New Perfume Review Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon- Vibrant Vanilla


Two years ago when I received my samples of Elizabeth & James Nirvana White and Nirvana Black I expected normal celebuscent service to hold. Much to my delight Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen showed they weren’t slapping their name on a bottle as an afterthought. Both of the debut fragrances showed the effort behind them in being a cut above. Flash forward to the middle of last month when I was asked if I would like samples. “Yes, please” was my answer. I was surprised how excited I was to see if the same attention to care would be evident again. That answer is also yes.

The two new fragrances are Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon. I didn’t end up wearing Nirvana Rose for review purposes. I can say it is a well-done sprightly rose de mai perfume supported by geranium and vetiver to provide a bit of a green hue to the pretty debutante rose. I think I’m just saturated with rose perfumes this year and there will probably be quite a few who really like this. Nirvana Bourbon was something which cut through the clutter.


Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

One of the clear features of this Elizabeth & James aesthetic is to task their perfumers to balance three notes to form something memorable. This is not easy perfume making. When there are only a few ingredients flaws are more apparent. When it is done right you can look back and realize the perfume needed all three components to be good. I was unable to find out who the perfumers were behind the new releases but it is very clear they again worked with top-notch talent as they did with the first two.

The bourbon in Nirvana Bourbon is not the whiskey but the vanilla. The trio of notes in Nirvana Bourbon are tuberose, oak, and vanilla. When I looked at that list I expected the perfumer would have to pull off quite the feat to balance the boisterous tuberose, the stolid oak, and the sweet vanilla.

Right from the beginning the vanilla and the tuberose come out to play. The choice here is to allow the tuberose to provide a sensual underpinning to that sweet vanilla. The tuberose takes the confectionary character and turns it sultrier and alluring instead of playful. The oak wraps that seductress up in a strong woody hug. The oak adds in smoky facets which also swirl throughout the composition.

Nirvana Bourbon has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Nirvana Bourbon is going to be the great autumn companion fragrance to Nirvana Black as the weather starts to turn cooler in a few weeks. I am again impressed with the fragrance work coming from The Olsen Twins. There is a real chance for them to create one of the best celebrity perfume collections ever.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke