Wednesday, March 9, 2016

NAVA for Newbies

I was recently asked to do a little write up, an introduction to NAVA if you will. I was incredibly flattered, and incredibly nervous. But it kickstarted me to start working on this blog, as I've been meaning to do for quite some time now. This was originally a piece for a Facebook group and has been adapted a bit for a broader audience.
I want to preface this by saying I am NOT an expert in any way, shape or form. My nose has developed quite a lot over the last year, but I still use fantastic, lovely, amazing, delightful as adjectives. Haha! I can pick out quite a few things though. And I'm also not a NAVA expert. I'm just a fan and an enthusiast. Also, if anyone would like to jump in, via the comments, please by all means - I would value contributions.
Also, let me first extend anyone an invitation to join the NAVA Tent:
And there is a Marketplace as well:
You can now also follow NAVA on instagram: @nocturnealchemy
So almost a year ago, I started playing with my indie bath and body again. It had been quite a while, so I was a little out of the loop, but I remember following the original Facebook account and I never did get my feet wet, as I really wasn't sure where to start and I didn't know there was a forum at the time! Sadface. I did a little looking here on Facebook, and discovered the Tent. I quietly joined, browsed posts for a while, and just followed along. I had some small idea based on postings and perusing the site what I might like, but I knew I needed input. I worked up the nerve and finally asked for some help. Samantha and Erica, two lovely, lovely women who moderate the Tent, jumped right in, and graciously offered me advice, along with several other kind people. I never looked back. I started small, with a skarab sample set and two bottles: The Daydream and Myrrh Ombre. The Daydream has actually been brought back as an LC again!
So, let's start with a little terminology, basic but maybe helpful, from a recent post in the Tent by Seth, one of the NAVA crew members. Here's the other thing: they're pretty active in the Tent also! Being able to interact with such a popular perfume house's crew? Pretty fun and informative, I'll tell you what!
NAVA: What our customers call us - it is the combination of Nocturne Alchemy & VApothecary
NAVAlchemy : when one blends NAVA with NAVA on the skin and the NAVA Alchemy of scent occurs
Skarab: Nocturne Alchemy samples
Vile: VApothecary samples
PC: Permanent Collection
LC: Limited Collection
SL: Studio Limited
Okay! So almost every month, there is a new Limited Collection, or LC. As a matter of fact this month is a tad behind, and we are all super excited, as Friday is the new release! I can't wait to see what will pop up with this one. The LCs usually stay up around two months, giving you a bit of time to get decants in if you like to decide what you want, or to decide exactly how much of your paycheck you should just go ahead and sign over. LOL.
Studio Limited collection is a special set of perfume oils. These are limited in quantity. When they sell out, they are gone for good - but they have more of these in stock than they do the LC perfumes. Some SLs have been around quite a while and some have been out of stock and are brought back in. When I first started I got a sample of Crystalline SL and wanted to buy it but had to wait a few months, and then they were able to bring it back.
Tied in with the SL line - the link is at the very top of that section, is the Osirian Purnima, or we've been calling them the OP line for short. These are INCENSE PERFUMES, y'all. And these are high quality ingredients. All of the OP line start with the OP base and then other ingredients are added - for instance, OP Pakhet is Samar Oudh, smoke, and vanilla. Mmmmm. I think I have seven of these and they are each distinct and amazing. I cannot rave enough about them. I should mention, a word of advice if you are interested in trying these - let them rest. Let them rest at least a week when you get them before you even crack them open, as they take a little more time to recover than most other perfume oils do from travelling. And then, when you've let them rest, and you've tried them out a bit - this is even harder I know! - put them AWAY. Let them age a bit. They really benefit from aging, they kind of start to blossom into their own right. This was a big lesson I had to learn, as I actually had this experience with a PC perfume oil as well.
So, PC is the permanent collection. This is a very extensive range! Florals. Ambers. Vapothecary's Gothic toned perfumes. I have a pretty large PC wishlist and try to add at least one or two of these to my orders, which seem to coincide with the LC releases. I'll get say 3 or 4 that I determine I can't live without on the LC and buy one or two off my PC wishlist. At least, that's my goal to try to narrow that wishlist down! It's hard. There are so many lovely perfumes and in going through my decants/skarabs/viles I come across more and more I have to have.
What made me such a fangirl? Here's the thing. I'd tried amber before. IT NEVER WORKED ON ME. Turned to baby powder. Like, ew. So I thought, well that's one note I'll never be able to wear. Can I tell you a little secret? If you have though the same thing, please let NAVA work their alchemy on you. You will be surprised and amazed and you will hear this story in the tent over and over again. Notes people say NEVER work on them, they have found NAVA somehow manages to change for them. I have my very first ever full bottle of a lavender blend, Dead Can Sleep. I can't wear lavender. I don't even DO florals, come on. I'm a hippie child. But here I am, huffing my wrist. Granted I grabbed the LC version with the addition of oudh, but I like their dirt and patchouli so it only sealed the deal. I own florals. Blue Lotus is amaaaazing. Hah, who would have ever thought? I am all about dark, gothic, moody, hippie stuff too like patchouli and nag champa. And here I am with florals. It's not just their magical alchemy with scents either. It's the attention to detail, the high quality ingredients, the work that they put into each blend and the LOVE they put into each blend - it's obvious. The community in the Tent - I can go there after having a bad day and feel instantly better, instantly at home. The fact that the creators spend time with us in the Tent, when they are able obviously. They're generous with their knowledge and their spirits. It shows.
NAVA are kind of "famous" for their vanillas. With good reason - they have a rather extensive vanilla offering for every kind of taste. My guy, he HATES vanilla. His only explanation is that "they stink". However, I find I can wear Kobalt Dark, Ember Vanilla, and OP Pakhet and he actually LIKES them on me. I wish he liked more. I wear Crystalline at work, but that's okay, he likes the stuff most guys usually don't like so I can't complain too much - patchouli, red musk, OUDH - my man is a nut for some oudh! Anyway, digressing. You guys knew this post would be a book right?
So yeah, they're famous for their vanillas, and actually also their amber blends. Seriously, they make some amazing ambers, and such a variety that the PC actually has a whole section devoted to just ambers.
They SHOULD be famous for their patchouli and red musk. They make some of the cleanest, most amazing patchouli I've ever smelled. I should own stock in Hessonite, the SL patchouli note. Also, Kashmir is probably my most complimented perfume, hands down. Oh, and sandalwood, they are wizards with sandalwood also. Santal Ombre is seriously backup bottle worthy. Drooool.
Oh my goodness. I wish it were still around, but they did a very limited run of a special oudh collection, the ICONIC collection. I got an empty from a friend recently and my guy literally grabbed it out of my hands, took a huff, his eyes rolled back in his head and he said THAT IS THE BEST SMELLING PERFUME YOU HAVE. I wish I were kidding. I could have cried. I have to hunt it down, obviously!  So, I adore the smell of their oudh. It's something else. I got two bottles of the very limited Horus Haven 2 because OUDH and VANILLA - I mean geez, it must be magical right? And it was. Unfh. I can smell oudh following me all day. You can get a few blends with oudh right now, and don't have to wait for a limited release though! A few of the OP line have oudh, like Pakhet, and if you like florals, Carnation Santalum Gold. Also Dragon: Helios has oudh! Currently in the LC collection, go nab a bottle of Overseer, it's honey oudh and apparently amazing.
Some of my favorite readily available blends are: Eternal Egypt - clean, bright amber and one of their most popular fragrances. Let it age if at first it doesn't suit you, it's delightful with about a month on it! Bastet Halloween 2016 in the VA section. Spicy, yet clean, yet incense-y somehow. It's magic and it seriously calms me when I'm having anxiety attacks. Black Crow - patchouliiiii. Mmm. Sekhmet Amber - patchouli and amberrrr. Yum. SLs - Kashmir, Hessonite, Ember Vanilla, the Ombres, Kobalt Dark, Santalum, Crystalline... the OPs - oh hey, get them all. Just kidding. My absolute favorites are Baba, Tawaret, Hathor, Thoth, and Pakhet.
A little hint if you are feeling overwhelmed looking at the website: First of all, everyone is happy to help in the Tent with recommendations. Secondly, if you're looking for particular notes, the search bar is actually very helpful! Things on my immediate radar: Egyptian Peach Blossom, Ember from the SL line, Mists of Arcacia. OH. I do love NAVA dragon's blood. I've forgotten to mention it but it is lovely, spicy, warm. Should go hand in hand with Kashmir.
Also, if you want to try the LCs, but you're not sure if you're ready to commit to full sized bottles, you can go the route of decants.  Angie Towne runs the Facebook group Ajevie, and she also has a web store. Similarly, Laura Wierzbicki runs Salixnoir on Livejournal and also runs the NAVA Circles group on Facebook.  A great way to give the new scents a try. Plus, you can pick up great deals often in the Marketplace.
I wanted to make mention of another fun (in my opinion!) thing - with every update, NAVA creates a preview video. I like to sit down with a cup of coffee, flip my computer on, and view the video in full screen with the volume up to set the atmosphere, and enjoy my first view of the new collection. I get so excited, and the images and music used are always absolutely beautiful.
Edited to add: I neglected to mention a huge labor of love, the NAVA Wiki. Here, you can find scent notes for NAVA's perfume oils dating back to the very beginning, as well as many reviews. You can even add reviews yourself! (I've been sorely slacking on this as I often feel like I can't "word" enough aaand I'm forgetful!)
Whew. I don't know if this helps. I surely hope so!

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