August 29, 2017
Pattie Boyd and Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve for Vogue Italia, 1969
A great challenge for fashion designers who branch into perfumery is to create fragrances that align with the brand ethos while maintaining a sense of haute quality. Many houses shrink from the task, producing safe, uninspired scents that are indistinguishable on department store shelves.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen August 16, 2017
Not Elizabeth and James Nirvana from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The former twin child stars, known for both their fashion and business savvy, have produced six coherent, beautifully made perfumes that fit the slouchy elegance of the line’s boho-meets-menswear style as perfectly as a draped silk blouse. Amethyst, their latest scent (alongside French Gray, as all Nirvana fragrances are released in "twin" pairings) is one of their best: a warm, sensual oriental that could sit happily alongside vintage L’Origan.
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, photo by Alexi Hay for Elle UK, April 2012
Veering a tinge more masculine than its woodsy soulmate, last summer’s delicious, oaky Bourbon, Amethyst is dominated by on-trend tobacco. But instead of going for the smoky, pipe bowl aroma of the dried leaf that the perfume’s name might suggest, Nirvana Amethyst opts for blond tobacco, smudgy and drowsy, like summer-dried hay. It is a perfect counterbalance for the heady honeysuckle that quickly emerges.
Purple honeysuckle, photo by petermlee, via Flickr
Swapping the boozy vanilla of Bourbon for syrupy honeysuckle, Amethyst emphasizes the nectarous quality of the flower, balancing its trilling sweetness with the tobacco’s loamy freshness. As it develops, the honeysuckle becomes more honeyed. Then, smack in the middle, a spicy note comes skipping forward, a bit like mace mixed with a pinch of pepper.
Jordan and Zac Stenmark photo by Emmanuel Giraud for Tagent mag©
Accompanying the spice is the timber aroma of cedar, which adds a baritone heft to the warm hum of tobacco and airy lilt of honeysuckle. As the cedar becomes more prominent, the tobacco and honeyed florals remain in suspension, each accord embracing the other in a velvet wrapped hug.
Twiggy wearing an ostrich feather wig by Leonard of Mayfair. Photographed by Justin de Villeneuve, 1969
Amethyst has a toothsome richness that is almost gourmand, but it also possesses the ambery, floral depth of a vintage oriental. The dry-down brings a harmonious balance of woods, young tobacco and honeysuckle, with glints of spice on a woody bed. The deft handling of these luxuriant notes gives Amethyst a lightness that keeps it in modern territory, although a waft of retro remains.
Jean Shrimpton in Pierre Cardin: Photo by Avedon, January 1970
With their glamorous polish and expensive feel, the Nirvana perfumes represent fashion fragrances at their very best. Amethyst is a terrific addition to the line – a rich, tactile fragrance that smells like a thick silk scarf casually left in a cigar lounge. Wear it when you pine for vintage but want to stay current. And don’t be fooled by the accessible price tag – you’ll smell like a million bucks. Notes: tobacco, honeysuckle and spicy cedar wood.
Disclaimer: sample provided by Elizabeth and James Nirvana – many thanks. My opinions are my own.
Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
Co-Art Direction: Lauryn Beer and Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Amethyst
Thanks to the generosity of Elizabeth and James Nirvana, we have a 30 ml flacon (now at Sephora and valued at $65 of Nirvana Amethyst for one registered reader in the U.S. You must register if you have not done so here. To be eligible, please leave a comment mentioning what appeals to you about Nirvana Amethyst based on Lauryn’s review, and whether you have smelled the other Elizabeth and James Nirvana perfumes. Want your comment to count twice? Regram or post on Facebook with #MyNirvana. Draw closes 9/1/17.