Hermessence Vanille Galante

Don’t let the photo throw you, it has more to do with the latter part of the post.

Thanks to the lovely and always gracious CarmenCanada from Grain de Musc, whose review you can read at the link, we got to sniff a little of the newest Jean-Claude Ellena Hermessence, Vanille Galante.

Those of you looking for a nontransparent, nonluminous JCE perfume, you can just keep looking, you won’t find it here.  Do you think he answers the phone, “This is Jean-Claude, my favorite color is clear!”?  I do adore his work because I think that sheerness, while still retaining the essence of what you’re trying to capture, is like working in pastels and watercolors without having it look all floofy and girlish.  Vanille Galante is green and lily on the open, with just hints of vanilla, fairly nonspecific, floating around.  Lily always goes a little soapy on me in the early part of the drydown, and Vanille Galante followed that pattern.

Once it emerged from that, the green recessed nicely, the lily didn’t get all blowsy and big, but the vanilla emerged in just the way I want my vanilla. Not car freshener vanilla or the woman at the theater that drowned herself in Sugar ‘n Vanilla from Walgreen’s, but like fresh Madagascar vanilla pods, a little smoky, but leafy, like you had the actual pod in your hand next to a very subtle lily and perhaps just a bit of white chocolate.  It is breathtakingly subtle and smells completely like a JCE creation, creamily transparent.  What I want the most to do is to have my own bottle soon so I can spritz it all over. I have a feeling this one will work on me similar to the crack-like Vetiver Tonka and Osmanthe Yunnan – mostly floating around in a cloud because it gets lost on my skin, but that cloud surrounds me all day long. 

If you are looking for a traditional sweet vanilla or strong vanilla, this won’t be for you, but if you want to see a treatment of vanilla that’s not been done before, you should find this interesting.  I adore it, but I’m not sure that will be a universal thought.  Already the cries can be heard in my head of the perfumistas, “But it doesn’t last!  It’s barely there!”  Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to vanilla.

Word is it should be released the end of January or first of February in Paris. Not sure what that translates to stateside as far as time, but in the past, it has taken 2-4 weeks to hit the states after it releases in Paris.  In the meantime, I’m going to buy some lilies and hold them next to my Madagascar vanilla pods and inhale to my heart’s content.

Paris is lovely, as always.  The winter light here just blows me away, and I’m busily snapping pictures daily.  We’ve done more of the tourist thing this time because my uncle has had a bad cold, so we haven’t been able to spend much time with him.  We’ve gone to Montmarte, Sacre-Coeur, Notre Dame, St. Germain wandering, St. Chappelle – wait, can I just bitch briefly about this?  What a gorgeous chapel, but 8 euros just to get inside and see one freaking gorgeous room?  I’m no cheapskate, but that really pegged my wtf meter right out of the parking stall.  We tried to see Pere Lachaise cemetery this weekend, but it was closed – dangerous! said the signs, snow and ice!!!  Well, at least if someone falls and cracks their heads, they don’t have far to go, but seriously, how dangerous can a cemetery be?  We were wickedly disappointed and vowed to go back every day with a grappling hook until we can get over the wall and in. I want IN that cemetery. I love cemeteries, and my head is full of all the pictures we’ll take there, but I need to be over the wall.  Ideas?  We went to the Musee d’Orsay, and this week is the Louvre for at least one day and then a day or two of whirlwind shopping.  It has been a great trip, but all trips are great when you go with lively people who are game for anything.

  • the_nose says:

    After the disaster that was Hermes Mousson, I hope JCE is back in form but I have a feeling this will be trashed by maniacal hordes of oriental-heavy Guerlain and Serge Lutens loving MUA’ers..

  • Mariekel says:

    PS. Oh, I see you DID ask. Well, in that case, i also heartily recommend a night of extreme silliness at Au Vieux Paris on the rue de la Verrerie (near Hotel de vIlle metro). It opens late and stays open later. It is sort of a beatnik French karaoke — they hand aroun lyric sheets to classic chansons (nothing more recent than Jacques Brel.

    There is an accordioniste and guitarist, a dreadful sound system and everyone sings along. when the song ends, you snap you fingers rather than applaud. Beware the Turkish loo, though, and don’t bring large bills or you may find yourself shortchanged. . and dress to fit in (jeans, leather)– the patroness is notoriously quirky in her tastes in customers. That said, it is really good fun with the right crowd.

  • Mariekel says:

    I am so envious!

    Watch out for those feral kitties in Pere Lachaise. Several of them jumped out screeching from behind a mausoleum near Sarah Bernhardt when I was wandering around in there, hopelessly lost, near closing time.

    not that you asked, but here are some tips i often give friends…

    Off the beaten track, and assuming the weather isn’t too beastly, have you ever walked around the Butte aux Cailles in the 13th (Gobelins metro)? It is charming, removed and full of little turn-of-the-century cottages. I also adore the Gallerie Vivienne/Palais Royal gardens for tea. The Marquis de Lafeytte’s house is now an art gallery/restaurant. It is horridly expensive at night but not too bad for afternoon tea and is quite central at the bottom of the 8th — it is called 1728.

    And if you have never seen the interior of the Palais Garnier at Opera, I insist you drop whatever perfume you are sniffing and hightail it over there!

    Sigh. I need my Paris fix.

  • trinity says:

    Hiya Patty –
    Hope the trip is going well. How I envy you! I am eagerly awaiting a chance to sample this one, since I ador JCE and I like vanilla alot, as long as it’s not the traditional sweet-cupcake-frosting-plastic variety.

    Could you compare it to my beloved Le Labo Vanille 44? This is my HG vanilla, but I suppose one could argue it’s not a “true vanilla” cause anything named by LL is usually anything but.
    A close second is Luten’s Un Bois Vanille.

    I also love Osmanthe Yunnan and love the ethereal veil quality it has when sprayed. It surrounds and wafts all day without ever becoming cloying or over-bearing.

    Have fun!!

  • kathleen says:

    Hi Patty, would you know if the Vanille Galante will be released in London at the same time as in Paris? My b’day is Feb 1, and that all important “what do you want for your b’day”, question has just come in from my dear friend in London. I wouldn’t mind being able to say to him, Hermessence Vanille Galante.

  • Pikake says:

    Need to try Vanille Galante! Have you considered A day trip to Chartres?

  • Joe says:

    Nothing to say about the Hermessence, but your trip sounds great. Wintertime vacations can be so nice without the summer crowds. And isn’t the Musee d’Orsay great? I think it’s one of the nicest museums. I need acquaintances with spare sofas across Europe 😉

  • Kathryn says:

    I’m sorry that Saint Chappelle was a disappointment. One of my nicest memories of Paris is of an evening concert at Saint Chappelle with the sunset light streaming through the stained glass and then morphing into candlelight as the musicians played Vivaldi. The tickets, as I recall, were quite reasonable, especially compared to the entrance fee with no music! The group that played. Les Archets de Paris, is performing at L’Eglise St. Germain now, where I’ve never been, but they will be back at Saint Chapelle in the spring should you make a return trip. I second Vetivresse’s recommendation that you console yourself for both Saint Chappelle and Pere LaChaise with dinner at L’Epi Dupin.

    In any case, the luminous windows of Saint Chappelle seem better reflected by something rosier and richer like Amouage Lyric Woman. Your description of Vanille Galante makes me think of the paler but no less wonderful light coming through the glass pyramid at the Louvre on a sunny day. Glad you are having such a great trip with such wonderful companions.

  • Natalie says:

    OK, if I were trying to get into the cemetery, I’d find the caretaker and spin a good yarn about how my sainted mother is on her deathbed (or perhaps it’s me who hasn’t long to live), and I promised I would pay my respects to great-great-Grandmère, who just so happens to be buried at Père Lachaise. You might need a name here… perhaps great-great-Grandmère is Isadora Duncan? Gertrude Stein? Oh, wait…

    And if all else fails, show some leg.

  • helenviolette says:

    Ok- I am now sold on going to Paris in the winter.

    “Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to vanilla”- word. I do want to smell this one. VT and OY are pretty masterful IMHO. And costly. On second thought, hoping to be un-wowed for the sake of my pocketbook 😉

  • Divalano says:

    I’m working up some serious longing around your last paragraph … winter light in Paris …. sigh. I don’t actually know what it looks like but in my mind’s eye it’s gorgeous.

    I do want to sniff Vanille Galente but not nearly so much as I’d like to experience the light in Paris. I hate lilies. They hate me. I read “green” & “fresh” & lose interest quickly. And if VG is luminous the way Osmanthe Yunnan is, that means I’ll smell it for half an hour, an hour tops which is not nearly long enough for something priced so dearly.

  • erin says:

    Have you been to St. Sulpice yet? That’s one of my favorite spots–never seems crowded, they have some very strange and weirdly touching relics there and the Delacroix mural of Jacob Wrestling The Angel is truly lovely. Definitely worth seeing. The chapel feels more intimate and contemplative than other places–not the sideshow atmosphere that has ruined some of the more popular churches for me. I’ll bet the light in there at this time of year is exquisite.

    I am now trying to keep my envy at a low boil as I contemplate the beginning of my day in Tallahassee…

  • Have lots of fun and do try to enter the Lachaise cemetary, it’s especially dreamy now it’s snowing.
    [Oh and please go at the Cadolle boutique (saint Honoré) and try to photograph that Cara “revolutionary” bra for me!^:)^ No photo-ops back then]

    I am awaiting my own Vanille Galante shortly, so I am withholding judgement till then, but I have trust to your and Denyse’s noses and faith in JCE’s mastery so I am very optimistic (and I abhor foody vanillas too, so how wrong could it be??)

  • carmencanada says:

    Patty! I’m glad to read your impressions on Vanille Galante. It *is* incredibly fresh and graceful, isn’t it? It’s shaping up to be one of my favorite Hermessences with VT and OY. And the only thing that’s got “vanilla” in the name that I feel I could get a full bottle of: JCE just renews the concept, doesn’t he? Did you get any hint of smokiness or spiciness? I know I was miserly with my spritz on your hand, but you might have…

  • Louise says:

    Starting backwards…I love cemeteries 8-x; it’s all about history and family stories for me. Especially love small pioneer plots stumbled on on hikes in the Northeast (Vemont has many). I hope you’ll get into LaChaise, but also consider the Montparnesse one, and especially the Cimetiere des Chiens (not just late dogs, all kinds of pets, trippy memorials).

    I know you don’t have infinite time, but a couple smaller museums are worth visiting if you have not. I adore the Musee de Rodin, though the summer gardens and their sculpture are part of its charm, and the Picasso museum is a charm. I love the Marais, even with its yuppification, and the Picasso is a great retreat from all the shopping and eating.

    I’m only slightly shocked at the fee for Sainte Chapelle-I remember my mom complaining about the price years ago. It is worth one visit, though-on a bright day.

    I must try the VG. I like vanillics in general, though tend to turn almost all to cookies (I smell absolutely no smokiness in SDV). I promise not to whine if I can’t smell much…you know my bad, naughty skin l-)

    Carry on with the fun :d/

  • Amarie says:

    I am sorry you couldn’t get into Pere Lachaise, it is a place I have always wanted to go. Have you considered l’Ossuaire Municipal? A fascinating part of underground Paris where they deposited the overflowing bones from the cemetries into part of the former mines near the Left Bank’s Place Denfert-Rochereau from the late 18th century onwards. No words really describe it, the bones have been built into walls of tibias and femurs with lines of skulls. I know it sounds strange and gothic, but to me it seems to transcend that.

    • Patty says:

      Now, we may be able to make that. If we can’t get in today or tomorrow, then we’re definitely going there. I almost forgot about that place!!!

      • carmencanada says:

        It’s also called “Les Catacombes”, métro Denfert-Rochereau. It’s suh a grand staging of death it used to give me the giggles. Worth seeing (Harry’ll love it, I think).

  • Calypso says:

    Oh, I love Pere Lachaise. I hope you get in. Chopin, Heloise and Abelard, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoior, a lot of romance there. And a LOT Of cats. Take along some kitty treats for the poor dears. Enjoy!

    • Patty says:

      Well, if we don’t get in this time, it goes to the top of my list for next time, but I’ll be horribly disappointed. At least the metro trip out is quick! Will take kitty treats

  • Vetivresse says:

    Haha. I’m having images of Karloff and Lugosi (together at last) in Robert Wise’s film adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s “The Body Snatcher,” as you talk of grappling hooks and cemetery walls. While you’re planning your covert ‘insinuation,’ try the food at L’Epi Dupin (near Sèvres-Babylone metro station). The filet de raie is to die for, as are ALL of the desserts.

    • Patty says:

      Do you KNOW how hard it is to get a set of grappling hooks in Paris? I bet it wouldn’t be this hard in Moscow. Just saying. That restaurant sounds lovely. I know we’re back over that way today.

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh-wee! What you said, woman! Osmanthe Yunnan and Vetiver Tonka are also my two faves so far of the Hermessence collection, so I know I have to get my hands on Vanille Galante.

    You must see that cemetery! It is amazing.


    • Patty says:

      I do think you will love VG. I’m up before everyone else this morning – this is a first! We’ve tried two days in a row to get in, and we’ll try again today and tomorrow. We go back to the Louvre as well. I think our favorite restaurant was the one in the Musee d’Orsay. The light, the ceilings! It was as beautiful as it gets.

      I’ll have more to say about our favorite church on thursday, all four of us were just blown away, and it’s not the church most people go to see, but really should.