Fragrance Friday | Nirvana Black


Company | Elizabeth and James

Name of Fragrance | Nirvana Black

Notes | violet, sandalwood and vanilla

Quite a while ago I made a review for one of Elizabeth and James’ two signature fragrances, Nirvana White. While it wasn’t a perfume that I felt needed to be added to my fragrance wardrobe, I did enjoy wearing it. It was a soft,  unremarkable, but undeniably pleasant white floral. Inoffensive and easy to wear, I found it to be a great perfume for any occasion whether one is wearing it to the office or to a wedding (or similar formal occasion). An unassuming classic floral, its the fragrance equivalent of a little white dress and matching cashmere cardigan – elegant and chic, albeit a little bit boring.

Nirvana Black, although meant to be a counterpart to Nirvana White is much more dramatic and creates an entirely different impression and mood. It’s a smooth oriental with intoxicating notes of violet, rare sandalwood and a creamy, rich vanilla base. It’s a much sexier fragrance although with a touch of innocence and a vintage feel, due to the powdery violet.

The Elizabeth and James “Nirvana” fragrance duo was created to be the signature scents for the fashion house with the idea that they would represent the duality and juxtaposition of masculinity and femininity and luxury and urbanity within the brand. Upon the release of the fragrance Elizabeth and James stated “Ashley and Mary-Kate wanted the signature fragrance for Elizabeth and James to embody the same sense of duality inherent to their partnership and the brand. The result was not one, but two blends – distinctly different, but undeniably connected.”. Elizabeth and James succeeded in this sense. The two fragrances are as utterly different as early morning and midnight but are united in their simplicity (each of the fragrances only have three notes) and in their vintage elegance. Nirvana White is a crisp, soft floral while Nirvana White is a dusky, decadent oriental yet they do complement each other perfectly. It is almost as if each of the fragrances could be looked at as two parts of one fragrance, much in the way that Elizabeth and James’ Ashley and Mary-Kate are two halves of their company with completely different outlooks on style and visual tastes but who come together to create a very distinct and unified brand.  I even layered my samples of the two fragrances together and found that the combination of the two fragrances worked really well. The dewy bouquet of florals in Nirvana White acts as a light, airy prelude to the sultry, warm floral oriental that is Nirvana White and the first fragrance transitioned seamlessly into the next in the way that the crisp airiness of morning transcends into night time.

On it’s own, Nirvana Black is a fragrance that I would save for evening and for the cooler months. It has a dark sophistication that would go well with a black tie affair and a sultry feel that would complement an outfit meant to seduce. Its sweet, spicy, slightly powdery and smoky. Unapologetic in its femininity but with a strength and boldness that is reminiscent of a man’s cologne. If Nirvana Black was the sweet little white dress and sweater set than Nirvana Black is the black velvet dress with a thigh-high slit. Sexy but always with a sense of class.

After trying the fragrances together, I do want to purchase both Nirvana White and Black. On their own they are both very pleasant, wearable fragrances. Even Nirvana Black, although it has a vibe that is a little more mysterious and unusual and of the two, it is my favorite. Together they become a fragrance that is much more complex but with an effortless chicness that is very true to the Elizabeth and James brand.




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