Jo Malone: Vanilla & Anise by Celine Barel 2009

Hey, Hi there Perfume Posse, Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies talking today about Jo Malone. So a load of my friends are Jo Malone converts. They love to layer and find the whole idea super fun. I often thought that if I was paying that kind of money for fragrance that I would want the perfumer doing his job and giving me a finished product. So then I was taken to the Jo Malone counter in our biggest department store in Sydney and told to try at least one, just to see how it went. I had clean skin so I put a spritz of a different one on each arm and then we walked around the beauty hall. By the time we got back to Jo Malone the scents had disappeared completely. Even the SA, who was extremely friendly and helpful, couldn’t pretend there was something because all that was left was me. Gone. POOF! The only Jo Malone I have tried since is Red Roses (a gift) which is so lovely and lasts really well on me, gorgeous. Then I was given a couple of bottles the other day by Michael Edwards, the fragrance guru, and thought I better give them a re-spin to see if I can in fact wear Jo Malone.

Jo Malone: Vanilla & Anise by Celine Barel 2009

Vanilla & Anise Jo Malone FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Sicilian bergamot accords, Tunisian neroli, wild fennel, star anise
Heart: Tuberose, violet vanilla orchid, jasmine, frangipani, cloves
Base: Amber, vetiver, Bourbon vanilla absolute, tonka

Sweet citrus and herbal spice Vanilla & Anise opens quite big and has a lovely balminess about it, extremely smooth and elegant flying low under the fizzy citrus. BOY, this is lovely. Like a Guerlain Aqua Allegoria fragrance, simple, sheer, wearable fragrance that is not strong but is potent. Quite good sillage for something that seems to have so much air between each note, and initially projection is very good too. Oooh I like this VERY much. The flowers are a bouquet for me, yes there are some amorphous white flowers and what could be a violet vanilla orchid but really I would be lying if I told you that I could definitively pinpoint particular pieces of the puzzle. Booziness curls through the whole open and heart but it takes me a while to realise that that’s what it is, a caramelled liqeuer with creamy overtones.

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Star_Anise DanielGnomes DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

Then Vanilla & Anise sort of collapses on my skin and becomes a muddy, generic sweetish wood base that is very nice, no one will be offended, unless they were particularly looking to be WOWed. It is not bad, it is not good, Vanilla & Anise becomes a wash of nice. There is certainly a place for nice in a wardrobe of fragrance.

So my skin gives me about 1-2 hours of fragrance before it becomes a soft cloud of almost there for a while and I have become completely anosmic at around 3 hours. So 2 hours is quite good for a Jo Malone on my skin. A respritz at the 1 hour point more than doubles the lifespan and if I underlay with Halle body lotion they work beautifully together for about 5-7 hours.

As you can see I have been trying loads of ways to maintain Vanilla & Anise  on my body because I REALLY like the first hour, a lot. Maybe I can do Jo Malone after all…..

Though the Taj Mahal at sunset has nothing to do with Vanilla & Anise by Jo Malone the colours in the photo below are evocative of the fragrance feeling as a whole. Beautiful.

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Taj Sunset Evan_Guerra TempleTouristPhoto Stolen TempleTourist

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Perfume Posse
You can find Jo Malone in most larger department stores. Go have a spritz.
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

If you enjoyed this do please trot over to Australian Perfume Junkies and say G’Day too.

Which Jo Malone has captured your heart? Did it last? Did you try Vanilla & Anise?
Portia xx

19 Comments

  1. Hi Portia

    I’m a no-Malone person. I like some of the fragrances on tester cards but I get nothing on my skin. My most recent no-show was Silk Blossom (which the sales person recommended I layer with Red Roses). I sprayed a card and walked around David Jones for about an hour sniffing the card and deciding that I quite liked Silk Blossom. Went back to the counter and sprayed my skin, then walked around again to see how it “wore” on me. Five minutes later I was getting absolutely nothing.

    It’s a pity, because some of them do actually smell lovely – just not on me.

    • Hey Jennie,
      The good thing is there are SOME fragrances that I don’t feel the need to own. It is annoying though when everyone else gets such a different ride.
      He He He NO-Malone. Excellent.
      Portia xx

  2. G’day Portia. Yep, Jo Malone seems now to only produce fragrances with the life-span of a lit match. I really resent paying quite a lot of money for something that barely lasts an hour or less. I remember that their Vetiver and even their Grapefruit had good staying power in days of yore. I resent even more their sneaky sales pitch of layering their scents – one bottle for the price of two!

    While I was reading your description of Vanille & Anise I realised that it was reminding me of your post on Guerlain’s Ylang & Vanille. I bought a bottle of that (at a bargain price thank goodness!) all because of your review, and I am pleased to report that it lasts really well on me. It’s interesting that you say this JM is like a Guerlain Aqua Allegoria, and I wonder if it smells a bit like the Ylang & Vanille?

    • OOOOH Jilliecat,
      Ylang & Vanille is much richer and more luxurious. A sensual pleasure. Recently I was given a vintage bottle and it is mesmerising, even more than the current one that I love.
      The opening of V&A is more citrus, lighter and less creamy. V&Y is deeper, more sensual and if you wear fragrances seasonally I would put it in the cooler months basket. The V&A is more aquatic and fresher through the heart and V&Y lasts much fuller & longer on the scent card. I did a side by side and after an hour the V&Y is quiet and very lady like, the V&Y has a definite growl.
      Portia xx

  3. Not a fan of this line either. I did have Pomagranate Noir which I loved and used up partly because I wore it a lot and partly because I had to wear a lot of it. I’m not sure I’d ever buy any of the others. Most could be renamed “Gone in Sixty Seconds” on me. I can get simple scents like these at Bath & Body Works for a lot less money. It’s a shame too because like you, every now and then there’s one that is really pretty but it’s hard to justify the price with zero lasting power.

    • Ha Ha Ha Poodle,
      Gone In Sixty Seconds is a great name for a perfume or a CD.
      I like the Bath & Bodyworks bath & body products but the two frags I’ve tried have been a little overwhelming, the Japanese Cherry Blossom catching in my throat. I love the Japanese Cherry Blossom and Warm Vanilla Sugar bubble bath and shower gel though. The price is absolutely ridiculously cheap for them too, even including shipping.
      Portia xx

  4. I’ve never tried any, and having read this, no longer feel bad about it! I like some heft in my juice. Heck, I like some heft in just about everything! Life’s too short for wimpy things.

  5. I bought a bottle of Vanilla & Anise a couple of years ago and don’t know if the Jo Malones were any stronger then, but if I put about 4 or 5 spritzes on, this lasts a good 5-6 hours on me. It might just be me, as I seem to be able to wear some lighter scents and not have them disappear quickly.

  6. I like JM, and I own the French Lime Blossom, Peony and Blush Suede and the Nectarine and Honey blossom, and hubby has the English Pear and Freesia. These all last on me, and the Pomegranate Noir lasts forever. Unfortunately, the Earl Grey and Cucumber ( my absolute favourite) is never in stock on the rare occasions I am near a JM counter ( several thousand KM away). It must be a skin chemistry thing, but I am glad I seem to have the correct one for this line.

    • Hi Tena,
      I have had great success with Red Roses and have a couple of small size of others that I am about to spend some time testing. Fingers crossed.
      Even on some of the strongest and most feared fragrances my body eats them up in record time, chemistry does interesting things.
      Portia xx

  7. Yes, a lot of the JM are quite light and short-lived. Blue Agava & Cacao sounded like something I would love but I smell almost nothing, even right after I put it on! I own Blackberry & Bay, which is a great fruity scent for any weather, not too sweet. You might enjoy also Pomegranate Noir, which is longer lasting with the help of some patchouli.

    • Thanks Odonata9,
      I am interested to try the Pomegranite Noir. I think I have tried that Blue Agava & Cacao but don’t remember what it smelled like at all.
      Portia xx

  8. Howdy, Portia! Nice review on one of my favorite JMs.You described it beautifully. It lasts a tad bit longer on me, and somehow the drydown keeps echoing the main act, for which I’m very happy. BTW, did anyone notice that the country flags are not working? Oh, well, we’ll just call it all-American Thursday.

    • P.S. It’s a rainy evening here, so I ran upstairs and spritzed a bit of the V&A (which makes me think of the museum in London, ha!). It really is nice and I’m enjoying it as I finish the laundry.

      • Oh how I love London’s V&A. So easy to lose a day there and feel like it’s still morning. Ann I bet you smell delightful while getting the grunt work done. Wednesday is my day for all house duties, I love the feeling when it’s all finished.
        Portia xx

  9. I agree with most of the comments. I read about Jo Malone (the real woman who started the company years ago) in Vanity Fair magazine. Just couldn’t wait to try some of the scents. But……not only are the prices ridiculous for a lightweight cologne but , like most have mentioned, the scents simply don’t last. Too bad. They always sound so yummy.

    • BarbaraJ,
      I have girl friends who swear by their Jo Malone frags. They love that they can layer them for personalised results and that the packaging is so cool and clean lined. They look at me in horror when I complain of the longevity as if I am from another planet and tell me it lasts at least half the day for them sometimes into the night.
      What can I say but WOW! Some of us have chemistry that eats fragrance.
      Portia xx

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