Time for another set of Nui Cobalt reviews! Confession time: I didn't know until very, very recently that Indie Mood even existed. So for Indie Mood fans - I have no idea if this scent of scents reflects who they are at all. I suspect they do - since it's a collaboration. Along with these are two of the Cobalt Druid line which pays homage to various deities.
My take-away from this set of Nui Cobalt reviews is that, man, I think a lot of their notes smell kinda like honey. Which is nice - it gives their sweet perfumes a honeyed quality without seeming deeply sugared or overly-sweet.
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days after arrival. The perfumes were kept in the dark in a plastic box. I did crack them open to sniff them directly after arrival, and with a couple to do an initial test. The reviews are not based off of these initial impressions - though if a rest did change the smell I’ll note that.
I’m doing a half-hour skin test with each perfume. They are always applied to skin that has either been washed or hasn’t had perfume on it that day. Sometimes I will run one scent on one wrist/hand/arm and the other on the other wrist/hand/arm. When I wash my hands for review purposes I wash with a scented soap (it’s all I have available - shea butter Dove soap or almond Doc Bronner’s). Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off), so theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
Each sample was gently swirled before application. Each review is written without looking at the notes (in that moment… I often will glance at the notes when I receive the perfumes out of curiosity). At the end of the review I will list what the notes listed in the shop are and comment on how I think they interacted
These all came in 1ml wand bottles. See my review of Nui Cobalt's 1ml wand bottles [ here ] A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
In the bottle: Dark, earthy, bitter and sweet - reminds me of coffee and of cacao. I might recall this having a tobacco note - if it does it’s really sticky, sweet tobacco. Resinous.
Wet on my skin: Dark resin, smoke, wood - still a little bitter, but less bitter than it was in the bottle. Tobacco - dark and sticky sweet. Cinnamon. Might have some really dark sweet myrrh/opopnax. Might possibly have a very dark leather note. Kind of nutty. Shades of dark black and brown streaked with dark red and the occasional flicker of gold. Very masculine. If you told me that dragons smelled like this I’d believe you.
Drydown: Nutty, warm, spiced (cinnamon - lots of cinnamon). I can’t place what the nutty scent is - but it’s the first thing I smell at this point. It kind of reminds me of the smell of warm skin. Beneath that is the dark resin and what reminds me of tobacco. I feel like I might be getting some of Nui Cobalt’s honey note. Tiny bit of smokiness.
After 30 mins: So, haha, funny story. When I initially put this on I was like ‘Wow this is intense, probably too intense for me to wear as a personal scent’. Then my brain was like ‘Hm I bet dragons would smell like this’ and I freaking sold myself on the scent. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this. I used to do photography at my local animal shelter and sold myself on a dog. I have a problem.
Anyway, this is lead with that nutty scent that reminds me of skin. It’s laced with cinnamon. Under it is that tobacco and I’m getting whiffs again of cacao. Below that is dark resin. Sweetness throughout that may, or may not, be honey.
Official Notes: rich dark chocolate, hot coffee, tobacco, coconut rum, and a touch of loamy earth
So, the chocolate is the chocolate. The coffee is the coffee and I think is part of what’s adding to that nutty vibe. The coconut rum must be what’s sweet - and must also be contributing to that nutty/skin smell. And gosh, this is like… a perfect dirt note. It adds warmth, earthiness, and richness without smelling like potting soil. Beats me where the cinnamon is coming from - it might be an unlisted note - but I’m definitely getting a nice hit of spice.
Verdict: This is an upsize for me. I want to smell like a dragon. Honoring the master of the crossroads is an added benefit.
In the bottle: Salt, fruit (apple,, coconut, pineapple?), a wave of a floral - bright and silky. It might be tuberose. Ozone and a touch of resin.
Wet on my skin: Salt and coconut with resin and fruit edges. A masculine-leaning fruity floral! The fruit reminds me of both apple and pineapple without firmly situating it with either one. It’s sweeter, rounder, and creamier than a citrus but has some piquancy to it. The resin sits at the base of the scent - it smells mostly golden but with a hint of darkness to it - i keep feeling like I’m catching a hint of something earthy deep in the scent.. The whole scent has a kind of ozonic tang to it - which could be a separate note, could be like a ‘sea spray’ kinda note intended to blend with the salt, or could be a byproduct of the fruit.
Drydown: Moving more towards the feminine side of things - I’d say it wears more androgynously now. Like, it doesn’t ping me as ‘masculine’ but if a man wore it I wouldn’t bat an eye. Still strongly coconut, a little less salt now. The other fruit is still there but more subtle. Almost certain there is a water or mist component to this (albeit, that could be influenced by me looking up the goddess this was inspired by - but I really do think I smell it) which is what I think I was reading as ozone earlier. The floral is either blending with the resin or the floral is where I’m getting the resinous vibe from. There’s something earthy here - though it never comes out strongly. Just a little curl here or there.
Speaking of how it’s wearing: This is a quite powerful scent with a good throw on it.
After30 mins40 mins: Water, a little salt, coconut, whatever-this-fruit-is, ozonic florals, whatever-that-earthy-note-is. The water’s come waay forward. It’s still wearing fairly strong, but not as strong as it was twenty minutes ago. Definitely still there though - with a throw of 6+ inches.
Official Notes: sunlit spring water, pure honey, sweet amber resin, wild orange, and a glass of champagne
The sunlit spring water is the water. Nui Cobalt’s honey note is what I was reading as coconut! I can totally see that now. It’s a very, very creamy honey in this though. The amber resin is the resinous note. The orange is the fruit - which I can kind of see but it’s minus a lot of the acidic tang I associate with oranges (it still kinda reminds me of pineapple). The glass of champagne is what was giving me those ozonic qualities and what I was reading as floral - it may have also been where I was getting that tiny smidge of “earthiness” (I might have been reading an alcoholic note as kind of dark verging-on-earthy). I have no idea where the salt note I was getting was from unless it’s part of the honey.
Note: Thinking back the tiny bit of earthiness may have come from a perfume I’d gotten on my fingertips earlier that day (and washed off - but it had staying power). Not sure.
Verdict: I like this one a lot! It actually reminds me quite a bit of some of the more ‘tropical’ scents in my collection. Oceanics. Right now I’m debating whether the way it smelled on me is too similar to some of my other scents (in particular Stereoplasm’s O Captain My Captain) for me to justify upsizing in the future or not. Regardless, if you are looking for a bright, sweet, creamy scent with a good water note and a bit of sparkle to it check this one out.
In the bottle: Orange scones and tea with honey. This smells exactly like the orange scones from Panera Bread and tea to me.
Wet on my skin: Okay, a little muskier than the orange scones from Panera now. Still a strong, but mellow, orange note. Not a tart citrus at all. Sweetness, a kind of baked-good base with an edge of tea. It’s got a syrupy sweet note in there that invokes honey but could also possibly be a very sweet fruit. It kinda reminds me of the currant note I’ve seen Nui Cobalt use. (A glimpse behind the curtain: I don’t always review perfumes in the order they’re listed in my document. This one was actually reviewed after another Nui Cobalt scent where I mistook blackcurrant for honey. )
Drydown: There’s a bit of tartness to the citrus now but the amount of citrus is also greatly reduced. This particular blend is morphing on me in a way I’m not comfortable with - some bitterness is coming out (tea?), I feel like I’m getting a hint of incense and smoke and well… there’s something in here my brain is reading as ‘eggs’. Not sulfurous - but more like how eggs smell in french toast.
The last scent I reviewed - which I scrubbed off as best I could before starting on this review to avoid cross contamination - was extremely incense heavy. I wore it on my other hand… but even so I’m wondering if there was some cross contamination somehow. Because this was so, so different in the bottle, and wet.
After 30 mins: Bitter in a way that strongly reminds me of very black tea. The ‘egg’ scent has morphed into a general ‘baked good’ scent. Baked stuff often involves eggs… so its not surprising my nose might read an accord like that. It’s like, half way between toasted wheat and eggs-in-french-toast. Definitely getting some sort of resin and some sort of subtle citrus. It kinda smells like someone having an orange-and-berry scone tea party while lighting a huge stick of resinous incense in the middle of the table.
Official Notes: Lapsang souchong tea, sumptuous velvet, labdanum and tonka punctuated by precious Peru balsam
Definitely get the tea. I think the velvet accord is what’s giving me some of the ‘baked good’ vibe and what reminds me of eggs-in-french-toast. I’ve had issues with velvet accords before - so this might be a personal sensitivity thing. The tonka is what I think is adding the really strong ‘sweet’ vibe. The labdanum is the resin that smells so much like incense to me. The balsam I think is what’s reminding me of a citrus in a really woodsy way.
Based on the ingredients I don’t think there was actually cross contamination - this is just a really resinous scent and it took a bit for it to come out on me!
Verdict: Apparently velvet accords and I do not get along, this scent actually made me a little queasy. Pass. If velvet works well on you and you like the contrast between a kind of gourmand vibe with heavy resins then this is for you - but personally I think this one will have a rather niche appeal.
Indie Mood: Liv
In the bottle: Smoke, incense and honey layered over spiced resin. “Bright” in the way glowing embers in a campfire are bright.
Wet on my skin: Woodsmoke is the most forward note. Reminds me a tiny bit of a bar-b-que pit - the sweet woodsmoke part, not the roasting meat part. Next is the incense which is blending with the resin note that smelled separate in the bottle - they might just be the same note. After that is something sweet and creamy. It’s still reminiscent of honey but could be something more. There’s something else in here I’m having trouble placing - a musk? Candlewax? It has a kind of rich, roundedness to it. Edges of something foresty and herbaceous - a pine/evergreen note? Reminds me of warmer version of Alkemia’s Falling Stars on Winter Solstice.
Drydown: The smoke has mellowed some, but this is still a very sweet-bitter-spicy- resinous-incense scent. It reminds me a lot of Kalopsia from Sugar & Spite. Sort of like if Kalopsia got together with Alkemia’s FSoWS and they had a baby. Makes me wonder a) what spices are in this and b) if this has any black tea in it.
Right now if I had to guess notes I’d say smoke, honey, spice, tea (?), fir needle and incense. It’s a little outdoorsy and firmly in that goth-witchy camp.
After 30 mins: Very similar to the drydown - a little less smokey and a little more sweet perhaps. This is a strong scent with a cloud easily detectable 4-6 inches from the skin
Official Notes: Earthy patchouli, deep incense, wild blackcurrants, and the lingering smoke of a maplewood fire
So, the patchouli is the resin - I’ll say this is a patchouli that blends with the smoke giving it a different character than what patchouli often has. It might also be an aged patchouli which would add to the sweetness/honeyed character of the scent. The blackcurrants are the major source o the sweetness though - I’d say they smell less fruity and more gourmand here though … since I mistook them for a honey note. The maplewood fire is the woodsmoke and where the ‘bitter’ notes are coming rom. I have no idea what was reading as fir needle to me in here unless there was an unlisted note. I suppose it could be part of the smoke accord? I don’t know.
Verdict: Too resinous for me! It’s a personal pass. I think this one will appeal to a certain portion of folks really into resin-heavy scents in the alternative indie perfumes scene. If you’re someone into smokey-outdoorsy-witchy-goth scents and feel like ‘the smokier and more resin heavy the better’ this one has a good chance of going over well with you.
Indie Mood: Giulia
In the bottle: Citrusy resin with some additional complexity - perhaps a floral? Very bright, creamy, somewhat feminine. Tiny bit musky and a tiny bit of something earthy deep in the scent. This is gonna sound weird, but it smells like the swish of silk skirts sounds like.
Wet on my skin: The musk moves waaay forward the second it is out of the bottle. It’s a bit nuttier than a white family musk usually is - but it certainly doesn’t have a dark character. It might even be a sunflower seed note since sunflower seeds run musky. There’s some sort of pale floral in here - but I couldn’t tell you if it’s pale pink or white. The resin and citrus are farther back in the scent, detectable at the edges.
Drydown: Musky-floral with resinous edges and a hint of citrus. The musky element in the scent isn’t overpowering - but it is the core of the scent. It gives the scent a sensual vibe. It reminds me in terms of character (but not smell) of Sixteen92’s Mein Herr Marquis. If you like MHM this one has a very similar mood and feel to it (It does smell quite distinct from it though - it just has that rich/sensual/feminine character to it).
After 30 mins: Still musk centered. Floral has died back some. Getting more of the citrus and only small hints of the resin. There’s something in here that’s either a gourmand… or violets. Very sweet and on the edge of foody.
Official Notes: White santal and sunwashed teak edged with vetiver, silk, and chilled Earl Grey.
Well, okay. So - while I was all like ‘Oh, this doesn’t smell like Mein Herr Marquis’ they both have a silk note. That’s probably one of the reasons my brain was drawing the line. According to Nui Cobalt’s notes page this one is intended to evoke elegance - and I’d say it does, in that MHM vein.
So, according to google white santal is a … woody-floral-citrus-musk … there’s a million different versions of it from what I can tell, but, they typically contain sandalwood, bergamot, musk and then something like violet or vanilla. So, hey, got all that. I’d say the santal blend that Nui Cobalt is using is at the core of this scent.
The teak blends with the sandalwood in terms of adding woody/resinous elements. It might be what was reminding me of sunflower.
I get the silk accord - I have no clue how my brain even ID’d it as silk on some subconscious level. But there’s something, well, silky about this.
The vetiver and Earl Grey don’t really stand out in the blend for me - they’re really subtle in it. I can see a touch of very creamy Earl Grey blending with the musk
Verdict: Probably gonna be a pass from me even though this one smells really nice. I already have HMH filling this role for me and I wear feminine scents pretty rarely compared to gender neutral or masc ones. … Plus if people were going to describe me they might use terms like ‘kinda feral’, ‘sort of punky, I suppose’, and ‘covered in pet hair’. Elegant and I rarely meet. If you are someone who revels in feminine elegance this is probably gonna be right up your alley. I think this one has the chance of having the broadest appeal out of the Indie Mood collaboration!