Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla

First, the ten winners of the Creed Love in Black samples are:

  1. CC
  2. annie
  3. Matts
  4. Jennifer O
  5. Maura
  6. RHM
  7. Kim
  8. Janet in California
  9. susi
  10. Anne

Just click on the Contact Us button over there and send me your address. Congrats!

So… vanilla. yeah. Love it or hate it, there are a couple of new’ish ones out there that people seem to be loving, so let’s see why!

Montale Vanille Extasy has notes of ylang-ylang from Comoro Islands, Egyptian jasmine, apricot, sandalwood, mahogany, bensoin, vanilla. This is very much a sweet floral vanilla, like a cross between Montale’s Soleil di Capri and Indult Tihota, landing closer to Soleil, without that much of a gourmand feel to it. I think that’s what makes me a little road-weary about Montales, the new one always seems to be another variation on a prior one. As a scent, it’s nicely done, fitting in with the others in the line. I like it, but it’s not me so much, a little too sweet and not enough vanilla, which is what I expected with the name it has.

Micallef Vanille Aoud has notes of bergamot, ylang-ylang, prune, oud, caramel, musk, vanilla, benzoin.  A similar set of notes, with some variation, to the Montale Vanille Extasy. This works much better from the start, with a healthy benzoin blast in the open, some nice gourmandy notes blending well with the oud and vanilla. The oud is not too bitter, but has enough bite to keep this from a frothy sugar mess. This is a much more interesting rendition, paying a great salute to the vanilla and other gourmand notes, but holding a great tension with the oud, musk and benzoin. Micallef is one of those lines that I’m always just subtly impressed by. They do nice, incredibly wearable scents with some interesting slants.

So if you had to pick one vanilla fragrance to wear all the time, which one would it be?

  • Miranda says:

    In the past I detested vanilla UNTIL Le Labo Vanille 44!!! It’s a lot more complicated than pure vanilla. I think it makes all the others smell cheap. I am now addicted to it…

  • E says:

    I’d shoot myself. I could find a patchouli scent to wear every day, but not vanilla!

    That said, I do like one or two vanilla-based scents (Lea St. Barth, Ava Luxe Love’s True Bluish Light) on the very rare occasion that they don’t smell sugary or gourmand. I strongly dislike the Tihota-style vanillas.

    (Shalimar doesn’t work on me. Woe. I wanted it to because I’m enraptured with the idea of classic perfumes, but it was awful on my skin.)

  • BBJ says:

    My husband is also a vanilla addict–he loves the stuff. Sadly, he didn’t know me during the college days when I was wearing Vanilla Fields daily.

    I’ve been meaning to try the Mexique Noire…

  • annie says:

    8-|Slut that I am,I would wear vintage Shalimar,as I did years ago…EDP was always wonderful,and I still have the last bottle my daughter gave me (empty,of course),for Christmas….my husband always gave me jewelry,so she and I always gave each other whatever was swoon-worthy at the time….for a long time I loved & wore CSP Vanilla Abricot…but I KNOW they changed the formula,those filthy toads….AHHHH,but we now have some great new vanillas from great perfumers to soothe our ruffled feathers:”>carry on my Perfumistas,carry no.

  • sylvia says:

    the micallef looks really interesting. i think if i had to pick one vanilla, it would be l’aromarine: cheap, good, and versatile for layering.

  • parisa says:

    I’m still searching for *the* vanilla scent and the closest I’ve found is by a Montreal based company called Carotte…it’s jasmine, mimosa over soft vanilla. It’s hypoallergenic and meant to be used by babies and mommies. Great stuff and couldn’t believe that it was found at my local Sephora. That and Ipanema by Satellite.

  • Disteza says:

    Just as some days are dark and overcast, and others are sunny and bright, some days my fav vanilla is SDV and others it’s Tihota. Although, if we’re talking ‘fumes where it’s just one player and not the whole show, then I’d have to go with Amandes Orientales, which is not sweet on me at all. Given the notes of toasted almonds and vanilla you’d think it would be, but it ends up smoky, spicy, and warm.

  • Francesca says:

    Since we’re talking about vanilla, what does anyone think of PdN Sacrebleu? I just ordered a sample (intrigued by Luca Turin’s comments in The Guide) from TPC and it’s tuberose and fruit at first, then turns into a really lovely smoky vanilla.

    • Disteza says:

      First impression? This is some strong juice! Sacrebleu lasted FOREVER on me, and usually I don’t have that problem. I wasn’t happy about it though: too much fruit (black currant + peach = raspberry? >:p ), not enough smoky incense. I do get the vanilla in there, but on me the fruit was the most prominent note.

  • Karen G says:

    I’m not a vanilla hater, but I do like it mixed with other notes, usually. One vanilla to wear ALL the time? I don’t think so. But here’s three I like alot: L de Lolita Lempicka, Shalimar, and IdPF Vanille di Madagascar. 🙂

  • Christine says:

    Only for the fall, but I still love L’Artisan’s Vanilia. It comes out smokey on me with a really nice floral aspect. Sometimes it verges on too sweet, but still it’s a favorite.

  • 2scents says:

    I am not a vanilla afficionado, but SDV keeps me intrigued.It is sweet, but also edgy, and nothing to close to foody for me.

  • Debbied says:

    Out of all the wonderful vanilla’s being listed, which one has the best persistence and sillage?

    • Billy D says:

      Just fyi, the Tom Ford I mentioned above, Noir de Noir, as well as all the private blend scents, are long lasting and have great sillage. They’re sort of ridiculously expensive, but you can’t say they’re fleeting.

    • Francesca says:

      I find Un Bois Vanille has great persistence, but I don’t know about sillage. I’ve only worn it to work so far so I tend to apply discreetly. But I got nice little wafts of it all day long on myself.

  • Justine says:

    I like Vanilla Lust, layered over a dab of MKK, or Jicky. SDV is also nice at least in the beginning.

    I tend to not appreciate the straight up vanilla scents. Anything that makes me smell like a bakery is not going to be a favorite, hence the layering.

  • trinity says:

    Only 1 vanilla – that’s easy – Le Labo Vanille. Everything else pales in comparison. ( though it’s more woodsy-slightly-smokey-vanilla on me than just pure vanilla ):x

  • Maura says:

    I found the Vanille Extasy to be very similiar to Flowerbomb Extreme!! I also found it too sweet and I love vanilla! I think the Micallef Vanille Aoud is VERY well done! I get a hint of smoke and the slightest sharpness from the aoud that goes perfectly well with the creamy vanilla! And the bottle…yowza!

    My favs are…SDV, Vanille 44, Tihota and Note Vanille!!

  • Jennifer says:

    I would go with either Un Bois Vanille or L de Lolita Lempicka

  • Debbie says:

    Thank you for the writeup on the two Montale’s. I was wondering about them. I thought the aoud and vanille sounded as if it would be good!

    While I love Micallef’s Note Vanillee, I would vote for Fragonard’s Vanille. Easily as beautiful and so much cheaper. Let’s hear it for less costly!! <:-p

    • Debbie says:

      How could I forget?! I think my absolute favorite may be Montale’s Vanilla Chypre. Or is it Chypre Vanille? Anyway, that is one complex, nice vanilla!

  • Linda says:

    SDV for me, or CSP’s Amour de Cacao, which is delicious even though it’s a little ice-creamy. Or Note Vanillee, yes. Yum.

  • Marina says:

    I would pick Micallef Note Vanillee, with Vanille Aoud being close second.

  • Kristy Victoria says:

    How about L’Instant, does that have vanilla in it?

  • Francesca says:

    I never thought I’d find a vanilla I liked better than SDV, but I recently tested it, UBV, and Tom Ford Tobacco Vanilla together, and I realized I liked Un Bois Vanille even better. I’m never tempted to wear SDV on a hot muggy day, but UBV is fine.

    My husband is crazy about all vanilla fragrances, and sometimes I’m tempted to save myself a whole lot of money and just buy a bottle of vanilla extract and dab that behind my ears.

    • Louise says:

      Mornin! L’Aromarine Vanilla oil comes close to pure extract-very reasonable and long-wearing, layers beautifully. For your hubby’s pleasure :d/

  • Billy D says:

    May sound strange, but Noir de Noir by Tom Ford. It’s all about Vanilla on me, but in a way that is so unique.

    • Maura says:

      I completely agree on the TFPB! It is primarily vanilla on me. I wish I picked up on the aoud/rose that others do! This is what I thought Black Orchid would have smelled like!

      • Billy D says:

        I’m a vanilla hater too–I mean, I really can’t do Bulgari Black. No matter how dirty and rough and S&M-y people say it is, I get about three seconds of rubber and then it’s death by vanilla. No thanks, although I’ve heard it can take a while for people to “get” it, so I reserve the right to change my mind (unlikely).

        The thing that’s great about NdN is that there’s some dirt (in a literal sense) to the vanilla, which must come from some kind of truffle or saffron note. It’s sweet, but in a luxurious, adult way. Delicioso.

  • nubelia says:

    I think I grew weary of the straight up vanilla explosion of past years AND if it reminds me of McCormacks , I might as well go the kitchen route.

    One true love heavy with vanilla is Samsara.

  • sallycantdance says:

    Neither of those! Thanks for setting the record straight; I was afraid the Montale would be another vanilla non-vanilla like their earlier Boise Vanille. I am suspicious of all Montales, but mostly the oud etudes and the vanilla variations. I do like (or think I do, from memory) their original vanilla scent and have been tempted to buy a bottle, but perhaps a second sampling is in order.

    The vanilla I wear most is Shalimar Eau Legere, the first one. Because of humidity, I can’t wear the regular Shalimar, but it is the humidity that causes Eau Legere’s base to be the scent’s prominent feature. It works wonderfully well in the bog.

  • allabouteve says:

    No doubt..I’d take two, not one!:) And they’re two of my general favorites:
    Un Bois Vanille (yup, seems to be a classic here) and All About Eve, from Joop…both very beautiful warmer and heavier (Serge)..the other a bit more playful, mixed with apples and cinnamon. Somebody out there knows All About Eve?It’s actually/practically only sold in Germany..

  • Wendy says:

    OK – I am a complete tasteless cheepskate.

    CSP Vanille Amande.

    Behaves predictably and develops a pipe tobacco note on my skin. Get lots of complements on it too.

    If I were allowed one more vanilla – Le Labo Vanille 44.
    One more – SDV
    And another – Hypnotic Poison…..
    I have LOTS of vanillas that I love. :”>

    • aelily says:

      Oh, before I became such a niche snob, I bought CSP Vanille Abricot and I still wear it all the time. I also love Vanille Cannelle. I’ll have to try Amande. On the other side of the price spectrum, I love Le Labo Vanille 44 and have my brother’s girlfriend buying a bottle for me when she is in Europe next month!

  • alba says:

    Eau de Shalimar for me. I don’t really enjoy vanilla on its own, so in this case, the citrusy touch makes it perfect. Sometimes I think I can smell delicious lemon custard on me: gourmand yet fresh. I love it.

  • Silvia says:

    As a reformed vanilla-hater, my vote goes to SDV and Micallef’s Note Vanille. Le Labo Vanille 44 is close up there too. 😕

  • Louise says:

    La Maison de Vanille Noir du Mexique is quite nice…smokey, not extremely sweet…though on the days I wear it, someone usually asks “where are the cookies?” :d

    I turn many vanillas to plastic (Note Vanille, SDV), and many blends to pure vanilla (Cuir Beluga), but still enjoy the note. My favorite-goes-to-vanilla is L’Air du Desert Marocain-on cold days, the spices disappear, and I’m left with a bold and yummy vanilla.

    • rosarita says:

      Louise, after reading your comments for some time now, I think we may be at least scent sisters if not twins. I have the same scent eating skin, and we share many favorites. At the moment, the Mexique is my favorite vanilla for the same reasons you mentioned, and I think it will be even better in cooler weather. @};-

  • carmencanada says:

    Hmmm. Last year I was looking for a vanilla and tried the three mentioned by Denise S. Well, it turned out that finally I wasn’t ready to splurge for a vanilla “soliflore”. So the closest thing to that would be Guerlain Attrape-Coeur/ Guet-Apens which goes pretty heavy on it, but with other goodies (sandalwood, iris, rose).

    • Musette says:

      Huh! Who’dathunkit?:-? I thought I hated vanilla but I love Attrape-Couer. Plus I find I really like SMN Vaniglia, though not enough for a FB. A year ago I would’ve fainted dead away at the mere thought of a vanilla fragrance….

  • Kim says:

    Lutens Un Bois Vanille, alone or layered with Un Lys or Douce Amere.

  • tmp00 says:


    OF course in three minutes I’ll change my mind. Oh Gemini!

  • Gail S says:

    If I had to pick a vanilla fragrance and wear it all the time, I think I would shoot myself 😮 Not that I don’t mind a nice gourmand from time to time, but all the time? No can do.

    • Eileen says:

      I’m right there with you, Gail! When I see vanilla in the notes, I read “turn back! you’re going the wrong way!!” Maybe I just haven’t found the right vanilla combination yet..

  • Denise S. says:

    I love vanilla scents and own several.My favorites include Un Bois Vanille,Tihota and Spirtueuse Double Vanille. In 2 weeks I will be vacationing in Paris and will hunt down a bottle of Le Labo Vanille 44.Since I don’t speak french this will be a challenge.Thanks for reviewing one of my favorite notes

    • Debbie says:

      When i called Serge Lutens in France (the shoppe, not The Man), the saleslady spoke English and was very gracious. May you find the same!