Ohhhh perfume. I love you so. I wear everything from Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely to Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend (discontinued, I might get over it one day), to Stella by Stella McCartney and Chanel’s Mademoiselle. Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black & White, Diptyque, Jo Malone… I love a lot of perfume. Most of what I buy now are samples or roller-balls (read: tiny) because I love to try new things. I haven’t delved much into the niche world of perfumes, and to be honest (I’m going to sound like a total snob) I’m not sure that this counts as “niche” in the way I think of it. Maybe “independent” is a better way to to categorize the brand, but that really isn’t important. The oils are blended to match the feeling the perfume creator gets when she listens to certain songs tied to her memories, which I thought was a super fun concept.
There are several people I watch pretty religiously on Youtube, and one of them is Chelsea of ChelseaWears. She’s funny, quirky, down to earth, and has a really unique sense of style that I find charming and entertaining. In one of her favorites videos a few months ago she said she’d been wearing Na Nin perfume oils, and you could find them in her online shop Anomie. Well, you better believe I stampeded on over there to investigate.
Soooo many choices and lovely sounding fragrances. There was a 4 perfume oil sampler set on the website but it was sold out. Not being sure if it would ever come to anything (would they restock?), I joined the email list to get notified if it ever came back in. And on July 30th the email came- it was back! I ordered it that day and impatiently waited because my curiosity was piqued.
A few days later I received a lovely little package. These perfume oils are all natural, so they have dark glass bottles to keep the light out and little droppers for application, and you have to reapply often because they evaporate fairly quickly. If you order from the Na Nin website, the bottles are handblended when you order them, which I guess ensures freshness but makes me wonder if there is any variation in the fragrance.
Anyway, as soon as I opened the box I was hit with this scent that I can only call “Guilford”- the liberal arts college where I spent a year before I honed in on a major. Guilford is definitely a hippy school, or it was when I went there 16 years ago. My roommate sewed her own patchwork dresses and her best friend grew pot in the window of the basement in our dorm. Think patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver, all of which are lovely in moderation but when they are combined in excess I get “dirty hippy perfume”. There was a lot of trepidation when I took the little bottles out of their ziplock bag and gingerly cracked them open to sniff.
These fragrances are fascinating. When I put on Jolene, I was waiting to be hit over the head with musk but instead this is subtle. It is a combination I’ve smelled before- on my college roommate who bought some perfume oil at a head shop based on her astrological sign. It smelled gorgeous on her. Anyway, the notes listed are black pepper, angelica root, mandarin, amber, rose, and musk. I’m a sucker for rose/musk/amber profiles, so that’s why I tried it first. It smells amazing and different, I guess from the angelica root which is the only thing I didn’t have on my notes spreadsheet until now.
Yes, there is a spreadsheet of my perfume collection and the notes. I am training my nose. Shut up.
Next I tried Cripple Creek. Described as a smoky pine scent with tobacco, pine, amber, vetiver, and cypress, I expected something manly and too woodsy for me. When I first apply it I get a lot of vetiver and cypress. But it is another beautifully blended fragrance that is light and subtle and won’t hit anyone over the head. I love how the tobacco softens the astringency of the pine and cypress, and then the amber rounds it all out. Again, this is like nothing I have smelled before. The characteristics in this one come out as soon as I apply them, if you sniff every 5 seconds some new note is coming out until (on me at least) it calms down into a soft tobacco and pine.
The third perfume I tried was Farewell. Described as a country floral scent with notes of rose, geranium, basil, and lavender, all I got was a huge whollop of lavender, and then it was gone. I was pretty sad about that because I thought anything floral with basil in it would be really interesting, but I got nothing. I’ll try it again in the fall and see if any other notes make an appearance.
The last was the Earth Momma of all Earth Mommas, Landslide. Obviously inspired by Stevie Nicks, this one has patchouli, cedarwood, rosewood, and sandalwood. THIS is where the hippy school notes were coming from, and when I wear it I’m pretty sure I need to be at a music festival wearing a lot of layers. Smoking something illegal. It is heavy on the patchouli, it is earthy, and it is STRONG. I don’t love it, but someone who is more drawn to woods would probably appreciate it.
Overall I’d say Cripple Creek and Jolene were my favorites of this sampler and I will use them up quickly. I don’t see myself purchasing full bottles since they wear off so quickly. That might change in the winter- I’ll have to try them all again in December to see if any of the notes change.