Auld and New: Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille

This week both Cinnamon and March have talked about the holidays, the weather and what we do around now- the holiday traditions. I’ve talked about some of this before, and since we have had a slew of (very much needed) rainstorms lately, it’s been cold and with this darned flu that seems never to quite go away, but linger sort of just around the edges, I’ve been taking it as an excuse to stay in under the bankies and binge watch old movies, Prime and Netflix.

Not that I need an excuse.

Of course, “cold” is a relative term here, especially in Southern California. Believe it or not it will get down to freezing here, even in the Hills of Beverly, where it may be illegal under local ordinances. Thing is, California homes are, for the most part, designed to keep the heat out, not in. You may have an air conditioner that would be great for keeping meat for a family of five but heat could be a gas-fed wall contraption that will work for about 11 minutes before giving up the ghost. Or exploding. My old place on Maple had one of those and it was a joke, until you got the gas bill, when the joke was on you. My new place has electric radiant heating, which will make you warm and toasty while bankrupting you. And so it goes: blankets, duvets and the desire to rent a couple of large fuzzy dogs will be my winter. Preferably St. Bernards trained to walk themselves, pick up after themselves, and deliver food like Postmates (since I don’t drink the casks would go untapped.)

But, as usual, I digress.

One of the good things about the cold weather is that you can pull out some of the heavy hitters that could actually smother people if worn liberally out in the heat of summer. Annick Goutal Sables was one (is one? Does it still exist?) that’s a delight in cool weather: the maple sweetness being carried by hunky woodsman vibe is wonderful at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. At 40 degrees Celsius it would feel like hunky woodsman was trying to smother you with a plate of waffles.

Guerlain SDV in the old version was sort of in the same boat: its glottal vanilla cloud was, to some, just Too Damned Much. It was for the late and lamented perfumista who gave me the bottle, ¾ full after she decanted to friends. She found that I liked it and generously gave it to me. I still have the bottle and it still is about 1/8th full, but I got a bug up there (and it’s Christmas, dammit!!) and decided to use my zero balance on the store card to purchase a bottle from Neiman Marcus, blind. Would it be the same? Reformulated? Watered down?

Well the answer is yes, and no. I tried the new one after having put on the old one, which is. I think, never a great idea. The old one had time to set on my skin (and when this one gets a foothold it ain’t giving in without a fight..) so the new one seemed disappointingly thin. The next day after my morning ablutions I gave the new one a second try. It is lighter- whether this is from reformulations or just the older bottle having had years to settle in I don’t know. It is still Double Vanille, still with that slightly yeasty, bourbon-soaked quality that I loved in my older bottle. I would say it was a slight difference, an adjustment really: just turning the dial down from 11 to, say, 8. I don’t think it will win over people who were not fans of the initial release, and personally I’d like to have it back up to 11, but I can just spritz more and enjoy it myself. At home. In the winter. As it should be.

I am sure that wherever you are (except for the southern Hemisphere) it is likely colder than the temps I am whinging about. What are you reaching for, and what are you getting yourself for the holidays?

Images are from Pexels, except for the candid of the bottles, which is mine.

  • KayKay says:

    These days, its becoming the typical New England winter, anywhere from the teens to low 40s. So, I’m reaching for anything that smells warm and spicy or sweet, or both. I loved the little decant of SL Chergui so much that once it was gone, I got a small bottle that I scored during the SL website discount over Black Friday. I also found that several of the scents from Solstice Scents are very cozy and snuggly. My favorites so far in the perfume oils
    are Witches Cottage, Mountain Vanilla and Smokey Mountain Mallow (this one is quite smoky to start, then settles into whiffs of smoke thru the smell of roasting marshmallows, yummy).

    • Tom says:

      I have a bottle of Chergui in the back of my stash- I am going to have to go search it out. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Portia says:

    We have had some delightfully cold evenings and nights here Tom. I had to throw on a hoodie last night to walk Paris because I’d been cold ambushed the last couple of nights and didn’t want to shiver my ay around the block.
    So, Guerlain Cuir Beluga, Eau d’Hermes and Caron
    Aimez moi comme je suis have all had a happily surprising off season run.
    Portia xx

  • Dina C. says:

    Tom, I’ve never sniffed SDV because vanillas, boozy or not, aren’t really my cup of tea. But I do have Cologne of the Missions which is supposed to mimic SDV, and I enjoy that in cold weather. Kenzo Amour is another vanilla type that I like in winter.

    • Tom says:

      Vanilla as a main event isn’t big on my list unless it’s in dessert, but this one is an exception.

  • Maggiecat says:

    I remember liking SDV but not loving it, so I never went beyond my decant. It will be getting cold this weekend, so Coco Noir is an option. I’ve fallen head over heels for Sana Jardin’s Sandalwood Temple, and I also really like Tiger By Her Side, and both will be great as the temperatures drop below freezing. Brrr!

  • alityke says:

    It’s midday & still below freezing here in Northern England. I’m giving 4160 Tuesdays Aunt Pera’s Adventurous Past a full wearing. Sadly, the cold seems to have killed it. It’s an animalic rose chypre that includes Mitti attar. The top notes make me see brick red.
    I love the original SDV & I’m eking out my decant. It’s boozy rather than sweet to me

    • Tom says:

      It’s boozy on my as well- the way good vanilla extract is. The new one is less so. Of everything. But that may be because it’s a new bottle and the other one is at least 10 years old if not more.

  • cinnamon says:

    It’s freezing here still. And the dog decided he wanted to walk rather than avail himself of the garden. So, we had to. 0 or 1 Celsius. Makes me want chocolate and there’s none in the house. I appear to have given away my sample of Double Vanille. Which is too bad. So I put on Tauer Sundowner with its boozy wordiness. Quite right for the irritating weather.

  • Maya says:

    It was a warm day today, about 50 F, so I am wearing Pierre Guillaume’s Gardenia Grand Soir. The cold is coming in tomorrow so I will use more of my sample of Biehl EO01. It’s great in the cold. I know someone that is selling a partial bottle of that and of Cartier Baiser Vole so will probably buy both as a gift for myself.

  • March says:

    Oh wonderful SdV, glad you wound up with that bottle… I went to a jam-packed concert tonight at the Cathedral. My nose isn’t working super well and I was wearing a mask… I may have thrown on a liberal dose of SL Fleurs d’Oranger beforehand. I dunno, I don’t think I knocked anyone over with it, but maybe not the best choice for a crowd.

  • Kathleen says:

    We are cold this week in Colorado! One of my favorite comfort scents for cold weather is EL Youth Dew. I know, cringe-worthy to many! I find it so very cozy. I’ve been wearing Shalimar more this winter as well.

    • Tom says:

      I read that it’s going to be cold and stormy from Washington to Maine. When I lived in Milwaukee and had a fireplace I kind of liked it.

      I will defend Youth Dew to my dying day. It is glorious and anyone who says it isn’t is just wrong, wrong, wrong!

    • Shivawoman says:

      Thank goodness! Someone else that adores EL YD. I don’t use the perfume though my mom gifted that to me years ago. I use the bath oil. Right on my skin. Rock it!

  • Tara C says:

    I have both those bottles of SDV and regret the loss of the booziness in the original, but it’s still good. I think after multiple wearings and a couple of years of maceration the new one will improve. I wear it nearly all year round as I have a high tolerance for sweetness. I even wear another heavy-hitter similar to Sables, Atélier Cologne Blanche Immortelle, during the dog days of summer and find it radiates wonderfully, like warm skin baked in the sun.

    I do have a very heavy, animalic incense scent that I can only wear in the depths of winter: Rundholz 3.April.1963.

    • Tom says:

      Is that 1968? I was looking for it and luckyscent has a 1968. From your likes I’m dying to try the Rundholz..

    • Shivawoman says:

      I don’t have SDV, but I also wear Atelier Blanch Immortelle and I have Sables–I love the pancake syrup smell because to me it’s natural and real. We have a weed/yellow flower that grows in the Sierra foothills that sure looks and smells like immortelle, so it’s quite a natural wild scent to me. We also have “candy cap” mushrooms in the Pacific northwest that are wild mushrooms used in confectionary. They taste and smell like maple syrupy goodness, with a naturally high sweetness. They are a pleasure to use in cookies and cakes

      • Tom says:

        I need to try the Atelier one. I am not sure that Sables is made anymore- I think it was kind of a hard sell for them even in the 80’s when I first bought it. I remember spraying it on and not being sure about it, walking out of the store onto bone-cold Fifth Avenue in my woolly scarf and tweed overcoat and getting about three blocks before turning right around to buy a bottle. Kept some ever since.