Monday, April 10, 2017

NAVA Icons





Ahhhh, long, long time no talk, huh? I have to blow the dust off and get back to work! And what better time to get started, than with news about a new release of Icon perfume oils from NAVA. I'm super excited, and I know so many other fans are as well. But maybe you're unfamiliar with this line of treasures from Nocturne Alchemy and VApothecary, and you're wondering what Icons are?
Well, they are a collection of oudh-based perfume oils! 
I have been a bit intimidated to write about these, because honestly, I don't think I have the scent vocabulary to maybe do them proper justice - but I didn't do it last year during the release of the second collection of Icons, and so when I heard there would be a third, coming very soon, I knew it was time for me to give it a try. 
Before I get started with my personal review, I want to mention as always, that I am by no means a scent expert. I'm passionate about my love of indie perfume, no doubt! But one other thing I want to say is that everyone's skin is different; so what may work on my skin, may not on yours. There are sometimes notes that are loud on my skin - for instance honey, I tend to amp that note to the point where I can smell nothing but honey in a perfume oil on my skin. I've had a few successes, with honey, and I'm glad, because I love it. I've had trouble even with hormones affecting the way notes work on my skin. These sort of "your mileage may vary" warnings apply to everything I review. 
I'd honestly never had oudh in a perfume oil before NAVA, and for me, I was in for a treat. It's become one of my favorite notes, I just enjoy it so much. But I've always liked deep, resinous types of perfumes - I guess it shouldn't have been a shock. I've been given permission from NAVA to share with you the story of Oudh, and the House of NA, in their own words! So I hope you enjoy reading this and learning about it as much as I did.
"The story behind Oudh and the ICONS by the House of NA:
Agarwood Oil was once as expensive as gold. It was considered a gift from the Gods. What is Agarwood? It is the basis of Oudh.
On our continuing journey around the world, educating ourselves is an everyday rule. We search amazing perfume distilleries in far off lands like Egypt, India, Australia, and Hungary, as well as places not so far away like Canada and within our own state of California. Within this journey it takes a ‘nose’ to ask the right questions, to find the secret markets that harvest this sacred wood, and to become an observer as much as a student of the olfactory traditional methods of creating these dark and smoky wood revelations.
During this time in our perfume journey, we came to the need to produce our own Agarwood, most recently in India. In India we found a very small organic sustainable Agarwood Farm and founded our own place within it. The Aquilaria does not yield perfume all by itself; there is a process and art of infecting the tree with parasitic ascomycetous mould, and in a sense the Oudh comes forth much like Frankincense tear resin comes from a Frankincense shrub, except Oudh is born when the tree begins to die. As the tree is taken over by the fungus, the tree begins to generate an anti-fungus by creating the oil we call Oudh. During this part of the process we take from the tree to create the precious perfume note Oudh. We use an inoculation to create this effect in the roots and trunk of the Aquilaria species, thus producing Agarwood and ultimately harvesting the Oudh after inoculation spreads into the trees, but without killing the tree as the farm we use is sustainable.
The original ICONS collection began five years ago in 2012 when we walked through souks looking for that special Egyptian or Arabian object that was Iconic to these places. Looking through barrels of fresh dates, inhaling the subtle and sublime of incense, feasting our eyes on bowls and bowls of exotic and colorful spices, pouring coffee Arabic from an Arab Dallah, touching the silk of magic carpets and hand-woven Prayer rugs…within all the iconic thoughts of these exotic places, scent was always a fixture at the forefront of everything we did and continues to be at the forefront of everything that we do today. It was then that we decided that we, as a company, needed to create a palette of exotic Oudh that not only uniquely represented NAVA, but also would allow us to introduce these ICONS of perfume into our world of perfume oil. Our Oudh is not marked up like all other suppliers, they are a rare specialty created by NAVA and offered far below typical competitive pricing in the global Oudh market. We have used Oudh (this spelling is Arabic, you may also see ‘Oud’ or ‘Aoud’ as the spelling), in some of our blends before, but we wanted to create our own Oudh that was distinct enough to offer to our customers. There are only seventeen species of the genus Aquilaria and of these only eight are known to produce Agarwood and after inoculation produce Oudh.
In the Souks in Egypt and Arabia and even in India, there is plenty of marked up Oudh for sale everywhere. Go to a high end fragrance house and ask how much alcohol-based Oudh is. You might be shocked at the price that is mostly alcohol, although it is understandable why Oudh is so expensive considering the time and effort and artistic precision it takes to create an Oudh and the precious nature of the endangered trees. In our best efforts, we have harvested organic Oudh that has not been harmed by chemicals and solvents; in fact, our trees are safe from animals and man alike, protected within a temple property, and taken care of as if a sacred gift from the Gods.
Why is our Oudh not as expensive as high end fragrance houses? We do not put alcohol in our perfume oils; we simply use the Oudh as a blending tool and offer a beautiful collection of resin blended oudh for this set of magical scents.
These are limited to 99 bottles. Once these sell out, we will no longer carry them because each lot of Oudh is unique to its particular Agarwood harvest. Each Agarwood reacts differently to the notes that we have introduced in this Resin Collection, and each batch of Oudh oil is one of a kind. We've set aside 50 of each of the perfumes for our Facebook friends during the interim while we migrate our store over to a new vendor online. Once we go live (late Spring), we'll offer the remaining 49 bottles x 4 at the new home of Nocturne Alchemy.
We wanted Oudh that was both pleasing to the Oudh connoisseur's nose as well as pleasurable to be worn alone or layered with another NAVA. Only the smallest drop can bring about the essence of what these Oudh compositions were created to be. If you are new to Oudh, try a tiny drop and understand how long this oil will be part of your perfume library because it is built on becoming more supple and elegant with the age of time. Only the SMALLEST drop can bring hours of an otherworldly experience. This is for true perfume connoisseurs.
There are many ways to wear these, we recommend the usual pulse points but the discretion is in how much. Oudh is quite potent and will wear down on the skin, but you will find they are sometimes sticky and quite viscous. These resins have been expertly blended and will become better with age. For ICONS III, we understood a lot but we were still learning, so when we took to explore India, we found that a lot of Oudh was exported and a lot of trees died because of this. We wanted to only continue this journey for exotic oudh if the trees were sustainable. We found there were other people that thought as we did, so we bought our own trees and harvested our own oudh and with ICONS III, we used the makhalat method which is blending raw Oudh with the most beautiful notes NAVA has found in the world (Resin for this collection), and have collected over time. ICONS III Resin is our testament to the finest ingredients, sustainable Oudh and housed in a beautiful marble-esque bottle."
Absolutely amazing, and I'm so very glad I was able to share this story with folks. I love to learn, and my passion for perfume has led me on such an interesting journey. 
There's no doubt these are special. So far, there have been two releases of Icons Oudh, and the third is just around the corner.  The Icons I'm going to be reviewing today are from the previous two releases, and are no longer available for purchase; you could possibly find someone selling one in the NAVA Marketplace, the secondary market, on Facebook though!
We'll start off with my precious Egyptian Temple Oudh, which was from the Icons I release. Notes are: "A more intense Oudh that softens over time on the skin. Egyptian Agarwood Oudh is represented here and it is recommended for first time Oudh enthusiasts to inhale from the bottle softly or fan the open bottle toward you with your hand to catch the nuances of smoking embers, dried honeycomb and sandalwood."
In the bottle, ooo it's smoky. Mmm, smoky, and a sort of vaguely rubbery smell, and wood. My bottle is pretty aged at this point, so it's quite thick. I've decanted it into the marble-esque bottle you see in my photo, because it's very hard to get out of the 5ml bottle with the reducer cap. Wet on my skin, the smokiness intensifies, and the faintly rubbery smell gets a bit stronger for a minute. But that starts to dissipate almost immediately and the stickiness of the oil sinks into my skin. This is not fresh, unburnt incense. Immediately, I am transported to a temple, where piles of incense are smoldering, smoking. It's unapologetically strong, potent. Absolutely intense and gorgeous. I get the feel of the oudh, the sandalwood is in the background. My fiance is a big fan of this one, he likes all sorts of dark, woody scents, and this one is quite commanding.
Dry, after just a dab on my pulse points, it's really the same. It has incredible staying power, even after I wash my hands several times throughout the day I can still smell it on my wrists. It is indeed fantastic on its own, but as a layering perfume, it's a virtual powerhouse. I love it with so many options - much of the Studio Limited line, like Kashmir, Crystalline, Diamond, Santalum. It's a great base to hatch the Dinosaur collection with, like Giganotosaurus, Cryolophosaurus, Diplodocus, Pteranodon. I've tried it with several limited collection oils, Adele, Anticipation, Witch Cauldron. I like it with some of my OPs, Pakhet, Hathor. And with other oils that have oudh as a note like Phantasm Kiss or Horus Haven 2? Wow! The possibilities are endless.
As far as how strong it is, this one isn't shy - with just a dab, it lasts forever, and isn't hard to find - I often get compliments, or hear people asking if someone is burning incense, hah!
Okay, so that is one of my most prized oils. I have a little dab of Leviathan, from the first collection too, in a bottle, from a friend who knew I'd been wanting to try it. And so I'll give you my review of it. Notes are: An Amber Oudh. NAVA Oudh blend with guiacwood, rosewood, patchouli, nagarmotha, agarwood, atlas cedar and cardamom absolute. The opening note is naturally sweetened Oudh by the Amber notes.
In the bottle - bright amber, woods, and oudh. Wet on my skin, I get the slightest hint of a creamy cardamom, and it's already melding with the oudh, giving a slightly sweet tinge to the edges of this. As it dries down, this is a stunner. The amber feels bright and airy, kind of sweet, and the oudh and woods are a nice balance. I don't catch much of the patchouli, as this is one of those blends that is well balanced, and it's a bit hard to pick out individual notes. I keep huffing, and catch a slight hint of the cedar, and the rosewood, but again, it's so beautifully put together it's really hard to pick up the individual notes, but I definitely get the amber and oudh.
This is just incredible. As I mentioned, I don't have much of this, so I haven't tried layering it, but again as with Egyptian Temple Oudh, I can only imagine what a powerhouse it would be.
Next up, Labyrinth Oudh, from Icons II. The notes are: "Black Patchouli Oudh. An aged true earth Indonesian Black Patchouli wood oil, viscous and sweet and only gets better with aging; blended into a deep Indian Oudh with hints of our originally named: Arabian Oudh and Egyptian Temple Oudh (from the original ICONS series) and a drop of California Redwood Absolute."
In the bottle: Mmm, kind of a dark patchouli? And unmistakable oudh. I'm not getting that faint rubbery smell here. Wet on my skin: I'm getting the sweetness of the cedar, it's melding with the dark patchouli, which is a bit herbal. The oudh is just a bit smoky, mostly woody feeling here.
It's not as thick as my Egyptian Temple Oudh, and has a bit of reddish color, before it sinks into my skin. Dry, this is potent, unapologetic, patchouli. Beautifully done here, it is still a bit sweet, and it's melded with the oudh. It has incredible staying power. As with my experience with other Icons, it's quite strong, and a little goes a long way. This is another layering powerhouse. I have worn it with Crystal, Giganotosaurus, Santal Ombré, California Redwood Crystal Musk, and several others, including some of the Dinosaur collection. Very versatile! Giganotosaurus is actually quite an interesting combination, because it becomes a sort of feminine feeling scent! I tried layering it today with Black Raven, a favorite of mine from the VA side of NAVA. It's a wonderfully dark combination.

I have sniffies of a few other oudhs, from both Icons I and II. I could give you guys a little impression of those in another post, if there's interest! These are all lovely, oudh based oils, and the layering possibilities are truly endless. They are shipped to you in the usual 5ml bottles, and are accompanied by the faux marble bottles, which you can decant your 5ml jar into. I like using the fancy bottles, because these oudh blends get quite thick with aging, and it's easier to access and apply them in the fancy bottles. As with some other special lines from NAVA, like the OPs, these benefit from resting after they arrive, and aging as well - they definitely get richer and more potent with age. There will be 4 new Icons arriving at the site when they reopen, as NAVA has been closed, remodeling their website. I've been quite impatient, as I'm sure many fans have been - I miss them, and I cannot wait to see what the new website looks like.
Okay, I'm going to go ahead and nervously publish this. I must say, I hope that I've done these little beautiful treasures justice. Oudh is a special note, and to have oudh based perfumes has been a real treat for me! I look forward to your feedback, either here or on Facebook, as always. And I'm sorry for my absence!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Summer Tea Service



So only having four hours of sleep the last several nights finally caught up with me! I was up at 5 AM and when I got home at 7:30, I fell right back asleep. I really was trying to get this posted early! Duh. Haha, so I am apologizing again today!
Along with the Summer Tea collection, NAVA offered up a beautiful Tea Service to layer with your tea perfumes. There are five Tea Service, and I have three of them today to talk about!
Sweet Santalum Milk is something I recently acquired and fell madly in love with. Notes are: Simply a Sweet Milk accord caramelized (nuances of caramel corn) blended with true Sandalwood (Santalum) oil. In the bottle, this is sweet and light, a bit milky. Another sniff and I can catch a little bit of woody sandalwood. Wet, I'm experiencing much the same. This is a bit caramel-y, yes. A light sweet delicious milk, tempered by the beauty that is sandalwood. Once this is dry, the sandalwood makes more of an appearance, it balances this perfume out so it doesn't ever become too sweet. It doesn't feel foodie despite the fact that there's that caramelization. I have tried this with Luxor Lemon and Green Tea Crimson and love it with both of them. Coconut Milk is one I hope to snag a backup of, I've used quite a bit of the bottle already as I love it so much. The notes are: Coconut Milk and Coconut Water blended with a soft undertone of Egyptian Musk to enhance the smoothness of the milk. In the bottle this is pretty much straightforward coconut milk. I get a bit of the musk but it's very light at this point. Wet on my skin the musk is a bit more prominent. The coconut milk/water is still the major star though. Dry, this is the most delightfully milky coconut. There's a touch of almost perfume, which is not a good description, but that's the musk, and it kind of reigns in the milkyness. This is such a pretty, straightforward blend - I like to wear it alone also.
The last one I have for you is Sugarcube. Notes are: A delightful sugar accord with breaths of vanilla bean that is beautiful for sweetening your NAVA Summer Tea Perfumes. Like adding a perfumed sugarcube to your tea perfume. Again, you see these Tea Service notes are really straightforward. In the bottle, I get basically sugar water. You know, sweet but not too sweet. Just a lightly sugary blend. Wet on my skin, I'm getting the lightest bit of vanilla, but it's very much in the background and it's mostly sugar. I don't know how but it feels like the vanilla softens the feel of the sugar. Dry, this is the perfect single note sugar. It smells just how a sugarcube on your tongue tastes. Not too sweet. Really beautiful. I like this one alone too, but I love it with White Tea Vanille and Luxor Lemon. Really, it goes with all three of my Teas.
So these Tea Service blends are very simple, almost single notes. Absolutely lovely and perfect for pairing with the Summer Teas. If you missed my review of the three Summer Teas here's the link.


Nocturne Alchemy Summer Tea Collection



Late, so late. I know. I was supposed to post this the other day, but then the holiday happened (Memorial Day, which is actually like a 3 day weekend for us here in America), and then I expected to get home before the update today, but fate had other plans. Sooo it's 11:30 at night and I shall try to get this done without falling asleep on my keyboard. Fingers crossed aye? Hah! I do apologize.
So last year, NAVA released the most delightful collection, the Summer Tea collection, and it also included the sub-collection Tea Service. There were seven Teas, and five Tea Service perfumes. I have three of each, and I hope my review will help a little - can I just say, buy everything because it's amazing? No? Okay! Well, here we go. (Kidding, only not, it really is amazing.)
I'll start with the three main collection scents. Green Tea Crimson notes are:  Hints of Fresh Green Tea leaves infused with Lemon Zest and tempered with the soothing effects of Crimson Red Egyptian Musk. In the bottle I'm getting something fresh, tart. Slightly citrus but not overpowering. Ooo. Wet on my skin, yes. Fresh green tea, the lemon in the background but not overpowering, just adding a bit of zing. The red musk is there but it's not the key note, it's supporting, so it's soft. Dry, okay can I just go ahead and tell you this is my favorite, hands down? It's so bright and fresh, it has a bit of tartness from the lemon, but that makes it pretty perfect. It's very obviously green tea and it never becomes about the musk, but the musk saves it from being too tart, this is sooo well balanced. I actually like wearing this alone at times, but I often pair it with Sugarcube even though any of the other Tea Service blends would go well with this. Absolutely AMAZING.
Luxor Lemon was a bottle I blind bought, I actually initially picked up decants for all of these except Luxor Lemon - and I'm not really sure why I skipped it, but I remedied that when I did my bottle order, and I am glad I did! Notes are: An afternoon Earl Grey with a side of lemon, this one would benefit from a side of vanilla-honey. Italian lemon peel and Bergamot EO are infused into the tea giving it a citrus bite that is both cured and beautifully soothing with a drop of Sweet Santalum Milk or any of the Summer Tea Service. In the bottle, this is pretty much straight oooo LEMON. Hah. Tart, yellow lemon. I'm not getting any tea yet. Wet on my skin, we now have lemony Earl Grey. Yum!!  Okay, now that this has dried down, it settles into, well, stunning! The lemon and the Earl Grey are perfectly balanced. The bergamot is just adding to the citrus. It's bright and summery. If you like honey, I think it would do well with Vanilla Honey. I don't have this, so I usually pair it with Coconut Milk, but I recently acquired Sweet Santalum Milk and I like that even better - although as with Green Tea Crimson, I think any of the Tea Service would compliment this - Sugarcube is definitely a lovely addition.  So my last Tea is White Tea Vanilla. I think this one is pretty popular, judging from what I saw in the Tent last year! Notes are: Beautiful, ethereal, and crisp White tea enhanced with limestone amber resin, undertones of Crystalline and Kobalt vanilla and fresh mallow root to sweeten naturally. In the bottle - crisp white tea, vanilla, and something very fresh. Wet on my skin, amber! Ooo amber and white tea. The vanillas are not overpowering, they are supporting . This is so crisp and fresh. Dry, this is a delight. It remains crisp and fresh, with soft, floaty vanilla. And this is interesting, it almost feels like there's a soft white musk in here, although it's not listed. Maybe it's just the culmination of all the notes dried to perfection, you know how sometimes at the end of the drydown phase with NAVA a perfume will just kind of stop swirling and flop into perfection? I think it could just be that. This is actually quite yummy, I kind of want to drink it. I often wear this one alone, but a dab of Coconut Milk is pretty delicious with this.
Okay, I literally just woke up on my keyboard. I think I will post this as a two-parter and review the Tea Service in the morning for you lovely folks!
I will just go ahead and say, I love my resins, my dark and hippy scents, but this collection is absolutely perfect when I want a bit of fresh, bright scent in the hot Florida summer. I used these quite frequently last summer and they really garnered a lot of compliments - and my guy was pretty appreciative of them as well! So thank you for being patient with me, and as soon as I get home tomorrow morning I will post the second part. Here's the link to the Tea Service review!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Seth's Secret Six Collection



So long time no blog, eh? Life has been getting in the way and there are a few things I want to get written up for everyone, including the Summer Teas collection and Seth's Dinos, which I think I read are being renamed the Prehistorics? But first, Seth's Secret Six - I have four to review for you today.
As you can see, two of my labels are a tiny bit different. I got lucky, super lucky, to win one of these scents in a little giveaway during the holidays in the Tent, and the other I purchased during a little Facebook sale they had in the Tent right after the holidays. I really like the new labels!
Seth is apparently a wizard with foodie scents. Yes. I have to tell y'all I am not a foodie woman! Like, not at all. Granted, I have an affinity for coconut scents as I crave it especially in the summer, but that's about as far as it goes. I don't much care for foodie vanilla. I do like fruit scents, particularly peach and fig, but I think that falls into a different category. That being said, and emphasized, these blow me away, and if he continues to make foodie scents, I will continue to purchase them, because like so many other amazing blends from NAVA, they have a way of changing my mind on notes I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole before - I'm looking at you, lavender!
Let's just dive right into it, shall we? First up, Seth's Secret Hot Cocoa Cookie NAVAliday Confection (I'm going to call this Hot Cocoa Cookie for short). Notes are: Cacao Absolute, Seth's Cookie Dough accord, NAVA Hot Cocoa accord, some vegan marshmallows, a touch of French Cocoa, Belgian Chocolate, a little chocolate-amber absolute that Bastet made, a dusting of vanilla and a whole bunch of Cookie Monster love.  In the bottle: mmmmm chocolate, cookies! Wet on my skin, yum. Cocoa, cookie, a bit of marshmallow/vanilla? Dry I'm getting a pretty evocative picture, the perfect mug of hot cocoa, complete with floaty marshmallows, with a nice little plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. This to me is more like baked cookie than raw cookie dough, but I am a little less sophisticated with scent detection than so many other great reviewers! This is...amazing. None of these except the coffee would belong in any other category besides foodie (maybe that's not even the best word for this category, either) but this is just - well, divine. It takes foodie to another level completely and for me to fall as hard for this as I have, I'm in shock. Yes, you need this.
Next, we have Seth's Secret Spiced Hot Cocoa Cake NAVAliday Confection (I'll call this one Hot Cocoa Cake). Notes are: Hot Cocoa Accord, Chai Spices, Crystalline, Chocolate Cake Accord, a drop of Black Santalum, a drop of Black Sugar and a smattering of Angel Food Cake accord. In the bottle, I'm getting cocoa, spices and cake. Mmmm cake! Wet: Ooooo chai spice! Chocolate cake! Hmm, something else going on in the background, but I can't pin it down yet. I can see this is complex. Dry on my skin, the angel food cake and vanilla is coming forward a bit and lightening up a very rich chocolate cake and the chai spice. I am catching slight whiffs of the Black Santalum and not really getting the Black Sugar at all, but I'm sure it's there adding to the complexity that this blend has. This is so, so different than anything else I've ever tried, much more foodie to me than Hot Cocoa Cookie, but I'm actually very into it, I absolutely love it. The chai and vanilla make it so interesting, and that little bit of Black Santalum in the background you would think wouldn't work - sandalwood in a food blend? Huh? It's AMAZING here, I think it's delightful. I'm not sure this could be more delicious. I'm in shock over these two blends, they're so very obviously out of my wheelhouse but I don't even mind!
Next up, Seth's Secret Very Vanilla Crystalline Angel Cake (we'll call this Vanilla Angel Cake for short). Well, I knew I'd love this, as soon as I saw the name. I got this initially as a sample skarab, and when I sniffed it, I smelled coconut and knew I was going to be in trouble. Hah. Notes are: SL Crystalline, toasted Coconut, a drop of French and Tahitian Vanilla, Angel Cake accord from Vanilla Bean and Coconut Husk e/o, a drop of Crystal and a touch of Vanille Noir #1. I knew I was going to grab a full bottle if it became available, so when they put this one up on the website, right into my cart it went. In the bottle: Oh man. Cake + vanilla + coconut heaven? Yes please. Wet on my skin - Oh my Gods I want to swim in a vat of this. Angel food cake, and I can actually tell there are several vanillas here, including my beloved Crystalline. Rich, toasty coconut. This feels like a coconut frosting on angel food cake. Dry - yes, coconut frosted angel food cake. Totally foodie and I don't even care. I looooove it. I want to nom my arm off, it's so delicious. The vanillas are beautiful, delicious, rich, buttery. I can't stop using the word delicious in this set of reviews. Sigh. The coconut is not the fresh, raw variety, but toasty. I actually don't much care for coconut to eat it, but I love toasted coconut in cookies and cakes. However, I love the smell of it in all varieties. The angel food cake is light and fluffy and balances out the richness of the vanillas. Seriously, get this blend! Hah.
Last, and certainly not least, is Seth's Secret Sweet Vanilla Bean Black Coffee, or Vanilla Bean Black Coffee for a shortened version. This is one of two new scents that were never sent out as previews before, and when I saw the notes I just knew I should blind buy it. I have only recently tried NAVA's coffee as I came across a full bottle of Mummy Daddy Espresso, and quite loved it. This one sounded perfect too. The notes are: Coffee without the dairy. Vanilla beans from Egypt, Mexico and Australia infused into a blend of roasted Egyptian Black Coffee beans, Arabic Coffee Beans and the accord of an Egyptian Sugar Cube that adds just the right amount of sweetness to give this one a nice wear. I got this and my bottle of Vanilla Angel Cake yesterday, along with a few other bottles, and this was the first one I tried - and went positively nuts over. Boy, was I glad I blind bought it. My notes here are actually transcribed from my review for the Tent: This is the most lovely sweet coffee. In the bottle, it's very soft coffee with vanilla bean. The vanilla is sweet but not too foodie - both it and the coffee are not strong and overwhelming! Oh, nice.Wet on my skin, the vanilla bean is more prominent than the coffee but you definitely get the coffee. Still not an "in your face" scent. Dry, this is delicious. I am obsessed with this. I want to nom my arm off. This was MADE for coffee lovers! This is a softly milky coffee, that vanilla bean is a creamer and there's just enough sugar here! This is actually quite evocative. It softly surrounds you with the scent of coffee, tempting you when you first wake up. So softly delicious, you can't resist. A must have! If you have Mummy Daddy Espresso to compare, I think you will find this one much softer, a less "in your face" coffee than that. Don't get me wrong, I adore MDE too! But this is lovely and if you are a little nervous trying a coffee scent for the first time, you cannot go wrong with this one. 
Well, there you have it! Four of the Seth's Secret Six. In my humble opinion, all of these are total wins - I'm so, so glad I was able to get these. I had to unfortunately pass on Fantastic White Truffle Framboise Cream, and I know I will regret it, but I had to pick up a few more of the other Spring scents before they went away (and I still have regrets I wasn't able to get as many of those as I wanted!) so I had to make a tough choice, but if I remember it well enough, my skarab was delicious, and it seems very popular in the Tent! I hope this was helpful if you are still trying to decide which of these lovelies you need. Hah. You need them all, right? 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Enigma



So I have a real problem with dithering. You'd think I'd learn this lesson, right? Wrong, I just did it to myself again. I dithered over Cecilia last year, and ended up missing out until the Resurgences came around, and I did the exact same thing when Enigma came out. I ordered a decant, but I wasn't sure it was true love (haha!) until it disappeared from the site. I was using my decant and moaning about it being gone, of course. This year I had decided I needed Al Aaraaf, but I wasn't sure what the rest of my order would be, so I waited a bit to place my order, and Al Aaraaf sold out! Argh. That will teach me a thing or two! It was just not to be. At any rate, let's take a closer look at Enigma. Notes are as follows:

Kobalt Vanilla Resin infused with Gold Carnation EO, Studio Limited N2, Crimson Musk, Ozymandias Amber, Himalayan Amber Resin, Canadian Vanilla Bean Essence, Egyptian Sage, a tiny drop of Clove and Cinnamon to spice up the Vanilla.

So when I initially read the notes, I wasn't sure. I hadn't had much luck with carnation, and clove and cinnamon seem to amp on me. I thought I'd give it a try anyway, and ended up very happy I did. In the bottle, I'm smelling carnation. Oh, it's glorious. I do love the way carnations smell. Such a spicy flower, if that makes sense! Yum. I get a bit of musk and the Kobalt (vanilla) resin too. I'm not catching anything else yet. Wet on my skin, oh yeah, hi carnation. Loud and clear, but it smells so good, very fresh, this is working for me! I get a bit of the musks and definitely Kobalt, but I don't seem to be getting either clove or cinnamon. There's the carnation spiciness, but maybe they're just adding to that? I definitely don't get them individually. I'm not catching the ambers still, and I do love Ozymandias...hmm. I'm sure they'll show up.  
Okay, during drydown the musks are more prevalent and the carnation is taking a bit of a backseat, and the amber is peeking out. Yay! I do love NAVA amber, so much. Full drydown and I...wow. I am at a loss for words. This is definitely living up to its name, I get wafts of amber, and then I'll smell a bit of musk, and the next thing I notice is vanilla and carnation. It's never the same thing twice. How different this is! I never do get the clove or cinnamon, but I suspect it's as I mentioned before, they're backing the spice of the carnation, and the sage isn't present for me either, but this is such a different blend, it could be there and I am not noticing it with everything else going on! 
I am so glad I was able to get a full bottle of this. I had been hoarding my decant because I didn't want to run out! Hah, as I'm typing this, I just got a whiff of full on Ozymandias. How amazing. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Tibetan Crystalline



So in the last update, Nocturne Alchemy added three new perfume oils to their Studio Limited (SL) line, and this one, Tibetan Crystalline, was the first one I had to have. I fell for it so hard, I immediately nabbed a backup. Yeah, it's that good. Well, I'll try to dive a bit deeper with it than that, so here we go. Notes are as follows:

Deep incense of Indian Nag Champa Studio Blend (Champa, Indian Sandalwood, Benzoin and Henna), Mesua Ferrea Absolute, Aged Crystalline Absolute, Tibetan Musk undertones and soft spirals of pure Bergamot leaf essential oil.

Well, an ode to the infamous Nag Champa Seahorse? Done by the Cat Goddess Herself, Bastet? It must be divine. So my first sniff in the bottle is pretty much nag champa. With my second sniff, I smell the Crystalline and I think I'm getting a bit of the musk also. Okay, so wet on the skin, I get much of the same. Upon complete drydown, the musk is a bit more fully evident and totally compliments the nag champa, and the Crystalline (vanilla) is purring away in this as well. Can I just say by the way, I am really liking this Tibetan musk? I love musks, and what I'm catching of this is really quite beautiful. This blend is such a delight. The staying power is immense for me. I've had it last all day on me, and sometimes I will catch a bit of this the next morning. 
I've seen quite a bit of swooning over this one - it seems to be as popular already as NAVA's famous Nag Champa Seahorse already. I'd venture to say it's already reaching cult classic status! I'm so happy I went ahead and nabbed myself a backup bottle, I can happily slather away now. 
By the way, if you are feeling adventurous, I think this will do well layered with many things, as suggested on the Nocturne Alchemy site. I layered it with Bloodstone and it's absolutely stunning. I can't imagine that it wouldn't be equally so with many of their other blends, I was thinking Kashmir right off the top of my head would be swoon-worthy. 
I feel like this is a bit short and sweet; but I do want to tell you since I've never reviewed one of NAVA's nag champas yet that they really do some divine nag champa blends. I never expected I could find such a well loved incense done as a perfume oil, let alone done so well as they do it. I am not surprised to find that the magicians in the Nocturne Alchemy studio would do anything well, but I am delighted. I have at this point several different blends with their nag champa and they are all quite unique. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pretty Serious Cosmetics Rock On! Review



Hey everyone, long time no post eh? Facebook told me it had been 9 days since I posted. Thanks, Facebook, I appreciate you looking out for me and then making me feel guilty hah! Life gets you busy sometimes, and sometimes life gets you down. Had a bit of both going on this week. 
So obviously, I don't plan on doing any one thing with Zombiiesque, but more likely a number of things. Whatever feels good to blog about! Today I want to talk about those treatments I nabbed during that Pretty Serious Cosmetics sale I posted about. You saw I picked up some polishes after that, but I probably won't be ready to post swatches quite yet. 
My nails have been a wreck. There, I said it. Yes, I used to blog about nail polish but my nails have been a wreck for probably six months! Ugh. How embarrassing. Breaking constantly, peeling, my cuticles giving me fits. I have been taking some medicine for some of my medical conditions, and it's been a rough winter too, so nothing I did seemed to help. I'd seen lots of rave reviews about Kaz's treatments, and I dithered a bit between Rock On! and Harden Up, because while I had peeling nails, they weren't thin. I decided to try Rock On!
Ugh, here's the big reveal. This is what I was dealing with prior to giving Rock On! a whirl.


Enlarge at your own risk. Eek. You can see how short they are, and how freaking awful my cuticles are. Both hands pretty much looked like this. Actually I think there was more peeling on my right hand, and this is the left, so you can only imagine how frustrated I was. 
I started using Rock On! as a base coat about a month ago, and varied between Aqua Coat and Crystal Coat for my top coats. I have been using various oils for my cuticles, and this is what my nails look like now:


That's a huge difference! My cuticles aren't 100%, and there's still a bit of damage growing out on my nails, but wow. I'd say this is a success!
Now, I'm going to put out a disclaimer. I've seen a lot of success stories with Kaz's treatments, but your mileage may vary - just how Seche Vite doesn't work for everyone, this may not work for you. But it may be just what you needed to help grow out your nails, so I thought I'd share my story! I'm well on the road to recovery, thankfully.
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