When I came into the pretty Santa Maria Novella store in Venice, having dragged my partially protesting family (for the record: The Husband was very supportive of my fragrant shenanigans) across the city in the heat, I knew I would come out again with a perfume. Such efforts need a reward after all.
The entire range of gorgeously packaged Santa Maria Novella perfumes invitingly stood in line for me to dive in, but despite my best intentions, the fact that Niki tried to fall asleep in the lap of an alarmed looking Korean tourist in the store, distracted me enough to abandon the idea of smelling my way through the line.
Vaniglia beckoned from the start, since I am on a vanilla hunt at the moment. I sprayed it on my arm, carried Niki out the door thinking I’d just leave it be. When I smelled my arm again outside, I knew I would forever regret not buying this though. So Niki safely deposited in his father’s arms, I went back and bought my bottle of Vaniglia.
Vaniglia includes notes of spices, flowers and vanilla. (Not very exhaustive, I know!)
Vaniglia smells not like a gourmand vanilla scent at all. It opens rather sharply alcoholic, I don’t get much in terms of top notes actually, but don’t let yourself be distracted by the underwhelming start.
Vaniglia develops into a perfume that is dark, boozy, smoky, but never harsh or very sweet, it is weightless and sheer despite its darkness, and it lasts for a long time on my skin, but stays pretty close. I can apply lavishly (which is how I like it).
Vaniglia feels lush and rich, but not thick, dense or treacly. While I imagine it to be fantastic in the cold days of fall and winter, it also wears wonderfully in the heat we are still having. I’d consider it perfectly genderless.
I smell not only vanilla in Vaniglia of course, but it has a decidedly burned quality to it calling to mind the gustatory pleasures of one of my favorite deserts, Créme Brulée, but also made me think of another perfume I seemed to know well, but couldn’t immediately place. This bugged me for days until it finally struck me – Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau!!!
The sandalwood base covered with caramellized sugar is an element those two perfumes share, although it is a lot more muted in Vaniglia.
I had to laugh when I read Neil’s take on it, since he points out its chastity and cultured elegance.
Well, if that’s what it is, I’ll take my vanilla chaste, please.