Wednesday, June 28, 2017
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!
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Hello, everyone! I've been wanting to write some reviews for a while now, but we moved, and then I promptly came down with a really bad case of bronchitis, that did not seem to want to go away. I ended up with two different antibiotics and almost went to the hospital at one point, but it's mostly dissipated finally. Well, then I had to put my house together and get everything situated here, and I'm sure anyone that has moved understands how much effort that takes. I haven't moved in over four years, and I felt really bad about not getting my house organized! And here I am, going on and on. Anyway, I had intentions of reviewing Seth's Dinosaur Collection for quite a while, but I think it's particularly relevant now. Nocturne Alchemy is reopening in 4 days, on June 30th! *squeeing and flailing* I'm so excited to see the site redesign. Also, they've been working on new label art, and from what I understand, they'll be adding new scents to the various Permanent Collections. So much fun. I'm sure it's going to be beautiful. If you'd like to keep up with them in the meantime, they have been posting fun things on their Facebook Business page, including a sneak peek video of the new logo, which is absolutely elegant.
Well, I started this last night, and ended up having things to do that needed my immediate intention - so I had to put it down and come back to it in the morning! It seems like that's the way things have been going lately, so now this review is even more timely. Before I delve into it, I want to make mention that I had an email conversation with the NAVA crew, because I wanted to address some of the rumors I'd seen going around since they'd been closed. I saw that folks were concerned that they wouldn't be reopening, because they've been gone so long, and I also saw that many were worried that the catalogue as it was known might not be returning, so I wrote to see if they'd give me something to share with people - and they did! Such lovely, kindhearted people, and that is the reason I am such a huge "fangirl". I mean, don't get me wrong - they make the most exquisite perfume oils, and of course that drew me in, but once I began to see how much heart they pour into their company, and how much they care about their customers, that really made me fall head over heels. Honestly, in the world of indie perfumes, NAVA is a pretty good sized company. They've been making perfumes for 10 years now - actually, as it's June, they're into their 11th year, and they have a pretty extensive catalogue! So in their own words, I'll use a direct quote here from Nocturne Alchemy.
NA will return June 30th. We asked our customers last year what they thought of the old NA site. Constructive criticism concluded that it was dated. The truth is, we knew this and had been looking for the right host site for the past two years. We knew it would take time to migrate and create a new site but we'd have to be 100% involved and the focus of a new site would mean we'd have to shut down the old site. In the process, we decided to recreate the art for the labels of the Permanent Collection (we call it the PC because we view perfume as you would at an art gallery, where there is a Permanent Collection and a Limited Collection or the temporary exhibit if you will). In the past six months we've taken some much needed time off after a decade of perfume making, perfume soul-searching, travel for more unique perfume, and also back in the Studio for months now working on new PC, new art for new labels and a new look for NA. It took two years prior to opening NA in 2006 creating a small collection of PC and Limited perfumes, designing labels, the site...the fact that we can do this in six months, means we are at the top of our game. We know what we want to create but you can't rush art. NA will return June 30th. Find us on Facebook to stay up with current information. The PC and Studio Limited will return, as well as the beloved VApothecary line that has been rebranded under Nocturne Alchemy to facilitate cohesiveness at the new site.
So, there you have it! In addition to completely redesigning the site from the ground up, including a different type of "shopping cart", they've been working on all kinds of wonderful things. I am not sure I will even know where to start on Friday! I'm certainly looking forward to digging through the new site - bad pun intended? And now, I have to apologize. As I said, I'd meant to get this posted a few weeks ago, but life sort of threw me under the bus, and I just couldn't give it the proper time it deserved, as the Dinosaur collection, and the eNVie review, both deserve a bit more depth than just reviewing a single perfume. I'll be working on the latter today, to get it posted up hopefully by tomorrow.
So, roughly two summers ago, Nocturne Alchemy released the original Dinosaur collection, which was Seth's baby, as his other passion, from his early childhood, was dinosaurs, and he wanted to do a collection with that theme. I must tell you, it's been one of my very favorite collections, and I'm only missing a few of them. Last summer, they released a Resurgence, and added some new perfumes to the collection. It's alternatively been called the Prehistoric collection, but the name "Seth's Dinosaurs" has kind of become the popular name among the fans, and often gets shortened to "the Dinos". A little note about this collection: "These dinosaur perfumes are created with the beauty of resin in mind for each of them. The concept to this perfume, the label and the respect of the dinosaur is built on imagination. If you look at the label, there is an egg to the left. It is the same color as the Dinosaur. Apply the perfume on wrist and inner elbow and allow the scent to bind with your chemistry. Once this has occurred, inhale. This conceptually, is the egg. To allow the dinosaur to hatch, we wanted you to go to your Studio Limited Library and pull as many as you want, especially your favorites. The magic in layering the dino's with your Studio Limited Library will give your library a new NAVAlchemy aspect of layering and creating your own personal Dino scent. The fun in NAVAlchemy and hatching the dino eggs is all up to you!" - note from Seth. So, I've seen a few comments floating around the internet that say these oils seem to be rather linear, or flat - and I hope that people will read this, because if they don't realize that these were created specifically to be layered, then they'll miss the beauty of these. I do like them on their own, but I find that when they are layered with other perfumes, the beauty and versatility really shines through. I was never adventurous about layering until I was introduced to these beauties, and they really taught me to branch out, because the possibilities are quite endless. What's interesting is that a lot of the SL (Studio Line) is also fantastic for layering, so I'll make some suggestions for these together for you to try. I believe, from the hints that they've been dropping on the Facebook page, that we'll once again be graced with new Dinos this summer. I don't know if it will be happening with the grand reopening, or at some later time in the summer, but it seems that we'll be getting new Dinosaurs to play with! I cannot wait.