Search This Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: 8 Scents from NAVA's Halloween Collection

I ordered decants of Nocturne Alchemy VApothecary's (NAVA's) Halloween collection last year, but never got around reviewing all of them since I got lazy about reviewing discontinued items. NAVA brought back back a bunch of them though, so I'm finally reviewing them now! Since it's been a year, all these perfumes have been aged, so they may smell different from a fresh batch. For my previous NAVA reviews which also covers many of the currently available returning scents, you can head here or click on the NAVA tag on the right.


Review Notes 

As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. < 5% of scents I try.
  • Like: I like it and may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. About 20-30% of scents I try. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.With indie scents, that's about 20-30% of scents I try. 
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. About 50% of scents I try. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire. About 10-40% of scents I try, depending on how adventurous my mood is was while shopping and how familiar I am with the perfumer's strengths. 
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait. 


Available Items


Ghost Ship

"Pirate Rum, Pumpkin Rum, Vanilla-Myrrh, Madagascar Black Sandalwood, Black Amber and syrup of Black Crystal Vanilla infused Benzoin-Musk aged in a cedar Pirate Barrel."

The first burst I got from this is a masculine blue musk that reminds me of older gentlemen in wood-filled rooms –I can see it being a cabin in a ship from the olden days when everything was made of wood. The scent quickly becomes rather soapy, so it makes me think more of a modernized "old" ship cabin where everything smells really clean and soapy, but there hints of old wood. Something like this:
This is La Sultana, an old Soviet spy ship turned into a luxury yacht....gorgeous, but costs $250,000/week to charter.
Image courtesy of
After about 3-5 min, unfortunately, it starts smelling like one of those cheap, white motel bar soaps that smells vaguely floral, with old wood. There's also a slight tartness in the scent, but the white hotel bar soap definitely dominates.

As the scent dries down, the cheap, white motel bar soap keeps getting more and more dominant until that's all the scent that's left lingering on my skin as the scent fades.

TL;DR: Cheap, white motel bar soap.

Overview: I'm not sure what's creating that cheap, white motel bar soap bit. The vanilla myrrh mixed with rum maybe?

Final Verdict: Destash


Poison Pumpkin

"SINnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Vanilla, Pumpkin Puree, Cream, Crystal, Kobalt were the first ingredients in the perfume recipe....White Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Vanilla, Pumpkin Puree, Cream, Crystal, Kobalt, Labdanum, Black Patchouli, Black Musk, Black Vanilla, Black Coconut."

Oh wow. This is the creamiest pumpkin ever. It's pumpkin with heavy, thick, velvety coconut cream, and smells so delicious. It could get too heavy for some people, but if you're a fan of creamy gourmands, this is a scent you want to curl up in bed and go to sleep in. It makes me feel so satisfied and sleepy. It's the feeling of staring at an empty Thanksgiving dessert table and thinking, "Yup. I polished that off all on my own. Good job self!"

There were hints of some note threatening to go sour on me, but luckily, it never did go sour. It's so delicious.

Between 3-20 min, there's a chai spices sort of scent that enters and keeps getting stronger, until I start thinking of creamy Indonesian dessert soups –the ones that have gula melaka (a kind of very fragrant, brown coconut sugar), coconut milk, ginger, and cloves. This scent is a bit heavier on the cloves than the typical Indonesian desserts though.

After about 20 min, I'm getting a dry wood resin in the scent, but it's still mostly that delicious, coconut-y creamed pumpkin that just makes you feel so satisfied and full. The dry wood resin is the kind that smells almost "dusty". The pumpkins started smelling more like wet, boiled pumpkins about 5-8 min later (25-28 min into the scent) and the spices get more spicy. It's starting to remind me a bit of a fall candle, and it does get closer to a fall candle as it dries down, but there's still a lot of the delicious coconut & pumpkin.

I really, really LOVE the start of this perfume and considered buying a full size even though I'm all pumpkin-ed out, but I'm hesitating just because I'm not really a fan of the scent as it dries down.

TL;DR: Creamiest pumpkin ever.

Final Verdict: Love.


Pumpkin Spice & Black Honey

"With the sensuality of our black honey perfume comes a deeper black honey aroma that surrounds the spices of Nutmeg, White Cinnamon, Cardamom, Black Fig, Pumpkin Flesh, Pumpkin-Vanilla-Cream and a drop of Pumpkin infused clove, with drippy rich black honey accord created in the summer of 2014 and left to age in an oak barrel, there will be a touch of oak wood infused naturally into the perfume."

The first burst I got from this scent is soooo amazing. It's a rich complex honey and fresh plant stalk, mixed with that type of creamy pumpkin note in the background that doesn't smell like pumpkins and not really noticeable outrightly in the scent, but just leaves you feeling full and satisfied. I was actually surprised by the fresh plant stalk because I wasn't expecting that zesty, fresh plant stalk scent in a fall scent, but the zest didn't last long since the pumpkin rounds it out as the scent settles on my skin.

The scent is delicious and so very complex! The honey is just so rich and complex, I can only describe it as melodic. I think I'm going to start recommending NAVA for honey notes! Another NAVA scent, Zillah, has one of my favourite honey notes ever.

I start getting a sort of waxy scent after about 3-5 min in. It stays close to my skin, and the overall scent is still amazing, but it does bug me a bit. I wonder what's causing it. The freshness mellowed out and mixed with the pumpkins make me think of wet, boiled pumpkins in a good way. This scent is boiled pumpkins and waxy honey. It sounds plain, but it's really rich and complex. Creamy pumpkin scents tend to make me feel cozy and snuggly –like curling into bed at home with a fluffy pillow. This scent does feel like curling into bed at home with a fluffy pillow....only your home's a picturesque dream home like this one:

You guys need to check out Adnan Bubalo's photos....I end up wanting to quit my job and just travel around the world.

As it dries down, the honey becomes less melodic and the scent gradually becomes that metallic scent some vanilla/cake scents dries down into on my skin.

TL;DR: Boiled pumpkins and waxy honey –in an AWESOME way.

Final Verdict: Love


Trick or Treat

"Black Vanilla Caramel, Black Raspberry Sugar, Black Sugar, Bastet's Black Amber, Candy Corn, Black Cotton Candy, Blue Sugar Cream, Vanilla Flesh, Hot Cocoa Accord, Chocolate Sugar, Angel Food Cake and French Vanilla."

Mmmmm...cherry liqueur filled chocolate truffles! Real ones, not the cheap, artificial kind. It's so amazing and I have to resist trying to lick my skin!

After about 10 min, there's this beautiful, comforting lotion-y sort of musk entering the scent, but  that part stays closer to the skin while it's mostly cherry liqueur chocolate truffles wafting around. The effect created feels like dress shopping in a very understatedly luxurious, classy boutique that serves cherry liqueur filled chocolate truffles, while a personal shopper selects styles personalized to your tastes.

When the scent dries down, it reverts back to cherry liqueur filled chocolate truffle, though it's not as "melodic" as the initial burst.

TL;DR: Cherry liqueur filled chocolate truffle

Overview: Oops, looks like it's raspberry instead of cherries. I still think it smells like cherry liqueur filling though, which smells more like a sweet, syrupy red candy instead of a fragrant fruit.

Final Verdict: Love


Unavailable Scents


Make Me REZ 

"Ethereal Essences of Blue Musk, Red Musk, Blood Saffron left to age and sifted out, Wormwood, Blue Sugar, Pink Sugar, Black Sugar, Bastet's Amber Dragon’s Blood Amber, Wood Violet, Vanilla Absolute, Orange Zest, Sweet Musk, Sandalwood-infused-Patchouli, Boswellia Serrata, Sea Buckthorn, Davana, Liquid Ginger Essence, Nepalese Amber, drop of Black Myrrh, Blue Sandalwood, Pink Pepper, Black Salt, Amber Resin liquefied." –notes coutesy of

Initially, I got sugary honey mixed with clean, light white musk. Depending on which period of the month, I could sometimes pick out hints of woody incense in this part. At other periods of the month the sugar bit gets amplified, and I get hints of a chemical-ish sort of scent that reminds me of bathroom cleaners instead. It's still a pretty scent though!

After about 10 min, the white musk bit takes on that cottony, baby oil quality and turns into that scent that's often described as "Egyptian musk". It's still a clean, classically elegant scent that's not so light but definitely not heavy either. The scent makes me think of very elegant and demure new mothers who end up looking more beautiful and radiant with motherhood instead of haggard and harassed. It's the kind of woman who'll still look gorgeous on a Tatler cover, even after she just popped a baby out.

It's the scent of contentment from having perfect babies in a perfect family while wearing the perfect dress and looking perfect as always. She'll even wear those elegant, flowy white dresses at home instead of stained loose t-shirts and shorts, which would totally be my uniform when I have kids. She's the kind of woman who'll make you feel clumsy and clunky around her without meaning to, but you can't hate her because she's so sweet and acts like the mom everyone wished they had as a kid. I feel almost more maternal and elegant just by sniffing this. This picture totally captures this scent:

And of course, the dress looks gorgeous on her instead of looking like a sack I've kidnapped from my grandma's closet.
Gorgeous photography by Alena Romanovskaya

As it dries down, it gets more woody. It's still clean, but there's hints of old wood.

TL;DR: Elegant, content young mother.

Final Verdict: Like


White Zombie REZ 

"Cemetery Soil of a Zombie grave, Zombie Flesh (leather accord), Japanese Ghost Pine, Crystalline Vanilla (Egyptian Vanilla Orchid stigma Resin), White Musk, Sweet Incense Smoke, Aged Redwood Bark, Russian Teak, Black Forest Extract, N5 Musk (White Egyptian Musk - sensual and slightly spicy), White Pine Needles and Cemetery Musk."–notes coutesy of

The first note I noticed is that watery scent that could be a leather note gone wrong. It's not a blue "water" scent, it's that almost metallic, watery scent that makes me think of water dripping out of corrugated pipe. It's mixed in with a this powdery note and has hints of a berry sort of tartness. The powdery part reminds me of that sort of delicate but slightly heady powdery scent you get from brand new leather seats inside a brand new car.

The tart bit keeps getting more and more dominant on me, so by about 15 min into the scent, I'm getting a berry tartness mixed with powdery, brand new leather seats.

As the scent dries down, I'm getting a dry woodiness and the tartness reminds me more of that acrid black tea note that ends up smelling like dry, dusty, Chinese preserved fruits.

TL;DR: Powdery, brand new leather seats with a berry tartness.

Overview: I'm guessing the tartness is from vanilla going sour on me? 

Final Verdict: Ok


Moon Dust: Kashmir 

"Deep aged Kashmir Red Musk, NA Ethereal Incense Accord, MORE Blue Sandalwood (unreleased), MORE Blue Moonstone (unreleased), MORE Blue Amber (unreleased), Moonstone (African White Vanilla Bean) Studio Limited, Sweet Gray Frankincense Resin and Blue Chypre of Copenhagen."  –notes coutesy of

Oh gods. I mentioned this before, and I'll say it again: I have to avoid anything with Kashmir from NAVA. I've never been to Kashmir, but if I'm basing my impression of Kashmir from NAVA's Kashmir scents, I'd imagine Kashmir to be overflowing with smelly bush animals, because there's always that game-y incense note. Sure, in this scent, it's mixed with that cottony, baby oil scent that's sometimes marketed as Egyptian musk, but the incense still dominates.

To be fair, as the scent dries down, it gets lighter and there's this beautiful, light scent that I can only describe as silvery. It's not a sweet, tinkly sort of silvery that makes you think of Christmas bells, but it is that sparkly silvery that makes you think of moonlight over a lake...but the incense still dominates. I hate anything Kashmir from NAVA. 

TL;DR: Silvery game-y incense.

Final Verdict: Destash


Bleed REZ 

"Rich Kashmir Blood-Musk-Infused Incense, Fossilized Amber, Deep Wood Oudh, Leather Accord (vegan), Balsam of Peru, Champaca, Styrax, Dragon’s Blood Amber, Black Incense, Wood Violet, Orange Zest, Sweet Musk, Sandalwood-infused-Patchouli, Boswellia Serrata, Sea Buckthorn, Black Musk, Davana, Tonka Absolute, Liquid Ginger Essence, Nepalese Amber, drop of Black Myrrh, Blue Sandalwood, Pink Pepper, Blue Sugar, Black Salt, Amber Resin liquefied." –notes coutesy of

Noooooo. There's that incense again. Ugh. Stupid, game-y incense. I don't know if it's NAVA's signature scent or just signature for the Halloween collection. Ugh. There's a red candy mixed into the scent and a musky scent that strikes me as "red", but the that game-y incense note still dominates. I hate that freaking game-y incense note.

As the scent dries down on me, it starts turning into that white hotel bar soap scent. No idea why. With the game-y incense, of course.

TL;DR: Game-y incense with red candy & red musk. Then it turns into white hotel bar soap.

Overview: See? Kashmir. Screw Kashmir.

Objectively though, if you love that game-y incense Kashmir note, you'd love the different ways NAVA incorporates it into new scents. You'll definitely end up going broke in an attempt to get every iteration of this Kashmir note, because I usually end up falling in love with the rest of the scent that excludes the Kashmir bit. If you love the Kashmir bit, I'm pretty sure you'd be in perfume heaven. 

I've been comparing the notes for this scent with Ghost Ship's since the white hotel bar soap dry down is a bit similar. Here are the notes for Ghost Ship:

"Pirate Rum, Pumpkin Rum, Vanilla-Myrrh, Madagascar Black Sandalwood, Black Amber and syrup of Black Crystal Vanilla infused Benzoin-Musk aged in a cedar Pirate Barrel."

The notes they seem to have in common are: myrrh, amber & sandalwood. I'm not sure how that creates a hotel bar soap scent, but my main suspect is myrrh.

Final Verdict: Destash

No comments:

Post a Comment