Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon EDP Perfume Review

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon

Mainstream Monday: Sniffing a Popular Perfume

When the fashion label Elizabeth & James launched Nirvana Bourbon and Nirvana Rose, I knew that Nirvana Bourbon would be a hit for them. Vanilla fragrances are popular because their smooth, sweetness seems to appeal to everyone¹. After trying Nirvana Bourbon, I was impressed. It’s a dry, boozy vanilla that differs from the usual sweet/candied designer/mainstream vanillas. I did state that I prefer Nirvana Rose (after all, I’m a rose lover) but this doesn’t mean that I lack interest in Nirvana Bourbon. For a vanilla, it’s great. For a mainstream vanilla, it’s excellent.²

Nirvana Bourbon is one of those soft, modern woodsy vanillas. It’s more boozy than it is dessert-y. The opening is boozy vanilla with a spicy (unlit) cigar. The rest of the wear is like a boozy vanilla paired with a dry woods – oak and sandalwood. Tuberose is a note listed; I think to many it won’t be noticeable. If anything, this white floral gives an impression of tobacco flowers which adds some freshness to this otherwise dry, balsamic fragrance. Nirvana Bourbon dries down to something that is like caramel and a dry, but powdery vanilla.

When I first tried this one, I tried it next to Nirvana Rose, a rose soliflore. It’s no surprise that I was going to prefer a rose over a vanilla. Now that I’m trying Nirvana Bourbon in isolation (and have Nirvana Rose out of my system), I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of it. For dry woods, I prefer it over Nirvana BlackThere’s a warm, honey-like glow of Nirvana Bourbon, that I can’t resist.

Jerry Hall

Notes listed include Bourbon vanilla, tuberose and oak wood. Launched in 2016.

Give Nirvana Bourbon a try if you like boozy or woodsy vanillas. Or perfumes like Kiehl’s Vanilla & Cedarwood, Commodity Paper, Yves Rocher Vanille Noire, Kate Walsh Boyfriend, Max Mara Kashmina Touch and/or The Body Shop Madagascan Vanilla Flower. Nirvana Bourbon wears rather linear but that has never kept me from enjoying a fragrance.

Projection and longevity are average. Like the rest of the line, I love the vintage lighter bottle, especially this one in the amber-y/bourbon shade.

Nirvana Bourbon comes in a few sizes with prices ranging from $65-$110 at Sephora and Nordstrom. A rollerball/travel size is also available for purchase.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONBalsamic vanilla and full-bodied cigars. 2016 was a great year for designer perfumes. I hope this is a trend that continues into 2017!

¹I know there are many vanilla haters out there (mainly because there are just *so many* bad ones on the market!) but you get what I’m saying. Even if you  hate vanilla, you’ll most likely agree with me: People seem to really want to smell like vanilla.

²What I’m saying is that for those of us that have experience with indie or designer perfumes, we can rattle off a list of dry, boozy and/or balsamic vanillas. This isn’t a novel concept. What is novel is seeing something like this with such a wide distribution. Hopefully a fragrance like this will convince people that vanilla doesn’t have to smell like frosting!

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*Sample obtained by me. Product pic from Sephora. Jerry Hall pic from superseventies.tumblr.com. Post contains affiliate links. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon EDP Perfume Review

  1. I liked this one a lot too and bought the rollerball. It reminds me of another mainstream vanilla that I own the travel sized bottle of: Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee. Both are easy to wear and shouldn’t offend anyone’s nose.

    I *am* tempted by the very pretty larger bottle… perhaps when my rollerball runs out.

    • BAM! YES. I even have a bottle of Vanille Insensee (I love it and Diptyque Eau Duelle). I can’t believe those slipped my mind while sampling this! Anyway, I totally agree. They have a similar vibe – modern vanilla with woods.

      I think I’ll start with a rollerball or maybe even the 1 oz spray. I know Sephora does those kits where you redeem the voucher for a full-size. I may buy it to redeem this one while getting minis of mainstream stuff that I probably haven’t tried.

      I wish they’d make bath/body products in this and Nirvana Rose. I could literally bath in these.

      CONCLUSION – Dear readers, if you like stuff like Atelier Vanille Insensee, you may like Nirvana Bourbon too!

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