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Elizabeth and James: Nirvana White

Products come and go, in and out of vogue within the beauty industry incredibly quickly. Over the past couple of years we have seen the rise and fall of the liquid lipstick, the heavy influence of the Korean market within skincare and some bloody ridiculous brow trends.

Literally this week Kylie Jenner sold the majority stake in Kylie Cosmetics to Coty Inc for a casual £600 million! That is a crazy amount but also potentially shows that she is not expecting much growth for the brand, you know the get out whilst you can method. However, could this then lead to a bigger distribution for the brand, potentially making it easier to buy in the UK? This leads me to an even bigger trend at the moment which is the movement of American brands to the UK market.

Everyone seems to have welcomed these brands with open arms and I have to say it is incredibly exciting just to be able to go to an online shop like Boots, Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay to pick up items that I only ever dreamed of owning when I was younger.

When I was more into Youtube than I am now, one of my favourite styles of video to watch were Sephora hauls and I was so jealous as I could not do hauls like these. At the time we didn't really have stores like it in the UK. During this time, which must have been around 2015-2016, everyone was obsessed with the Elizabeth and James scents which you could only purchase from Sephora. As a perfume lover, I have always wanted to smell the perfumes but I was never able to.

A few years ago the scent range did become available in Harrods and eventually Debenhams, where you can still buy it, but the risk of ordering online, seemed to great; especially when you consider a 30ml bottle is £52. However, when I saw a bottle in T K Maxx for £24.99. I figured that was the perfect time to finally give it a go. It was in a locked plastic box so I couldn't smell it in store and as soon as I opened the plastic box I could no longer return it so it was a risk but I went for it. Before I get into the scent I thought I would tell you a bit about the brand.

Elizabeth & James

For those of you who might not take an interest in fashion, both Elizabeth & James and The Row have one common link, the Olsen Twins. Both brands are owned and creatively run by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. The Row is their premium brand which does show within New York Fashion Week. I actually covered it in my Review of NYFW during the S/S20 season. Alternatively Elizabeth and James is the smaller, cheaper diffusion line. Elizabeth and James are actually the names of their two other siblings, Elizabeth being the Scarlett Witch in Avengers.

Having Googled the brand they seem to have branched out more with Elle reporting that the brand will exclusively be sold in Kohl's in the US. However, the perfume remains independent and will remain at it's current stockists. (Here is a link to the Elle article if you are interested: Elle: Elizabeth and James)

For us in the UK, it doesn't make a massive difference as the brand is not widely stocked here but the move to Kohl's means the brand will be more accessible in the US. A good move for revenue but takes away from the exclusivity. In the UK, the brand remains hard to find, even the perfumes so you can imagine how happy I was when I saw one in T K Maxx.

Scent Range

On the Debenhams website, you can currently buy 5 different Elizabeth and James fragrances. There is the Nirvana White, Nirvana Black, Nirvana Rose, Nirvana Bourbon and Nirvana French Grey. The ones that I always read about were the White and Black versions but I have always been intrigued by the Rose version. The Bourbon scent does not sound like me at all, nor the French-Grey.

From what I remember a lot of people refer to the white and black scents as day and evening scents. Of course I cannot confirm this but I do like the idea that two fragrances could cover your perfume needs. The scent they had in T K Maxx was Nirvana White which was the one I really wanted to try so of course I picked it up.


Before I fully delve into the scent, I want to cover the packaging because it is what a perfume should look like. In a way the packaging is incredibly simple but it is so effective. As this is Nirvana White, the bottle has white packaging but they use the plastic element of the packaging to reflect the fragrance so Nirvana black, has black packaging and Nirvana Rose is a deep magenta. The change is simple and effective. 

I also love the almost studded detail all over the body of the bottle. The texture means the bottle is easy to hold and won't scratch as easily. Plus it is striking and this is emphasised by the use of the gold plating down the side. Even though when you really consider the packaging, it is nothing innovative or overly special, really that is what is so special about it, the packaging doesn't overdo itself. I really like this packaging and how compact it is because that means it is going to be good for my handbag. This scent definitely lends itself to being a work perfume so it's compact size is good.

The Scent

On the outer box it says that the notes are: Peony, Musk and Muguet. Little did I know before I researched it but it turns out Muguet is the french name for Lily of the Valley. The packaging most certainly mirrors the scent in the way that they are both simplistically beautiful. From everything I've read online, these seem to be the only notes within the fragrance. If you know of more, I am happy to revise this statement.

When I first smelt this perfume, the Peony was really strong. I did also think there was more of a Rose scent, sort of like Damask Rose because it is sweet sort of like a Damask Rose rather than an English Rose or Peony. The floral is definitely very dominant in the scent but that is because there isn't much else in this fragrance to take away from this headiness.

Musk is not really a scent, I know a lot of people say they dislike it but usually that is due to its association with The Body Shop White Musk which was the scent of the 90s. Musk has more of an effect than a scent, it smells a lot lighter than you would assume it was. Musk is a powdery scent, sort of like clean linen, and it amplifies any other notes that come before it. In this case, that is the Peony and Lily of the Valley.

The floral is definitely dominant but there is something which gives the scent body which is Muguet. Lily of the Valley is of course a floral but it is very different from Peony. Peony is more of a full-bodied floral whereas Lily of the Valley is far lighter and more delicate. If you think of the size of the flowers themselves you can physically see the difference in sizes and that same difference is present within the scents.

When I first smelt this fragrance and did a video about it on my Instastories, I did say that something about the scent was 'older' and it turns out it was Lily of the Valley, which was used in more traditional scents. As Lily of the Valley was a common note in older fragrances, it does have an association of being slightly older, well in my mind. That, and it is quite powdery and floral. I find there is typically quite a soft floral element to Lily of the Valley but also a slightly green note, which is what backs up the Peony in the scent. The Lily of the Valley offsets the sweet honeyed Peony and I think the combination is lovely.

Even though, Elizabeth and James (the brand) might not have as good a reputation as the fragrance, this perfume certainly lives up to its hype. It did take me a bit of time to get used to it as I do think this is quite old fashioned and it isn't what I would normally go for. Now that I have been using it more regularly I've grown to like it more. This is quite strong so you only need to use a tiny bit of it. After trying this I am seriously intrigued by the other scents and I am more likely to give them a go. If you have tried any of the others, please let me know what you thought of them. 

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