Here is Part II of Neil’s vanilla series, enjoy the delicious Part I here.
VANILLE / MOLINARD
Vanilla vodka. Less heavy and direct than most vanillas, Molinard’s refreshing scent is still vanilla-bean centered of course, and sweet: yet it is also cool, delicious – the flavour you know from glacés and sorbet. With a spritz of alcohol, an ice cream coolness graces the skin, softening nicely to a subtle, skin-close, crystalline vanilla I love; subtle but long lasting.
For me, this is one of the most wearable of vanillas, and one of my personal favourites. It is well made and great value.
VANILIA / L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR (1978)
L’Artisan’s Vanilia, unfortunately now discontinued but available online if you look hard enough, is a very original interpretation of the vanilla pod, whisking it up to an airy, floral delicacy you won’t find anywhere else. Rather than focusing on what humans do with the essence (making cakes and perfumes), Jean LaPorte takes an innocent, exterior snapshot of the entire plant, from bean to flower, as if from outside, at a distance.
Light as a meringue, the scent opens with an orchidaceous top note of vanilla flowers and high grade ylang. It seems to dance on air, undercut with subtle notes of nutmeg, clove, and ambergris, the overall effect adding up to a perfume that charms and magnetizes with its beautiful seamlessness.
SPIRITUEUSE DOUBLE VANILLE / GUERLAIN
This perfume, initially released as a limited edition, is now safely part of the main collection, so its devotees can breathe a sigh of relief. This Guerlain take on vanilla is a new take on the note, the ‘spiritueuse’ of the name not alluding to spirituality, nor some form of ‘spirited’, or spritely vanilla, but in fact an allusion to alcohol. Spirits: a honeyed, liquorous cherry brandy with a ‘double shot’ of vanilla: kirsch-like glints of ylang ylang, jasmine, rose, incense and pink pepper, boosted with warm, golden undercurrents of cedar and benzoin.
In fact, when you first put this on your skin, the main impression is of a delicious, boozy sweetness that you can’t immediately locate as vanilla. Lying within this dark amber liquid, though, is a shipwreck of vanilla beans drowning in liquor; hundreds of pods slowly surrendering their scent in brilliantly slowed down time. The final notes (four hours or so after application) embody the true soul of vanille; ripe, hummingbird sucrose.
Here is Olfactoria’s take on SDV.
To be continued…