Vanilla Perfume – Guide to the Best Vanilla Perfumes

Vanilla Perfume, it strikes fear into my black – anything but vanilla – little heart just thinking about writing this.  

The loyalty perfumistas that lurves vanilla have to their favorite is frightening. I know this one is going to leave a couple of marks, but I’ve girded myself, and I’m just going to plunge right in.  

You can sass me back if you disagree up to and including calling me a…

Vanilla Cretin.     (I’d just as soon you not, but I’m okay if you feel you have to.) 

Rules again for how I picked – must be vanilla centric, more vanilla gourmand, not vanilla oriental, though I’ve got some overlap.  I eliminated some perfumes I know I’ll get told I should have put in, but, you know, those will have to be in the Oriental perfume review probably taking place in 2014’ish.  

I’m a lot overwhelmed when I think of vanilla perfumes. At first I was thinking, oh, yeah, a few, Un Bois Vanille, a Montale or two, L’Artisan, Guerlain, Micaleff and… and… and… then it occurred to me how many vanilla perfumes there are and that I must be even more insane to tackle this than I was the rose perfume post. Let’s add to that that I started out pretty much hating vanilla perfume and only came around to them after the appearance of Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille and Le Labo Vanille 44.   I hit the brakes hard on my vanilla hate then, backed up, probably ran over a couple more vanilla perfumes I thought I hated, and then started picking up those abandoned vanillas sitting by the side of the road and sniffing at them in earnest.  Life is a strange journey, yes?  Ah, but March went on the same one, with some different stops and I think a different conclusion (see far, far below), but that darn Guerlain Spiritueuse is at the center of both. Evil thing.

But I love a challenge, and sanity has never been my strong suit, so let’s just dig in!  

There is a comfort in vanilla perfume that few other things can provide, and in some rotation, they are completely perfect, especially as the fall creeps up on us, with mornings retaining more and more chill.  If you saw the title of this post and thought  – Woo-hoo, vanilla!  Now she’s finally getting around to the good stuff!!  – hey, maybe it’s time to try something besides vanilla, ya think?  Vanilla can skew incredibly young, and it can be overpowering and intense, cloying to the point of people clawing for air. You may love it, but as I can attest after putting on about 40 vanilla perfumes over the past few days, in between multiple showers, not everyone does, and too much can literally make people ill.  Listen, the nausea did pass after a couple of hours and some fresh air, but I will never recommend anyone roll through 40 or more vanilla perfumes in three days.  I can do it because I’m familar with most of these and just needed a teeny drop as a refresher.

What is magical about vanilla is its power to comfort.  If Jasmine is narcotic, vanilla is the scent of love, warmth and caring.  Is it because it’s a scent we remember from childhood and our moms baking?  I used to think that, but I remember when I first baked with my mom’s help, I got on my little stool and pulled out the Watkins vanilla from the cabinet, and I opened it and had to put down my measuring spoons. I swear, my eyes rolled back in my head and I sighed.  I’ve never been able to pass by a bottle of vanilla without huffing on it like it was a crack pipe.  I keep vanilla pods around for baking, opening them carefully and scraping out the vanilla beans for ice cream or some other tasty baking treat, but I don’t really care about that all natural crap, I just want the smell. I’ve been guilty of opening them and scraping them just to get my vanilla fix.  

They always say vanilla is the scent to wear that men view as sexay.  This concerns me a lot.  If it’s reminding them of mom and childhood and baking, and this is what they find sexually arousing –  um, Dude, Oedipus much?  If that just means you get the warm fuzzies and get all relaxed and cuddly, then okay, no judgment here. I’m all about comfort being a precursor to getting ramped up for fun. 

Vanilla Perfume to Wear if you Want to smell like a Cupcake with LOTS of Frosting 

Cupcake Perfumes – you want to smell like a Vanilla Ho-Ho with extra vanilla frosting on top, then dipped in vanilla ice cream, not that there’s anything wrong vanilla perfume - cupcakes!with that.  At the top of this list is Aquolina Pink Sugar.  This is the vanilla badass all vanillas owe their life to – well, maybe.  Comptoir Sud Pacifique, pioneered the fine art of smelling like a BIG VANILLA CUPCAKE with Vanille Abricot, didn’t they?  I’m not averse to Pink Sugar or CSP Vanille Abricot, but they take a level of commitment I don’t think I possess most days, and they should come with some kind of warning label.  There are probably a bazillion vanilla fragrances in the mainstream arena that you can pick from if you like this version of vanilla, so I’m not going to list them. These two pretty much sum them up and are I think the best of the Cupcakes.  But I can’t talk about vanilla perfume without a nod to Thierry Mugler Angel.  It’s more about chocolate, patchouli, caramel and burnt dessert that has cleared out an entire restaurant, but I think of it, at its heart, as a vanilla perfume.  It is in the base, and that’s what gives it serious skeerage (this is the very big version of sillage).  Though I’ve learned to love some of the parfum/extrait versions of Angel when I apply just a drop, I am in no way taking back my hate of the regular version of Angel.

A couple of others that are variations on the cupcake theme – Kenzo Amour Le Amour, straight up cherry vanilla over amber and rice, and Dior Hypnotic Poison is the jasnilla cuddly version of Poison, which earns it a spot, um, somewhere?  Bath & Body Works Vanilla Noir, I think it’s discontinued, but it’s the only vanilla from BB&W that I can tolerate for a minute without screaming and running to the shower, and I did want to list a few Vanilla-zillas for those of you that like your vanilla to be pure, straight and take no prisoners while it remakes you into a frosted dessert.  With all of these big Cupcake Perfumes –

restraint is the key skill to master. 

 

Lolita Lempicka L de Lolita is also getting thrown up here. Well, because I pretty much hate it, though I shouldn’t.  It’s a vanilla flower with some immortelle pancake syrup thrown over the top. That should be the only warning you need.  You may love it at first, but overdose on it, and you will be forever horrified at the smell. It’s the only perfume I’ve had people ask me to please wash off. This in a household that still hasn’t batted an eye at me smelling like an industrial bakery for the last three days.

Van Cleef & Arpels Orchidee Vanille is expensive cupcake, and it’s light’ish on the frosting, but it is cupcake.  L’Artisan Havana Vanille (now called Vanille Absolutement or something?) is rum-soaked bread pudding with vanilla cupcake.  Profumum Aqua e Zucchero is major expensive cupcake with frosting and syrup drizzled on top.  If you like your perfumes suhweeet! and cavity-inducing, this Profumum does it – and how!  Now, it also is a little compelling for me, too, kind of like one of those Black Cow suckers or Sugar Daddys. Do they still make those?  Now I want some. Thanks, Profumum, you suck!  Now I’m craving Sugar Babies, Sugar Daddys and Black Cow suckers.

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille is a little cupcakey and a little not because the licorice starts snapping and popping with coconut sprinkles.  I really want a cupcake that is just like this.  Except eventually a little wood gremlin pops out of the cupcake and scares the shit out of me!  So it went in this section, but that’s just the open, things may change in it.  It still makes it completely charming and one of my top three ten vanilla perfumes.  

Montale Boise Vanille is sweet enough to be a little cupcake-ish on the open, but it’s got a nice woodsy quality to it that keeps it from getting too sweet, and it eventually settles into a not-sweet vanilla perfume (Yawn!).  But it’s here because, well, I found the open sweet enough that I don’t want to scare anyone off when they first uncap it.  You know, I really don’t like this one, and I think I used to, but now it’s boring. Other people do. I faaaaar prefer Montale Vanilla Extasy, which pretty much beats you over the head with sweet vanilla. Sorry, I don’t seem to have a middle ground,  either like it barely vanilla or verging on a gagging vanilla mess.  Vanilla Extasy is charming because it doesn’t pretend to be anything else, and it does that really well.  There’s probably a couple hundred other Montale vanillas that I don’t even know about – talk about prolific vanillic perfuming!  Indult Tihota is discontinued, and I shouldn’t even mention it, but it is a great vanilla – rich, full-throated vanilla, sweet enough if that’s your bag. I remember always wanting to hate it.  Now it’s gone. I would have sworn I had a little bit around, but alas, it is definitely gone, and I miss it, and I’m going completely from memory.

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille is not something I love at all, but lots of people do!  So there you go. I liked it better early on, but it’s just so pushy!  But if you like some vanilla-heavy perfume with lots of tobacco stuffed in, you probably should give this a quick go and see if it’s MFEO. It has lots of fans; it won’t miss me as a fan.   i Profumi di Firenze Vaniglia del Madagascar  was a hard one to place in a category.  It feels pretty cupcakey to me, but it’s more like a silky cashmere cupcake. Ultimately I put it here because it is a strong enough vanilla that those that want their vanilla covered over with something else so they don’t have to smell so much vanilla would be horrified.  Cupcake it is!  

Parfumerie Generale anything vanilla – Tonkamande, Un Crime Exotique, Felanilla.  I’ve been able to wear some Parfumerie Generale foodie vanilla scents in the past, but as I’m running mop-up on this post and note I don’t have one single thing from that line, when they actually do some great vanillas, but my blood sugar must be up over 600 with all the vanilla I’ve indulged in the last few days, and the thought of putting on one of his big-ass vanilla perfumes is just more than I can take. So cut me some slack. If you love big-ass vanilla perfumes with a side of cereal and that are guaranteed to have the half-life of Fermium-253 (about three days), grab 2-3 of these and have a ball!

Boozy cupcakes include Micallef Note Vanillee.  She’s not only boozy, but she had too much to drink the night before and is having a hard time remembering what she did, but why does she have a pair of boxers and a paddle in her purse?  There’s a nice smutty quality to Note Vanillee that puts this into the first known skanky vanilla category.

I know, who knew there could be such a thing?!?!?  

Oh, Wait, Xerjoff Mamluk does it too, but in such a different way!  It’s in another category at the bottom, but it could go up here, it’s just not a cupcake!

 

Drawback to writing this and Googling for Cupcake pictures? I am soooo hungry for cupcakes.

 

Vanilla perfume – hold the sugar, lay on the incense and smoke! 

Now we are in my very favorite vanilla perfume category and the one that completely turned me around on vanilla scents.  From the mainstream lilting bitter-tipping vanilla/incense/angelica combo of Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise to the choked smoked vanilla of Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille, this is the section to find a vanilla if you don’t think you love vanilla or the only vanilla you’ve smelled has been from the category above.  On the more economy scale, Vanille Exquise is lightly incensey and slightly bitter, really light on the vanilla, which made vanilla fans very angry when it was first released.  Vanilla is there, but it’s tempered by the wood, angelica and incense – by tempered I mean threw some bitter at it until it went and shut the hell up and sat in the corner.  

Atelier Vanille Insensee, provided you can get some friends to split that big vat, is another deliciously incensed vanille.  With a lot less vanilla, and I probably shouldn’t even put it in this post, but Caron Parfum Sacre is a really scrumptious woody vanilla.  I get the vanilla in this one really lightly, it lends a comfort, and maybe as an introduction to the vanilla-averse, it’s a good place to start!

Guerlain Tonka Imperiale sketches out Shalimar and goes on the gourmand side, the tonka velvety with tobacco, hay, vanilla perfume - leather cupcakesmoke, gingerbread.  Soivohle Vanillaville chuffs out smoke and leather and birch tar over the vanilla, and it is far less gourmand than probably everything else listed in this post. Hey, it’s a leather cupcake!!  

L’Artisan Vanilia (now discontinued) is a gorgeous almost-not-vanilla that has this lovely amber/sandalwood combo that puts it in contention with the Goutal as the most easily wearable vanilla perfume when you don’t want to smell quite like a cupcake or much like vanilla. They just both take them out there in a whole new place while leaving it still comforting and lovely.  

Mona Di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Vanille is a spicy smoky vanilla playground, a little boozy, and it is a completely different and unique take on vanilla.  No Cupcake here, it’s a grown up vanilla, and an incredibly fine one.    

Vanilla Perfume that Behaves Itself and Promises Not to Make you Smell Like You work in a Cake Factory

These are perfumes that wear their vanilla lightly, restrained, really low on the sugar, more of an abstract gourmand than an actual one.  Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise walks this gourmand line with perfection. Warm and cuddly, little bit oriental, this is the vanilla to wear when you don’t really want anyone to know you need some comforting vanilla.  Hermessence Vanille Galante is really more about the lily, but it has this lovely smoky vanilla floating around the lily, and I’ve adored this from the moment I first smelled it until now.  If you want just a whisper of vanilla in a floral, you can’t go wrong here.  

CB I Hate Perfume 7 Billion Hearts is a smoky vanilla beauty.  Not huffing black smoke like Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille, but huffing embers of vanilla. It stays close to the skin and lets gentle vanilla smoky tendrils envelop you and remind you that someone loves us all.  And the Perfume Blog-ville loves it. Tom loved it (Tom, you forgot you loved this!), Candy Perfume Boy loved it,and the Non blonde loved it.

Diptyque Eau Duelle is a vanilla fragrance I defy anyone to hate.  Therein lies its problem as well  – it gets no attention. It is probably one of the best-behaved vanilla perfumes in this entire post, and it is really nice. As Gaia at Non-Blonde put it – “it’s the poor man’s version of Le Labo Vanille 44.”  I’ll add to that that it does bring in some tea, and I long for more smokiness, but I’m thinking if I just spritz some L’Artisan Tea for Two gently over it (not Comme des Garcons Tea, that will kill it!), it will be pretty much perfect.  It is the perfectly inoffensive vanilla perfume, but I’m not going to fault it for that.  It’s really nice, it’s really pretty, and there are a thousand more things a perfume can be in the world that are far worse than that.

vanilla perfume - Le labo Vanille 44Le Labo Vanille 44 is the Paris City Exclusive, and it whispers vanilla softly in your ear, coos a little, you look at the price tag and what you have to go through to get a bottle and say no, no, no!  And Le Labo Vanille 44 whispers, oui, oui, oui!  Incense and woods have this absolutely magical touch with the vanilla, and you think it will just float off in the air at any moment, but this thing sticks and floats and keeps whispering, oui, oui, oui.  Give in, save yourself the useless resistance. This is probably the closest thing to that lovely vanilla pod.  Yes, it is stupid expensive, and you will convince yourself it’s not worth it, you’ll just get some of that Diptyque Poor Man’s substitute, and then you will just think about how delicately Vanille 44 wafted for what seemed like days. What was that perfume commercial from the ’60s or ’70s?  “I can’t seem to forget you” – oh, yeah, now i remember -” Your Wind Song Stays on my mind.”   LIke that, only worse because I don’t think Wind Song ever sold for anything above a $20 bill.  

Creed Sublime Vanille is geared towards men, and you believe it on the open with the lemon blast. It never gets too sweet, nor too anything else.  If you want a vanilla that completely behaves itself with its prim little vanilla pods tucked inside a buttoned-up base, Creed Sublime Vanille is your go-to scent. I do like it!  It just isn’t extraordinary or even that memorable. I hadn’t smelled it since I reviewed it back in 2009, and I didn’t remember what it smelled like!  I think they could have named it Pretty Good Vanille instead, then I’d remember it.  Sublime veers sharply to overhyped and then crashed into it.

Santa Maria Novella Vaniglia is just a perfect low-key vanilla perfume.   A little smoky, a little gourmand, not sweet, there is something for everyone to love here.  I’d never actually smelled this one before, and it surprised me with how great I thought it was.  I went around the interwebs looking for all the love and – nada!  One old review from Ina.  I expected a whole lot more love out there. This is the best thing about doing these long reviews – I keep finding things I never tried and falling in love with them or falling in love with old loves I almost forgot about.  

Parfums de Nicolai has two entries in this, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille-Tonka, which is a cinnamon-vanilla fusion that sounds much more gourmand than it is.  This is a vanilla if you don’t want a gourmand vanilla at all.  Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Intense is much more vanilla, less on the surrounding notes and my favorite of the two. I know Vanille-Tonka has a lot of love, but it just smells weird to me. Vanille Intense with the addition of immortelle with the cinnamon is just warmer, richer, not cloying vanille, just one that you want to get closer to.

Givenchy Organza Indecence may hint that you work in a bakery, but probably not. Don’t overapply, this one is not shy, but it is the way to do sexy vanilla.  Chopard Casmir is on the cusp of bakery, again, apply lightly, and let this sweet thing take you away!  These two might have gone up in the cupcake area, but I’m leaving them here, Yell at me later if you think I’m so, so wrong.  

Guerlain Shalimar.  I got nothing else to say.  Shalimar hates me, and the feeling is mutual.  It turns into a baby powder diaper mess on me, so I have no idea what any of you are talking about when you get all worked up about Shalimar. I’ll take your word for it enough to put it in here, but that’s as far as I’m going.

Vanilla Perfume that are big old Gourmands, but not just about the Vanilla – and they won’t last forever.

“They won’t last forever” means that so many of these vanillas require a level of commitment similar to going into battle with your kids over cleaning their room or smoking pot – the effort is futile, but you feel you should make it anyway.  The ones below I can attest to they won’t last forever even though you might have a few moments where you are pretty sure they will.  

At the top of this list has to be Lostmarc’h Lann-Ael (Breton for Angel Heath, though I can’t imagine why Angel Heath smells like cereal).  Buckwheat, cereals, milk, apple and vanilla.  I think I called them Fruit Loops in an old review. Really yummy Fruit Loops!  Addictive, comforting, I could roll around in this until I OD’ed.

Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale is just a little dessert with cinnamon, pepper, apple nutmeg and vanilla.  It makes me happy to be sitting all bundled up on a fall morning with the windows open, it’s kind of perfectly weird, which often makes it perfect.  

Xerjoff Mamluk is the only successful oud gourmand I can think of.  Montale I’m sure has one, but Mamluk is special. Since it was released in summer, I didn’t play with it beyond testing it, but damn it is a sex-filled dessert!  Here’s what I said about it back in May

“Candied Oud with a skanky backwash.  You’re not sure whether to eat it or bed it.  Caramel, honey and vanilla blend so beautifully with the oud, and you get a jab of sharp oud, then it’s covered over in more candy  Floating down there under it all is sex and more sex  –   with the dessert after and, well, before and during.”

My Personal Top Five Vanilla Perfumes –

Le Labo Vanille 44, Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, CB I hate Perfume 7 Billion Hearts and Xerjoff Mamluk and – wait, that’s five already?

 

Okay, My Personal Top Ten Vanilla Perfumes, Continued –

L’Artisan Vanilia, Lostmarc’h Lann-Ael, SMN Vaniglia, Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise, L’Artisan Havana Vanille or whatever it’s called now and – wait, that’s ten?  F&*&#$CK. I apparently have a few vanillas I like, which is a long way from the zero vanilla perfumes i liked a few years ago.   

Rounded up from the Posse their favorites, those that could hit the gas pedal quick enough with my last-minute request for their faves –

March, after much thoughtful deliberation  – BARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.  Wow, that was mature.  Okay, that f’ing Guerlain SpirituaIalIcantspellinfrench double vanilla was pretty awesome.  Getting mah vanilla fix from the Brief and Discontinued L’Occitane Miel et Vanille.   Hands down favorite: Organza Indecence.  Men follow me around like dogs.

Tom, after the same thoughtful deliberation – I agree with March, although since it was 100 in L.A. today it would have turned to caramel. 

Musette, thinking and clearly drawing a blank  – My  ONLY vanilla love is Shalimar.  Oh!  No.  I lied.  Donna Hathaway sent me the most amazing vanilla fragrance – hang on…let me go find it  (it’s Vanilla Nero/Negro/Necro something…okay, I’m lying about the Necro….hang on)…Monotheme Te Nero y Vaniglia.  Really like that – a LOT!

Ann, who has some good taste – I do love me some of that Paris Le Labo Vanille 44 — it’s such a delicious mix of vanilla and incense. And who could forget the late, great, discontinued Indult Tihota? That stuff was so yummy I was just about temptedto drink it.

Portia, who always goes outside the box! – Jacomo Art Series #2, Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan, Ambra del Nepal Il Profumide Firenze, Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman, Le Male JPG, DKNY Gold, Burberry Brit,  DIOR Eau Noire, Vanille Marina M Micallef, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Vanille Absolutement L’Artisan Parfumeur, Shalimar Guerlain

Okay, your turn!  

Do you hate vanilla? Do you want to only be entered so you can win and throw all the vanilla in the trash because it will be good for the environment to remove some vanilla perfume from the world?  Do you love it, wear it daily, intend to completely ignore my advice not to choke anyone with it and swear that you could get laid every night with this certain vanilla perfume?  If so, please disclose details of which one and if you are over the age of 45 and not in the sex trade.  Actually, if you are – never mind.  Where did I go wrong with my list?

Samples provided by me and some lent to me for trying and giving away by Surrender to Chance 

This is interesting too!

331 Comments

  1. My favorite straight-up vanilla is Guerlain SDV. But I have many, many gourmand loves where vanilla is just one guest at the party (including your hated Angel and L de LL!). And I assume an AMBER guide is coming soon? I hope so! Because amber is my vanilla.

    • Ah, yes, Elisa! Amber is my vanilla too. Can’t wait for the amber guide.

    • Vanilla is sometimes tricky to classify. I don’t get vanilla in Shalimar at all, I get powder, powder and more powder. What is vanilla about that? But I totally understand that everyone else probably in the universe smells vanilla.

      amber?!?!? Eeeeekkk!!! do I have to smell Tom Ford Amber Absolute or can I just stick with my son’s review on it “It feels like put a beehive on my head!” ?

    • Yes thank you, Amber! And by the way–good amber and vanilla = I Profumi de Firenze Ambra del Nepal. (Although some perfumistas say that in recent years, the formulation isn’t like it used to be…)

      • I just want it noted that a quick count o good ambers yielded NO less than about 65 on first count.

        Just saying. But okay, look for it later this month or early November!

  2. Ah!
    I needed a laugh today and March provided it.
    I concur.

  3. I totally did not want to enter the draw when I read the first few paragraphs..lol! I am not a huge vanilla lover- though ironically hypnotic poison was my ‘gateway’ perfume when i was a teenager.
    However the second set of perfumes (the hold the sugar ones)- some I DO like..If Shalimar counts- then the parfum and the vintage PDT I like VERY much..Dawn’s (DSH) vanilla absolute (?not sure if that is the name) is quite lovely- especially the spicy bits..MdO Vanille I have been lemming as well as the CBIHP.

    • Ha! I knew all the vanilla haters would be shuddering through the first 1/3 of the post, but then might get a teensy bit interested. You’d definitely want the non-cupcake vanila perfume. MdO Vanille is just gorgeous, as is the CB. Have you tried LIz’s?

  4. Ha! This was great. Back in my teens I wanted to just give up and wear vanilla extract, but it doesn’t last long. Nowadays I wear the Mona, the Diptyque, Tobacco Vanille, Flowerbomb, and Crazy Libelllule l’Olfactive 129. I’m sure there are others I have swooned over and forgotten. I haven’t found the love for SDV but haven’t really let it court me properly, either.

    Good work! I don’t know if I could have done it.

    • Tama, do you think I could just take some of the vanilla teensy beans and tuck some in my bra? That would work for me it it weren’t too too weird.

      this one was the hardest work. roses you can get off pretty easily, and they will face over the course of the day. some of these vanillas just stick like glue. I’m not sure i like any of them right now except in theory. 🙂

  5. Hi, Patty! So glad you’ve still got the love for one of my faves, the Le Labo Vanille 44. And I don’t feel so bad now, seeing that Shalimar hates you, too. “Baby powder diaper mess” about sums it up on me as well (apologies to those of you who love it).

    • I used to think of Shalimar as a “diaper bag oriental” too! But I recently opened a vintage bottle of EDC and I love it! It’s much less powdery than the recent versions I had tried, with more leather. Who knew? I almost sold the bottle without smelling it because I was sure I’d hate it.

      • Yay, Elisa! Glad to hear your Shalimar story had a happy ending. Still waiting for mine, alas. (But that’s OK — more for everyone else to love.)

      • Ack, you talked me into trying it again. I swore, never ever. I have a lot of vintage Shalimar around here, and I grabbed some old parfum, and there is this brief shining moment at the open where I get a glimpse of what I should be smelling for longer than the 2 seconds it takes to hit my skin, warm up, and go All Pampers on me. And there it went. 🙂

        • Sorry I tricked you into smelling like Pampers! This EDC I’ve got seems particularly leathery and special.

    • I don’t apologize for my shalimar hate, and it’s not particular apologetic about hating me either. 🙂 The Le Labo is so damn pretty. I do keep thinking it’s not worth it, but every time I wear it, I change my mind. It’s weird.

  6. What a great post! I have loved vanilla for decades, since I first smelled Shalimar in the ’70s. It felt wrong on me after awhile and then I found Must de Cartier Parfum and I cleared out elevators throughout the ’90s. I went through a rose phase, but returned to my vanilla signature with Havana Vanille which I love when the weather is cool enough to wear it. My all time fave, wear everyday vanilla in spite of its’ strength is SL Un Bois Vanilla. My next vanilla purchase will be Duelle. If I win the lottery, well you know, Paris bound, returning with Le Labo!

    • OMG, Must de Cartier is so awesome and, um, yeah, elevator clearing if not dosed carefully. 🙂

      You know, if you wait, Le Labo has been doing the yearly release of the city-specific perfumes in the fall. so maybe in October of November you could get some Vanille!

      duelle is so pretty! I wish I would stop forgetting it!

      • Thanks, ladies, for the reminder about the Must de Cartier. Wonderful stuff in small doses — I thumb my nose at Luca Turin’s unflattering review, ha!
        And I think the Duelle is quite nice, too.

  7. What, no mention of La Maison de la Vanille? They have a set of five vanillas of which at least three are excellent (Vanille Noire du Mexique, Vanille Givrée des Antilles, and Vanille Sauvage du Madagascar), and they are DIRT CHEAP: Luckyscent has five half-ounce bottles for $50, or they’re $60 each for a 100-mL spray, which is like giving them away.

    Also, L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant is a gorgeous vanilla laced with saffron and rose: not as gorgeous as their Vanilia used to be, but still pretty wonderful. (I’ve been wearing it for years and I’m not sick of it yet, which is pretty much unheard of.)

    • You know, I’ve missed the whole La Maison de la Vanille1 Sorry. I’ve heard they are great, and I’m sure there are or have been samples of it laying around here somewhere, but I had to stop at some point. I had a list of another 40-50 vanilla perfumes beyond these, and I was just so over it at that point. :Tired:

      I love Safran Troublant! It definitely has some vanilla in it, but I still keep it piled over in my very small pile of great saffron perfumes. There are way too few of those.

      • OMG! FORTY OR FIFTY? Beyond what you already had? Great wavy gravy, woman!!! :Amazed:

        the things you do for the Posse.

        I wore that Monotheme last night, in honor of this post. Like you, I can only wear vanilla in the autumn and winter – and it has to be the smoky/tea-y/not sweet type…..but we’re having a cool snap and I must say, that Monotheme hit the spot!

        xo :Devil:

    • I’m glad you asked about this, as I was just about to do… Any feedback about du Mexique or Madagascar that you’d care to give? I am interested in both of these. Ta!

      • I sniffed the whole line and Madagascar was the standout to me. Sexy, kind of spicy, dark-ish vanilla! Hope that helps : )

      • Would it be gross if I linked to my blog posts about those two scents? I mean, someone asked!

        The Mexique was, I thought, reminiscent of Tocade only dialed way back, a subdued rose-and-jasmine vanilla scent that’s very appealing.

        The Madagascar was, to my nose, warm and cozy, foody (a suggestion of chocolate, an herb-and-spice middle) without being overbearing. I agree with Kacey: it’s the standout of the set. (But you really should buy the set — it’s so cheap! I gave away one of them and still enjoy the rest.)

  8. My favorite isn’t a straight-up vanilla, but it totally reads vanilla to me. Profumi del Forte’s Roma Imperiale. Delicious! Notes:

    Top notes
    Bergamot, mandarin, neroli, rose-wood, coriander seed, cinnamon, tomato leaves

    Middle notes
    Orchid, jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute, ylang – ylang, iris butter, Turkish rose essence, seringa

    Base notes
    Civette, oak moss, grey amber. Vanilla, sandalwood

  9. That was just the sort of snarky review I like. Made me laugh and made me want to try something I think I don’t like. Thanks for doing the hard work and shoveling away in vanilla scented salt mines.

    • hey, if I’ve talked even one person into smelling something they are sure they’ll hate, my work is done now. 🙂

  10. I’ve had tough luck with vanilla fragrances, after testing maybe 15 of them, but the ones I have bottles of are SL Un Bois Vanille and AC Vanille Insensée, I love those two. Thanks for the draw!

    • You are so welcome! I think vanilla is tricky. I find them completely unbearable once spring hits, but fall starts their darn siren song!

      you have two great ones, you are all set! This from the girl that now has more than ten favorite vanilla perfumes. I really hate myself sometimes. 🙂

  11. Wow, that was some impressive post, Patty. When I started wearing a lot of different perfumes a few years ago, I was sure I wouldn’t like vanilla. But the Silver Fox gave me a sample of SDV and I wore it and it drove my husband crazy (in a good way). Then the SF gave me the entire rest of the bottle when he decided he didn’t like it on himself. I have Un Bois Vanille and Eau Duelle. I have a little decant of a Micallef I like, that I think is called simply Vanille, or maybe Vanilla Oud? Love Shalimar.

    I’d like to try the Le Labo and CBIHP vanillas. Also the SMN and the de Nicolaïs.

    • Francesca, I’m not sure it’s that impressive, but thanks! By the very end, it was torture, as I started sifting through sample boxes trying to find PGs, and I just couldn’t. I wanted a shower and to not smell like vanilla for a few days. 🙂

      Oh, you have such a great selection of the smoky vanillas! You probabely have the Vanille Oud. I found an old post of mine about the Vanille Oud, and it sounds like I loved it. I must have only had a sample because I couldn’t find it anywhere. 🙁

      The ones you want to try are great choices to try. I’ll be interested which ones you like. Based on the others, I would predict love for the Le Labo and CB and maybe the SMN. I’m not sure about the Nicolais. I think she does other things a lot better than vanilla.

  12. Y’all feel about all vanilla like I feel about the Vanilla Fields my mother wore during my childhood. I like gourmands now (and would like to sniff more), but that first sniff is always hesitant. Then again, there are a lot of notes I like less well.

    • It does depend on associations. I think that’s why I stayed away from them – that and people who overused the really strong ones, it was just so intense and not good. I’m sure I’ve smelled vanila fields, but I’m just not remembering it.

  13. I think I just witnessed the birth of a thousand lemmings. Including a few of my own….

    Great, great post.

    • Really? I think I was kind of mean about a lot of these ?!? That’s probably the appeal. If Patty hates it…. 🙂 I’m kidding. But it’s fall, time for vanilla and chocolate and incense and … I’ve got a whole frankincense and myrrh thing planned for the month of December or at least as far into it as I can get.

  14. Since I’m very suggestible, my SOTE is SL Un Bois Vanille. Thanks for another great one in the series.

  15. Apparently, I don’t like much of anything. I would have said I liked vanilla, but of those listed, only Hypnotic Poison, Angel, Shalimar and Sublime Vanille do much for me. I did used to have a sample of a vanilla perfume that smelled like cotton candy. In the right mood, that was kind of fun.

    • Oh, that’s okay! The great thing about perfume is everyone gets to pick what they like, and I am certain my taste in vanilla perfume is completely different than lots of people!

  16. I love the Guerlain! So perfect for fall. Also, I don’t know if you would count Bulgari Black as a vanilla (it certainly is for me), but I adore that as well. Haven’t tried the CB, but you make it sound lovely. Thanks for the guides, they’re great!

    • Yup! I swear, someone threw Black in for jasmine too, didn’t they? I think it’s like songes, you can find a note in there that will let you move it over. but it is vanilla, and I thought about it, but it’s not gourmand, so I ultimately left it out. It will have a starring appearance in my “road tar, creosote, birch tar and asphalt perfumes I love” post. 🙂 Weirdly enough, I don’t have enough of those, and perfumers should get busy and make more, they are my favorites.

      the CB is fetching, really. It took a while for me to really come to that conclusion. I liked it, but it took time to realize how brilliant it was.

    • Bvlgari Black is a vanilla for me, too! As is its cousin, Le Labo Patchouli 24. SMOKEH.

      I also love Laura Mercier Vanille Gourmande – sounds like it’d be a cupcake, but there’s some sasparilla lurking in there too./

    • Bvlgari Black is a vanilla for me, too! As is its cousin, Le Labo Patchouli 24. SMOKEH.

      I also love Laura Mercier Vanille Gourmande – sounds like it’d be a cupcake, but there’s some sasparilla lurking in there too. Sasparilla/rootbeer isn’t very popular in the UK – most people say it smells medicinal – but I love it.

  17. When I was 13 years old I had a migraine that lasted 4 days. My mother made me a vanilla milkshake to make me feel better. Until very recently I could smell vanilla ice cream at forty paces and would get very queasy. So it’s a tricky note with me, to say the least.

    I do like Safran Troublant, though. It’s not too vanilla-y to me, though.

    Is there such a thing as a vanilla leather? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    • Ew, that sounds so awful!

      You know, I thought so too, but Liz came the closest. Have you tried Mona’s vanille? It gives a deftly light touch on the vanilla, smokes it up, and it’s really nicely done.

      • I thought I had a sample of Vanillaville around here somewhere, but haven’t been able to find it. I’ll have to get a new one… and check out the Mona as well, thanks!

        I’ve been reading comments here about a best of amber guide… now that would REALLY make me puke! LOL

        • SWEETIEPIE!!!!

          How’ve you been? It’s so NICE to see you on here!!!

          xxoxo :Devil:

          (ps. I still have your stuff (blushes)

          xoxoxoA

    • Our family story regarding Beverages for When You Are Sick:

      My sister in law, age approximately seven, had a stomach virus and was feeling bad. Her dad, wanting to help, brought her a glass of tomato juice. TOMATO JUICE.

      I don’t even have to tell you what happened next.

  18. Yay, a vanilla list! this should help me in my quest to find a Vanilla Fields and Hypnose replacement for my mom. She has amazing skin; on her, vanillas become these beautiful floral and spice masterpieces, not cupcakes 🙂 You would think with skin like that it’d be easy, but she’s rather picky about her scents… and prone to migraines and respiratory issues with a lot of scents, so the search continues. (How would you categorize VF and Hypnose? They’re not gourmand, but they don’t seem to fit into any of the listed categories!) If I’m lucky enough to win, she’ll be the happy recipient of the samples. (Like so many other notes, I love vanilla but it doesn’t love me back most of the time)

    NP

      • Ooh, I LOVE Hypnose! It’s the only full bottle I own of anything, actually (and it was a gift, hah!). Works for me like Organza Indecence apparently works for March (did I mention it was a gift from my boyfriend at the time?) 😛 Oddly enough, it never occurred to me as a predominantly vanilla fragrance. Will have to re-sniff this evening…

        • On me, and on most people I’ve smelled it on, it seems to be mainly floral with some vanilla; on my mom, it’s a vanilla-jasmine sorbet with a sliver of a faint green wood. As dessertlike as that sounds, it’s not on her, it doesn’t smell at all edible, just amazing… I envy her skin.

  19. I loved this even though I usually run the other direction when I hear vanilla mentioned. I do have a soft spot for TF Tobacco Vanille and I like several of the PG’s where the vanilla is a background player. And I do love Shalimar but on me the vanilla doesn’t even register – all I get is sex bomb – and I am ok with that.

    • Ha! My vanilla net has caught you too. 🙂 First it’s the Tom Ford, then a random PG and before you know it you are mainlining Pink Sugar. 🙂

  20. You are doing a brilliant–and very entertaining–job on this series! I’m delighted to see another post in the series tonight!

    A few years ago I was sure I wanted a vanilla perfume, but tried this and tried that and really couldn’t come up with anything I wanted a full bottle of. They are almost always TOO MUCH. In the end, my favorite was the Mona de Orio vanilla–love that smoky sting—though I can’t bring myself to buy a bottle yet. My husband loves the Sushi Imperiale on me, but again I feel a decant is enough. And I have been wanting to smell the Le Labo vanilla since you wrote about wearing that with the Le Labo patchouli (which I love, but also only own a decant of). Somehow I’ve gone all these years without getting a sniff of that one! And that’s why I want to win this contest!

    • OH, thanks, NIna! I’m pretty much committed. Okay, committed to doing these posts for the foreseeable future, though I think I need to slip in a random review on something else on the weekends. I really want to talk about Puredistance Opardu and some others. I’ve been smelling perfume for so long and so many, I figure I should put those resources to some use.

      That Mona is exactly right. I would tell anyone who doesn’t like vanilla to go there first or with the SMN Vaniglia or the le Labo, if they want something sophisticated with just a hint of that wonderful vanilla comfort. I still layer Patchouli on all sorts of things. Cereal, bread, soups. 🙂

      I do love that darn le Labo, always have. I don’t think it’s universal out there, but I can’t ever figure out if people say oh, pretty, but not worth $500, which is true of about anything or if they just don’t even think about the price tag and evaluate it. I think it’s tough to not think about price in terms of what you’re smelling. It smells so great on me, I just ignore the price tag. I’d rather have one bottle of $500 perfume that I love than 20 bottles of $30 perfume that sorta skeeve me out after wearing them a time or two. 🙂

  21. Does anyone else actively dislike the Guerlain SDV? I have two bottles of vanilla fragrance that I do like, however, SL Un Bois Vanille and L’Artisan’s Vanilia. I also have a vintage bottle of L’Occitane’s Fleur de Vanille, which I don’t actually wear, but take out to smell on a regular basis. Agree with Furriner about Safran Troublant…great fragrance, but not very vanilla.

    Thanks for another great post in this series and for the draw.

    • Oh, I’m sure they do! It can’t possibly work for everyone, and on some days it’s way too much for me. And completely out of the question once we get past April.

      L’Artisan Vanilia is really perfection. As much as I love the Havana Vanille or Vanilla Absolutement or whatever it’s called, Vanilia being discontinued is just way harsh. I think I have an extra bottle tucked away for emergencies, and I’m afraid I’ll run out !

  22. I thought I hated vanilla perfumes until I smelled Guerlain’s SDV, now it is my favorite scent.

    • Gateway vanilla drug, I tell you. I think it converted more vanilla haters into at least vanilla neutral-ish than about anything else.

      did you know they only intended that to be a limited edition? Guerlain had no idea it would do as well as it did.

  23. Gosh, I like vanilla more than I thought after reading this post, because I have tried almost every perfume mentioned. And, it made me remember Indult Tihota! That was one lovely vanilla. I had a sample and adored it, but didn’t buy a bottle because I thought it was too “simple.” My mistake. My favorite vanillas are L’Artisan Vanilia and PDN Vanille Intense. I have a full bottle of SL Un Bois Vanille, but it doesn’t get much love because of that damn wood gremlin.

    • This is what I realized too. I thought I only have like 3-5 that I liked, but as the list started stretching on, it was a little scary.

      Tihota was so pretty! I will miss it, it was kind of the perfect vanilla.

      did you stock up on the Vanilia? Yeah, the wood in Un Bois vanille always startles me, it’s this sharp left in the road, and I can’t always quite make that sharp of a turn.

  24. Now I’m craving a Breyer’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream milkshake. Cuir Beluga is actually very cool and vanilla extract-y on me, which I really like. How about Lys Soleia too for the vanilla in the drydown. Anyway I love vanilla in perfume.

    • There were a few of the La Matieres that would go well as a vanilla, and Cuir Beluga is definitely one of them – probably more about vanilla than leather. I still haven’t tried Lys Soleia, can you believe that? I need to try it when I’m in New York this month.

  25. I guiltily confess to liking quite a few vanilla perfumes—among them the Le Labo, Mona di Orio, and the Annick Goutal. I got a decant of Xerjoff Mamluk after reading your review, and I agree with everything you said about it but have to add that I think another successful oud gourmand (what a strange concept!) is Micallef Vanille Aoud, as I think someone else just mentioned. The vanilla sort of tames the oud, and it’s much more restrained and demure than the Xerjoff.

    I haven’t tried, but now must get a sample of, 7 Billion Hearts.

    • But you like really great vanillas, so no need to feel guilty, and the Goutal is barely a vanilla. 🙂

      You know, I found my review of the vanilla oud, and I loved it. I must have only had a sample that I can’t find now, but you’re right, that is a great one. Now I like the lack of demurity in Mamluk a lot, but not all the time.

  26. My most FAVORITE scent in the world is Le Labo Vanille44!!! Creed’s Sublime Vanilla is my second favorite. I’ve tried numerous vanilla scents but I’d love to try more!

  27. I love a vanilla, and I have several different ones. In winter I like to wear SL Un bois Vanille or Guerlain SDV. My favorite is Le Labo, and that can be worn any time, but to me it smells really Christmassy. In warmer weather I like HermesVG or Atelier Cologne VI. Too many good vanillas.

    • Songes, I swear, it winds up in every category. 🙂 I think it’s been suggested for everything I’ve done so far except rose. 🙂

  28. I’m loving these comprehensive guides of yours in the classic-Patty style. And I’m glad you put up a tab for them so they’re easy to find again.

    I wasn’t much of a vanilla fan until I stumbled across some Shalimar body products — ooh yeah. I fall asleep many nights now with the smoky goodness of the body lotion. The other vanilla I’ve been liking is Atelier’s Vanilla Insensee – not too sweet and that cologne structure and lightness works for me. Clearly I need to check out the Santa Maria Novella Vaniglia. (And feel free to do some reviews of any of the SMNs — they are few and far between.)

    • Oh, thanks! This is suiting me far better than doing a single review of a perfume. Unless I’m over the moon in love with something, I usually have about three sentences to say. That leaves a lot of blank space in a blog post.

      You know, nobody reviews the SMNs, and I’m not sure why. I’ve had mad love for Eva and Nostalgia for years, and I’m pretty sure there’s some reviews I’ve written on them. I guess I need to do more. But I liked stuff nobody else liked of theirs like, well, Nostalgia and Eva. 🙂 Now that I love Vaniglia, it’s probably the kiss of Death.

  29. I’m not a big fan of gourmands; I’ve never wanted to smell like food. But two vanilla fragrances do come to mind recently: Montale’s Vanille Absolu and Serendipty Serendiptious II or something like that. They both have a nice caramel richness to them that goes nicely with the cooler weather.

    • Wow, those are two BIG vanillas. Serendipitous is supposedly about chocolate, but I found it pretty much about vanilla. But, yeah, I think both of those have a nice caramel note in them that is a little addictive.

      • By the way, your POSTS are addictive. I get such a kick out of them;find myself laughing out loud and really enjoying myself. Thanks! 🙂

        • Thank you, Jeanine! Always good to hear. If I start boring anyone with these, just tell me, and I’ll — well, I won’t stop, who am I kidding, I’m getting addicted to this cataloguing of all these perfumes I’ve smelled in the last decade or more.

  30. Before I took up wearing real perfume, I was occasionally tempted to just use the vanilla bottle when I was baking.

    I’d like to try lots of vanilla perfumes.

    • I’m pretty sure March has dabbed some vanilla extract behind her ears, so don’t let anything like pride stop you. 🙂 We are shameles, wearing extracts, even room sprays when we realy love them.

  31. Vanilla can be such a crap shoot on me. With Sushi Imperial, I get nothing but a shaving cream smell, so I’d rather just get a can of shaving cream. Guerlain SDV is nothing short of a hot mess of vanilla and not in a good way on me. Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanilla was a great idea but I got bubble gum along with the tobacco and vanilla. Havana Vanille was the first vanilla dominant perfume that I fell in love with. Another blogger had pegged it as a ‘thinking person’s perfume’. I have not worn it in a while and might have to.

    • Agree on Havana Vanille. It’s really lovely and just a little boozy, and that’s my favorite combination in vanilla.

  32. Vanilla can be such a crap shoot on me. With Sushi Imperial, I get nothing but a shaving cream smell, so I’d rather just get a can of shaving cream. Guerlain SDV is nothing short of a hot mess of vanilla and not in a good way on me. Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanilla was a great idea but I got bubble gum along with the tobacco and vanilla. Havana Vanille was the first vanilla dominant perfume that I fell in love with. Another blogger had pegged it as a ‘thinking person’s perfume’. I have not worn it in a while and might have to. Thanks for reminding me.

  33. Hey Patty,

    I really enjoyed the read, great article!
    I was a self-claimed vanilla junkie (or maybe I still am), Thierry Mugler’s Angel nearly had became my signature scent because I just loved the dry down of cosy vanilla; but as a non-committing type, I’ve discovered Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille (thanks Surrender to Chance) 🙂

    This article has got me jotting down so many more vanilla perfumes to try on, thanks 🙂

    • Hey, sofia, just call me your local neighborhood perfume crack dealer. But I learned from the best. I know Victoria at Bois de Jasmin can describe a perfume, and she had me buying all sorts of crap that I’d get, sniff once and then try to get rid of (Oh, hi Jacomo silences!). The most fun thing is when people take something I said and truly find something they love. That really makes me happy.

  34. Some years ago, I went on a vanilla spree and I searched high and low for my perfect vanilla. The search ended with Profumi di Firenze Vaniglia del Madagascar and Indult Tihota. The phase ended a year or two later. I’ve since foregone most straight-up, cakey vanillas. Now, most of them smell cloying to me. I still love scents with vanilla in the base though. Shalimar and Cuir Beluga are two favorites. The two that I think I should love, but don’t are SL Un Bois Vanille (the wood note eventually irks me) and the Le Labo. The latter has a hint of some synthetic that Le Labo seems to use in everything. I can’t ignore it and I find it distracting.

    • I think the SL does the same to me. I could really do without the wood note, though I suspect others like it more for that. Odd about the Le Labo. there are some Le Labos that I can’t wear because I smell chemical. Luckily the vanille isn’t one. such a shame!

  35. Vanilla was my gateway into the perfume world, kind of! I wore Burberry Brit for most of my senior year in high school and freshman year of college. It’s basically a giant pink vanillabomb but not as cupcake-y as Pink Sugar. My boyfriend actually occasionally called me “vanilla bunny” because of it! XD

    I stopped wearing Brit quite a while ago and I’m still sort of on the hunt for a lovely, grown-up vanilla. I did a bit of sampling a couple years ago until I discovered that I actually really adore amber more than vanilla and I like them in the woody/smoky direction. So I suppose it makes sense that currently my favorite vanilla is Tabacco Vanille, though it’s somewhat hard for me to think of it as a vanilla. I ADORE Organza Indecence although I’ve yet to score a bottle of it, I really should before it gets any harder to find, and I don’t think of this one as a vanilla really either, but it is now that I really think about it. I also love SDV – I think everyone loves SDV lol. I’m hoarding my little decant of it. I also really like SL Un Bois Vanille. When I first tried it I was sort of horrified by the massive cupcake vanilla with a bit of coconut to round it out, but now I’ve come around to it. It reminds me of macarons more than cupcakes and I actually like the wood gremin. I still don’t wear it out much, but I’ll OD on it before bed sometimes. 🙂

    • Ok, I totally just ordered a 15ml of Organza Indecence. I blame you, but I am excited to receive it lol 😀

    • I know Brit is vanilla, but I never think of it that way. I think Burberry gold is way more vanilla. I need to go back and sniff Brit, I think I just filed it somewhere else in my head.

      good for you, stock up on that! It’s amazing how things just dry up in a hurry. One day there’s oceans of Fendi theorema and then the next you can’t find it for under $150. Suuucks.

      blame March for the Organza Indecence! I mean, that’s a default setting, if I can work it in. 🙂

  36. Whyyyyy? This is a complete feed of all of my lemmings at the moment. And I just placed two orders at Surrender to Chance! Those twins might end up in a triplet… Spiritueuse Double Vanilla would be my current fave, just because it is so casual and goes with anything. I love to layer it with L’Occitane Bavx.

    • Oops, sorry!!! do what I do, get a notebook and just make notes, then you can think about it tomorrow or next week or next month. If the urge sticks, you might have to do something about it. If not, well, money saved!

  37. Loved this post! You are so hilarious. And now I have more perfumes to try.

    i just discovered Rance Laetitia, which is very vanilla focused, but with incense, amber, rose, and enough woody patch to give a hint of leather. I haven’t found much about this house, except for a brief note in The Guide about Rance’s alleged history being bogus.

    • Well, goodness, we don’t want anyone to run out of perfumes to try! 🙂 Then I’d be over here all by myself sifting through my samples. 🙂

      I have heard of Rance, and I know I have some of their soaps, but just don’t know much about them beyond the history claims. But I’m not sure whey they get singled out, a lot of the perfume houses now claim some lineage dating back a few centuries, all of which is a big exaggeration or outright lie. I mean, it’s perfume and marketing, they all lie! 🙂

  38. this is a MONSTER post! I read it in doses and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love vanilla deserts. All of them! Sadly the body shop has ruined vanilla in frags for me. There was a period in the 90’s that women reeked of the Vanilla oil. Disturbing stuff. Now I can appreciate it when it plays a supporting role but I don’t like it as a central theme. From the frags mentioned in the post, Tonka Imperial is a favorite of mine

    • I know! How do you think I felt writing it and it kept getting longer and longer and longer. I keep thinking maybe break these into two parts, but I just don’t think anyone wants to be subject to two weeks of talking about vanilla perfume. 🙂

      That’s when my hatred of vanilla began – the overapplication in the office, in buses, in elevators, that sucky, sickening smell was everywhere. It took a lot for me to overcome it because I didn’t want to smell like that.

      tonka Imperiale is a big favorite of mine too! Not as much as a vanilla fragrance, but just as a really lovely thing to wear! but tonka is my crack. We’ll get around to tonka eventually. Vetiver tonka, tonka imperial, pretty much anything tonka, I’m all over it.

      • Oh TONKA! Can I bribe you to win a draw if you make one? 😉
        Well Tonka Imperiale is not really vanilic to my nose as it is about coumarin (to me they stand clearly apart). I love the bitter almond facet that in tonka absolute fades in minutes but in TI they managed to extend it well into the drydown. Bittersweet warmth and deliciousness. It is one of few perfumes that lasts on me the whole day and maintains its radiance without ever being cloying.
        I read an interview of Pierre Guillaume where he says that if Tonka hadn’t been restricted by IFRA he would only use a solution of Tonka abs to make a perfume. As much as I like the note I disagree as in its pure state I find it to have an umpleasant rice-pudding note after a certain point when the bright notes fade. I find it necessary to combine with some type of musk that fixes that problem.

  39. I would need this pack of lovelies to know, at last, what it feels like to smell like a cupcake!
    I’ve never smelled like that before… Or maybe a tiny bit when I put on 1697, then I may smell a bit like a boozy sweet desert that would have some vanilla in it but that’s about it… Or maybe when I put on Ambre Précieux by Florame, wich got a very sweet warm nice vanilla drydown, but then it’s only the drydown and it’s not exactly like driping with it, it’s more like the last crumbs of the cupcake… And as for Shalimar, I hate it too. But I’d still use the sample to try it some more and to go on comparing it with Sharif (AbdesSalaam Attar) which is a huge delicious big enormous almond aromatic cake compared to the soapy snobish fat free tiny buscuit that Shalimar is to me. Just thought I’d mention!

    • Really, sharif is a big gourmand? I may need to hunt that down!

      Shalimar, I just don’t even want to talk about it. I put that drop on last night and it ruined my sleep. That’s all I smelled all night long – baby powder, which made me think of when my kids were babies and threw up on me all the time and I got no sleep for five years. This is why Shalimar sucks so much. 🙂

      • No sleep for five years??? hahaha
        I don’t find sharif to be very gourmand-y on me. I think it is resinous-spicy with a floral whisper. Strange.

      • Hi Patty, I’m new to this blog and just starting to get into trying different perfumes. I’m going to have to go get myself a notebook to write down all the ones you listed here that I’d like to smell. I think I’d be more into the smoky, incensey ones as opposed to the cloying, cupcakey scents. You mentioned not sleeping for five years with your kids and that made me smile as I am up at 3:30am reading this because my youngest woke up at 2:00 and I haven’t been able to get back to sleep since. Glad to have something fun to read while the babies and hubbies sleep. Thanks!

  40. great and funny sum-up- thanks for taking so much trouble, I imagine it was rather difficult to finish….
    I thought I hate vanilla, till ” Vanille galante” and “Tonka Imperiale”, now I know better…

    • there is a vanilla out there that will change everyone’s mind, i am convinced! Not that they would turn into a vanilla lover, but that they would at least say, hey, look, I love ONE vanilla perfume! 🙂

      I used to hate lily of the valley too, I think I have more than a few posts where i referred to it as Satan’s Personal floral Bouquet. I changed my mind.

  41. I love me some vanilla, but it’s got to be just right. SL Un Bois Vanille didn’t quite work, nor did PdN Vanilla Tonka. Despite its intense sweetness, I really like Lann Ael (fairy pancakes!), and Kenzo Amour Le Parfum is fantastic if I wear just a drop. I love smelling Shalimar from a bottle, but don’t like wearing it. Hopeful lemming that I am, I just ordered a decant of CB 7 Billion Hearts.

    • Fairy pancakes, I swear, that’s exactly it!. I hope the CB works for you! It’s a very subtle vanilla.

  42. Hi,
    I have been eavesdropping for a while now, but am coming in from the cold…could not resist this topic!

    I remember starting to do vanilla with Body Shop oils, until people started mentioning cake when I walked in the room.
    I still like fragrances with vanilla somwhere in them, but leave out the sugar please.
    Have you tried Andy Tauer’s Pentachord White? Iris and vanilla, yummy.

    • Oh, yeah!!! You’ve deactivated your cloaking device. 🙂

      You know, I know I’ve smelled that one, but it was briefly. Now I need to go dig that ou!

  43. Vanilla lover here… and floral hater. This is the first time I’ve seen a bunch of vanilla scents that don’t punch me in the face with gardenia or jasmine when I get too close. So, I want them.

  44. I love vanilla. Great post. My favorite vanilla is Perfect vanilla by Dawn Horowitz. I also have and love Burberry Gold, SL un bois vanilla.

  45. Wow! Respect!! I love quite a few vanillas (including L, which I really don’t think is a scrubber, but ok, if over-applied…), but this! All of these in three days? No. However I’d absolutely love love love to have this sample set, oooooh what fun! My favourite vanilla? Probably Vanilia, so glad I snagged a 100ml in time.

    • Oh, yeah, it was a rough three days. first day was kind of fun. Second day, not as much. Third day was brutal. 🙂

  46. Most vanilla scents have the cookie/cupcake vibe and forget that vanilla is actually a SPICE, and spices are sometimes dangerous. If I want to smell like a cookie, I bake (although I’ll make an exception for Nicolai’s Vanille-Tonka).
    However, in Montale Amandes Orientales vanilla runs naked through the jungle with really, really sharp, pointy teeth that will bite and tear the moment you relax (also, Amandes Orientales smells of tiger pee. I love it).
    Shalimar’s (full disclosure: I love Shalimar) vanilla is a bit more subtle, but she does have a knife hidden among that sexy lingerie….
    Is there vanilla in Habanita? There might be, softening all that tobacco-y sultriness.

    • I just tried that Amandes Orientales recently, and it completely satisfied my almond craving (most “almond” scents go straight to cherry on me, or to play-doh). I wanted something that smells like my Burt’s Bees almond body butter, and AO sure did. (Adore Vanille Tonka, too.)

    • (Grrr, blog ate my comment! Will try again.)

      I recently tried the Amandes Orientales and found it completely satisfied my almond cravings. Most “almond” scents go either play-doh or cherry on me, and I don’t want that – I’d rather have something that smells like marzipan.

      Adore Vanille Tonka, too. My cherished decant ran out recently, and I about DIED when I realized that 1oz bottles are now going for $60… luckily Elisa had tired of hers (hi, Elisa!) and sold it to me. Now I can be all Piratey Carnation Vanilla again.

      • I know! As much as I hate paying more, it was one line that deserved a price increase – it’s been the best underpriced treasures for so long.

    • Tiger pee? well, damn, now I’ve got some interest!

      Habanita does have vanilla! I was going to include it, but it’s completely not even remotely gourmand vanilla, it’s more dirty vanilla. 🙂

  47. Not a big vanilla fan but do like pdn vanille tonka and two from guerlain–shalimar and plus que jamais. I would love to enter the drawing. Thanks!

    • You got it, Sara! You know, there are a lot more Vanillas in the guerlain family, but I could have filled up the post with all of them, I think! 🙂

  48. Another lurker here that has to come in from the cold as I am a vanilla freak from way back. It started when I tried L’Occitane’s original Vanille by chance in one of their stores way back in the early 90s. I still have two bottles of the extract and a half full edt stashed and worn on special occasions. My current top three would be St Barth Vanille West Indies, Montale Vanille Absolu and the dastardly Guerlain Spiriteuse however the heck they spell it! I’ve been enjoying all these posts, loved the rose one too, another of my favourite notes.

    • You lurkers, I’m so happy to see you out! 🙂

      Is that one they’ve discontinued, the L’Occitane? Their vanillas must be good if Miss March has one she happily wears, which sorta scares me.

      That SDV (this is the best way to avoid having to spell the darn thing!) is insidious.

      Thanks, I’m glad you are enjoying them, despite how long they are getting.

  49. Thank you for the vanilla love! (or, maybe tolerance is a better word!) At any rate, I’d love to be in the drawing.

    • Love is actually closer to the truth. I can only do them in limited doses, only when the weather is cold, and then I have to stop for a while, but I really do love the great ones. i think I wore Prada Candy last year for about a month straight, and it’s sorta vanilla’ish.

  50. I agree with March — Organza Indecence. And Mona di Orio’s Vanille, another one that elicits following behavior. Interesting how American men rate the cupcake thing so highly! Says a lot.

    • You vanilla-averse folks stand together in unity.

      I agree about Mona, there’s nothing “mom” about that, it’s completely adult and very sensuous in all the best ways.

  51. The perfect vanilla for me is M Micalief Vanille Cuir. Whenever I buy new shoes I sleep with them and kiss them and smell them all night. And if I dream about vanilla cupcakes while I’m sleeping with my new shoes – this is Vanille Cuir. Shoes and cupcakes and perfume – yea, that’s really really good!

    • so there IS a vanilla leather for sure beyond the Soivohle??! Okay, I may have to go hunt that Micaleff down too.

      And I’m with you, any night that includes new shoes and cupcakes in your dream has been a great night.

  52. I’m not a vanilla fan — more like March 🙂 — but I occasionally wear Kenzo Amour when I want a cozy, sweet scent. The vanilla-incense ones sound the best to me. Otherwise, vanilla gets too cloying and sweet on me.

    • Yeah, if you want barely there vanilla, the goutal or the Atelier would be a good place to start or the CB. It’s vanilla, but it’s not a normal vanilla fragrance.

  53. Thank you for the giveaway, Patty!

    My vanilla experience is sorely lacking, thus far. ‘Foody’ and ‘boozey’ fumes hate me,lol!

    Loved the original Shalimar, cannot abide the current version. It would be lovely to find just the right one for me since I do love the aroma of actual vanilla.

    • Oh, no! I do remember hating all foodie and boozey things for quite a long time, and then finally found one that was what fit me, so you never know!

  54. I’ve not explored vanilla much, mainly because I’ve been put off by foodie vanillas, but I LOVE Vanille Insensee. The citrus/herbal accents make VI exhilarating as well as comforting at it’s a wonderful combination. That Le Labo sounds fabulous though. Oh dear …

    • If you like Vanille Insensee, I think that Le Labo could be one for you, as could the Mona and even the SMN Vaniglia or the CB. There’s a few!

  55. I’m generally skeert of both chocolate and vanilla in perfumes, so I haven’t tried most of these. Strangely, though, I do rather like Organza Indecence. Maybe there’s hope…

  56. Thanks for reminding me of a couple of my back of fridge lurkers. They are back out front now,
    Portia xx

    • Awesome! You realy keep your stuff in your fridge? Where do you keep your food? Or do you have a perfume fridge? Do I need one?

  57. Vanillas are easy-to-love and unchallenging for me–warm, comforting, low-maintenance and the polar opposite of diva tuberose–yet sexy in their own rite.

    No one, but no one, does vanilla like Guerlain, and their vanillas are by far my favorites–SDV, Cuir Beluga, Oriental Brulant, Angelique Noire, Gourmand Coquin, L’Instant (you might have to take away my perfumista card for that one 🙂 ), and so many other rich, beautiful, plush Guerlain creations.

    I LOVE all those you mentioned, Patty, and I’m making notes to try the ones I’ve managed to miss. I would add a few others for any vanilla fiends reading this to try. Here are a few in what I call Summer Barbie Cupcake Vanillas: Pilar and Lucy Exact Friction of the Stars and Farmacia Annunziata Cara. The former is vanilla, whipped cream and coconut and the latter (on sale 40% off at S to C, btw) is vanilla ice cream to me. Simple but very loved.

    And, to me, Profumum Vanitas is to vanilla as A La Nuit is to jasmine…both overpowering and first with tremendous sillage and sex appeal into the next day!

    • Completely agree, Sherri. I think anyone who really wants to play in classic vanilla and their modern updates can’t go wrong with Guerlain. I can’t believe I forgot the Coquin! That’s one of my favorites. I’ve got quite a few I left out that one, anne Pliska, Dior Addict, and a few more. I may need to go back and update in a week or so when I can look at vanilla again.

      I keep thinking I have that Vanitas around here somewhere! I need to look. Thanks, Sherri, great adds to the list!

  58. I confess to a huge love for vanilla, so I adored this post! Un bois vanille was my first “big girl” perfume ( you know, going beyond what I could find at the mall, which in itself, is 35 miles from where I live -can you say “boonies?”) I’ve since moved on to Tonka Imperiale, Orchidee Vanille and Vanille Absolument. I have yet to sample Spiritueuse Double Vanille but expect I’ll want to add it to the collection since I also love smoke and incense. Creed’s Sublime Vanille is fun when I want something a little more bracing, I’ve never really “gotten” the Angel side of vanilla perfumes, I think it’s the patchouli that puts me off but I circle back to them occasionally to see if my nose has changed. Thanks a for a great post!

    • Oh, good! I knew all the vanilla lovers would be all happy!

      The more I think about Creed Sublime Vanille, the more I think it’s got an interesting spot there. No one really has done a lemon vanilla, and they’ve done it really well. so I think it’s got a unique vantage point, it’s the name that confuses me. 🙂

      • I think you’re right about Creed being the only lemon/vanilla combo. Ysatis ( in the older formulation) was supposed to have this lemon/custard thing going on but I never got that. The few times I tried to wear it, it became a complete mess on me – reminding me of an old fur coat that bore traces of A) too many discordant perfumes and B) incontinent puppy.

  59. Vanilla – not a big fan! But there are some here I do want to try, and some in here I have and like! Thanks for the article.

  60. There used to be a commercial about techniques for falling asleep…and one of the suggestions was to read a book about vanilla (presumably because vanilla is supposed to be boring). Shortly thereafter I saw a book at the library…a thick volume all about vanilla. vanilla is actually a very interesting topic, and a wonderful perfumery note…never mind the cloying offerings that cheapen the image of this lovely material. I think I will add a dash of vanilla extract to my morning coffee right now!

    • Vanilla is interesting. I had to do a quick look-up on it a few months ago – origin, etc., and I wanted more than that wikipedia article. what book?

  61. 7 Billion Hearts is the best, though my favorite party trick (er, professional presentation trick, actually) is to spray In The Library on cotton balls in a container and have academics try to guess what they’re smelling…

    • Oh, good one! so what’s the ratio of them guessing it right? Have you tried that Paper perfume? I still haven’t smelled that.

  62. I absolutely adore Shalimar – vintage, it just works beautifully for me. Tried Le Labo 44 and Spirituese Vanille and not sure why but didn’t work with chemistry. Am excited to try some of the other frags you mentioned here though.

    And please do put me into the drawing for the sample set!!! Thank you!

    • Yes, ma’am, Lara! you do know our vanilla tastes may not line up, right? 🙂 If you love Shalimar and I hate it, that could be a clue, but maybe not.

  63. My favorite vanilla is this year’s Shalimar ode à la Vanille (du madagascar)… magnifique!!!

    • Zazie, is it a lot different than regular shalimar? I keep looking at that and thinking… maybe?

  64. I too, used to really hate vanilla perfumes. Mostly, because so many of them are gourmand sweet and you put that on my skin and it’s ten times as sweet, putting everyone around me in a diabetic coma. Pull out the insulin sweet. Ugh! Did I mention I hate sweet? Looking at your list there are ones I love and have, ones I love and can’t seem to cough up the cash for (Vanille 44, I’m looking at you) and ones I just wouldn’t touch with a twenty foot pole. I even own a vanilla perfume I liked when I bought it, wore it once at home and decided I really don’t understand why I bought it in the first place. Got to put that Vanille Insensee on the bay.
    You peaked my interest though, there are a few up there I need to seek out some samples of.
    Good review. I’m amazed by the thought and thoroughness that went into this. Don’t think I could sample that many vanilla perfumes in so few days!

    • gosh, thanks! Really, it’s only determination and insanity that make it possible,I swear.

  65. My sister’s husband loves vanilla perfumes on her (I think at one time she wore Vanilla Fields, and then something else that was sort of foody) – he calls her Sexy Cake when she’s wearing something vanilla.

    I tend to like vanilla as an accent but not as the single focus. I like Havana Vanille (like everybody I can’t remember the new name), and TF Tobacco Vanille is nice too. Could I live without them? Sure. Un Bois Vanille fits in that “I like it, prolly not gonna buy it” category too. I *did* buy a bottle of Smell Bent One, which is another one of those woody vanillas you don’t care much for, Patty – it’s got that Old Books and Chai Tea vibe.

    Organza Indecence is wonderful, though riiiiight up to the redline of my patchouli tolerance (notably low even at the best of times). And I do absolutely love love love Vanille Tonka, which is a giggly carnation spiced rum fest for me, all Captain Morgan’s and lime spritzers and incensey vanilla trees. (Well, THAT’s a strange little mental picture… but I regret nothink, dahlinks.)

    • OMG, I forgot my vintage Emeraude! That’s another True Love. And of course it isn’t straight-up vanilla either. Lots of florals in it, but clearly vanilla too.

      • And, what I meant to say up there with the Emeraude is: uh, I don’t need more vanilla samples. Please leave me out of the (very kind and generous) draw.

    • Oh, I might like old books and chai tea!

      I used to not like OI, but when I tried it for this, I saw how it could really work. I’m going to take it for another spin in a week when I’ve recovered and can smells vanilla again without gagging. 🙂

  66. Mona di Orio’s Vanille is my favorite but I need to try 7 Billion Hearts!! I must try this!

    Thank you for all those awesome draws!

    • I think those that like Mona very possibly would find 7 billion hearts a potential love! You are so welcome!

  67. I love to cook with vanilla and can totally identify with your surreptitious vanilla bean huffing. I haven’t done that. Yet. But the suggestion having been planted…… Vice loves company, right? lol

    As to vanilla in perfume, I’m pretty meh about it. I own 3 vanilla scents – Felanilla, Micallef Vanilla Aoud, and my cheapest but most loved Coty Vanilla Musk. Of those 3, the Micallef was a gift and I kinda like it, but probably wouldn’t have purchased it on my own. Felanilla I REALLY like, which surprised the heck out of me, but there you have it.

    Please don’t enter me in your draw. The thought of 30-40 vanillas coming my way terrifies me.

    • Isn’t it embarrassing? I’ve finally gotten over how much I love smell and it’s not weird that I think pencil erasers smell nifty. I used to smell the skin on my arm all the time. The smell of skin is probably my favorite one.

      I know I smelled Felanilla, and I sorta remember liking it, but I bet I smelled it in the summer and just put it back away in some dark, deep closet where I can’t find it.

      I know how you feel. As I started making the lists, and subtracting out the 30-40 I did NOT try, it was daunting. I almost didn’t write it, but I finally just started, and then once you put on 6 vanilla perfumes, you’re committed to, um, something!

  68. I recently bought a FB of SL Un Bois Vanille and I am simply in love. While cupcakes leave me cold, UBV wraps its warm arms around me and whispers “everything’s going to be okay freaking fabulous.”

    You’ve inspired some lemmings, here so please enter me in the draw. I really must sniff the Annick Goutals. Sounds like Songes and Vanille Exquise are definitely two to try. I’ve got eyes for samples of the Le Labo and CB 7 Billion Hearts, too.

    • Neena, I know, UBV is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

      Songes are a must try for more reasons that I can even think of!

  69. Ahhh Patty, Patty, Patty: life is indeed strange. Wonderful post, thank you so much for this. My favorite vanilla frag to date: Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille. But I have many more to try before I sleep! My screen name to the contrary, it’s not always about the vanilla, but I do find myself huffing the odd bakery or vanilla bean pod once in a while. I’m lemming a bunch of the ones named here. I better go sell something before I can some more… Here is a big vanilla-scented kiss for all: mmmwhaa!

    “Skeerage!” Bhaaa-ha-haaa!!!

    • Love the name, Miss Queen! Mwhaaa back to you.

      Skeerage was inspired, I have to admit. 🙂

  70. I do love me some Parfum Sacre, but right now I’m digging Keiko Mecheri Oliban which isn’t heavily vanilla but has a nice creamy dose of it.

  71. Did you know I have been waiting for this post? Near perfection! Love and need the way you have classified the different vanillas. Of course looking for your take on my favorites, and most of them are here!!!! I will not bore with a list of the various samples, decants and fbottles of vanilla touched fragrances I have, but will say what I am drawn to always has vanilla somewhere. Thank you so very much!

    • Yippeee!!!! I was thinking everyone was getting tired of flowers and skank, so we switched it up nad went to the kitchen!.

      You are so very welcome!

  72. I love, love, LOVE vanilla scents and I am so excited about this giveaway! What a great opportunity to try so many that I’m not familiar with. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of Casmir and Shalimar (sorry!).

    I am thoroughly enjoying your Guide posts. I’m learning so much! Thanks for the great giveaway! 🙂

    • Oh, that’s okay. I really love Casmir, so we’re halfway in agreement. I figure Shalimar is my own fault, I just don’t know why. 🙁

  73. I LOVE Creed Sublime Vanille! I was shocked to read that this was intented for men. I do wish companies would forget him and her labels and just describe their offerings. Thank you for Perfume Posse and Surrender To Chance.

    • It was the lemon, and you now, it’s not so sweet at all so a guy could definitely wear it, which is nice! I wish they would have called it Bright Vanille or something else, that would have made a lot of sense. Sublime just made me think over the top.

      You are so very welcome,

  74. I have pretty pedestrian tastes, I think. I don’t mind smelling like a cupcake, and I love gourmands so I figured that vanillas would be a natural for me. But as it turns out, vanilla is tricky for me…sometimes it smells marvelous, and sometimes it smells like dirty hair. Vanille Exquise definitely falls into the dirty hair category. But I love SL Un Bois Vanille, as well as Bulgari Black. Would love the opportunity to sample some more! Thanks for the drawing.

    • Oh, poor Vanille Exquise! It’s the Angelica. It’s barely a vanilla, and lots of people report nasty smells associate with it, but I think it’s great.

      Bvlgari Black is a good vanilla and a really different one. It would need its own category. Vanilla ice cream on a Kansas summer highway.

  75. another good one is vanille bourbon from il profumo osmo, love that one!

    • You know, I can never decide if I love bourbon vanilla more or madagascar, but I think Madagascar. This sounds lovely!

  76. Serge Lutens Vanille was the perfume that got me involved in this fun world of scent. I love the vanilla part but was then completely won over by the wood gremlin (great phrase). It reminded me of hanging out in Hood River, Oregon, surrounded by sunshine and trees watching all of the windsurfers flying through the water. (Barely able to even doggie paddle, I was NOT one of the people on the water.) Of course, later on, Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille and Shalimar (not a mess on me, more of an elegant 30’s vibe) were added to my list. Thanks for the drawing – it would be great fun to try out more!

    • Really? It’s always strange what drags us in. I’m trying to think what it was for me. I think I have to blame it on Gucci EDP (2002), the brown juice. That was the last perfume I found in the department store that I thought was interesting. I kept going back to get something new, and everything smelled exactly the same’ish. That Gucci was the last great thing I loved. So then I started googling, heard about Serge Lutens.

      so, yeah, Gucci EDP bears all the blame for my very expensive habit. Weird that I can buy that for like $20 for a vat, and I do! Still love it. Those of you that might have missed my raputurous odes to Gucci EDP will eventually have to sit through it again. Probably really soon. 🙂

  77. Own Lann-Ael thoughit became a pillow scent once I became post-menopausal. Love vintage Emeraude (I get lots of vanilla from that) and may eventually own Angelique Noire which is a wonderful golden vanilla on me. SDV doesn’t play nice on my skin–I guess I’m one of the few people that don’t adore it

    • Emeraude, that is a little vanillic, definitely! Angelique Noire I thought was boring the first 14 times I smelled it. Pretty, but, you know. Then I finally took some time and smelled it, and I realized how really beautiful it is and how lovely it is to wear as a vanilla.

      I think there’s a lot more than you that don’t care for SDV, probably a lot more! I think it could be difficult if it didn’t mesh with your skin or you just found it a little caustic.

  78. Patty, I love your comprehensive guides!!

    This one about vanilla in particular… I like how honest you are! Youre perfume bashing is so much fun 😉

    And March, you made me laugh!

    For my part, I don’t go around sniffing a lot of vanilla fumes, cause I’m a guy, and smelling like a giant cupcake isn’t something my friends and family would agree with (even though they get along with MKK, B1834, etc.).

    I DID buy Shalimar perfume, tho: I was in Paris, and I had the chance to re-smell the ones I knew, except they were in perfume concentration. And then, Shalimar’s dirty vanilla secrets were revealed to me, and I NEEDED IT. I only bought 7.5 ml, so nobody should complain; I keep it for myself! 🙂

    However, SL’s Un Bois Vanille is the best vanilla-centric fragrance I have smelled so far. Now I have to try Vanille 22, 7 Billion Hearts and the Xerjoff (yeah that f** expensive line)… And what was the fifth one you named again? Oh wait: You’re top 5 only has four!! :O

    Strangely, reading this urged me to put on some Dior Homme. I think all I needed was some sweetness perfection! 😀

    Matt

    • Oh, yeah!!! Thanks, Matt! You know, it started out nicer, but by the time I went through for the final edit, it probably got a little more bitter than I intended and does not accurately reflect my admiration of the vanilla note. :Angel:

      As I get into these more, they will likely keep getting rowdier. I’m saving Musk for a time when I’m in a really bad mood. And Amber.

      I think guys should smell like giant cupcakes! I mean, women love cupcakes, what could go wrong? I think shalimar is an easy one for a guy to wear, if it works on him. Way easy.

      If you like UBV, definitely the Le labo Vanille and the 7 billion hearts. The Xerjoff is interesting. I love it because there’s just nothing else quite like that. It literally made me laugh out loud for long time as that caramel gooey mess revealed such a blatantly sexual experience at the heart of that fragrance. It was charming.

      I have room for one more? The Mona! That should have been in there, I thinkI thought it was. I’ll go back and edit. It’s a stunner. have you tried it? You should.

      • Geez! Mona’s vanilla is on my list too, now!
        And I’m looking forward for that musk post…

        Anyway, have a nice week!! 🙂

        Matt

  79. Patty, You are just EVIL!!!!. Now I WANT all of the perfumes and the cupcakes. I really enjoyed your post though I have tried only a small fraction of the scents. PLEASE enter me in the draw. I need me some vanilla.

    • Hey, I live just to torture all of you. 🙂 The cupcakes were delicious, but it was so late in the day the cupcake bakery only had the plain ones, but those are my faves really.

      You are in the draw!

    • so I’ve either kicked off cravings for vanilla perfumes or dessert. I think that’s fair and pretty awesome.

  80. Love The Vanilla, especially MdO Les Nombres d’Or Vanille and March’s Guerlain whateverthehellit’scalled SDV.

    But like Alityke, sometimes I need kek. For that, I love Taken by Jane Booke. When I wear this, I feel like Seinfeld’s Bubble Boy. It’s basically a Vanilla Sandwich. I absentmindedly wore it to a doctor’s appointment (slaps forehead) where I was anxiously waiting for results. The results were great, thank goodness, but the doctor kept leaning in when he talked to me. lol He was “using his nose”, as the Dog Whisperer would say.

    • P.S. I’m taking the Fifth on the sex trade…and especially the age.

      • Indie Scents. (slowly walks out of the room…nope, not me, I’m not an enabler.)

  81. The first vanilla-like perfume I remember is the original Shalimar. Gosh, it was so good! Vanilla will always bring to mind my mother making cake in the kitchen. I would so dearly love to win this contest and try out the wonderful scents you describe so well. I lost my sense of taste due to illness so scent is definitely where it’s at for me. Vanilla is just luscious!

    • Oh, no, I hope your sense of taste will come back! Does it impact smelling? a friend of mine had no sense of smell, I think it was, and he could eat the hottest stuff because apparently without the nose waving you off, that level of spice won’t slow you down anymore!

      Good luck!

  82. Love vanilla but have to REALLY be in the mood for it since I go all out if I’m doing a vanilla. CSP Vanille Abricot and the one that smells like hot chocolate powder (sorry, not at home to check), Lann-Ael, Shalimar (which I only learned to love last winter), that Exact Friction of Stars thing, Un Bois Vanille, Hypnotic Poison, Dior Addict, Pink Sugar, the old L’Occitane Des Vanilliers, so many more just can’t think off the top of my head. But I DETEST Angel…just cannot do it. Vomit. 🙂

    Thanks for reminding me of some others I wanted to try and for the draw! I do love a good, clinging vanilla in the winter.

    • You do love your vanilla! No Angel? Is it the chocolate do you think?

      You are so welcome! Vanilla is a favorite in winter, I tend to drift over to a lot of gourmands when it gets cold out. Since it’s dropping 30 degrees tomorrow and may snow, I better get them lined up!

  83. I love vanilla – can’t take things like Pink Sugar but my tolerance is very high otherwise. I especially like rose-vanilla scents, whether highbrow (Parfum Sacre, vintage) or middlebrow (Tocade). I own a little via l of Tocade pure parfum, and it’s pure bliss for vanillaphiles, both sweet and smoky, and intense but not foody.

    • Do you like the Jo Malone rose Vanilla? I forgot to include that one, and it’s really not that bad. Agree about PS and Tocade, rose and vanilla are a lovely combo. I should go break out my Tocade pure parfum. I haven’t played with it in a while, but it seems like a great time. Well, once I’m not vanilla averse in a few days.

      • I have not tried the Jo Malone – I did not even know about this one! Time for a trip to the JM counter I guess!

  84. I want to be entered so I can win and throw all the vanilla in the trash because it will be good for the environment to remove some vanilla perfume from the world.

    No seriously, I’d love to find a vanilla that I love. Bring it on!

    • Ha! I wondered when someone would put that in as a reason. I tell you what, on Sunday after my shower, that is exactly what I wanted to do with them!

      There IS a vanilla for everyone, maybe some dirty, skanky vanilla?

  85. I do love vanilla fragrances, although I find my tolerance for sweet has gone down as I get older. That bottle of CSP Vanille Coco that I used to love – way way way too sweet now. And I live in San Diego, and it does get chilly, but never downright cold so vanilla is usually just too much. Favorites are: Organza Indecence, SL Un Bois Vanille, La Maison de la Vanille Noir de Mexicque (or something like that), Havana Vanille and Yves Rocher plain old Vanilla for a super cheap thrill. I did love SDV, but it is just too heavy and sweet for me now. I am dying to try the Le Labo, CBIHP and the Micallef!

    • Wow, my tolerance has gone up. Four years ago, I would have died trying that many vanillas on.

      Do you think it’s living where you do? I’d have a hard time with vanilla if it didn’t get cold.

      • It just might be. Since it’s kinda desert-y here, it’s always much cooler in the mornings, so I’m often tricked into wearing something heavier. Then it warms up and by lunch I want it off!

        And I forgot to mention Smell Bent One, but I see Mals did. It is a nice dry bookish vanilla.

  86. ‘Skeerage’ is an excellent term for massive sillage!
    I seem to amp sweetness so vanilla is tricksy but I adore Shalimar parfum (hey, Portia! ) and vintage Emeraude. Also like the CBIHP, Kenzo Amour, Flowerbomb, Lann-ael (definite fairy pancakes!), Micallef Vanille Cuir (butter soft leather cupcakes) and Organza Indecence.
    Cannot abide Hypnotic Poison though- death by jasmine frosting. Gack!

    • I am liking it too! I think I’ll keep it. Some perfumes, sillage is much too genteel. 🙂

      Flowerbomb is a little vanilla, yes. Had to think about that. I like Dior Addict more than the Hypnotic Poison, I think that’s the one that’s also vanilla and probably the one I really wanted to put in here.

  87. I read what Patty had to say up there. I don’t know whether she likes vanilla scents or not.

    • Hey, Miss Pong! You know what? I do and I don’t. I can look at them objectively for what I think is good about them, but they may not be ones I really like a lot, I just think they’re good for what they do. I actually like a lot of vanilla perfumes. The top ten list at the bottom are my favorites, and once fall comes, I happily wear them!!

      when Spring comes? I am right back to hating them. 🙂

  88. I love SDV but my husband thinks it smells like baby-sick! 🙁 I think at least half of my sample collection is Vanilla based, but some faves are TF Tobaccoa Vanille, and Hermessence Vanille Galante. And, if that doesn’t hit the spot, I usually huff some Cadbury’s chocolate….

    • Baby sick? Wow, I’ve never heard that, and I really wish my kids had kakked up something that smelled that good when they were babies! 🙂

      Oh, yeah, on the Cadbury’s chocolate. My favorite vanillas usually have food attached to the smell. 🙂

  89. Patty the L’Occitane is the long lamented discontinued one, I got mine for such a low price is criminal and its the most hoarded in my collection, just don’t tell SDV!!

  90. Count me firmly in the Vanilla LOVE category! Well, actually, let me qualify that: I really can’t stand super sweet anything (Pink Sugar is my nemesis), and I love my vanilla with a little bit of extra somethin’ somethin’. Cupcake is not really my style; combine it with leather/smoke/floral and we’re getting somewhere. And a skanky vanilla? You have got me SO curious about Mamluk and Micallef Note Vanillee!

    Some of my faves:
    M. Micallef Vanille Marine – oh man do I love a salty and sweet combo.
    Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris – glorious vanilla and leather. Like Bvlgari Black with a little less tire and a little more batting of the eyelashes.
    Hermes Vanille Galant – another vote for this one! Agree about the predominance of lily.

    Other thoughts, and the One Vanilla to Rule Them All:

    Yup, Shalimar is a total fail on me too, but in a different way. I feel your pain! Along the same lines, I can’t make myself love SL Un Bois Vanille – it just reads too candy floss for me. Darn! And I LOVE TF Tobacco Vanille in the bottle – it was this fragrance that actually kicked off my perfumista journey. But on my skin it turns root-beer/coke/clove-ish, and (though not inherently bad) the disappointment nearly killed me. Sometimes you just want a friendly and balanced all-occasion vanilla, though, and for that I completely agree with Creed Sublime Vanille. I find Dyptique Eau Duelle to be quite similar, though I haven’t decided which one I love best yet (my pocketbook prays for the Dyptique)…

    Really, though, Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille…be still my vanilla lovin’ heart. It is The One. Absolutely delicious! So indulgent, sexy, almost devious, but with that ever-present class of the great Guerlains. For special events I sometimes wear my much-too-quickly-dwindling sample of this layered (yup, so sue me!) with Creed Sublime Vanille. This combo got me my first unprovoked, enthusiastic compliment – and from my boyfriend’s zero-interest-in-fragrance mother! The Creed produces a pleasant, mild cloud of vanilla, and then – when you come in closer – whaBAM! Death by drunken, smoky vanilla. And is there really any better way to go?

    • Kacey, great list! I like smelling Pink Sugar IN the bottle. I just don’t let that frothy pink genie out very often. Mamluk is way dirty. And note Vanillee is cumin up the keister, so to speak.

      I think for cheerful vanilla, and that should have been a category, the Diptyque and Creed are really perfect. They are brooding or dark or chewy, they are perky and happy little vanillas that just aren’t going to piss you off halfway through the day by stinking up all of your personal space.

      that sounds like a cool combination! I used to spritz the SDV with le Labo Patchouli. There was birch tar and vanilla clouds billowing out from around me and I loved them. The patchouli just walked all over the vanilla without destroying it. One of my favorite combos of all time. My sister and I both spray that one together in the dead of winter. It snows tomorrow, I’ll be doing it in celebration of the start of my winter perfume season!

      • My goodness, that combo sounds to-die-for. And I’m not even a fan of patchouli!

  91. Vanilla! Oh My! I just melt no matter if it is super sweet cavity inducing cupcake icing or boozy floozy vanilla who cant find her underpants after waking in an unfamialiar bed in an unfamiliar room – it it the virtuosa ingredient of LIFE!

    Laura Mercier does a Uber Sweet Gourmand Vanilla that will have your teeth spontaneously growing little fuzzy sweaters-its THAT sweet and dense. I love it but can only handle one spritz down around my bellybutton only on days that require sweaters and warm foot gear, and since I like in Hot Humid Hellish Florida, it dosent get much love me very often. But I DO love it, it just requires cooperation from the external world so it can singin the perfect setting =)

    • Okay, Ramona, you are our Vanilla Fan of the Day.

      how in the world do you manage to love vanilla in Florida?!?! OMG, I’m in awe.

  92. I love Mona di Orio Vanille, but that is the only vanilla-centric perfume I’ve tried so far. Thank you for the comprehensive review on vanillas–there are a number more I’d like to try now!
    -Christy

    • Christy, you have tried an excellent one, so at least you have a great bar for the others to try to get over, which is great.

  93. So many lovely vanillas! When I was a teenager I did try the vanilla extract, LOL – and started a life long love affair with smelling of vanilla!

    I love SL Un Bois Vanille, and Tihota is just – I keep trying to forget that I ever smelled it. It is my vanilla perfection, and I know that there are so many other wonderful vanillas that surely one or more of them will be as good….?

    Lots of new suggestions for me to try, though!

    • Ha! I have a feeling there were more than a few people that did a little vanilla extract behind the ears.

      Tihota was a heart-breaker, wasn’t it? There are others, and I don’t know what it was about Tihota that made it different, but it was.

  94. So it’s looking like this is going to be major thing here at the Posse, the comprehensive guides? Yaaaay! One of the docs I’ve got in my Perfume folder simply has categories I haven’t really explored yet and the possibilities of each listed below. I’ve already got a couple that say “just check out the Posse link.”

    As far as vanilla goes, I enjoy it as a note, but there’s nothing I’ve tried yet that really grabs me. It’s not a love OR a loathing, just a meh. (Frodo turned 13 today, and I was teasing him about that classic teenage “nothing in life is worth getting excited about,” and realized mid-sentence that there’s really not a big difference between a teenager and a zombie.)

    • Yup, Dionne. I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure I could take the time every week to do this, and I’m pretty sure I should be able to provided I’m not traveling, which sadly looks like I won’t be doing until after the first of the year *pouts*.

      I put a link at the top of the page to it so they are easily findable for reference. I do plan to update them as well when a new perfume comes out that fits. Like the new Ineke HotHouse flower is a GREAT gardenia. And I need to add a few things to jasmine and rose that I missed the first time around that were pointed out by commenters.

      And the comments have been an amazing resource, I think for everyone. So many great suggestions, thoughts, it just adds by the power of 5 to what I’ve already written. I hope people actually scroll through the comments, because there are some great mini note tutorials that are amazing!

      OMG, you have it right about the teenagers and zombies. You have my sympathy on 13. 13 was actually okay and kind of funny and touching. 14 and 15 is where the serious teenager crap started. I have a really old post from back when I was writing about things that weren’t perfume about teenagers. Let me know if you want me to dig up the link. You won’t need it now exactly, ,but it’s how I got through two of them with just a skosh of sanity leftover.

      • Oh yes, link please! Although this isn’t my first ride on the teenage carousel, as Bones and Archimedes are now 19 and 17. Not to mention Dragongirl is 7 and Spud is 5, so I’m just exiting the “toddlers-and-teenagers” stage. “Kindergartener-and-old-enough-to-vote” is where I’m at now, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  95. If you’re a Vanilla Cretin, then so am I. I pretty much loathe this note unless it is used with a great deal of restraint. So I’m only entering the draw on the slim chance of winning and having my eyes opened by your choices, which have to be better than the vanilla shite I’ve smelled.

    • Lala, maybe that will happen! I used to loathe the stuff, but I have some genuine loves in this category now. It could happen!

  96. I am big vanilla lover. I love them super sweet to dry and woody. One of my very favorites is Jo Malones Rose Water and Vanilla Intense

  97. I love vanilla perfumes as long as they’re not too sweet.I like the boozy incensey vanilla of L’Artisan’s Havana Vanille.And believe or not waaaaay in the drydown of Andy Tauer’s Une Rose Chypree a beautiful delicious vanilla note appears….what a ride that one is…Thanks for the draw!

    • Havana Vanille (why did they change the name?) is really lovely, it’s got a great take on vanilla with the booze and incense, I agree. Now i need to go smell the Tauer again for that vanilla note!

  98. Not one of my favourite notes but with the appropriate background and a skillful blending can work miracles. LIKES : Tobacco Vanile, Shalimar Initial, SDV YIKES: Habanita, Shalimar

  99. I love dry, smoky, boozy vanillas, not too sweet in any case. But I think vanilla is a wonderful perfumery ingredient, warm and sexy and it can be absolutely smashing in the hands of the perfumers that know what to do with it. so far I like Shalimar, Havana Vanille from L’artisan parfumeur, Mona di Orio Vanille, Vanille Tonka a super dry one from Parfums de Nicolai, but my vanilla repertoire is still quite limited so I’m hoping you will help me to expand my horizons

    • totally agree, thats why it makes me sad when it gets abused so badly,then people run from it like I used to. I’m just glad there are some great vanillas out there now for the vanilla-phobe!

  100. Sooooo late for the party, but thank you for pointing out the Santa Maria Novella……that’s my favorite. And Bois 1920 La Vaniglia…..similar to PdN Vanille Intense.
    I tried to find my perfect vanilla about a year ago and most of them make we want to throw sporks at random objects. I came out of it with some lovelies though….Havana Vanille, the three mentioned above, Vanille Orchidee. I’m waiting on a Mona mini, and so far have not tried the LeLabo, which is probably a good thing because I way overextended my perfume budget this month already.
    I think vanilla is wonderful but like anything, moderation.

    • Not too late! We keep this party going for a week more or less.. The Bois 1920 sounds great, that brand annoyed me on price point, but I thought they did some really nice scents.

      That sounds like me! and those are some of my favorites.

  101. Yummmmmm Gormands make me hungry. My favorite vanilla is Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille.

  102. Thanks for this post and giveaway–I LOVE vanilla! Although I’m with you on not feeling the rabid Shalimar love. I wear Lavanila Pure Vanilla all the time, and have a big bottle of Mistral Balinese Vanilla. Also adore BPAL’s Banshee Beat (vanilla/hemp/patchouli) and Celeste (vanilla/saffron).

  103. Tobacco Vanille smells sooo good on my skin. As a matter of fact I love vanilla based fragrances so anything with that note in it pretty much draws my attention

    • I did love Tobacco Vanille more, but then the Kilian thingie, can’t think of the darn name! – took my attention away, and I just loved it so much more. Back to Black, that’s it!

  104. I am such a vanilla lover! Spiriteuse, Le Labo and Mona Di Orio are my favorites of the moment. I am so pleased that the weather is turning cooler so I can break them out again!

    • But you pick such great ones to wear! Enjoy them as the weather cools down. It’s the one thing I love about winter, except the first two snows, and then I”m over the whole cold and snow thing. 🙂

  105. Great post! And I’ve loved reading through the comments. I always thought I hated the ‘nilla (probably, like so many others, a hangover from the super sweet late 90’s version fugging up the place back then.) But a while ago, I dunno.. I just got drawn into it and started playing around, slightly obsessively trying to find ‘my’ vanilla. Like every note, I realised it has facets and vastly different incarnations depending on how it’s used, how much and what with. I found some gems and they’ve become among my very, very favourites: Mona di Orio Vanille is stunning, every single time I wear it. Le Labo Vanille is just.. breathtaking. Honestly. Exactly as you describe it: it whispers and wafts around you, like some sort of ancient Greek Siren. It is perfectly translucent, but like incense, you catch swirls every now and then. I also like the CB 7 Billion Hearts, which is sorta similar (I’ve only tried the water version and would love to get my mitts on the absolute.) Uncle Serge’s UBV is another love and I keep thinking I should wear it more.. I love basically the entire Guerlain L’Art line (to me, they are all essentially vanillic and beautifully twisted – goddam you Guerlain, I wish I knew how to quit you!) And Lann-Ael is a wonderful comfort scent. So basically, if it’s smoky, incensy or a little weird, I’m in! If it’s a CSP-alike or an Eau de My Little Pony Cupcake, meh. But I do love a little sweetness around the edges 🙂

    • I know, the comments are RICH with advice. I need to put that notation in the next post..

      Isn’t that Le Labo strange? I don’t get what they did to it – it is like fairy vanilla, I swear. And so delicately beautiful, it sorta haunts me all the time when I’m not wearing it. 🙂

      I’ve only — oh, wait, I forgot I had that little vial CB sent ages ago of 7 billion hearts, it’s the absolute. Yikes. It really is amazing, no kidding. I won’t say more because, well, that’s just mean. If you e-mail me (click at the top), I’ll send you some of the freebie I have, ‘kay? Just so you know for yourself. 🙂

      I blame all the L’Art line, too, for any of my addiction to vanilla scents, they have just been brutal in that regard. I know a lot of people prefer the old Guerlinade, but whatever crack they put in the new guerlainad for the Charnels and l’Art and Desert series, it’s like that Blue Meth in Breaking Bad — Way Too Good to Quit.

      I think we love all the same Vanillas!

  106. I love the smoky, incensey vanillas….I am dying to try the CBIHP. I need to win this one, I’m crossing my fingers and toes!!

  107. I cannot do Shalimar either. I tried & I tried, even the Parfum Initial, which I tried in summer…big mistake! I have not tried many of these fragrances, but Portia mentioned DK Gold??? I thought that was lily & I loved it but it gave me a huge headache. I have tried vanilla extract behind the ears when I was younger, and Yup, Late husband loved it. I would love to explore your favorites. Thanks for the draw.

    • Sometimes I think we should give up on those difficult perfumes, yes?

      yeah, I missed DK gold, which I think that is lily or jasmine maybe, but it does have a vanilla component.

      you are so welcome!

  108. My favorite vanilla is Hanae Mori. Please enter me in the draw.

  109. My favorite vanilla is Hanae Mori. Please enter me in the draw.

  110. I started reading this yesterday and I got so hungy I ran to have a bowl of cereal – truly! And I don’t even like cupcake vanillas, except maybe Vanille Abricot, and that’s not so cupcakey on me, not as much as the dreaded pink sugar, anyway.

    My favorite vanilla so far is Spririteuse Double. I love booze and tobacco with vanilla and this has lots of both on me. When I wear it, people near me sniff then wonder what that fabulous smell is. No one has ever realized that it’s me 🙂

    • Lemon, sorry! When I was writing it,I had to send people out for cupcakes AND cookies. It was a diet-decimating mega-review.

      • Well, I had no cupcakes or cookies, and no one to send out (kids are in school) so had to content myself with Cheerios.

  111. I cannot stand vanilla perfumes because of bad experiences with two different women who drenched themselves, and their home in one case, in vanilla. And I’m about to add a third to the list. Has anyone else had a bad experience in relation to scent that affected how they feel about that scent?

    I wanted to love Shalimar when I was younger and kept trying it at the Guerlain counter in the Seattle Nordstrom’s store. One day I stopped in again to see if it or my chemistry possibly changed in the last month, and discovered Mitsouko and never looked back. I love Shalimar for that, leading me to Mitsouko. 😉

    • Carrie, I know what you mean, and that was my experience. I still have some aversions to musk for the same reason.

      Mitsouko is perfection. I can never figure out why anyone would wear Shalimar while Mitsouko exists.:)

  112. You have totally piqued my interest in vanilla now. The scent turned me off after sitting next to someone who smelled like a rancid cupcake, but I am going to have to give the sample set a try now.
    Val

    • Aha, I love it when that happens! 🙂 It is so obnoxious when people do something overbearing in scent. i don’t mind if I’m stuck next to someone for a few minutes that reeks of horrible musk, but in the workplace or theater or other places that you can’t escape, it’s really just foul.

      Overcoming that is my mission because I just refuse to let someone else’s bad taste interfere with my potentially finding some scents I might love were it not for them. Or something like that. I hope you find out one way or the other if you even like a couple of vanilla perfumes!

  113. Ah, vanilla. Thanks for this post. So excited to try new scents now (the only one I’ve worn previously was hypnotic poison… Which I never even thought of as vanilla).

  114. I’m new with perfumes but I’m hooked! I keep going to malls to test perfumes lol!!!!!!
    I wish I could win! 😛

  115. Vanilla… I USED to be a vanilla-basher, thought that even SL Un Bois de Vanille was too much pastry (I am glad that it is called a little cup-cakey in this post!). But gradually I started to discover the ones I do like — Van Cleef & Arpels Orchidee Vanille, Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee… so if I were a lucky winner I would share the sweeter ones with the gourmand lovers and would load up on woody and incensy vanilla myself! Mwahaha!

    • That would be such a NICE thing to do!!! 🙂 I figure share the love with the stuff you don’t like. xo

  116. I’m wearing the Diptyque right now, and am dying to try Vanille 44 and 7 Billion Hearts. I’ll definitely be ordering decants if I don’t win the drawing! Thanks!

  117. I was super excited to see the vanilla reviews, but even more excited about the drawing 🙂
    I am pretty much a perfume idiot, but i have been dying to find the perfect vanilla scent for me. I have tried SL Un Bois Vanille, and though i like it…it makes me smell….more mature…age wise…to say it politely… 🙂 I’ve also gotten decants of Jill Stuart Vanilla Lust. (which I LOVE!) and Des Filles a la Vanille Intime Secret- which to me, is fun and playful in a very youthful way, but super sugary and i wear only when i want random people around me to mention they have a sudden craving for a milkshake. (This has happened! FOUR TIMES!)

    Thanks for the giggles!

    • Oh, yeah!!! There is no such thing as a perfume idiot. You just haven’t been playing with them as long. The coolest thing about perfume, the opinion that counts the most is your own. Whatever you love and feels great to wear, you should just go with that.

      Yeah, UBV does skew older in the drydown, I think it’s the woods. Vanilla Lust is realy nice too! I don’t know the Des filles.

      You are so welcome! I’m glad you had fun with this, I hope you’ll join us every week.

  118. Reading about vanilla. I want to go and buy a vanilla perfume. Thank you for all of the suggestions. I will be busy trying and smelling!

    • Oh, have fun with it. I love shopping for a new perfume. Denver is just a wasteland for perfume, so when I get to Chicago or L.A. or NY or Paris – never too often – I’m just in heaven with being able to sniff at will.

  119. Rochas Man when I want sweet vanilla/coffee perfection, and Spiritueuse Double Vanille when I want smoky.

    • Thanks for the guy’s vanilla recommend. I don’t think I’ve smelled the rochas Man, but I’m filing that under Good to Know.

  120. Hi Patty, I’m a newcomer to the Perfume Posse and just starting to get interested in different perfumes. Last night my youngest woke me up at 2am and then since I was up and everybody else was sleeping I decided to check out your post. So I had a bit of a chuckle over your comment about not sleeping for five years because of your kids. I wonder if it’s true that reading about vanilla can put you to sleep. Maybe I could try that on my kids! Anyhoo, I loved this guide and it’s given me so many new perfumes that I want to smell. Thanks! I would love to be entered into the drawing for the samples!

    • Welcome, Laura! We love new people. Make yourself at home, join in anywhere, ask questions!

      I do remember those nights of trying to get back to sleep, and I’m glad my mad rantings about vanilla perfume were there to keep you company.

      you are entered, good luck!

  121. Well, I am serious in love with Hypnotic Poison, which I never really thought of as a vanilla, but yeah, you’re right, it is. All I know is that I want someone to turn it into a body powder so I can chinchilla roll in it.

    Now I guess I better make a trip to Nordstrom to see if I can find any samples of these perfumes you just reviewed, otherwise my wallet is going to take another serious hit. I blame you.

    • Ha ha! Love that term, chinchilla roll. That must be like my bulldog Vinnie’s roll.

      I know, everyone blames me, and I’m absolutely okay with it. It’s my mission in life to lead people to the perfumed light. 🙂

  122. MdO Vanille is my very favorite vanilla slightly ahead of Shalimar Parfum. Otherwise I’m totally perplexed by the entire gourmand category of fragrance. Yuk

    • I am so glad to see so many people that love the MdO vanille. It gives me hope that one day people won’t be annoyed by vanilla so much.

  123. This is quite an interesting post and the first I have read. I’m just smitten with Vanilla based scents, gourmands in particular.

    I started thinking about what you said about vanilla and its associations with “Mom, Cupcakes, & Comfort”. And well, my Mom wasn’t much of a baker. She didn’t make cookies for after-school or homemade birthday cakes or any of that. So I don’t associate vanilla with my Mom at all.

    I was the one who did the kitchen projects. All completely inedible, but I didn’t care because they made the kitchen smell like cinnamon and vanilla and butter and whatever else I threw into the “mix”.

    The first time I even thought about vanilla as a fragrance was a reference in a “bodice-ripper” romance novel I swiped as a teenager. The heroine was a kitchen maid and the dashing hero, lord of the manor. She dabs a bit of vanilla extract behind her ears and he mentions something about her smelling “good enough to eat”

    So I would beg to differ that the man/vanilla connection is an Oedipal one. I would say rather that the scent of vanilla brings to mind the taste of vanilla and makes the sniffer’s brain think that the skin of the person wearing the vanilla scent might taste sweet.

    We don’t usually eat flowers or woods or incense or leather, all typically considered components that make a scent “sexy”. So vanilla adds an extra sensual mystery (Does his/her skin taste sweet? What would it taste like if I licked it?).

    I feel like a bit of a philistine because I have not tried many of the scents you mention. I try not to sample things I might possibly fall in lurve with if I cannot afford to buy the bottle (I’m looking at YOU, Creed Virgin Island Water), I tend to stick with the less expensive niche fragrances, which I haven’t seen mentioned.

    Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs has some gorgeous, rich, thoroughly un-subtle, and possibly quite skanky vanilla scents that I wear all the time:

    Snake Oil: Vanilla and Indonesian spices (smells more like vanilla, incense, and wood to me). Some people smell vanilla baby powder, but please sweet Jeebus don’t put it on the baby! Waaay too sexy for the baby.

    Velvet: Cocoa-infused Vanilla with sharp sandalwood. Warm comfortable sexy cocoon of fragrance. Soft and sensual like, well… velvet.

    As a side note, I am such a fan of vanilla that I’ve purchased straight vanilla absolute and vanilla bean oil infusions. It’s shocking how little they smell like “real” vanilla. There’s a HUGE whiff of camphor in the ones I’ve tried along with a very earthy/loamy/woody smell. It’s hard to find a “natural” vanilla scent that carries the top notes of cream and butter and the bottom notes of luscious leather that I smell from an actual vanilla bean.

    Any idea if the high-end fragrances you mention use artificial fragrance oils or altered natural vanillas? Just curious!

    • Hi! Love your posting name! I think it might be that I’ve just never dated a guy that liked vanilla scents, so it confuses me. I can see how it would be a comfort, a smell that signals pleasure, and maybe that’s how it works?

      You make some really good points and probably ones that are more accurate than my vanilla-infused meanderings. 🙂

      I didn’t review very many of the low end vanillas because I just don’t have that many laying around, but Chopard Casmir, Pink Sugar, the CSPs, Dior Addict and Hypnotic Poison, L de Lolita, BBW and some others aren’t expensive, and some can be picked up cheap at the discounters or eBay. They just aren’t normally ones that I like. Not sure why, but usually the vanilla is too strong, too sweet, and linear. I’m sure there’s some good ones out there that I didn’t talk about.

      I’m not familiar at all with BPAL scents, I don’t think I’ve smelled even one! I know, I am a neanderthal. I went on their website once, poked around, then saw it would take X amount of time to get my perfumes – this was years ago – and I clicked the back button. Too much drama to get my scents.

      Exactly! It’s almost impossible to re-create it properly. Like the gardenia and some other notes that are just difficult to translate.

      I think most everyone in the commercial market is using chemical vanilla just because it’s cheaper, more reliable, but I don’t know that for sure. I think IFRA didn’t go ahead and ban vanillin in the regs, but some perfumers may have pulled back from it out of worry it would happen. So there are fragrances out there that are still using Vanillin, and natural perfumers obviously do, but I can’t tell you which ones, nor whether natural smells better than chemical. All the vintage Guerlains with the vanilla Guerlainade would have vanillin in them. I sorta avoid that whole natural vs. chemical discussion because IFRA has made it almost impossible for European perfumers to use naturals exclusively, so it’s not even a possibility for them.

  124. I absolutely love vanilla!! My favorites are Eau Duelle and Orchidee Vanille!!

  125. Oh vanilla, I love you so. Loved me some Body Shop vanilla body wash back in the day….

  126. I love a great vanilla scent and picked up a bunch of new ones to try from this post, thank you! My favorite is probably Mona di Orio’s Vanille and Shalimar Ode de la Vanille (one of the limited edition flankers with some extra vanilla thrown in). As an oddball, I would have to go with Chinatown by Bond No. 9 – it has an amazing dry down with lots of vanilla (I am wearing it now and the vanilla is quite prominent) although I don’t know if it would technically count as a vanilla scent.

    • You are so welcome! I’ve got to try that Shalimar Vanille thing.. See, I’m getting sucked back in by Shalimar, that vicious thing just won’t let go.

      I can see Chinatown witth vanilla. It’s heavily oriental, so sure!

  127. To my surprise, I am very curious to try out some of the perfumes mentioned not only in the second category, but in the first one as well. I treasure Shalimar, even if I do not wear it often and I love Montale’s Chypre Vanilla for its depth, elegance and comfort. But now I realize that I must explore further this territory.

    • Katrin, that’s great! Sometimes just trying, even if you wind up liking them or not doesn’t matter, to go beyond what you think you like or don’t like really helps us understand something about ourselves.

      I’ve learned to get down and do a – what was that called, chinchilla roll?? – in some of the things I find disgusting just to figure out why. It’s perverse, but pretty fun.

  128. Whoa! Thanks for that….I’ll reference it anytime I want a vanilla perfume. I’m not big on vanilla precisely because it’s a comfort scent (I like tuberose, jasmine, and leather, all the opposite) but I do like Vanilia, Un Bois Vanille, and Givenchy Organza Indecence.

  129. My favorite vanilla is SDV – it is so perfect for Alaskan fall days ( the boozy, warm vanilla; wood smoke; and in the very beginning a tart high-bush cranberry). However I get the most compliments when I wear Cuir Beluga or L by Lolita Lempicka.

    I had to laugh when I saw the post; I was trying to decide whether to wear SDV or L’Artisan Tea for Two. Well vanilla smoke won over tea smoke today!

    • have you ever tried putting them on together? I dunno, think about it, I think it’s been done before (looking innocent) and worked.

  130. I completely agree with you on Lolita Lempicka L de Lolita – I thought I loved it at first, and how could anyone resist that clever little bottle? I was so pleased with myself. I quickly learned to hate the smell of myself when wearing it. It is just too,too much.

    • WAsn’t that crazy/ I adored it up until then, and when that one thing went wrong, I can’t get anywhere near it, which is a shame because I still think it’s great. Maybe it was my body chemistry that went off.

  131. I have a full bottle of Vanillaville, but it can be a bit rough so I really have to be in the mood. I also have Vanille-Tonka, but it just smells too much like rootbeer for me to wear anymore. I’d love to get my nose on all of these though…particularly 7 Billion Hearts…Christopher Brosius is amazing.

    • Yeah, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking of when you think of vanilla. Not exactly snuggly.

      CB is amazing. i was surprised he did a vanilla, but I sure am glad he did!

  132. i loooooove the come hither smell of Dior Addict on women .

    had an ex-GF who wore Perlier Vanilla edt, and that was delicious as well .

    • Dior Addict is my favorite of the dior vanillas, and I can’t believe I didn’t list that one instead of Hynpotic Poison, which I don’t like 1/4 so well!

  133. Love, love, love this post!!! Only relatively recently (last couple of years) that I’ve been discovering the niche perfumes, but think vanilla and amber seem to be my go-to choices. Loving Organza Indecence, Shalimar and Salimar Ode a la Vanille (I was really lucky to get a virtually-new bottle of the latter on eBay). Recently got a sample of L’artisan’s Vanilla Absolument and really want a bottle, and finally have to mention that my sample of Attrape-Coeur is one of my most treasured possessions and only gets used on very special ocasions.

    • Thanks, Julie. That L’Artisan is so gorgeous, as are the others you mentioned that I know, so you have a great vanilla setup already!

  134. I’m a total newbie, so I just realized I liked vanilla last year when I tried Shalimar for the first time. I sniffed my strip obsessively and kept it in my living room and then as a bookmark. I should really get a little. I usually like green, leather, and iris type scents, so this is all uncharted territory for me, but vanilla is just so cozy.

  135. I must say Tiare Flower done right with vanilla can smell so much so like pink frosted cupcakes, im wearing TL elle by ted lapidus today and it is beyond expectations !

  136. I really need to try more vanilla perfumes! That serge ubv sounds great! A few years ago, the body shop made a vanilla spice shower gel that was so decadent and rich you could actually gain weight while showering with it. I bought a bottle this past holiday and it wasn’t nearly as good, just typical vanilla. Had I known, I would’ve bought out the store and got the lotion and the spritz.

    • The UBV is great. Sometimes it works for me an sometimes it’s not quite right, but that woody vanilla combination is unique.

  137. My first foray into fragrances heavier on vanilla was AG Vanille Esquise. I love it still. Now I have several in rotation but there are many on your list that I absolutely must try!

    • Vanille Exquise is such a cool vanilla, I can’t help but love it. Mostly because AG just thumbed their nose at everyone that was expecting a heavily sweet vanilla perfume. 🙂

  138. Yeah. You like a lot of the same vanillas I do. For a real vanilla extract try Laura Mercier’s Vanille Gourmande. Love your writing style I can’t wait for your next one!!

  139. Thanks for the great post – it inpired me to put on some Le Labo.
    I know and love about half of the perfumes mentioned. PdN Vanille Intense is my guilty pleasure. My daughters wear Pink Sugar (queasy)…

    • I have a secret Pink Sugar addiction. I don’t put it on, but I go and smell the bottle. I know, it’s sick, but it’s just like eating a cupcake!

  140. Opium pour homme edp has always worked like nice vanilla for me. Similar is with Rochas Man. When almost everything slowly dissapears ,vanilla that is in the base of both fragrances still stays.

  141. So, today I come up with this great idea of doing a vanilla serieson my blog as I realized I’m slipping into my vanilla phase and while googling for what else vanilla I have that I’m not aware of, I come across this post.
    I would have read it sooner but life/work intervened and now my idea feels plagiarized. 🙁

    Although I do believe I’ll go through all my vanillas and enjoy them, probably write about those I haven’t yet. It seems there aren’t many of those… 😉

    Btw, if I got it correctly, there are people out there who don’t like vanilla perfumes? How is that even possible? 🙂

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