NAVA is one of those brands that I just can't seem to resist. I don't like their branding or the way they write their perfume descriptions or the fact that they use international flat rate for shipping ($25USD to Canada for shipping alone? lolno). But their perfumes! Ugh so good. It's not right or fair, and I feel a little bit sulky whenever I look at the bottles. But then I put them and all is temporarily forgiven. I stuck Pink Vanille and Ember Vanilla on my lust list a while ago, and deliberated for a while. Two things tipped me: I was doing some group orders and once again my dear friend Rae offered the use of her mail box, so I could get around the exorbitant shipping, and they were coming down in a few weeks and I decided I wanted them badly enough to shell out. So I ordered begrudgingly, cursing the fact that right click is disabled on the site (you can get around this by using Ctrl + C while clicking on the link but you shouldn't have to). When all of my things arrived at Rae's, she packed them up and mailed them to me. I tried them on and fell in love. I tested them thoroughly over the last month and loved them even more.
I picked two contrasting vanilla scents: one more in line with spring, and the other more in line with winter. A lighter fruitier scent and a heavier smoky scent. I've mentioned before that I'm not as vanilla crazy as I once thought I was, but maybe it's that I hadn't found my vanillas - or that I prefer vanillas with other things. For example, I am still madly in love with Arcana Strawberries Crave Indulgences, which is a lovely cake and vanilla and strawberry scent, but not really as in love with Arcana Two Finger Ballet, which is in the same family but has nothing to offset the vanilla. Pink Vanille and Ember Vanilla are both other things with vanilla as the base, but not the focal point at all.
Pink Vanille was from the Art of Love Valentine's limited collection - so not available anymore. Sorry, I know. The notes are "Pink Orchard Peach, Apricot Petals and Pink Apricot Nectar of Benhama, Kashmir. A drop of Pink Crystalline, Pink Crystal Vanilla, Pink Egyptian Musk, a kiss of Pink Sugar and Pink Peppercorn." Doesn't that sound good? It is good, though more perfumey than I expect - while I love most of the NAVAs I've tried, they are not quite as literal as a lot of my other scents.
Pink Vanille smells like sharp, fresh, not quite ripe peach in the bottle, with a separate, sweet nectar note lingering after. On my skin, it's got a very peach shampoo feel for the first ten mintues or so, before evolving into peach slices, nectar, sugar and a wisp of vanilla. It's lovely. As it wears, the vanilla starts to become more prominent, but it remains a peach scent for the most part, albeit a bit more floral than fresh as time goes on. It's a really lovely, delicate, springy scent. The throw is moderate and it lasts about eight hours on my skin.
Ember Vanilla is the beautiful resinous, incensey, smoky, smouldering vanilla that makes you feel both cozy and badass. It's weird, but trust me when I say that I cannot describe it any other way (I also spent a not-insignificant chunk of the last few days discussing five sentences in a promo blurb I wrote - four people can spend a lot of time debating the wording of something. On the other hand, no one argued with my stick figure drawing as the image to go with it. Either way, I am out of words). Noon finally convinced me to try Arcana Holy Terror with her constant raving and now I want to smell like a cathedral at Christmas all of the time (this might be one of those remnants of my Catholic childhood rearing up). Or at least a good chunk of the time. Ember Vanilla fulfills that need, being very similar to Holy Terror, with a rich vanilla helping to smooth it out.
It's a Studio Limited and currently in stock, so I can redeem myself for my Pink Vanille transgression. The notes are: "A haunting Vanilla cream with accents of caramel and a sweet kiss of brown sugar, in which we mean, the vanilla is underneath teasing and sweetening the woods of exotic Indian Sandalwood, American Cedar, California Redwood and the haunting decadence of our ICON Egyptian Oudh as part of this blend." When I first got this one, I didn't pick up much vanilla, and in fact still don't, but as it's aged, I get more of it, and over time, I expect the vanilla to take on a weightier place in the scent. But the focus will likely remain on the smoke, incense and wood. In the bottle, it smells like smoldering incense and embers left to glow in the night. On my skin it remains much the same, but the vanilla peeks out some. Again, it's not a sweet vanilla, contrary to the notes, but I think that may be the influence of the other notes masking it. It's got high sillage - you could easily smell this on me. The staying power is fantastic. I have no hour counts for you, because it's a tenacious blend. I have put it on before a shower multiple times and was able to smell it on my pyjamas and comforter the next day, as well as some lingering on my wrist.
But really though, dammit NAVA. I want to not like you. I am weak.
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