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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