't had any rain yet. I swear, we've been waterlogged here in Florida ever since hurricane season started.
So I think this review will be a little shorter - I'm sure you're all breathing a sigh of relief. Hey, I can remember when the internet was ALL TEXT, no graphics, no photos, just....text. Yep, true story. We've come a long way. Anyway, so today I'm covering the second release, which is when the Prehistoric collection name came about. There were six perfumes in that release. Of those, I have four - I'm missing Ankylosaurus and Caudipteryx. I actually had a full bottle of Ankylosaurus, and I traded it away (I think for Pumpkin #6, actually, if I'm remembering correctly!). I definitely have some regrets over that, I'm thinking I might want to try to get that one again if I can. Also, I'm kind of doing  a *headdesk* moment over Caudipteryx - y'all, it's a chypre! Umm, why did I not get a bottle of this? Probably because I was too obsessed last summer over picking up my beloved Pteranodon and the others I didn't get in the first round, so in playing catch up I wasn't paying attention too closely for the note description of Caudipteryx. Anyway, so I have four perfumes to cover for you this afternoon, and two of them are quite complex, so let's just dive right in, shall we?
As a side note, if you missed my review of the first release, you can click here and it will take you to it, it has some pertinent notes about these perfumes. I want to go ahead and mention this again, though - these perfumes were designed to be "hatched" or layered, to bring out the complexity of the notes. They might seem a little flat or linear to you if you wear them alone, although of course you are welcome to do so. This is especially relevant to two of these I'm reviewing today, Giganotosaurus and Deinonychus. In addition to that, the notes again state that bits of resin may occur with aging, and it will enrich the perfume even more.

Deinonychus:  Resinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, VA Cemetery Musk Accord, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Sandalwood, Hungarian White Cedarwood, Kobalt SL (Vanilla Orchid of Cairo) and a drop of Egyptian Temple Oudh.
Okay, might as well get the two super complex perfumes out of the way right off the bat. No need to be intimidated, Niki, you got this girl! Haha. Erm. Well, see, when I know that something is particularly special, I get nervous about writing about it. I worry I'm not going to do it justice, so I won't properly capture what it's like for you. I'm going to give this a try though, as always! Hah. Deinonychus was a blind buy for me. Right off the bat, I knew I was going to get bottles of this, Giganotosaurus, and Velociraptor (BECAUSE IT'S VELOCIRAPTOR!! EEE. More on that later.) Okay, so looking over the notes, I see my beloved Egyptian Temple Oudh. Hnnnnngggggg I cannot express my love of this enough. It's eye-rolling good, life changing, and if you're into it? Great for a mediation perfume oil, it will totally take you out of your normal life and put you into that special place. Anyway, that's just one component. The other one that caught my eye was Cemetary Musk. Now, I've had some experience with this, it's also an accord used in my beloved Snow Amber, Underlord Akhenaten, and it looks like it's been in a few other LCs that sound pretty amazing, Zombie Grave Edition and White Zombie. Hmmm. Anyway, how to describe this musk that I like so much? It's sort of a sweet, dry, clean musk? Maybe sort of a light golden feel, or even a sort of gauzy white. It's deceptive, I mean it's a light and clean musk, but it packs more of a solid punch than say NAVA'S Egyptian Musk. As a note in these three scents that I have, it sticks around for a long time, which is what I mean by deceptive. I'm okay with that, I love that smell. So if you wear Deinonychus alone, it's a little more complex than some of the Dinosaurs. That's neat. You still won't get all of the nuances unless you add another oil, but I definitely get the Cemetery Musk right out of the gate, and I'm picking up the ambers in the undercurrent. They're so lovely, I really enjoy that sort of "freshness" of NAVA amber. It's quite distinctive. I've worn Deinonychus alone for an entire day, and it's pretty amazing, actually. I put it on in the morning, and then I made a trip to Clearwater. As I was walking around in a shop, something like 6 or 8 hours later, I got this lovely, smoky scent drifting up at me. I stopped dead in my tracks and tried to figure out what it was - bingo, Deinonychus. The Egyptian Temple Oudh just kicked in and the Cemetery Musk took a step backwards - HOLY WOW THAT IS AWESOME. I mean, I'm not kidding. So let's talk about layering. (I know, this is long. But it's complex and wondrous and it deserves a full review.) When you hatch Deinonychus, it's quite a changeling. Not as drastic as Giganotosaurus is, but depending on what you layer it with, you'll get more of the other notes - the Kobalt vanilla, the cedarwood, and the sandalwood all make appearances but if you layer it with a vanilla heavy perfume, Kobalt comes out even more to play. Honestly the two stars of this always remain the Cemetery Musk and Egyptian Temple Oudh, but layered all of the aspects come out and it is glorious. I'll give some examples below. By the way, the cedar in this is not at all pencil shavings - if you've not had the please of smelling Diamond, which you totally should by the way, you won't recognize it, but it's a light, sweet wood here, almost juicy, absolutely lovely.
TL;DR: CEMETERY MUSK PARTAAAYYY. Umm. Let me try to be a little more concise. Hatching Deinonychus, it's quite multifaceted, but the stars are always Egyptian Temple Oudh and Cemetery Musk. The vanilla, sandalwood, ambers, and cedar all make appearances.
Layering recommendations: So now, let's talk about how to make certain notes sing, shall we? If you layer Deinonychus with the aforementioned Diamond, it becomes a Cemetery Musk (CM for short), Egyptian Temple Oudh (ETO), and Cedar party, with the sandalwood, vanilla, and amber as supporting cast. The woods in Diamond are so beautifully done, and they really go so beautifully with this, it's quite a stunning combination. The guy loves this particular combination. And let's say you layer this with one of NAVA's superlative vanillas. Crystal, Crystalline, Kobalt, Kobalt Dark, Ember Vanilla, OP Pakhet, Phantasm Kiss. Wait, let's hold off on Phantasm Kiss, that one is special. All of these other vanillas though, then it becomes a CM, ETO, and Kobalt party, with the ambers, sandalwood, and cedar as supporting notes. Now let's get to Phantasm Kiss. Wow. This is a good one, because it's got both vanilla AND ETO. So this really showcases how incredibly multifaceted Deinonychus is. You already know who's at the party here, I'm sure you're following along by now. So it's also especially lovely with Santalum, Santalum White, or Santalum Ombre for the same reason. You might try it with Ambre Ombre to really bring out the two lovely ambers - it's actually kind of jaw dropping good with Ambre Ombre, or White Ambre Ombre, if you want something a little lighter. Umm, let's see, what else? Oh, you could easily do Egyptian Musk, Crimson, or Kashmir with it. As far as LC suggestions? Sky's the limit. It goes well with almost any of the Oudhs I think. I don't think I've tried it with Labyrinth, but I've tried it with ETO, Copal Oudh, Samar Oudh, Inferno...Snow Amber, Holiday Egyptian Gold Amber, Embalmed Mummy, Underlord Akhenaten, Underlord Bastet, Blood Moon, Holiday Egyptian Gold Vanilla and Sandalwood, Under the Moon - really the possibilities are endless. This is such a workhorse of a scent, it's amazing.

Giganotosaurus:   Resinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Ginger, Rosewood and Hungarian Teak.
Oh, girl. You had me at patchouli and rosewood. I was curious what the rest of it would smell like, but I knew I was getting a full bottle of it. Little did I know that I would blow through a half a bottle in six months! I actually saved this review for last, because as much as I love Deinonychus, I love Giganotosaurus even more. I have tried this with errydangthing. I mean it. And it's a total chameleon! With some perfumes, it turns light, feminine. With others, it deepens, becomes more earthy, woody. But I have not found anything I didn't like it with. It's been blowing my mind and I can't get enough. And the more I age it, the more delightful it becomes. I can't believe how the different facets come out with different blends. This; this is the reason I am such a fangirl for NAVA. I swear, they're magicians. They truly are. Now, you can wear this alone, or with another Dinosaur (see my note at the end of the review for more about this) and it is lovely. As it dries, it changes. More facets come out. At first, I get patchouli and amber, and hints of some lovely wood beneath. The rosewood comes out, and then the teak and cedar, and they are all playing together, as if they are creating a symphony. It's lovely, and sort of a yin and yang, both masculine and feminine, how in the world? I don't know, but when I do my layering experiments, this is further reinforced. It seems to somehow smell different with every perfume oil, even the SL vanillas - for instance, it's a little darker and more earthy/woody with Kobalt Dark, and sort of lighter and feminine with Crystalline. I don't know how to explain it other than telling you it's magical. I could keep going, waxing poetic, but I'm probably not very poetic, and I think you get the idea at this point. My initial plan last year was to get a backup of Cryolophosaurus, but I fell so hard for Giganotosaurus, I ended up panicking and getting a backup of that instead. Seth, you sir are a genius. First, you (and Bastet!) get me to dip my toes into the magical water of NAVA gourmands, and now this? I'm struggling for words here.
TL;DR: The most magical of all the Dinosaurs, in my opinion. This is extremely versatile and smells quite different depending on what you layer it with. It also is lovely and long lasting worn alone.
Layering suggestions: Oh boy. Here's where it gets crazy. I don't think there's anything I wouldn't recommend you try it with, because why not? I haven't had a bad experience yet. Tonight I'm wearing it with the incredible Byzantium Amber, and it's so lovely, sort of feminine. One of my favorite options is Labyrinth, a patchouli oudh, or Patchouli Ombre. Those are both rather heavy, earthy blends, and Giganotosaurus lifts them both, making the patchouli more wearable for those of you who might be a little nervous about a patch-heavy scent. Speaking of patch-heavy, Hessonite. Child. I understand Hessonite packs quite a punch, but please, try adding a dab to Giganotosaurus, you will thank me. So, everything else under the sun. Mummy Crypt. Holiday Egyptian Gold Amber, White Ambre Ombre, Santal Ombre, Black Raven, Bastet Amber, Gabriel, Pyewacket Cat, Anticipation, Carter, Enigma, Holy Grail, Cecilia, Horus Haven 2, Egyptian Temple Oudh, OP Baba, OP Hathor, Ozymandias, Under The Moon - okay seriously, just try it with everything. Hah!

Protoceratops:  Resinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, Crystalline (Egyptian Vanilla Orchid stigma Resin), Kobalt (Vanilla Orchid of Cairo), Crystal Absolute (Vanilla Musk), Vanilla Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream Accord, Vanilla Caramel, Bastet Amber and Egyptian Sugar accord.
Okay, I almost passed on this. Almost. I was looking at the notes and thinking, I can't wear that. It will come off as too sweet on my skin, I tend to make foodie blends too foodie. This is one of the reasons I love NAVA. Always expanding my horizons. I read a review from another blogger, and she said it was not overly foodie, so I though huh - maybe I can sneak in a bottle of this last minute. I somehow managed it, and Protoceratops showed me that I can start to branch out a little on foodie blends. This is...delightful. If you wear it alone, it's kind of an ice cream, waffle cone, buttery vanilla. However! The ambers lift this up and keep it from going too far into foodie territory. It's a little more light, and clean. Not overly caramelized, like some foodie vanilla blends do on my skin. And that Bastet Amber is the icing on the cake, I LOVE that stuff. It's incredible, so there are a melange of ambers in this to lift this up.  And do you see what I see at the end of the notes? Vanilla Ice Cream Accord? WHAT IS THAT? I needs it. I do. Because although this is lovely and light, I'm catching whiffs of that, and it smells delightful. So, around the time that this was released, they very kindly included a sample of Bastet's Ice Cream Accord. There was no plan at that point to release a full bottle of it, but it was an instant hit. It's SO good. It's definitely a foodie blend, but I actually slather myself in it! Unfh. It's like vanilla ice cream in a fresh baked buttery sugar waffle cone. It's like walking into an ice cream parlour and being hit with that delightful smell. Anyway, not a review for that, but just so you know, if you want to emphasize the ice cream aspect of this Dinosaur, that's your best bet. They ended up releasing three versions of Bastet's Ice Cream Accord over the holidays last year. Anyway, back to Protoceratops. If you wear this alone, when you first put it on, you get a good whiff of the ambers - Bastet Amber really brings these to the forefront in this blend. As it dries down, it starts getting more creamy, and the waffle cone starts to come out a little bit. Yum. The amber is still there, so it never gets that overly foodie aspect. It's quite well balanced. This is pretty lovely alone, but when you pair it with other blends, it's really a star. Mmmm, that sugar is lovely, like a crust of sugar, that shows up when layered.  
TL;DR: Lovely, lovely creamy vanilla ice cream with a sugared, buttery waffle cone. Lifted away from the foodie category by the addition of Bastet Amber, it's perfectly balanced - if you are nervous of foodie blends, this is a fantastic option for dipping your toes in.
Layering suggestions: Go crazy. This one is easy! Any of the vanillas go well with this. If you're lucky enough to have a bottle of the now discontinued SL Moonstone, that's a great choice, as it's a little more foodie, but it also easily goes with Crystalline, Crystal, Kobalt, or Kobalt Dark. If you want to ramp up the ambers more, add some Bastet Amber. I like it in the summer with Santalum White or White Ambre Ombre. I've worn this with some of the Tea Service blends and it's fantastic, like Coconut Milk or Sweet Santalum Milk. I have paired it with tea blends too, Black Oudh Jack, Underlord Bastet, Luxor Lemon, White Tea Vanilla. Try it with OP Pakhet or Tawaret. I've worn it with any number of fruit blends too - Ophelia, Egyptian Peach Blossom, Black Crystalline Black Fig, Raphael, Fig Noir Ombre, (I have a lot of NAVA fig!) Ichabod, Black Crystal Candy Apple. I like it with Vamp, Victorian Candy Cane Crystalline, Selket Anti-Venom Rez, Coconut Cockatoo, Adele. Offbeat but also works: Anticipation, Nag Champa Seahorse, California Redwood Crystal Musk, Holiday Egyptian Gold Amber, Halloween 2017. If you have a coffee blend, such as Seth's Secret Sweet Vanilla Bean Black Coffee, Protoceratops adds a lovely cream and sugar element. Over the top? Sure, Bastet's Ice Cream Accord, Spooktacular, Orb, Poison Pumpkin, or any of the 31 Pumpkin Library! This one pairs so well with all kinds of blends.

Velociraptor:  Resinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, Black Musk Absolute, Black Amber and a drop of aged viscous Velociraptor Kashmir red musk.
Oh, sir. OF COURSE I HAD TO GET YOU. Anyone who knows me knows my fondness for Jurassic Park. So no matter what the notes were, I HAD to have him. Hah! Well, remember our friend Utahraptor from the first collection? Velociraptor has emphasis of the Black Musk, rather than the Kashmir. This is absolutely glorious. Yes, you still smell the Kashmir, because of course, there's no way that Kashmir is going anywhere without getting noticed! But it's not the star of this show, and that's okay, because NAVA's take on Black Musk is perfect - it's not too heavy, it's balanced in just the right way. Often, black musk blends can be too overpowering for me, but never with NAVA. The amber in this is definitely noticeable too, with the addition of Black Amber. This is lovely to wear alone, but when you hatch it with something else, it really comes to life! This one is not shy. It's definitely as potent and long wearing as Tyrannosaurus and Utahraptor, so bear that in mind when applying. If you don't mind that, slather away - I do!
TL;DR: This Dinosaur is the opposite of Utahraptor, in that the Black Musk is the star, but don't worry, both Kashmir and Black Amber show up as well.
Layering suggestions: Oh, this is fun. Try it with any musks, I actually love this with Egyptian Musk, and of course it's beautiful with SL Kashmir. I like it with the SL Vanillas, but I also like it with Santalum, Myrrh Ombre, Ember, OP Osiris. I love it with the Oudhs like Egyptian Temple or Copal. Absolutely amazing with Kadmium Amber or Eternal Egypt Decade. Try it with the Holiday Egyptian SLs like Frankincense, Myrhh, Gold Amber, or Gold Vanilla and Sandalwood. I also like it with the Nag Champa Seahorses - all three, but particularly NCS Kashmir. I've worn it with Pandora Enigma, Egypt 1, Mummy Crypt, Blood Moon.

Something that I forgot to mention in the previous review and I need to edit is that these are lovely when you pair them together! And I've done this several times with different combinations. Pteranodon with Protoceratops or Deinonychus, Velociraptor with Utahraptor, Diplodocus with Giganotosaurus, Protoceratops with almost anything! Hah.
Another thing to mention, if you have eNVie Saphir, many of these are stunning when hatched with Saphir. Definitely worth experimenting with - I have Saphir, Ambre Saphir, and Encens Saphir, and they all do well with the Dinosaurs.

Phew. So, that wasn't quite as wordy as part one, but it was still wordy huh? I certainly hope my layering suggestions gave you some ideas for hatching these! I think some people may not be aware that these were designed with that in mind, although I do think they are lovely alone as well. None of them, alone, seem to be a single note, because of the ambers. Anyway! We are now two days away from the grand reopening, and I'm at the edge of my seat. Have a lovely evening folks!

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