Elizabeth & James Nirvana Amethyst & French Grey Perfume Reviews

Mainstream Monday – Sniffing  Popular Perfumes

For a mainstream, designer line, Elizabeth & James has some really solid scents. I love Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon is a really great vanilla perfume. When I heard that the brand launched two new perfumes, Amethyst and French Grey, I couldn’t wait to try them. I tried them as soon as they came out and here I am in December finally reviewing them. I guess that says really all you need to know about how I feel about these:

Elizabeth & James Amethyst


Notes listed include honeysuckle, tobacco and cedar. Launched in 2017.

Amethyst opens with a powdery vanilla-ambroxan that reminds me of a few niche-y releases over the past five years. It ventures into a sugar cookie territory but then it goes full-blown tobacco. The tobacco in this sweet, but not too sweet and it’s powdery. In comparison to other tobacco-centric perfumes, there’s a lightness in Amethyst. This lightness is from honeysuckle. Listen, if you are looking for one of those honeysuckle perfumes that will remind you of lazy summer evenings, this isn’t it. The honeysuckle is honeyed more than it is a floral. Together with the tobacco it comes across like blonde, honeyed tobacco. As it wears, it’s like a light/blonde tobacco stored in a cedar box. The dry-down is less exciting. It’s a powdery vanilla-tobacco with a clean amber. It’s not a bad dry-down but it does remind me of other dry-downs.

Amethyst isn’t “odd” but it does play some games. It starts off “heavier” and turns into something lighter/airier. How does this happen?! These notes should be dense (think like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille), but they aren’t. Give Amethyst a try if you like the thought of a tobacco fragrance but don’t want to smell like a humidor but more like a perfume.

Also – I really like Amethyst but it keeps reminding me of something else. This is driving me crazy. Having wearing this dozens of times, I still don’t know what perfume/s it reminds me of. Oh, well. I may never know. Is it possible it reminds me of Nirvana Bourbon?

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONA “feminine” take on tobacco. I was surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed wearing this one (despite totally having this tobacco-y base already covered). It’s also the one in the prettiest bottle, so that’s good.

Elizabeth & James French Grey


Notes listed include neroli, lavender and musk. Launched in 2017.

I’m just going to start by saying that I’m disappointed by French Grey. It smells like a dryer sheet. I mean, it smells exactly like being in the laundry aisle of Target. This isn’t terrible but it’s disappointing. It opens with a cloying, synthetic white musk and the sort of orange blossom that shows up in cleaners. And that’s how it wears. It wears like walking down the laundry detergent aisle at Target.

I don’t mind a fragrance that smells like soft, warm clean towels. But, something about French Grey is scratchy, like the sort of thin towels that show up at budget motels. I like the laundry of royalty smell of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Forte. I know this isn’t a fair comparison as the prices aren’t comparable with these two, but still. If I am going to smell like laundry, I want it to smell like fancy laundry.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONBig box store laundry aisle. It’s disappointing. Great bottle, great note list, but I’m not feeling it. HOWEVER, if you like the thought of a clean, laundry-ish fragrance and like perfumes from brands like CLEAN, give it a try.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana fragrances come in a few sizes with the 1.7 oz retailing for $85 at Sephora.

Want more reviews? Try…

The Accords


Ça Fleure Bon

*Samples obtained by me. Product pics from Sephora. Post contains affiliate link. Thanks!

4 thoughts on “Elizabeth & James Nirvana Amethyst & French Grey Perfume Reviews

    1. For the first time in my life, I was happy that a fragrance didn’t stick around! I was happy it faded quickly :S

      Also, if anyone has worn Amethyst, I don’t know if it has that great of staying power either. I’ve also been suffering through allergies for months, so I don’t know if that is ruining my perception or not.

  1. I was so disappointed by these too! I really wanted to love them both, because I love both Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon a lot and wear them both regularly. I also prefer Amethyst to French Grey, buuuut I have a bottle of Tabac Tabou and as a lighter, honeyed tobacco there is NO comparison. Again, unfair because of the price difference between the two, but… I’m not going to buy the cheaper, less-good version of a thing when I already own the expensive, excellent version. /end snobbery

    Thank you for the reviews!

    1. I totally get that. I don’t think it’s snobby. I look at things like “cost per wear”. And if you already have that base covered, then you have it covered. That’s how I feel about Amethyst as well. Years ago this sort of thing was popular with niche and that was during a time when I bought bottles soooo, yeah, I have so much like this already.

      Now French Grey, I don’t have anything like it and I’m totally happy with that.

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