Vanille Insensée is the sixth fragrance by my new favorite line Atelier Cologne. It was released for spring, which upon first look seems like an odd decision.
Most vanilla scents are geared towards the cooler seasons since it lies in the nature of vanilla to be sweet and warm. Well, most of the time at least…
First a little about the name. Vanille Insensée or Insane Vanilla is thoroughly fitting in the sense that this is no regular, run of the mill vanilla as you know it. Many believe and read (me included) that it is called Vanille Incensée, the second word having to do with incense, but that is not the case.
Vanille Insensée was created by Ralf Schwieger (like Orange Sanguine) in 2010, it is a cologne absolue of 15% concentration, notes include lime, cedrat, coriander, jasmine, oak moss, vetiver, vanilla, oak and amber.
After a fleeting second of citrus notes, Vanille Insensée lies before me from top to bottom as one. But not as an impenetrable block of a fragrance but like a transparent sphere, complete but everything inside is clearly visible and discernible. It is an incredible sensation.
I smell the coriander, the jasmine, although very subdued, the vanilla – prominent, but soft – and the woody and ambery notes of the base. It is all there from the start, its finely crafted layers visible and tangible, yet light and transparent and intriguingly beautiful.
I do not like sweet and foody vanilla on me, Comptoir Pacifique-esque vanilla renditions make me run as far as I can, but I enjoy darker, boozier vanillas as in Spiritueuse Double Vanille or Vanille Absolument, although only in cold weather. It brings to mind other “strange” vanilla perfumes like Diptyque Eau Duelle or Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise.
But Vanille Insensée is neither.
It smells very true to what you get when you open a fresh vanilla pod and scrape it out. It is not vanilla essence or flavor, it is very close to the real, fresh thing with its dark and smoky, yet light facet.
To have released Vanille Insensée in spring is actually a brilliant idea, because look out of the window: Spring is not warm and sunny, at best it is changeable, unreliable and takes you from rain to bright sunshine in the course of an afternoon. For such conditions Vanille Insensée is perfect.
Like all the Cologne Absolues from Atelier Cologne, tenacity is excellent, and it has quite a sillage without being over-boarding. I received unusually many compliments when wearing it (normally people do not register my perfumes or they choose not to comment, I don’t know, the only other perfume, to ever get me that many compliments was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, although I am not sure now that this a compliment for the Atelier scent. ;))
I highly recommend Vanille Insensée, as well as the other perfumes in this line, because it is so well made – that image of the transparent sphere is very powerful, I see it every time I apply the fragrance – and will be appealing for vanilla lovers and skeptics alike, I believe.