Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Bottled Dreams ft. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black

I've always heard about Sephora's fragrance sets, which seem to make an appearance in most gift guides around the holidays, but I'd never been swayed by the selections on offer until I came across the Bottled Dreams Fragrance Sampler for Her on my recent trip to NY. The idea? You get 8 perfume minis and a certificate which is redeemable for a full sized perfume of your choice (from within the selection), all for $58. Score.

This set is especially amazing because the samples are mini bottles/rollerballs that are perfect for your handbag, and actually will provide a fair few uses - none of those tiny spray samples here. In fact, I added up the volume of all the minis and you're getting (1.52oz/45ml) which is equivalent to a whole second bottle of perfume, with a lot more variety. The idea is clearly to try a range of scents before you commit, and then only get the full size of your fave. In my case I was pretty set on getting one of the new Elizabeth and James fragrances, and the set was only $3 more than the full sized bottle. I had intended to go for Nirvana Black (and I did in the end) but when I first sniffed them in store I was surprisingly taken by Nirvana White, so the chance to try them both properly was straight up my alley. The set also contained a few other scents that I was curious about so it was the perfect deal.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black EDP: Violet, sandalwood, and vanilla. This was immediately the E&J scent I thought I wanted - the richer, warmer, woodier, more masculine of the two. I must say - I really like this but it is also very much within my comfort zone. That said, I found the violet and vanilla more present in the dry down and it really added something to the immediate woody impression. One thing to note and this may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on taste - I find despite it being a woody, sexy scent, the fragrance does seem to stay fairly close to the skin - it's not something that will knock out your co-workers like some warmer/deeper scents can.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White EDP: Peony, muguet and musk. This is the lighter, fresher, more floral of the two Nirvana scents, and I didn't really expect to think much of it. To the contrary, I was hugely and surprisingly drawn to this. It has an addictive quality and is sophisticated and feminine, and perfect for Spring/Summer. I'm especially happy to now have a mini roller ball of this one.

Balenciaga Florabotanica EDP: Turkish rose with hemp and vetiver roots. I love the bottle of this but the scent is too floral for my liking. I had been a bit disappointed by it when it first launched, but I was still happy to try it out.

Burberry Body Tender EDT: Lemon and crisp apple, english rose, white jasmine and sandalwood, with a base of cashmeran, amber and musk. I have the intense EDP version of Burberry Body in full size - it's pretty full on though so I reserve it for the colder months. This 'tender' version is an amazing lighter and fresher take on the original and is perfect for Spring/Summer. I'm super happy to have a more seasonally appropriate version of a fragrances I already own and love.

Gucci Guilty EDT: Mandarin, pink pepper, peach, lilac, geranium, amber and patchouli. This is a pretty classic scent that for reasons unknown I've never given any attention. I would have never even considered it, if not for this set. I wore it the other day and I was smelling myself all afternoon! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this and though I probably won't invest in the full size, I'm happy to have a mini to use throughout the Spring.

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur EDT: Wild berries mandarin, honeysuckle, gardenia, jasmine, vanilla, caramel and sandalwood. Another scent that is out of character - I associate it with being very young, and this is the even fresher version. It's not something I would have ever tried otherwise, but it does add a fun, no-worries option to my collection.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle EDP: Iris, patchouli, orange blossom, jasmine, with a sweet gourmand blend. This is one I was looking forward to trying - a deep, dark, sexy fragrance. On me it smelled very similar to Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb, which I already own, so I was happy to discover this via a mini only.

Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline EDT: Bamboo, nashi pear, lotus blossom and balsa wood. This is a scent I've sprayed a million times at various stores and duty frees and I've always liked it but never purchased. I had some odd feeling that I'd be let down once I got it home. Well, for me this is the star of the bunch. It's a very clean and fresh scent, without being too citrusy, too floral or too fruity. The fruits are clean and not coying and the woods are light. I've worn this a few times now and it lasts all day and is addictively good. I'm not sure it's a scent that stands out enough to catch compliments but it's one that vastly improved my mood while wearing it. Had I done my trials before trading in for the full size as you're meant to, this may very well have swayed me.

So there we have it - my fragrance shelf is now well and truly cluttered with minis, that for once I'm happy to have. With the possible exception of Florabotanica, all of these fragrances are ones I'll be happy to wear and it's the perfect way to change up your daily scent and diversify a bit without necessarily having to get through a whole bottle of the stuff, except of course the bottle you covet the most.

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