Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume Review

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume Review

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is a sensual, woody, and sophisticated perfume that was designed with the modern woman in mind.

Concocted by perfumer, Pierre Negrin, this Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen scent is atypical of celebrity fragrances that tend to play it safe in the sweet, fruity-floral territory.

I appreciate my fair share of sweet gourmand scents, but there are lots of times when I reach for a bolder perfume that makes a statement and that conjures up thoughts of confident and ambitious women with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

Nirvana Black fits the bill on all counts.

In this post, I’ll share with you my thoughts on this eau de parfum, as well as its projection, longevity, and bottle design.

Since it is available at Sephora, is on the pricey side, and the Sephora VIB Sale has started (for VIB Rouge members today and VIB and BI members later), I thought it was a good idea to review the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black perfume now.

On my nails: OPI This Cost Me a Mint from the SoftShades 2016 Collection.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume Pictures

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Perfume

Nirvana Black Elizabeth and James Perfume Review

Elizabeth and James Perfume Nirvana Black Review

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Review

A closer look at the pattern and texture on the bottle

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume Ingredients

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black


  • Blend of alluring violet, sensual sandalwood & rich vanilla (Yes)
  • Balances between masculine & feminine (Yes)
  • Contemporary yet timeless (Yes)

Key Notes

  • Name: Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black
  • Amount: 100 mL (3.4 oz.)
  • Available Sizes: Rollerball (0.34 oz.), Eau de Parfum Spray (1, 1.7 & 3.4 oz.)
  • Retail Price: Rollerball ($30 CAD), Eau de Parfume Spray 1 oz. ($72 CAD), 1.7 oz. ($96 CAD) & 3.4 oz. ($120 CAD)
  • Extras: There are also perfume oils, dry shampoo, gift sets & more available with this fragrance.
  • Disclosure: I purchased this.
  • Where to Buy: Sephora stores & Sephora website

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume Review


Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black features violet, sandalwood, and vanilla, which creates its warm and sensual personality with an air of mystery.

The first note I notice on me is the violet, which blends quickly with the sandalwood. At this point, it’s my favourite because it’s cozy, alluring, and it has a masculine quality to it that’s an interesting departure from my more girly and sweet fragrances.

There’s a slight smokiness to it, not like cigarettes, but like burning logs in a fireplace. I find that to be very comforting, and it makes me think of the time I went skiing and enjoyed hot chocolate in the lodge.

After I wear the fragrance for an hour or so, I notice the vanilla come out more, and it’s there until fading out gracefully. However, the vanilla is never there solo. It bows out along with the sandalwood, so you always get that warm sensuality.

The scent is what I would describe as empowering because it’s not soft, sweet, or typically pretty right off the bat. It is the kind of perfume I enjoy wearing when I want to get my head in the game. Essentially, I see it as equivalent to a bold red lipstick. You put it on, and you instantly feel like you can take on the world! (We can do it!)

I noticed that as I wore this fragrance throughout the day, it softened and went from being a sexy, woody scent to a sweeter (but not cloying) and creamier one. (With my body’s chemistry, nearly every perfume that I wear winds up smelling sweeter on my skin over time.)

It’s a sexy, alluring perfume that says, “I am woman! Hear me roar!”

However, I believe that fragrances shouldn’t be gender-specific. If you’re a man, and you want to wear it, go for it! Fragrances are a very personal experience, so why limit yourself? (I feel the same way about nail polish. If you’re a guy and want to wear nail polish, go ahead!)

Since this perfume isn’t girly and is on the mature yet contemporary side, it’s quite close to men’s cologne. Even though it was designed for women, I can see it as being a unisex fragrance.

In terms of age-appropriateness, I see this perfume being suitable for those in their twenties or older, just because it’s very sexy. It would rub me the wrong way if a 9-year-old wore this because I’d think that they’re growing up way too fast. Kids should enjoy their childhood! We have plenty of time to enjoy being a fun raisin later. For now, be a happy grape! 😉

On humid summer days, I can picture Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black being way too heavy and claustrophobic, however, in the spring, fall, and winter, you can rock it comfortably. Also, I see it as being great for the evening, although I have worn it plenty of times during the day with ease.


While most eau de parfums go strong all day, all night, and into the next morning on me, I found that the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black fragrance didn’t last as long. That being said, it didn’t just disappear quickly like the Good Witch of the North. The perfume lingered on me for up to seven hours. After that point, it was still there, but much weaker.

I never re-spray my eau de parfum. I put it on in the morning, and that’s it. However, with this perfume, if I wanted to enjoy a fun night on the town after a long day, I could probably re-spray it in the evening, and it would ‘top up’ the scent without overdoing it.

Be careful not to spray too much because it can easily go from warm and sensual to full-on bug spray initially.


The initial spray made me think the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black eau de parfum was going to be of Herculean strength, leaving me with a huge headache. However, thankfully that wasn’t the case.

While it starts off with a bang, after it dried on my skin, it blended better with my body chemistry and softened slightly.

The strength of the projection on me when I wore one spray on each wrist and then dabbed my wrists on the sides of neck was mild to medium. It’s not overbearing, and you won’t be suffocating poor co-workers with this one…as long as you don’t douse yourself!

On me, this fragrance projected well, in that it was stronger than what I’d call a ‘cuddler scent’. It stays close to the skin, but it wafts out enough, so that people around you will be able to smell it without being punched in the noggin.

Bottle Design

As contradictory as it sounds, the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black perfume bottle design simultaneously attracts and repels me.

The luxurious black and gold attracted me because, if you peek into my wardrobe, it’s my most worn colour combination. I love it because it’s classic, yet edgy, and that colour combination works for nearly any occasion. (The bottle reminds me a little of my Kate Spade purse.)

It features a minimalist design with the bottle being rectangular and having a slight domed shape around the ‘belly’.

Sandwiched in between the black top and base is a gold band that runs around the neck of the bottle.

There are also wider gold stripes on the vertical sides, with one having the perfume name engraved.

The textured pattern adds a rock-and-roll element, a detail that keeps the bottle from appearing like a plain Jane.

I love how the bottle isn’t girly and immature. When I look at it, the words strength, leadership, and confidence run through my head.

The bottle is easy to open. Just pull the top, and it reveals a gold nozzle.

The small part that repels me is slightly amusing. Although I mostly love the bottle design, at times, when I look at it, all I can think of is a modem or a router! (Not sure what makes your heart race, but for me, those things are far from sexy. Oh, speak nerdy to me!) 😉


Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is pricey. A small rollerball costs $30 CAD, and my 100 mL eau de parfum spray cost $120 CAD! (There are more sizes in between. See the ‘Key Notes’ section for the details.)

Since this perfume isn’t inexpensive, it’s a good idea to go to Sephora and ask for a sample. Try it, and make sure that it works with your chemistry before you commit and plunk down your hard-earned cash.

That’s what I did. I used up one of those little sample vials before I realized that it was right for me.

Also, buying it during the Sephora VIB Sale will make it easier on your wallet.

Combining Scents

The Elizabeth and James Nirvana White eau de parfum is a floral and more girly version. I don’t have it, but I’ve heard people say that they love to combine Nirvana Black with Nirvana White. I may pick up a sample and try the combination.

Edit: I tried Nirvana White, but it’s not me at all. I also tried layering it with Nirvana Black, but I felt like it only took away what I loved about Nirvana Black. Other people love the combination, but I’m all about Nirvana Black being the solo star.


  • Unisex, confident, warm, sensual scent
  • Lasts several hours
  • Classic yet modern bottle design
  • Elegant black-and-gold theme
  • Mild-to-medium scent projection
  • Can be reapplied, but doesn’t need to be
  • Great for a night out or even during the day
  • Suitable for those in their 20s or older, due to its sensual scent


  • Applying too much can smell like bug spray
  • Expensive

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

The Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black eau de parfum is my latest fragrance addiction! I love how it’s feminine yet masculine and is warm and alluring all in one. This is a take-charge scent that I have been wearing a lot recently, and I recommend it to those who want to try something that doesn’t go down the predictable sweet, fruity-floral route.

What perfume(s) have you been loving? Do you usually try fragrance samples before diving straight into purchasing a perfume? Have you tried Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black or Nirvana White?


4 thoughts on “Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Perfume Review

  1. Suzanne G

    I love this fragrance and I purchased the rollerball as I could not justify the cost of the spray. I believe the spray will be on either my Xmas or birthday wish list.

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Suzanne!

      Yes, this perfume is pricey. There’s no doubt about it! When it comes to perfume, if I fall in love with the scent, haha, I can justify a large price tag because I see fragrance as an extension of one’s personality. Plus I wear perfume daily – love it!

  2. Melissa

    What a cool looking product. I love the packaging. I might have to check this out next time I go to Sephora. Thanks as always for sharing!

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      Yes, give it a sniff! When I first smelled it, it drew me in immediately. I think this may become my new signature scent – it’s sexy, dark, creamy, and mysterious!

      Just yesterday, I tried the Elizabeth and James Nirvana White, but I don’t love it or even like it nearly as much. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a bright floral, feminine scent. I just prefer the sexy Nirvana Black waaaaay more. It’s definitely up my alley.


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