“The Elixir of the Gods.” That is a pretty tall order and claim to make, but it is precisely how Roja Dove describes his Nüwa, a parfum released earlier this year. It is named after a Chinese goddess responsible for repairing Heaven and creating Mankind, but I see it completely differently. Nüwa (hereinafter spelled without the diacritical mark as simply “Nuwa”) would be the perfect scent for a Hell’s Angel, and I mean that description in all senses of the word.
A fallen angel dressed in blackened Russian leather in a Hell where brimstone was made out of demonic swirls of heavy cumin and fiery cloves, teetering above a dark vortex of almost animalic balsamic resins and smoking styrax, and clutching onto a withered, dirty rose — he would be wearing Nuwa. So might a Hell’s Angel biker gang member. But a sweet, gentle, feminine goddess? Ha, not in my opinion. Nuwa is a scent whose initial intensity, spiciness, and masculine dirtiness almost feel like brute force at first, before giving way to more unisex, floriental softness in a mix that always has truly heavenly opulence. I mean that, Nuwa’s richness is so insanely over- the-top that the Sultan of Brunei would be impressed and Liberace would giggle. [Update 3/2015: this review is for the original version of Nuwa. At the end of 2014, it was reformulated and dramatically changed. I’ve been told the original Nuwa is still available by request at Roja Parfums, but I doubt it is commonly carried by most Roja retailers.] Continue reading