The Kitten And The Lion – Review: Guerlain Shalimar Ode Á La Vanille

I was lucky enough to buy the allegedly last bottle of Guerlain’s limited 2010 release Ode A La Vanille that was to be had in Vienna (there were probably five in all ;))

I am so glad I did!

As a Shalimar fan, Ode a la Vanille is definitely an addition to my collection that was very much worth it. Created by Guerlain’s in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser, Ode a la Vanille is presented in the new Jade Jagger designed bottle in 50 ml Eau de Parfum. It features vanilla from Madagascar and Mayotte that is said to have been infused for 4 years. Other notes include lemon, bergamot, rose, jasmine, iris, incense, opoponax and tonka bean.

Let me sing its praises!

It is essentially classic Shalimar with a twist. I don’t find the two to be so very different. Ode a la Vanille is probably a little less raunchy, more gourmand-y, but no sweetness-fest at all. The initial blast of subdued citrus is followed by the slightly powdery wave of dry and dirty-ish vanilla, that we know so well from Shalimar but that had its warm and cosy facet turned up a notch or two. It has impressive staying power and a sillage worthy of the name Shalimar. It is not to be taken lightly, but a perfume to be taken seriously and to be revered and respected.

It demands it.

Shalimar Ode A La Vanille makes me feel like a woman.

Even though I am 35 (AAAAAAAAARRRRRGH! When did that happen?), I often feel like a young girl, even if my budding crow’s feet and the fact that I am called Mommy, belie that notion.

But when wearing Ode A La Vanille, I feel grown up. Not in the usual weight of responsibility carrying kind of way, but like a real woman, who knows what she wants, who is happy with herself, confident in what she is and what she does.

Not a bad way to feel, actually.

If it takes perfume for me to feel that way, so be it…

Image source:,, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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16 Responses to The Kitten And The Lion – Review: Guerlain Shalimar Ode Á La Vanille

  1. deeHowe says:

    “… like a real woman, who knows what she wants, who is happy with herself, confident in what she is and what she does.”

    Wow! I need to smell Ode on you, because it doesn’t do this on me 😉

    On a more serious note, I’ve given it another chance—but it still doesn’t quite work on me. Beautiful, yes, but it just fades SO quickly on my skin, and I get almost no sillage at all after the first five or ten minutes. I guess my skin just eats up all the pretty 😦

    I did try layering it over extrait, and that did have a nice effect—goodness knows the first few minutes of the extrait can be a bumpy ride!

  2. Marina says:

    What? I didn’t even know about this one. Sounds fantastic. Man, I’ll never catch up on new releases. 🙂

  3. JoanElaine says:

    Sounds very decadent! The bottle is gorgeous. I bet it has a prime place in your collection.

    I love Shalimar, but vanilla is tricky for me due to scent association (yes, another one..). Enjoy your “Ode”!

  4. Victoria says:

    Dear B, what a lovely, uplifting review. I read it on the train (constant meetings today), and it made me smile. Thank you! I love fragrances that make me feel this way. Carnal Flower is such a fragrance, which is why I wore it for my wedding. Will definitely try Ode a la Vanille next time I am near Guerlain counter.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Victoria! 🙂
      Carnal Flower is the only Malle fragrance I haven´t tried, seems it is high time! But I think the name always put me off a bit, it sounds like a flesh eating plant or Audrey II 😉 But it must be gorgeous, when you wore it on your wedding day. It´s on my ever expanding to-try list.

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