Thursday, July 4, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy Dimetrodon and Kashmir

I just realized my picture's a little darker than I wanted it. And today, it's storming like mad here! It will have to stand. I'm not fond of flash on perfume photos, for some reason...anyway, hello y'all! As promised, I'm back, with a brief review for Dimetrodon, found in the Resurgence Prehistoria collection, and I will include a brief love letter to Kashmir, as well.
Dimetrodon: Resinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, UNRELEASED Studio Limited Cinder Vanilla (fire smoked caramelized vanilla), Smoked Oudh, Egyptian Lilac, Cypress and creamy wood undertones. I've fangirled over the Prehistoria, or as fans call them, Dinos, before. You can find my previous reviews here. I always want to mention that these were meant to be layered, or "hatched" - you can certainly wear them on their own, I have. But they really come to life when you pair them with something else - including another Dino! This is my first experience with trying NA lilac. I absolutely love the smell of real lilacs, but usually cannot handle how they translate in perfumes. This, though. As with everything else they do, their lilac is lush and realistic. It's not strong, here, but it's definitely noticeable, and I totally enjoy it. I'll have to venture out and try more! This is a pretty blend on its own, I get the lovely smoky oudh and smoky vanilla, and it's really nice with the woods. The lilac is just the right touch! And as always, the amber in the Dinos. Mmm. I really love that stoney, fresh amber. This really is a beauty, and I knew I had to have it when I read all the smoke/wood notes. I personally love this alone, but wow, when you add another perfume, it is really pretty stunning, and I can't keep my nose off of my arm. Some of my favorite layering combinations have been Phantasm Kiss, Vanilla Copal, Sandalwood Copal, Crystal, Ember Vanilla, Protoceratops - really any vanilla I've tried works. Bastet Ice Cream Accord is great, as is Spooktacular from the PC catalogue. FYI if you really want to play up that oudh note, try it with one of your ICONS, I have Copal Oudh and Egyptian Temple Oudh, and that was wonderful, truly. It's really nice with smoky sweetness of Deinonychus, too! And Oudh Ombre. Today, I'm trying it with Hallow Cats. Ooof. I should have done this a long time ago - this is pretty sexy! The oudh just curls around me, and there's a sweetness that melds with that. I haven't branched out a lot, but I think this would pair well with patchoulis or musks, too. I'm so glad I have this one! Do you have Dimetrodon? What do you like to pair it with?
Kashmir: Deep blood red musk. A scent that is both animalistic and ethereal once it blends into the chemistry of your skin. This perfume is a viscous deep blood red colour due to the nature of the components used to create such a beautifully haunting perfume. Kashmir was the sample given out with this Summer LC release, and it's a favorite of mine. You can find it on the NA website in the Studio Limited Originals. I talk a lot about how much I love Kashmir. It was one of my first purchases, and I've never regretted it. I had to stop myself, because I found anything that had it as a note, I was buying. And all of them work! Hah. This is probably my most complimented perfume, from random strangers. "I have to know what you're wearing, you smell amazing!" I wear this alone a lot, but it layers well, too. Kashmir is a deep red musk. It is unapologetic and straight up sexy. There's a juicy, sort of incense-y vibe as well. I mean, I honestly think you can't go wrong with any of NA's musks, but if you're looking for more of a date-night one, Kashmir should be considered. I myself will wear this anytime, but I am more than a little obsessed with it. If you're wondering about layering options, I've worn it with Crystalline, Ember Vanilla, Santal Ombre, Cryolophosaurus, Diamond, Egyptian Temple Oudh, Tibetan Crystalline...really I've never tried something I didn't like.
Okay, that's it for now! I promised to keep it short with Kashmir, I think I did well. I'm working on that seasonal project, too. Have a good day, y'all!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy Summer Limited Reviews!

Yikes. So I never finished my Vaults, did I? Well, I'll have to come back to it! Right now, I have a few reviews I wanted to get posted from the Nocturne Alchemy Summer Limited Collection release. I'm also including a brief review of the PC Eternal Egypt, for reference purposes! I chose three perfumes, and they sent me one of their choice because I won a giveaway on their business FB page. So what I have here, in the picture, is Eternal Egypt Summer, Eternal Egypt Ambre, Chamomile, Vanilla & Spice Tea, and Apricot Sugar. The sample is Kashmir, which is the free sample while available, that they send along with orders. Any of you who have been following me for a while know that Kashmir is one of my favorites! Let's hop right to it, shall we?
First off, I want to talk about one of my desert island scents - Eternal Egypt. I'll be brief, but I think it's helpful for comparison to the two special versions I picked from the Summer LC. The NA site has this description: 
Eternal Egypt (Signature Blend): White Amber, Red Egyptian Musk, Egyptian Amber and the sands of Egypt.
I started off with a sample of this many moons ago, and at first I was a little leery - I had ridiculously bad luck wearing ambers. Smelled like baby powder on my skin. I think I wound up putting the sample in my box for about six months, and one day I dug it out and waved it in front of Jody's nose. Win. He was instantly a fan, and he remains one to this day - it's one of his favorites on me and he can name it when I wear it. I think it's the only one he knows, even though he has others he loves, too. It truly is a signature scent. I graduated from the sample, to a 5ml, and now I have a 10ml I'm flying through. The white amber gives this almost a coconut vibe? This is very bright and fresh, and that sandy note, I don't know how they do it, but this is just such a classy scent. It feels like a high end perfume, but at the same time, it's very easy to wear. I must say this is pretty perfect to represent Egypt - when I wear it, I am transported. I feel like the red musk gives this just the slightest bit of sexiness. If you've tried Crimson, I think that's the red musk here, or something similar, as it's not the bold red musk style of Kashmir. It's clean and a little spicy, and very appealing. The combination of the musk and amber is just totally perfect.

I've added a picture of Eternal Egypt Summer and Eternal Egypt Ambre side by side, so you can see the height difference. Ambre isn't as big as my 10ml original EE, but it's definitely larger than the standard 5ml. 
One thing I want to mention, about a lot of Nocturne Alchemy perfumes, and particularly Eternal Egypt: these do get travel shocked. So a little caution note, a little imploring: Please do not judge these by what they smell like when you first get them - and please, please try them on your skin before you dismiss them. They change quite a lot with some rest, and what you smell in the bottle can be very different once it melds with your skin and warms up. Eternal Egypt variations in particular seem to do a lot of "filling out" with age; they get richer, more beautiful - the notes seem to meld and really reach their full potential with a little time in your possession. So my initial reviews will stand, but it's like they're amplified TL;DR? Give these some time. It's summer, it's hot, they've traveled a distance to get to you.
Eternal Egypt Summer is part of the sub-collection Eternal Summer. Notes are: White Amber, Labdanum, Crystalline, a little eNVie saphir Amber, Copal, Guaiac wood, Lavender, NA Chypre accord. I opened this fresh out of the mail (not advised, ever, I have to say, but I have no self-restraint) and I swooned a little. This is pretty different than the original. It's got a cool feel to it. I gave it a few days to rest before I tried it on my skin, but I could kind of tell right away I was going to love this. Converse to the cool feel, there's a warmth here from the copal, a sweetness from the guaiac. The lavender isn't a star, but I think rather blends with the chypre, which is absolutely lovely. I usually like chypres, and this is no exception. You can definitely tell that there's an essence of Eternal Egypt to this, but if you're worried you might be getting a dupe, you're definitely not. How does this make me feel? Like I'm at the beach. It's a perfect, sunny day, the water is a sparkling turquoise, and there's a cool sea breeze on my sun-warmed skin. Yes, this feels like summer to me. 
Eternal Egypt Ambre is a part of the 13th anniversary collection. NA says this: 
Eternal Egypt Anniversary Collection – a reinterpretation with exclusive notes, beautiful blue pearl bottles but most importantly celebrating thirteen years of the original perfume blend from Nocturne Alchemy in four new iterations and limited to 75 bottles each.  From the elegant label art to the carefully chosen bottle and the exquisite ingredients, the owner & creator of Nocturne Alchemy (Emerson Hart) wanted the create something to honour the first perfume created at Nocturne Alchemy thirteen years ago.  Aging these perfume will bring out the resins and natural notes.
The notes for Eternal Egypt Ambre are:  Bastet’s Amber Absolute, Labdanum, Cedar essential, Palo Santo essential, Black Patchouli, Benzoin, Heliotrope, Smoked Balsam of Peru, Italian Lavandin, Black Pepper and White Amber Absolute. Oooof. Well, y'all already know how much I adore Bastet Amber, and here we have my two desert island scents? Okay, that was an obvious gimme.  This, too, is pretty obviously different from the original Eternal Egypt. The bottle is GORGEOUS, as is the label! When I first got this, it was far more travel shocked than Eternal Egypt Summer. I couldn't really tell what was going on, and there was almost a black licorice note in the bottle sniff. What? Turns out, that's the palo santo note. It can smell like anise, or minty...but I gave this a good bit of rest before I tried it on my skin. Four days. The anise had calmed down, and I could get an idea of what this was going to be like on my skin, I thought - except, it was so much better than I could have imagined! It absolutely transformed once it warmed up and melded with my skin. Wow. This is more complex, and sexier, than Summer. I'm having a hard time picking out individual notes, that's how well blended this one is. If Summer is bright and fun, a day at the beach - Ambre is a sultry summer night, a slinky black dress, and low slung heels. The palo santo gives this a cool feel, as does the white amber.
Honestly just so glad I chose both of these, I have several variations of Eternal Egypt, because I love it that much, and these are two wonderful additions to my collection. Backup worthy, really.
One of my favorite things Nocturne Alchemy does for their Summer Collections are the Summer Tea and Tea Service. You can read my reviews here, although I've added more that I haven't reviewed from previous collections. The Summer Tea Service reviews are separate, you can find them here.  Y'all, it's hot in Florida. And it's hot from April right through December these days. I find myself craving the Summer Teas as soon as it warms up, so they get a lot of wear from me. Green Tea Crimson is easily in my top five all time favorites, ever.
Last year I missed out, but my good friend Heather grabbed Apricot Sugar, and absolutely adored it. So I promised myself if it came back in the Resurgence, I would for sure have to nab it - it seemed like everything she wore it with was perfect, and of course, it was wearable alone. So I chose that for my third bottle, and as I mentioned, I won a giveaway (thanks, y'all, SO much!) on the Nocturne Alchemy business page, for a free bottle of their choice from the LCs. They chose Chamomile, Vanilla & Spice Tea for me. I had already eyed it, because it sounded delightful. The notes for this are: Blue German Chamomile, Bastet’s Ice Cream Accord, Vanilla Bean, Vanilla essence, Black Tea, Cardamom Spice and a little sugar. I love chamomile tea. I have one that's chamomile and vanilla, and it's so soothing, puts me right to sleep! And Jody's mom grows chamomile. This is very realistic. I guess this could possibly go a little floral, but they are such masters at blending, that never happens here. It's got a bit of a floral/herbal tinge to it, for sure, but it's reigned in beautifully by the vanillas. The cardamom is more of a supporting note on my skin, just a slightly spiced warmth, honestly, it's perfection. The balance here is superb. The black tea is something I utterly love, and it adds a little strength to this. Unfh. I've mentioned before, I didn't use to like tea notes, they would go bitter on my skin, but that's never happened with NA, and this is no exception. This is just so appealing! I could not be happier with what they chose for me, I adore it. The ice cream accord adds a tiny bit of foodiness, and it's at the perfect amount. Yum. Obviously, you can easily wear this alone, but I love to layer my Summer Teas with the Tea Service, it just is the perfect compliment. The first time I wore this, I added a little dab of Apricot Sugar, because that's what I had on hand, and it was delightful! I wasn't sure if it was going to wear well with this one, but I have to say if you have both of these you really should try this, it was a wonderful surprise. I've since tried Rice Milk and Sugarcube, and those are both easy winners, too. I haven't tried Sweet Santalum Milk or Coconut Milk, but I suspect those will work well, too - or even my original Bastet's Ice Cream Accord, if you want your tea to be a little creamier/more foodie.
Apricot SugarApricot stone essence, Apricot Skin, Egyptian Sugar accord, Papaya skin and Vanilla fleck. Oh, how much do I love NA's sugar note. It's just so dang good! I have a couple of bottles of the original Sugarcube, and I have worn it alone, because I love it so much. There's almost a freshness to it, and of course sweetness - but it's not tooth-achingly sweet, if that makes sense. That base is pretty present here, more so than it is with Lemon Sugar. The apricot is bright, juicy and just a little tangy, and extremely realistic. I think the papaya skin is more of a supporting note, I've had it in other blends and enjoyed it, but I don't really notice it here. It may be adding to that juiciness. This is a simple blend, but it was meant to be layered, and it really shines when you do that. As I mentioned above, I wore it with Chamomile, Vanilla & Spice Tea, and I've also worn it with White Tea Vanilla, and Crystal, so far. I'm going to try it with Santalum White and White Ambre Ombre, because I feel like those will be great pairings, too. I think this is a very versatile layering perfume, and would be lovely with so many perfumes. Anything with vanilla, for sure. Bastet Ice Cream Accord, some Dinos, Eternal Ankh, really I think anything you think might work. I bet it would be pretty with Egyptian Musk, and definitely Diamond. I'm so happy I grabbed this! If you were a fan of, or yearning for, Love of Bastet: Pink Vanille, I think you should definitely get this.
I have Dimetrodon from last year, but I've run out of time, today, so I'll post that separately. It's currently available in the Summer LC Resurgence, in the Prehistoria collection.
What did you choose from this release? What are you looking at? I'm eyeing a Dino or two, and more Teas....always more Teas! I hope y'all enjoyed these reviews, and they helped you to make some decisions. As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy Vaults: Part One

I'm on a mission, after completing my month of samples! I've got a good collection of what I call Vaults - perfumes from the early days of Nocturne Alchemy, long before I started collecting. And I tend to hoard these, rather than wearing them. I don't think I have enough for a solid month, but I'm going to try to do a few weeks of these, spread out over the course of a month, and do a bi-weekly update. Maybe it will force me to wear these beauties as intended!
I have a mixture of both LC (limited collection) and PC (permanent collection), but it's mostly LC in these, so I want to go ahead and warn you now, these are probably hard to get, but it can't hurt to put out an ISO (in search of) in the NAVA Marketplace Facebook group. They age wonderfully, so it might be worth the hunt!
Let's get this shindig started!

Eternal Egypt Summer Crystalline REZ: White Amber Absolute, Limestone Amber Resin, Lime Zest, Saffron, Gold Santalum, Moonstone (African White Vanilla Bean), with the new addition of Crystalline (Egyptian Vanilla Orchid stigma Resin) Absolute aged with Kyphi (a honey, raisin, & wine based incense), Guaiacwood eo, Mandarin Skin, Egyptian Sugar and French Golden Amber Resin. This baby is a favorite of mine, I have several backups of this with varying fill levels that I've nabbed over time from the Marketplace, and from Laura. It came out in 2015, the first year I started collecting NA.  It's SO, SO GOOD. Like, my ultimate summer scent, honestly - besides the Tea collection! I will continue to keep an eagle eye out for more. A girl can never have too many, right? Right!! Hah. Okay, so if you've ever experienced Eternal Egypt, this is an enhanced version, with a zip of citrus (the lime is fabulous, seriously) and the beauty of Crystalline vanilla - honestly, it's just the right amount, it doesn't take over the other notes. It's so aged, I don't get really the kyphi, which I love, or the saffron. But that's okay. It seems simple, but there's definitely some complexity. I have raved and raved about this one, maybe one day they'll make a version something like it in the future! PS. If you haven't tried Eternal Egypt, what in the world are you waiting for? Remedy that as quickly as possible! *wink* Seriously, it's a fan favorite, and it's a lovely scent.

SP 8:  Sandalwood, Teak, Rosewood, Cedar, Black Amber, Black Musk, Black Myrrh and Black Patchouli in a sea of memory. This is from 2013. This is a beautifully dark scent, the woods and resins are just, at this point, incredibly potent. I don't need a lot. I love to pair this with a vanilla, like Crystal, or Protoceratops, to keep it from going too dark on me. I think this one is pretty unisex, and I think it would be fantastic on a guy too. The sweetness of the myrrh, amber, and cedar is perfect against the heavier patchouli and black musk. I don't know a lot about this collection, but somewhere in my dusty memory I remember that SP stands for Steam Punk, and this was a pretty limited collection, so I treasure having both this and SKL, below.

SP SKL: Damp woods, Aged Velvet Crystal Vanilla (Vanilla Musk), the scent of old linen in a coffin, a touch of graveyard musk and a sentient of mystery. Like SP 8, this is also from 2013. Gorgeous. I have a bottle of Crystal, from the SL section, and I love it. First thing I catch is that vanilla musk, but it's aged and deepened. Paired with the woods, this is so gothic. I particularly love to wear this one in the fall and winter, it feels very cozy and like a warm, dark hug. There's like a dark sexiness lurking under the snuggly vanilla.

Cleopatra Moon: Fresh Peach Incense, Peach Essence, Egyptian Frankincense Resinoid, Egyptian Myrrh Lite Resinoid, Sapphire Amber-Musk, Persian Sandalwood, White Peppercorn Essential Oil and a drop of Egyptian Hibiscus and a breath of Egyptian Hyacinth Petal. This treasure is from 2011, the Pharaoh Moons collection, from what I can see. I got this one from my friend Melissa, and oh, how hard did I fall for this? She's gorgeous. It starts out with their luscious, juicy peach, just bursting out of the bottle and onto your skin. That's followed closely by a melange of resins, so well blended I can barely pick them out, but I think that the Sapphire keeps this bright and helps the peach linger. I don't really get the hibiscus or hyacinth, on my skin - they may be background notes, or as aged as this is, impossible to discern. I do get a little kick of pepper, which is always a welcome smell for me. It adds the slightest spiciness, but it's not obtrusive. Cleopatra Moon curls around me for quite a long time, I get at least eight hours from it. It's enchanting and mysterious, what I imagine her namesake to be.

Selket Anti-Venom Rez: In the new composition I took the old recipe and changed it toward more of an ode to Crème de Menthe bringing up the mint essential oil note and adding nuances of Crystal, Blue Sugar and a little Incense in the shadows before the scorpion Goddess stings with her tail. The Crème de Menthe composed with marshmallow and peppermint eo. This one came out the same year as Eternal Egypt Summer Crystalline REZ, 2015. If I remember correctly, it came out in the summer - and while I absolutely adore my Victorian Candy Cane Crystalline, this is the mint I reach for when I want something cool feeling in the summer. It's like a creamy, mint drink, on a long screened in verandah. There's a crust of sugar in here, as well - I love their sugar notes. But this definitely feels green, it's different than the Christmas VCCC. There's a slight hint of liqueur. Absolutely adore this, and I should wear it more often, but I'm guilty of hoarding it. I will note that in long drydown - this lasts a while! - the mint fades a little bit, and you're left with a sweet, creamy, sort of musky marshmallow, with just a hint of the mint. Just as beautiful as the beginning stages, though.

Bastet's Witching Hour: Black Incense, Black Vanilla, Black Haitian Voodoo Vetiver, Black Aged Cedar, Black Cherry Extract, Black Aged Saffron and Black Amber rests at the death of this hour. I usually store all my Vaults in the same box, but - in order to confuse myself, hah! - I store my NAlloween Vaults in with the NAlloween box. So I'd actually realized when I was pulling out my Sleep Elixir that I had more Vaults than I realized! Anyway. this beauty is from 2011. I have two bottles of it, this was my first experience with NA's cherry and I fell hard for it.  This isn't a candy or cough drop cherry by any means - this is a sexy, alluring fruit and dark resin perfume. The incense curls around you, and entwines with the slightly tart cherry. The vetiver is smoky, and the cedar is sweet and woody, they sure do woods right. I feel dark and witchy when I wear this, and I crave it all year. But of course, my favorite time of year to pull it out is fall, and I reach for it often. Incredible. 

Hathor's Peach Kaproret Tea: Sensual Peach, Coconut powder, African Kaproret Tea, Fresh morning Apple (subtle), Tibetan Black Tea Leaves and Egyptian Plum. Here's another early one, from 2009. I've got about a quarter of a bottle left, it's one of the beautiful green 5mls. This one is a lovely summery scent, a little bit of tropical feel with the fruit/tea blend. I'm not sure what kaproret tea is like, but I definitely get the black tea, but there's another tea-scent in there that I've never had myself before, and it's almost got a zing to it, and it works really well with the lush peach and coconut notes. Thankfully I don't need a lot of this, because it's so aged, because I love it, and I'm hoarding it. I do have Peach Cardamom Tea from the Summer Tea Service, but that's quite a bit different than this. If you love tea and fruit, and happen to come across this one, I would not hesitate to get it! As with my other Teas from NA, there's never a bitter edge to the black tea, it's smooth and distinctive, and balances so well with the fruits. I've also worn this with a few of the Tea Service, Coconut Milk, Sugarcube, and Rice Milk, and they all pair well with it.

Y'all, I got pretty behind on this - life got really busy! I meant to have it up a week ago, but there's all kinds of stuff going on here in our little corner of the world. I'll try to get on the second half of this with a little more expediency! I hope you enjoyed this first half, though. There are some pretty amazing treasures to be had in hunting these down. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Month of Nocturne Alchemy Samples: Week Four

Ahhh, my last week of samples! This has been a fun foray, and hopefully it will make me keep on wearing these more frequently.

Dream Bottle: Goddess Dreams:  Bastet Amber, SL Crystalline (Egyptian Vanilla Orchid stigma Resin), Frankincense & Myrrh, Snow Musk and Blue Sandalwood NAVA Accord. The Dream Bottle Collection was released in December of 2015. There were six bottles in the exclusive set, four of which were reimagined perfumes from the PC, and two were brand new "Dream" blends. Goddess Dreams was one of those. You could order the four individually, but the only way you could get the exclusive two was to order as a set. The other exclusive is Nag Champa Dreams, and I found that in a full size one day in the NAVA Marketplace group on Facebook. Lucky break! Anyway, I've never seen Goddess Dreams come through, so yeah, I hoard my decant. These were my introduction into sleep scents, and it's no surprise I now love those, they have a special spot in my collection. Goddess Dreams feels slightly familiar to me now that I have Love Of Bastet: White Sandalwood Vanille. I'm not quite sure why, but I suspect it's got something to do with the sandalwood, although the notes are mostly different, except for Crystalline. This is a white, soft scent, very dreamy and lifted, if that makes sense. It puts you in a different space - takes you away from your everyday cares. There's serenity here, peace. It doesn't quite knock me out the way Sleepyceratops or Sleep Elixir does, but it helps me to put away my worries, and that helps me a lot. Love it! I've always kind of hoped they'd bring the set back one day, but no luck yet.

Plumeria Sapphire: Egyptian Plumeria, Hawaiian Spring Plumeria, White Jasmine amidst the gem of Amber and Musk (Nokturne:Sapphire). This is a now discontinued scent from Bastet's Garden, and I hoard it rather than wear it usually.  It's so beautiful. It starts out with an almost candied burst of plumeria, sweet but not too sweet. That mellows into a lovely, lush floral, with the base of Sapphire's golden, rich amber musk. Unfh. It feels so warm, tropical, and summery. Absolutely adore it. There's almost a little floral/spice to this in long drydown, it's such an interesting blend. They've said a while back that Bastet was working on a viable replacement, something that the components wouldn't be so expensive to acquire. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Kiskah Kashmir: Aged Kashmir Red Musk, Bittersweet Cacao, Kiskah Incense Smoke, N3 Musk, Black Incense, a drop of blood from a Black Pungent Rose and Sugar Vapour. Okay, it's no secret, I absolutely adore this. The cocoa starts out strong, but within minutes is reeled in by the other notes and becomes a soft, supporting note. It's perfect against the warm, deep red musk of Kashmir. This feels so gothic and velvety. The rose is STUNNING. Easily my favorite rose I've ever tried. It's balanced perfectly with the other notes, none of them overpowers the others. And the sugar note. TO. DIE. FOR. It's as if you dipped a lush, dark rose into a little sugar syrup and it hardened to a crust - and the sugared rose playing against the red musk is just right. Unfh. Absolute perfection.

Crystalline Burning JackIndian Ajowan, Pumpkin Skin, Pumpkin Seed, Zucchini and Pumpkin Bread, Cinnamon Stick, Smoke, Nutmeg, Clove and fallen leaves of the old oak tree. Adding a smattering of White Fig absolute, Lychee Oil concentrate and a big kiss from Crystalline Vanilla. This was a sample a few years back from NAlloween - Bastet made these for us, but they've never made a full bottle of the scent, so I hoard my sample. I absolutely love it. It's warm and cozy, and such an iconic fall scent. Very evocative. The pumpkin and zucchini breads are delicious, and the Crystalline adds almost a sweet vanilla "glaze". It's the perfect addition. The spices are not overwhelming, but add the perfect support needed. I would for sure buy a big bottle of this, if it were ever offered!

Dragon Rain: NA Tibetan Musk, Nokturne: N3 Egyptian Musk (a softer Egyptian Musk), Egyptian and Arabian Dragon's Blood Resin, Dragon's Blood Resin (from Africa), the ethereal Bastet Amber, White African Musk, Roman Amber, Egyptian Sandalwood, Seville Orange e/o, sweet Egyptian Styrax and aged Nokturne: Crystal (Vanilla Musk). This one is a Vault from June of 2013. Because it's had so much time to age, it's very hard to pick out individual notes. It's a light blue, serene musk, a little sweet, almost watery. Very lovely! 

Day of the Dead: In the cemeteries, the living clean the graves of their loved ones and celebrate with music, dancing, drinking and eating things their loved ones can enjoy 'through' them. It is a time of celebration and this is our honouring of the dead by creating a perfume of Horchata, a drink made from ground up rice along with sweet cinnamon sugar infused with almond milk and blended into Nokturne:Crystal as our ode to sweet Vanilla Musk celebrations! This is from the All Hallows' Eve section of the PC, one of my favorite sections. My friend Heather actually gave me this sample, and I love it. It smells just like the Horchata drink, and it's very appealing. The sugar and milk almost has a little dark smell, like carmelized a bit? And it's so appealing. It's a little musky, and I love the rice milk. For me this is one of the easiest gourmands I've ever worn. I love it and will definitely be upgrading it when my sample gets low. 

Sacred Scarab: Black Fig, Raw Pumpkin and Black Egyptian Sugar. Renewal, eternal youth and resurrection. A sweet earthy scent. This is from the Egypt and Her Wonders section of the PC. This one is a simple scent, the fig is brown and a little spicy, the pumpkin is warm, and the sugar adds a little crusty sweetness. It's easy to wear. I've got a somewhat similar scent from the Pumpkin Library, so I probably won't be getting a full bottle of this for a while, but I really like it!

So that's it, a full four weeks of samples! I hope you've enjoyed this look into my sample box. It almost feels like Mary Poppins' bag, I don't even know every treasure I have in there. It's been a fun challenge. I will probably do my Vaults next month, but because I don't have a full month's worth, I won't be regularly publishing. It will probably be every other week. Thanks for following along with me, y'all. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Month of Nocturne Alchemy Samples: Week Three

Welcome to week three of my month of samples! I'm actually really late, I had most of this written up, but I didn't get back to it until today. So sorry! Let's hop right to it, shall we?

Cherries in the Snow: Fragrant Snow Raspberry, Snow Cherry Pure, Ancient Limestone, Green Amber, Dirt Musk. This is from the VApothecary section in the Permanent Catalogue (PC). I absolutely love the way they do fruit blends, and this is no exception. The cherry and raspberry are bright, accented by the amber, and the musk is softer, and a little sweet. The limestone grounds everything. It's not firmly in the foodie category for me, and that really works. 

OM NA: Eternity: This perfume is built from many layers of beautiful imported Desert Sage, Softened resin of Vetiver, the Scent of Temple grass, Black Coconut milk and husk, Dragon's Breath Incense and White Benzoin Liquid Resin of the Netherworld. *This OM NA will become thicker, richer and more beautiful with age. Another PC scent, this one comes from the OM NA section. I want to get a big bottle of this, as well. This is really smooth, I love the sage and grass. It's rich, but cool somehow. It's got a little bit of a summer-y vibe, with the coconut note, always a favorite of mine. Really a wonderful blend.

Upside Down Tarrie Cat: Vanilla, Kobalt Vanilla Orchid, Cream Soda accord, Black Tea, Bergamot, Vetiver-Amber. This is another gem from the original Clive Barker collaboration. This is another stellar tea from NA, a nice creamy one and the black tea note is so perfect. It lasted a good six hours, too!

Eternal Luxor: NA Amber, Golden Egyptian Fig, Creamy Coconut Milk and Toasted Coconut Oil. This is from one of my favorite PC sections, the Eternals. Okay, in theory this should work on me. I absolutely love their fig, coconut, and amber. There's only one other coconut I've tried that didn't work for me, and that was Coconut Moonstone. This is going to the exact same place, and I am so sad about that. It's almost plasticky. *shakes fist* Curse you, skin chemistry. Off you go to the rehoming pile. Someone else is going to adore this! It's really serene and tropical in the vial. Beachy, summery. I crave those scents here in Florida, where it's warm most of the year. So if you like that, you might try this out. There are very few scents I can't wear by NA, and I know luckily I usually can wear their coconuts and figs, so although I'm disappointed, I have a lot of others to love.

Carnarvon: Earl Grey Tea, Egyptian Black Tea, English Bergamot Essential Oil, Rose Hips, Dried Lily and Gingered Vanilla Crystal. This one is from the Egyptologist LC collection. I've got three of these as beloved full bottles, Carter, Petrie, and 1922. This is GORGEOUS. I hope it makes a comeback, I really love it, and I can't believe I didn't try it before. The floral is the perfect accent to the teas. It's a tiny bit tart, which I always enjoy. And bright. It would be great layered with one of the Tea Service, too, like Rice Milk.

Mummy Prince: Sweetened Labdanum E/O, Vanilla and Benzoin Tincture, White Linen wrappings, Black Myrrh and a touch of smokey resin in a haze of Mysore Sandalwood pure. This is a vault LC from 2010! The NAlloween collection that year. I've had this for a long time, and have no idea who sent it to me, but it was a decant from Laura. Oh, my goodness. This sounds like it might be heavier, but this is just a beautifully clean, bright perfume. If that's the white linen note, it has me swooning. This is a stunner. I've never seen it in the Marketplace, but now I'll be looking for it - I imagine anyone that's got this is holding onto it, though. I can't stop huffing my wrists. It's so smooth, just a little sweet.

Transylvania: Transylvanian Green Timber, Romanian Green Chypre, Honey, Incense and Romanian Black Vanilla. This is a PC scent from Cities of the Dead, originally part of the VApothecary. Oh, this is green. I love the chypre against the wood and vanilla, but it's pulling pretty masculine on me. I think this would be incredible on a guy. Wow. So it's not really for me, because I can't pull off stuff that heads into this territory on me, but it's a great scent. I'll have to add it to my list of "guy" scents.

Viktor: Blue Chypre, Exotic Ambers of Egypt and Eastern Europe, Heliotrope of a graveyard in New Orleans, Haunting Cedar, Rock Rose Resin, Sandalwood powder, Raw Indonesian White Patchouli, Cardamom, Myrrh and sacred Agarwood.Blue Chypre, Exotic Ambers of Egypt and Eastern Europe, Heliotrope of a graveyard in New Orleans, Haunting Cedar, Rock Rose Resin, Sandalwood powder, Raw Indonesian White Patchouli, Cardamom, Myrrh and sacred Agarwood.  Viktor is from the Immortals section in the PC. I switched from Transylvania to this, so there's an extra sample this week! This is a gorgeous chypre that has a beautiful serenity. And yet, it's a little haunting. I really love this, it's a little different from my usual wheelhouse, but it's a chypre, and I usually like those. I don't get a lot of the cardamom, but it adds a subtle layer of warmth. I keep going back to huff my wrists. This is enchanting.

So that wraps it up for the third week. I'm well into the fourth and final week as I type this, and I hope y'all are enjoying the little snippets I've been posting!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Month of Nocturne Alchemy Samples: Week Two

Okay, keeping up with my sample challenge! I'm really enjoying the accountability. Is anyone else joining me this month? I'm going to dive right in!

Santal Saphir (eNVie is part of the House of NA, but they are a separate company) :  Dazzling and resplendent Sandalwood illuminated with saphir throughout and will continue to become more beautiful in senescence.
Top Note: Sweet and tender Australian Sandalwood, Heartwood, Mysore Sandalwood infused into Alexandrian Sandalwood with fine drops of Indian Oudh.
Middle Note: Palo Santo infused Sandalwood and saphir is the heart.
Base Note: Egyptian Amber & Musk Resin purified into natural notes of blue balsamic amber, sweet papyrus oil from Cairo and siam benzoin that hints naturally of occurring warm and pure vanillin breathe through the sandalwood notes and will gain more beauty with age. Okay, so I was super lucky, and managed to grab a full bottle of the original Sapphire from the NAVA Marketplace group - this was the original incantation of Saphir. When eNVie opened, I was a part of a circle that was so worth it - my friend Heather and I decanted a few larger bottles of Saphir and its variants. One I didn't get though, and still want, is Santal Saphir. My sweet friend Jennifer once generously sent me a bunch of samples, bless her! Included was this beauty. I am in love, head over heels, unrepentant, drooling love. Saphir is a golden, snuggly, incredibly gorgeous, glowing amber musk. It feels...decadent, and yet comforting. It's like being wrapped in a hug, by a Goddess. Profound, but soothing. I digress, eh? So Santal Saphir has this lovely base, with the addition of warm, golden, woody sandalwood. It's so smooth, it purrs. It's beautifully balanced. There's nothing quite like these. If you're interested in trying them for yourself, Angi has several decants of these still available at Ajevie (link is the name!). Mmmph. I think you get the idea, I'll stop drooling over my keyboard now.

White Santal Ombre: Perfume of Hungarian White Sandalwood, Indian White Sandalwood and Australian Sandalwood with Ambre Ombre (Rare Black Amber, Black Patchouli Amber, Black Frankincense). One of my favourite categories in the wonderful Permanent Catalogue is the Studio Limited (SL) Ombre section. And Santal Ombre is probably my second favorite of these - so it's no surprise, as much as I love that, and Santalum White, that White Santal Ombre is a gimme. This was a gift from my friend Heather, as I've got White Ambre Ombre, but not this, yet. This is perfection. The gothic darkness of the Ombre base (so resinous, so delightful) balanced against the beachy, airy white sandalwood - which to me has the tiniest hint of coconut husk. For when you live in Florida, but you're a black clothes loving, Goth gal at heart. It's me! Hah. No, really. This is both soothing and lifting, and if you love Santalum White, and resins at all, you're probably going to adore this one too. I really, really need to get a big PC order in - my wishlist is out of control! 

Pomegranate Aurora ☥ Egyptian Pomegranate from Aswan, Aurora French Vanilla and Coconut Husk, a kiss of Cassis, a drop of Green Peppercorn. This is from the Bastet's Garden section of the PC. I absolutely adore this one! I've had this sample for almost a year, and I'm definitely going for a full bottle. I love Bastet's fruit blends, they are sublime. I hardly ever hear about anyone wearing this one, and honestly, I'm really surprised. The pom is so tart and realistic, and this Aurora vanilla is simply GORGEOUS. I would love to have an SL put out of this vanilla. It's a little tropical. The tartness of the pomegranate just perfectly balances the creaminess of the vanilla, plus there's a little kick from the pepper, yum. Huge win, I wore this for the first day of spring. Get some!

Polychrome: Ethereal Rose Petal Essence, Egyptian/Arabian/Indian Sandalwood blend, Egyptian Red Musk and a drop of Amber Musk. This is another beauty from the PC, it's under Collaborations, in Dan Brereton's Nocturnals. My friend Adrienne sent me a sample of this - imagine, I might never have tried it, without her! I've been gunshy of rose for a long time, but if anyone can change that, it's NA. I will definitely be upgrading this one to a full bottle size. I think the combination of sandalwood, musk, and rose is the key - anything with a base that's in my regular wheelhouse would probably work. It's gorgeous. I love their musks, and this sandalwood blend is absolutely enchanting against the rose, which is dewy, fresh, slightly sweet, and realistic. I did once try the fan favorite Cairo Rose Santalum, which was part of Bastet's Garden, and has been discontinued due to component issues - I think they are somewhat similar, if you're looking for a suitable replacement, this might be just the ticket. As if I needed another addiction, I'm losing it to florals lately!

Hallow's Cat: Black Amber, Black Sandalwood, Winter Amber, Orange Spiced Tea, Bilberry, Ebony Wood and dried crushed Fall Jasmine. This is an older one, about a year before I started collecting, it's from NAlloween 2014. Oh, this is really pretty. The jasmine is soft in this, and I love the tea against the resinous notes. It feels a little like another favorite of mine, Black Oudh Jack - not a dupe, but a sibling. It's really beautiful! I'd love to have a big bottle of this, but I've never seen it in the Marketplace.

A Tree Full Of Sky (Clive Barker Series) : White Amber Essence, Vanilla Bean, White Cedar and White Sandalwood. A Tree Full Of Sky is from the first Clive Barker collaboration, released in April of 2017, and it's one of my last orders from my friend Laura. ♥  This is absolutely gorgeous. If I could find one bottle of the Clive Barker series, it would be this one. It's so simple, and so bright and happy. It's got a lovely sweetness. It feels very summery. Absolutely love it, and I've been hoarding it, because I wore it so much when I first got it. 

The Golden One (a vault from 2012) : Beautiful Egyptian Musk, Nokturne: Indigo (African Musk), Nokturne: Santalum (White Sandalwood), White Cedarwood of Aswan, White Patchouli from the nearby desert to Abu Simbel, Nokturne: Ember (Egyptian Frankincense and Myrrh Absolute) and a drop of Allspice EO. So, I call all of the older perfumes, from the early days of NA, vaults. I'm lucky to own a few of these treasures, and have samples of some others from friends! ♥ The Golden One is older, and the patchouli on this has deepened beautifully. It's really, really beautiful, the patch is a little herbal, but it's tempered by the other woods/resins here. And of course, I love the musks. Wow. Enchanting! Absolutely love the way they do cedar. By the way, the spice isn't really noticeable in this blend, it's just a supporting note. If I huff my arm, I get it, but I'm not amping it.

So that's it, for this week! I'm so enjoying my little foray into my sample box. This has been really fun for me! And I'm impressed that I'm keeping up on it, sometimes when I start a project, I don't carry it all the way through. Have a wonderful Sunday, y'all! It's gorgeous here in Florida, just the way I love it. 

Nocturne Alchemy Osirian Purnima Perfumes Part Two

Welcome back to the second half of my Osirian Purnima (OP) reviews! Y'all, I've put off reviewing these, because I just don't know if I have enough of a language to give them the accolades they deserve, but here we are, I'll continue along. They are really something special. All of my life, I'd loved incense, and to be able to wear a perfume that smells like incense (plus other amazing notes)? Yes, please. NA has done something truly incredible with these. 
If you've already read Part One, found here, you can skip through these next few paragraphs, but I want to post the OP base and my little speech for anyone who might have come here first. 
All of the Osirian Purnimas (OPs, for short) have the same base, so from the website: "Each Osirian Purnima includes the original OP recipe in addition to the notes above for each individual perfume. The Osirian Purnima blend uses the most beautiful and exotic of ingredients, including the tuned recipe of Bastet’s Zamsara: An exotic Blue Incense blended into the dark sensuality of aged Kashmir in Mahogany wood and a drop of Santalum Black, Black Frankincense, Black Hessonite, Bastet's Amber and aged Eternal Ankh Vanilla Absolute. This was then blended into Purnima Incense: Blue Coriander, Italian Bergamot, Ambrette Musk, NA Incense Accord, Egyptian Cedar Chips, Palo Santo Chips and genus of three beautiful Frankincense Olibanum Resin: B. Carteri, B. Thurifera and B. Serrata. Solid Myrrh wood is then stirred in and taken out, leaving a trace element of sweet wood within the blend. Intoxicating blend of Labdanum Extract, Benzoin Syrup and Oakmoss stir in the incense ephemeral element to the blend. Five Sandalwood perfume oils swirl throughout the Osirian."
The labels are gorgeous. They're done by Trista Musco, an artist from New Orleans. If you click on my photo up top, you can have a closer look. Little, beautiful works of art, representing each God or Goddess. All the names are from the Egyptian pantheon.
A caveat: The components of this series are delicate due to the very nature of the oil compositions with their finite incense notes of absolute, essential and steam distilled nature. Travel really disturbs them. The impulse is to open them and at least sniff them, if not try them immediately, but they're going to be very off. Whenever I get a new OP, I won't even open it for a week. It's entirely up to you, of course, but I would hate for someone to get the wrong impression and miss out on something special. When they first came out, this was the one request Seth had for us, to please give it a few days, so as to have a proper first introduction. I have also found that giving these a full month aging really changes them. I was a little underwhelmed at first by OP Pakhet, my first choice of the series, and I didn't understand what I was missing. Everyone had rave reviews. So I stuck it away in a dark box, and went back to it about a month after I got it. The change was mind blowing - it was an incredible scent, far from underwhelming! /soapbox
Okay, there we go! Information passed along, let's get started on these last five Gods and Godesses, shall we?

OP ANUBIS: Guardian of the Necropolis, protector of the dead – With Underworld Oudh (unreleased ICON) at the base of this perfume with Black Frankincense and Black Myrrh ruminating through smoke, the Guardian of the Necropolis protects his dead with the incense of dark wood and rich incense smoke. Ooof, Anubis is absolutely brimming with deep resins. The myrrh is beautifully sweet, balancing the almost citrusy frankincense. Smoky incense provides a counter to the sweet. I bet Underworld Oudh would have been incredible, because the glimpse I get of it here sure does intrigue me. If you've got the SL Ember, it reminds me the tiniest bit of that - but it's much more complex. I adore Ember, so this was definitely one I'd wanted, and it doesn't disappoint. Mesmerizing, and yet so cozy.

OP BABA: God of aggression and controller of darkness – Black Musk & Nag Champa are the wild animal tamed only by a God. Oh, how do I love the various nag champas NA does, and this one is no exception. The black musk is so plush here, it's a wonderful juxtaposition against the nag champa, which is of course perfect with the OP base. I used to be scared of black musks, they can be so overwhelming and strident, but Nocturne Alchemy has by far the best I've ever smelled, it's just so appealing to me. It doesn't drown out the more delicate incense notes, but rather enhances them in a beautiful dance. And this one has special meaning to me, it's the name of an ancient Mesopotamian healing Goddess, and I have always had a connection to her, so I was really drawn to this. It was my third OP, and I wear this a lot when I am doing meditation or ritual work. It really helps with focus.

OP OSIRIS: God of the dead, God of the afterlife and resurrection into eternal life. Black Amber Incense is the base of this God of the afterlife, the resurrection of scent comes in the billow of incense and dark amber notes. This one is really close to my heart. I was pretty distraught when Laura, a dear friend and invaluable member of the Nocturne Alchemy community, passed away last year. I probably wore this for a solid month, it brought me so much comfort. Osiris is the dark amber version of OP Isis, there's a wonderfully fresh amber here, it's almost sweet, but it's a deep, viscous and mysterious.  It's balanced against a smoky note and the OP base, a beautiful incense with this. It curls around you in a fragrant warmth. There's a feel of protection and comfort here.

OP SET: God of Chaos, Storms and Darkness; Lord of Sepermeru – With NAVA Egyptian Temple Oudh at the base of this perfume, the chaos of incense and rich dark smoky woods permeates this God of storms and darkness. Set has one of my all-time favorites featured, Egyptian Temple Oudh. I've raved and raved about this Icon, so I'm sure regular readers know how much it has my heart. Here are the notes: "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." It's a smoky, deep, and a little sticky wood, and my bottle is so thick at this point, it's almost gummy. And I adore it. If this sounds pretty amazing to you, I really encourage you to get a bottle of OP Set and age it - it's one that I would more firmly advocate needs a good long time to come into its own, but I promise it's worth it to sock it away in a dark corner of a box and just walk away. Set is pretty simply Egyptian Temple Oudh and incense, but it's an experience. The incense adds a subtle sweetness to it, but it doesn't take away that incredible, deep dark sensuous smoke and wood. For me, this is like going into a temple at night. There are piles of smoky, fragrant incense, and immediately you are drawn away from your daily worries, and into a sacred space where you are calm and at peace. It's wonderful for meditating, but of course, I wear it more often than that. This one might possibly be my favorite, but of course I can't make that decision, I love them all so much.

OP SOBEK: Alchemist against evil, protector from crocodiles and the Lord of Faiyum; controller of waters – deep blood red Kashmir and Crimson musk flow throughout the OP perfume. Two of my favorite musks ever, combined with incense. Of course I love Sobek! Unapologetic, sexy red musk of Kashmir, against the cleaner, brighter red musk of Crimson. What a great combination here. So appealing! The incense base definitely provides a balance for Kashmir, which can be absolutely full speed, no stop - here, you're able to get all three aspects, and that's really awesome. However, if you're looking for a softer musk scent, this is definitely not it. This is definitely a warm red scent, and it isn't shy. I get a lot of compliments from random strangers when I wear this - people find it very appealing, and unusual.

I forgot something, and I feel like it's important to add this in. So, the OPs are all quite potent - especially aged. They last a wonderfully long time on me, and they are not in any way skin scents - a little does go a long way. I would start out with a light hand, and if you want more, you can always add to it! Also, I wanted to mention that I wear these year 'round. You might think, looking at the notes, that they're too heavy for spring or summer, and in my experience, they actually do great in the humidity down here in Florida. So give them a try, you might find yourself really enjoying them in warmer weather!
Okay, so that's the last of the OPs that I have. I'm missing Ammut, Horus, Khepri, Khnum, and Sekhmet. Hah, and I want all five! I've especially had my eye on Ammut, Horus, and Khepri, but I have definitely been loving myrrh and frankincense a lot more than I used to, so they'll have to come home one of these days. Which ones do you have? Which are you wanting to bring home? Who is your favorite? Gods, I couldn't choose one, if I had to. It's such a sublime collection, a magnum opus to incense. A love letter to the Egyptian pantheon. And now, the promise of more, with the arrival of the Spring collection! I'm beside myself. I hope y'all have a wonderful Sunday. Wear something beautiful today.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy Osirian Purnima Perfumes Part One

Hey, y'all! It's a gorgeous spring day here in Florida, and I happened to catch a preview from Nocturne Alchemy on their Facebook business page - new Osirian Purnimas are coming! Eeee. I love these - incense is my jam, and to be able to smell like incense? Well, I must be in heaven. There are currently a total of 16 in the line, and of these, I have 11. That's quite a lot, so I'm going to break this up into two parts.
All of the Osirian Purnimas (OPs, for short) have the same base, so from the website: "Each Osirian Purnima includes the original OP recipe in addition to the notes above for each individual perfume. The Osirian Purnima blend uses the most beautiful and exotic of ingredients, including the tuned recipe of Bastet’s Zamsara: An exotic Blue Incense blended into the dark sensuality of aged Kashmir in Mahogany wood and a drop of Santalum Black, Black Frankincense, Black Hessonite, Bastet's Amber and aged Eternal Ankh Vanilla Absolute. This was then blended into Purnima Incense: Blue Coriander, Italian Bergamot, Ambrette Musk, NA Incense Accord, Egyptian Cedar Chips, Palo Santo Chips and genus of three beautiful Frankincense Olibanum Resin: B. Carteri, B. Thurifera and B. Serrata. Solid Myrrh wood is then stirred in and taken out, leaving a trace element of sweet wood within the blend. Intoxicating blend of Labdanum Extract, Benzoin Syrup and Oakmoss stir in the incense ephemeral element to the blend. Five Sandalwood perfume oils swirl throughout the Osirian."
The labels are gorgeous. They're done by Trista Musco, an artist from New Orleans. If you click on my photo up top, you can have a closer look. Little, beautiful works of art, representing each God or Goddess. All the names are from the Egyptian pantheon.
A caveat: The components of this series are delicate due to the very nature of the oil compositions with their finite incense notes of absolute, essential and steam distilled nature. Travel really disturbs them. The impulse is to open them and at least sniff them, if not try them immediately, but they're going to be very off. Whenever I get a new OP, I won't even open it for a week. It's entirely up to you, of course, but I would hate for someone to get the wrong impression and miss out on something special. When they first came out, this was the one request Seth had for us, to please give it a few days, so as to have a proper first introduction. I have also found that giving these a full month aging really changes them. I was a little underwhelmed at first by OP Pakhet, my first choice of the series, and I didn't understand what I was missing. Everyone had rave reviews. So I stuck it away in a dark box, and went back to it about a month after I got it. The change was mind blowing - it was an incredible scent, far from underwhelming! /soapbox 
Enough jabbering, let's get to it!

OP BASTET: The personification of Isis, daughter of RA and Goddess of Love. Bastet’s Amber is the underworld helm of this incense perfumed with soft wisps of amber smoke, NAVA ICONIC Rose Oudh brings a smoke and NAVA floral throughout this OP. This, of all the ones I have tried, surprised me. Rose can be a little funky on me, it's not very appealing, but there's a deep, lush, sweetness to this rose, and it's incredible balanced against the incense and smoky oudh. This smells like a dream on me. I think this is probably the first time I realized that I could indeed wear rose, if it is done like this! I had a chance to sniff Iconic once, and it is pretty divine. But it's not something I'll ever own, so I'm happy to have this option. It has a very gothic feel to it. One thing I want to contrast it to is Polychrome, which I recently wore my sample of - Polychrome is more dry feeling than OP Bastet. I think the sandalwood blend, which is gorgeous, is what gives me that impression. This feels more resinous, almost sticky, and with the rose that's a really neat juxtaposition.

OP HATHOR: Her name means the House of Horus.  She is the Goddess of beauty, music, dance, motherhood and love. NAVA Leviathan Oudh ICON brings warm amber and soft billows of desert wood to this OP.  Hathor is one of my favorites, I find myself reaching for Her often. Let's be honest here, there isn't one of these I've tried that I don't love, but for some reason, She's just so easy to wear, and is comforting. You could wear this with jeans and a hoodie, and pull it off. Of course, it also would go with a little black dress. Hah! There's an easy appeal, is probably what I'm trying to say. And it inspires confidence when you wear it. It's rich, golden resin, smoky wood, bright amber, against the base of OP incense. It's just so beautiful.

OP ISIS: Goddess of magic, healing, birth and rebirth. – With White Amber Resin and Sky Amber as the base of this perfume, the Goddess of magic brings notes of amber and incense with the notes of Eternal Egypt blending into this Goddess Incense. Isis is absolutely gorgeous. Bright, fresh amber. Complex incense at the base. The closest thing I've ever smelled to Leviathan, one of the original Icon series that I've lusted after for years. This makes me think of bright blue days, a little coolness in the air. Of course I would love this, considering how much I love the ambers of Eternal Egypt. This is such a happy scent to me, I cannot wear it and be in a bad mood. If you love NA's amber, this is an absolute must have, in my opinion.

OP PAKHET: Huntress and Goddess that took over in the Middle Kingdom when Bastet became the domesticated cat and Sekhmet became the Lion – NAVA Samar Oudh ICON purrs with resins, smoky wood and elementals of our entire SL Vanilla offerings throughout this perfume. This is the first OP I chose, I had such a hard time deciding what I had to get right away, so I went with an obvious winner. As mentioned above, I liked it, but after I aged it, it absolutely blew me away. Although this is billed as having all of the vanillas, I don't think it's vanilla heavy. I find it very well balanced between the woods, resins, incense and vanillas. It's sultry, yet somehow a snuggly scent.

OP TAWARET: Goddess of maternity, protection and fertility. Black Fig and Frankincense Tears are the bounty of OP Tawaret. There's almost a spiciness to fig notes at times. This fig is dark and delicious, not the green variety. I feel like that fits well with the incense, and the frankincense is just a perfect accompanying note. I was in love with this right away, I've always had a weakness for their figs. It was pretty amazing fresh, if you like fig, and it's only gotten deeper and more delightful with age. This one is pretty straightforward, of all of the OPs I've tried, but that's not to diminish the beauty of it, I think. All of the OPs have definitely have complexity! It's got a lush, sexy feel to it, somewhat akin to Fig Noir Ombre, but they're not dupes - they just have a similar vibe.

OP THOTH: Scribe of the Gods and the God of Wisdom - Ancient Kyphi and exotic Guaiacwood make up this God of knowledge. My second OP. I chose this to ride along with Pakhet, because I've always had a soft spot for Thoth. When I first got this, I have to tell you, it took a while to settle on the skin. Like, a good ten or fifteen minutes. I almost wanted to scrub it, it was so jangly. I didn't know what was going on. But once it settled, holy BATS it was exquisite. I think of all of the OPs, this one seems to fly furthest under the radar, but those who love it, really, really love it, and I'm no exception. I've had this for a few years now, and I'm happy to report that initial weirdness goes away with age. It's quite sexy, and a little dark. The kyphi is intoxicating - it's not your typical wine, this was made according to an ancient Egyptian recipe, I read. The guaiacwood provides a nice balance to the richness of the wine, and the OP base comes in further into wear, a while after drydown. It's a beautiful combination, rich, a little sweet, but tempered by the incense and wood. 

I forgot something, and I feel like it's important to add this in. So, the OPs are all quite potent - especially aged. They last a wonderfully long time on me, and they are not in any way skin scents - a little does go a long way. I would start out with a light hand, and if you want more, you can always add to it! Also, I wanted to mention that I wear these year 'round. You might think, looking at the notes, that they're too heavy for spring or summer, and in my experience, they actually do great in the humidity down here in Florida. So give them a try, you might find yourself really enjoying them in warmer weather!
That's it for the first part. I've got five more coming up for part two, I'll try to have it done by the end of the weekend for y'all! Do you have any OPs yet? Which are your favorites, if so? I'm excited to see what the new ones will be, that's going to have me drooling.
Edit: If you want to jump right to part two, here is the link

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Month of Nocturne Alchemy Samples: Week One

Hey y'all. I'm going to open myself up for a little judgment here, and show you my sample box. Hah! I've got a thinner box, different than the ones I use to store my full bottles, the photo on the right is the top of it. Pretty decorated box, and I bought it years back to store my samples/decants. Well, I'm not the best at organizing it - they usually just get tossed in there, and whenever I do organize it, it never stays the way it's meant to. Ah well, I love my box. I've got a smaller box that's shaped like a little coffin, that I picked up from the Dollar Tree during Halloween one year. It holds overflow, when I have it, or the scents I'm trying to remember to work with at that moment. Unfortunately, with these little treasures, out of sight is out of mind, and also, I have a tendency to hoard stuff that I know is discontinued or won't be coming back - I'm looking at you, Plumeria Sapphire and Kiskah Kashmir. Sigh. I really should just wear them. My friend Siri says the late, wonderful, perfumer of Possets, Fabienne, told folks to wear them and enjoy, and so, I am trying to do this more. Another Tent member, Thyra, mentioned she was doing a "Mini March", using her samples and minis because they get neglected. Yes, I had been trying to do this myself for a while now, so it gave me the inspiration I needed to get started. I'm going to try to be on top of this, and post once a week my thoughts on the samples I've used. Week One, here we go!

Vanilla Pumpkin: Pumpkin Accord, Pumpkin skin, Black Fig, Nutmeg, Clove, NA Crystalline Vanilla Absolute, Bourbon Vanilla Absolute, French Vanilla, Tahitian Vanilla, Ember Vanilla, Ember Burning Woods accord. This is one of two from a Chris Raimo Kickstarter project, and my friend Ld was kind enough to send me samples of these! This is a little reminiscent of a favorite I've been hoarding. Bastet made a Crystalline Burning Jack, based off the PC Burning Jack, and gave it out with NAlloween orders a few years back. Absolutely adore that! This is a little like that, but with fig. The spice is tempered with the vanillas, and the pumpkin and fig are really good together. This feels so fall, it has me longing for cooler weather and for summer to be behind me already.  The drydown is so cozy. 

Incense Pumpkin: Pumpkin Accord, Pumpkin skin, Black Fig, Nutmeg, Clove, Butter accord, NA Kashmir Incense, Frankincense, Myrrh, Amber, Nag Champa Incense and Black Amber. Ooo. This is the second Chris Raimo pumpkin, and I really like this one, too. My first impression is of incense and buttery pumpkin. It doesn't end up significantly foodie, however. How do they make that work so well together? I don't have Pumpkin number 31, the OP pumpkin blend, but this makes me think of that. This is a little similar to Vanilla Pumpkin, but the incense is a little more intense, and I really like it. I've worn this a few times, and I forget what I have on, and have to huff my wrist, I find it enchanting. Not that it matters all that much to me, but this could be considered more of an evening scent than its sister. I don't mark this one as overwhelmingly nag champa, either. It's a more complex incense. 

Night Thoughts: Gold Santalum, Santalum Absolute, Papyrus accord, Indian Teakwood Essence, Bay Rum, Kobalt and Crystalline with a touch of Japanese White Tangerine Skin. Okay, this is from my first year collecting NA! Some of my first decants, from Art of Love - I got this from Laura, my good friend. Miss you, lady. This one veers into masculine on me, but I think it would smell good on my fiance. Or folks who wear more obviously masculine scents well, I can't quite pull it off, but I can do unisex. I like it, I'll have to try it on him to see if it works. I amped the bay rum, and that's a great note on him - and the teak. But I honestly can't remember the last time I tried this, so I'm glad I did! 

The Bower Garden:  Black and Red Currant Essence, Dragon's Blood Resin, French Syrah Red Wine Accord, German Lilac, Egyptian Fig and Sandalwood Musk. This decant was actually a gift from my friend Adrienne! She loves fig as much as I do. I really enjoyed this one, I might have to hunt down a full bottle of this. The berry combined with the dragon's blood and sandalwood musk is just so me. And I always love how they do their wine notes. I feel like the lilac adds a wonderful freshness to this blend, I really like it - I love love love lilac, it's one of my favorite flowers, and I've never tried NA's lilac before - I honestly think I will have to try more, now. It's very realistic. All of the notes play beautifully together, and I'm a little swoony over this. It has a very spring feel, and the dragon's blood adds a good grounding note here, it's a tad spicy/incensey. Mmm. Total win. It might be my favorite this week.

Thoth: Nile Ozone, Papyrus, Cream of Strawberry accord, White Incense and Alexandrian Sea Salt accord. This is such a clean, bright scent. It's serene. It was a little powdery on me when I first tried it, but as you know, they change with age. This could be a staple scent for summer. Also, I find it to be very unisex, not overtly masculine nor feminine. I'd try it on Jody, but I'm not sure it's one he would go for, he usually goes for the darker stuff, but he likes these on me. I don't really notice the cream of strawberry, it's probably a supporting note. The incense is soft and not in your face, and provides a really nice balance to keep this from being too clean, if that makes sense I definitely want to upsize this. I bet it would be really awesome with a little Santalum White, too. A very beachy scent, it feels blue.

Pakhet Amber: Pakhet Amber is a perfume created from Amber Resin transformed over time in the Studio into a beautiful enhancing Royal Amber oil experience, Amber Resin imported from Alexandria and lit from the truest essential oil of Rare and Exotic Guiacwood and Crystal Benzoin and Crystal Frankincense. Using the base of the Amber described above the resin has been turned into a fossilized perfume resin from ancient recipes and then turned back into perfume oil diluting nothing only the use of Alchemy and inspiring this scent to be made and created for the Goddess Pakhet. Warrior, protector, and huntress. Pakhet Amber infuses rare spices of Blue Peppercorn, White Clove Bud, Virgin Nutmeg Shaving over the warmth of Ambers from Nepal and Egypt and sifted through Sapphire (Amber Musk) to create a spiced amber that changes over time on the skin. So Pakhet Amber is from the PC (Permanent Catalogue), in the Royal Amber section. This is honestly one of my favorite sections, a few years ago I did a good sized PC order with a bunch from this section. I avoided Pakhet Amber though, but someone sent me a sample, and I haven't worn it. Right out of the gate on me, this is all clove. I can wear spices on occasion, even clove - I have and love Polichenelle, also from the PC. But sometimes, I just amp the spice, and all I can smell - or anyone else for that matter - is that. Unfortunately, Pakhet Amber does just that on me. Bahhhh. I get sad when a fan favorite is something I can't do. The clove just went to powering out any of the other notes here. Skinistry is such a crazy thing! It will have to go to the gift pile, hopefully someone else will have better luck than I did with it. It sounds divine, and I really loved what I could smell in the vial. Sadface.

NA Purpose Oil: Strength: Sky Musk, Solar Amber, White Patchouli, Egyptian Dragon Blood Resin, Kobalt Vanilla Resin (Vanilla Orchid of Cairo), Bastet's Blue Incense Accord, Orange Zest and Lavender Buds. I have a full bottle of their Purpose Oil: Protection, and I just love it. It's very special. I haven't actually worn this Purpose Oil before, though. I've been meaning to test them all, so this is a good push for me to do that this month.  This starts out with a dose of lavender, citrus, and amber burst. It's fresh, and the lavender feels a little herbal, and not too strong. Ooo, this is really a pretty combination. I've never smelled anything quite like this, it's appealing to me. The lavender is balancing out with the other notes as they appear, so it's still working for me. I love the musk here with the incense, it's so pretty with the lighter, brighter notes. For me, I think this is an excellent oil for Strength - it gives a breezy confidence. I like this quite a lot, I wasn't sure if it would work on me but it definitely does. 

So, that wraps up this first week of samples. That was a great motivator, and I should honestly make myself wear them far more than I do, there are a lot of treasures in that box. Have a good Monday, folks! 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Quick Comparison: NA's SL Tibetan Crystalline vs. BIC Tibetan Crystalline

Good afternoon! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday. I decided to go ahead and do a separate short post, comparing the Studio Limited Tibetan Crystalline with the LC Bastet's Ice Cream: Tibetan Crystalline. The goal (hahaha, y'all know me, I go on too long!) is to just do an abbreviated compare/contrast, so I won't be delving too deeply into either one of these beauties. 
Let's start with descriptions! SL Tibetan Crystalline: 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. And BIC: Tibetan Crystalline: Santalum Absolute, Crystalline Absolute, Nag Champa Accord (Halmardi Resin, Incense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Plumeria essence), Vanilla Crystalline Cream, Butter accord, Caramel Accord, French Vanilla Bean Absolute, Vanilla Milk accord, Vanilla Orchid, Japanese Vanille Incense accord, Crystalline Absolute and Vanilla Sugar *different NG accord for this blend than the Studio Limited Original.
Other than the obvious difference of the beloved ice cream accord, the composition of the nag champa is different, as well, as we can see looking at the notes. I find that the SL Tibetan Crystalline is drier, more woody in feel, a deeper, stronger nag champa. The BIC Tibetan Crystalline is far more soft, obviously the ice cream accord really reigns in the nag champa. I find the BIC version to be a lot more rich, and if you're nervous of incense, this one might be more wearable, as the nag champa incense is the star of the show in the SL version. The BIC version (sorry, I've shortened Bastet's Ice Cream for typing ease) is definitely a balance of cream and incense, and the plumeria really is a lovely touch, I love their plumeria. I have a little bit of their now retired Plumeria Sapphire, and in that, the plumeria starts off almost as a slightly candied floral note, and dries into the most luscious, delightful exotic floral. I definitely see the difference between that in the Ice Cream versus the bergamot in the SL, which is a little more bright and crisp feeling. The drydown of the BIC is absolutely intoxicating, I find myself huffing at my wrist, I can't get enough of the smell. And I really like the original SL as well, it's complex, rich, and beautiful - I'm very glad I have them both, but I absolutely love nag champa, it's a comfort note for me, it makes me feel very grounded. 
They are quite different, in my opinion. If you adore nag champa, I would encourage you to grab this, even if you have the SL - if you're like me and can never get enough of them. Hah! I think both of them are great warm weather scents. If you don't have the original, and are curious about dipping your toes into trying a nag champa scent for the first time, again I think this would be a good way to try it out. For me, they're different enough to warrent owning them both! 
I hope this might be helpful if you're trying to make a decision! I have previously reviewed the Studio Limited Tibetan Crystalline, if you'd like to read a more in depth look: HERE. Have a wonderful day, y'all!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy Valentine Mini-Reviews

Hey, y'all. I know it's cutting it close to when this collection goes down, so I want to make sure these reviews go up today. They've extended the deadline until Monday, so if something sounds appealing to you, there's still a little time! 
I recently did a little swap for Candied Egyptian Musk, and my swap mate kindly sent along a few decants from the current update for me to try out as well. And as an extra, I've got my bottle of Vanilla Wedding Cake that I haven't yet reviewed. I got my swap on Monday, and they definitely needed a little rest, so I wanted to give them enough time to recover to be able to properly review them.
So let's jump right to the full bottle, from the Candied line. I was really interested in these, they honestly all sounded very appealing, but I was most interested in the two musks, Candied Crimson, and Candied Egyptian Musk. And I was having a difficult time narrowing it down, so this little swap took the indecision away for me! Big thanks to Hannah! When I first got them, I am just like everyone else, I cannot resist for the life of me opening them straight away and sniffing. Okay, let me be totally honest, even swiping a bit on for quick testing. I could smell in the bottle that Candied Egyptian Musk was gorgeous, really appealing, but when I went to test it, it was pretty travel shocked. Here's a perfect example of why we shouldn't toss these into the nope pile the day you get them, because on my skin, it turned pretty powdery, and I couldn't get a handle on it - smelled nothing like the bottle. Luckily, I've learned not to give up on these out of hand, because even on day two it was powdery. I set it aside, and tried to be patient. Wednesday night though I put on my sweater that I wear when it's chilly, and caught a whiff of something pretty glorious on the cuff of my sleeve. I realized it was Candied Egyptian Musk, and I was SO glad to get an idea of what it would properly smell like with rest! Eeee! (SO. MANY. EXCLAMATION. POINTS. Sorry, y'all. I'll try to restrain myself.) Ahahaha, moving on. Here's the notes: Victorian-style Sugar-Candied perfumes infused with Lime Zest, aged Orange slices, Raspberry Essence, Pear Essence, Sugar Accord, Lemon Zest, Vanilla Extract, Pink Sugar, Bourbon Vanille Absolute, Crystalline Absolute and Vanilla Bean. Using Absolute versions from the Studio Limited Originals. Candied Egyptian Musk: Candied Accord with Egyptian Musk Absolute. So in the bottle, I get a big waft of citrus - yum! I love their citrus notes. Very realistic. A little sugary note floats along with it, and at the base, their Egyptian Musk. Wet on my skin, the fruits are accented by a touch of vanilla and sugar, I'm definitely getting sugar rimmed fruit, with a little creaminess. The Egyptian Musk comes out to play a few minutes in. I love the Studio Limited scent, it's a soft, beautiful, clean, tranquil musk that floats fairly close to the skin, but obvious enough that I get a lot of compliments from people when I'm wearing it. Here, it's really beautifully paired with the candied fruit. I am loving where this is heading! Once this is fully settled into my skin, this isn't a strong scent. It lasts a long time for me, I definitely get a full day's wear from it, but it stays about as close to the skin as the SL does - which is soft, for sure, but it leaves a sort of trailing scent, not as personal of a skin scent as for instance Bastet Amber. The fruits are pretty melded with the sugar and vanillas, I don't get a clear reading on what the fruits are now, but they're a lovely, obviously juicy mix of fruit, sweetened with sugar and "cream".  I wasn't sure how these would all play together with the accenting notes, but the Candied accord is a lovely accent to Egyptian Musk, neither overwhelms the other. Instead, they give you a really beautiful, different tone to a familiar scent. I can see this being something I reach for quite a bit in the warmer half of the year. 
Candied Crimson: Victorian-style Sugar-Candied perfumes infused with Lime Zest, aged Orange slices, Raspberry Essence, Pear Essence, Sugar Accord, Lemon Zest, Vanilla Extract, Pink Sugar, Bourbon Vanille Absolute, Crystalline Absolute and Vanilla Bean. Using Absolute versions from the Studio Limited Originals. Candied Accord with Crimson Egyptian Musk Absolute. I probably love Crimson as much as I love Egyptian Musk. It's somewhat stronger than its sister, but not as forward as Kashmir, their other red musk. Crimson is a red musk, and the oil is tinted a pale, almost watery red. I finally picked up a bottle last January after realizing I absolutely loved it in blends, and I would probably really enjoy having the single accord on hand - and I do. Musks are something NA does very well, and this one is no exception. If you're looking for something a little less sexy and forward, say, than Kashmir, possibly more appropriate for day wear, I would recommend it. Again, this is lovely paired with the Candied accord! I get a burst of citrus when I open the vial, and Crimson following quickly behind. As with Candied Egyptian Musk, Candied Crimson opens on the skin with the fruits - I should mention that you get a real meld of fruits on the skin, not just the citrus. It's almost like a fruit bowl, if that makes sense, with a little sugar and cream. The Crimson pairs really well right away with this. If you've ever tried Green Tea Crismson, it's a little like that, if you added Sugarcube - but obviously more fruity/creamy, with no tea. Crimson adds a bright, smooth, clean, almost softly purring musk with the candied fruit. With long drydown, the two aspects complement each other, neither one overpowering the other. This lasted a good full day on me as well. 
These two are both so good, I kind of wish I'd been able to try all of them! 
Teak & Sandalwood: Indonesian Teak Absolute, Santalum Absolute, Australian Sandalwood, Spices of Pink Pepper and Nutmeg, Ember Vanilla Cream, Butter accord, Caramel Accord, French Vanilla Bean Absolute, Vanilla Milk accord, Vanilla Orchid, Crystalline Absolute and Vanilla Sugar. Okay, this was the other sample that came along with my swap. I absolutely love the Bastet's Ice Cream accord, but these are a little different from previous incarnations - they're wood, spices, and cream. I was really curious what these would be like. I tried this on my skin, and found it to read pretty masculine. I love pepper, as well as teak and sandalwood, and I can usually pull off scents that run in the middle. I know it's just my skin, but on me, though, I tried it and it read pretty strongly towards the other way, so I decided to try this on my fiance, Jody. And oh, wow - it's absolutely mesmerizing. At first, it's a little sweet on him, which made him nervous. I'm not sure if y'all have read some of my early entries, but Jody is pretty firmly in the "I hate vanilla" camp, which is really, really rare. He does love the more resinous ones, like Ember Vanilla or OP Pakhet, though, so I made him wait a bit before darting to wash his wrists. Hah! It settled very quickly on him, and it's dead on intoxicating. The teak and sandalwood blend so beautifully with the peppers and ice cream accord, the strong wood balances with the sweetness to just envelope the senses. It's really sexy. I mean, I drool now every time he's put it on - we had errands to run both yesterday and today and I could smell him all day long. It kept my attention. The pepper adds a great little kick in the background, too. 
Vanilla Wedding Cake: Vanilla White Cake accord, Sweet Almond Elixir, Sugar Cream, Bastet’s Ice Cream Absolute and Crystalline Absolute.  I usually don't go for more foodie scents, but Bastet has really started to draw me in, just as she's done with florals. This is no exception! And it pairs well with so, so many scents. I got this last year, so mine's had plenty of time to age. This one is pretty straight forward for me, but oh, is it good. The white cake is just...yummy. Smells just like a rich, moist white cake, not too dense, not too dry. I don't get a lot of the almond on my skin, and there's a lovely, white, slightly buttery frosting. Creamy. The almond is an accent, and it's perfect here. It's actually kind of uncanny how well this is created as a perfume, it's absolutely perfectly balanced, and I can describe it as I would actually eating a slice of wedding cake. I get a long wear time from this - it will go on for a good ten hours. It's not as powerful as my well-beloved resins, but I would give this a medium throw. I wanted to see how a little more almond would smell, so I paired this with Speckle Bunny, and I am here to tell you it was a pretty amazing layering combination. I've also done it with Egyptian Peach Blossom, Coconut Milk, Pteranodon (because I have to try layering that with everything, goodness) and even Camarasaurus, which I have to say is so, so gorgeous. Honestly, I don't think, if you wanted to try it with other scents, there's much it wouldn't go with - I did it with a coffee scent, and with White Tea Vanilla - it's just extremely versatile. 
I just remembered I have a partial of Bastet's Ice Cream: Tibetan Crystalline. Santalum Absolute, Crystalline Absolute, Nag Champa Accord (Halmardi Resin, Incense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Plumeria essence), Vanilla Crystalline Cream, Butter accord, Caramel Accord, French Vanilla Bean Absolute, Vanilla Milk accord, Vanilla Orchid, Japanese Vanille Incense accord, Crystalline Absolute and Vanilla Sugar *different NG accord for this blend than the Studio Limited Original. I don't have enough room on my skin right now to give this a proper testing and evaluation for a full review, but very quickly, this is definitely different than the SL Tibetan Crystalline. It's gorgeous, and really eye-rolling good. The creaminess of the ice cream accord is just so smooth with the nag champa! I haven't done a side by side yet, but I might even love this more than the SL. Intoxicating. I will try to come back to this tomorrow morning, if I have time, to do a more solid side by side and full description. 

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