Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Vanilla Perfume?

It’s favorites time again! This time around I want to know all about your favorite vanilla perfume. (Look here for reader’s favorite Rose, White Floral, Incense, Musk, Tropical Floral, Leather and Citrus perfumes.)

Which one is your secret vanilla weapon?

Do you love your vanilla sweet and edible or dark and smoky?

Are you going for solinotes or do you prefer vanilla in good company?


My Answer:

I’m still looking for the ultimate vanilla, but there are a few runners-up in my closet already.

Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille was the first niche vanilla I bought, and I like it but it doesn’t always hit the spot. My newest love is Santa Maria Novella’s Vaniglia, and I am awaiting samples of Vanigilia del Madagascar from both I Profumi di Firenze and Farmacia SS Annunziata. L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Vanille Absolument and Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille are trusted standby’s as well.

I had a thing for light vanillas once, like Le Labo Vanille 44, Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise or Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée, but these days the darker, fuller ones attract me a lot more.

For the more complex vanilla scents, Mona di Orio Vanille will always be a favorite, Serge Lutens Bois de Vanille holds a lot of memories and Guerlain Shalimar Ode a lá Vanille sur la Route de Madagascar is a fantastic showcase for a great vanilla note within an oriental composition (this last one also wins the price for longest and most cumbersome perfume name, btw).

Can’t wait to hear about your most beloved vanilla scents!


About Olfactoria

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96 Responses to Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Vanilla Perfume?

  1. Jordan River says:

    Vaniglia Del Madagascar from Farmacia SS. Annunziata

  2. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille was the only FB of parfume in my life I fully used up (and even repurchased – but I have some issues with the later Editions). Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille is a staple in winter time. So no surprises here. But still, there is one hidden favorite : Van Cleef & Arpels’ Vanille Orchidee…

  3. Marie says:

    Vanilla perfumes are usually too sweet for my taste but I really like Mona di Orio Vanille and Bvlgari Black, my comfort scents (can’t see the “wild” aspect in Black).

  4. Ines says:

    I don’t have a favourite vanilla. Vanillas are my favourite. 😉
    But the three I love and wear the most L’Artisan’s Vanilia, SL Un Bois Vanille and Spiritueuse Double Vanille.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Haha, what a great line! 😀

      Vanilia is one of the perfumes that got away from me, I never tried it before it was discontinued. Well, you can’t have them all… 🙂

      • Ines says:

        Well then, my mission is clear. 😉

        • Olfactoria says:

          Oh no, it was not meant to sound like a plea! It’s discontinued and you don’t have much left probably, so no need for action. You are too kind (as always, dear Ines!)!

          • Ines says:

            Oh, you should know me better than that. 🙂 (I didn’t see it as a plea btw)
            There is quite enough left in my bottle, believe me. And that not being the only vanilla perfume I wear, it will not run out any time soon. And even if it does, I have so many others to fill its place.
            Many, many others… I’m actually scared to count at this time. 😉

  5. The one I find most wearable is Eau Duelle. Vanilla just makes me smell like cake usually! 🙂

  6. Vanessa says:

    Another vote for Eau Duelle! I also Creed’s vanilla one, which I don’t think is called ‘Imperial’ for once, the AG one you mention and Esprit d’Oscar. It’s my favourite note, so I am sure I will think of more in a bit. Poivre 23 and Angelique Noir(e?) – they are vanilla with a twist too.

    • Olfactoria says:

      This Creed is (called) Sublime, so no empire connections on this one, I haven’t tried it yet since I’m somewhat Creed-averse, but definitely should make an exception here.

      Angelique Noire is a great vanilla (so are many L’Art et la Matiere scents when I think about it, Cuir Beluga and Bois d’Armenie have fantastic vanilla notes).

  7. Sandra says:

    Love Vanille Bourbon Osmo Absolu from Il Profumo, Guerlain’s SDV, MdO Vanille and my recent love Vaniligia del Madagascar from i Profumi di Firenze.

  8. Asali says:

    Vanilia, Metallica and SDV- funny, I would normally not like leaving out things but in this case these are easily my favourites above all others 🙂 I don’t know the IPdF’s though, and normally find them *really* good, so…

  9. lucasai says:

    Me and my Mum we both love Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee and in fact, my Mum has just decided on purchasing a bottle of it, since AC is offering free EU shipping until the end of August.

    I also like Profvmvm Roma Vanitas

  10. Nadja says:

    I like my vanillas dark and smoky, with leather, tobacco, woodsmoke… So far I only have indie perfume oil vanillas under my belt and the best of them is Smoke and Mirrors by Alkemia Perfumes. That is seriously smoky stuff, gorgeous as is and perfect for layering!

  11. poodle says:

    I like vanilla but I don’t think I have a true favorite yet. I don’t like to smell like dessert so anything that replicates the smell of cake or frosting is not a contender unless it’s a candle. My house smelling like vanilla cake is okay, just not me. I like dark, boozy vanilla if given the choice. I don’t mind sweet vanilla either sometimes as long as it doesn’t smell too cakey. I don’t think I have any true vanilla-centric perfumes in my collection. I have perfumes with vanilla in them but no real vanilla scents…how is that possible? I guess that’s something that needs to be addressed at some point.

  12. Safran says:

    I am not a huge vanilla fan in scents, but I love Vanille Tonka from Nicolai.

  13. Tara says:

    I’m still looking for the perfect vanilla that is not too sweet and has dark and smoky facets while still delivering that comforting vanilla “hit”. It’s not that easy to find. SDV and Mona’s Vanille came close. I also like the drydown of 7 Billion Hearts but the opening is rough and I wouldn’t pay the price anyhow.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on the two Vanigilia del Madagascar perfumes.

  14. Lynne says:

    Two hardly ever mentioned vanillas by Profumum: Battito d’ali, and Acqua e Zucchero are my favorites! (for now). Notes for BcA are orange flower, vanille, myrhh, coconut and cacao. Notes for AeZ are orange blossom, forest fruits and vanilla, however both scents are primarily vanilla fragrances!!!

  15. judithl says:

    I do like vanilla in my perfume. Here are some favorites : Creed Vanille Sublime, LAVANILA Pure Vanilla, Montale Vanilla Absolu, Memoire Liquide Vanille Francaise, Creative Scentualization Perfect Vanilla, Des Filles a la Vanille Musc Venetian,Trish McEvoy Blackberry & Vanilla Musk, Lollia Wish, Carthusia Ligea la Sirena, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and Viktoria Minya

  16. happyface313 says:

    I don’t know that many vanilla perfumes – I have a bottle of Vanille Galante Hermessence, which I like, especially in the winter time and I have tried the vanilla fragrance from St. Barth, which I think is a tad stronger. But I only sprayed it on the perfume shop, so I can’t say I have “tested” it yet.
    Have a very HAPPY week 🙂

  17. Ana says:

    I love Dzing!,which is not all about vanilla,but I like the way that note is used in it,Shalimar of course and Vanille Tonka .Haven’t tried many other ones,so my list is quite short, unfortunately

  18. FeralJasmine says:

    I adore most vanillas, with the Mona Vanille topping the list. I wear SDV regularly, love Orchidee Vanille for a warm-weather vanilla, love the Farmacia SS Annunziata in hot weather, and cherish my bottle of Havana Vanille. Vintage Organza Indecence, a very woody vanilla, might be the queen of my collection. Raghba, a strong vanilla oud with dried-fruit notes that came from Saudi Arabia, is great in cooler weather. The gorgeous 7 Billion Hearts is my winter favorite but as a strong pencil-shaving note in warm weather. Haven’t cared for any of the Shalimars because the Guerlain base does something weird on me. The only vanilla (besides the sweet mass-market ones) that I ever really disliked was Vanille Galante, because I am one of those people who gets a definite fish note from it. I think the ability to smell this must be genetic. It is so absent to so many people, and so strong and unmistakable for those of us who do smell it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh my, I don’t wear Vanille Galante either (too much lily), but thankfully I’m spared the fish note. How awful!
      Do you often perceive this? Do you know what molecule or compound is responsible for it?

      • FeralJasmine says:

        I am very curious about what molecule it is. Someday I will remember to write to Victoria at BoisdeJasmin and ask if she knows. It may be rarely used or some combination of molecules, since I have never smelled it in any other fragrance, thank goodness.

  19. Natalie says:

    Hmm, this is a note I have not been seeking out in many years, so I have to really think about it! I do like Le Labo Vanille 44 and Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. I tend to go more for the lighter vanillas overall, and most of the modern Guerlains that are vanilla heavy don’t work on me.

  20. Alice says:

    I don’t own any true vanillas, as I have always avoided the richer ones (eg SL Un Bois Vanille, like the smell, just feel rather self conscious wearing them) – unless you count Tea for Two, which is more smoke/tea than vanilla. Lately I’ve really enjoyed lighter ones such as Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee, and eau Duelle – and was thinking of buying one of these for autumn. Who knows, maybe I will graduate to the others after a gentle start with these?

  21. I agree with Marie’s choice of Bvlgari Black. Also, I get a lot of vanilla from Obsession for men, which I like but haven’t worn in a long time.

  22. Suzanne says:

    I like off-kilter vanillas, the complex kind where there is usually something woody, boozy or smoky in attendance. Montale Boise Vanille, Micallef Vanille Orient, Mona di Orio Vanille and, lately, a body butter product that Lavanya sent me, Cocoa Pink Voluptuous Body Butter scented with a fragrance called Black Widow. Oh, and I have to join Vanessa in her love of Le Labo Poivre 23, that one is absolute creamy deliciousness and interesting to boot!

  23. Mona’s Vanille continues to fascinate me, but I love other vanillas too. Le Labo 44 is on my wish list, and I also enjoy Lolita Lempicka’s “L”, especially the lotion.

  24. Nancysg says:

    Felanilla by Parfume Generalle is my favorite vanilla fragrance. Vanilla with a touch of metallic click. Not too sweet either. I haven’t worn it in the summer heat, but fall is just around the corner.

  25. dgambas says:

    In this moment I’m in love with Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors.

  26. Darilyn says:

    I would have to choose M.Micallef Vanille Orient and Mona di Orio Vanille. Angelique Noire dries down to a yummy vanilla!

  27. lila says:

    Personally, I prefer my vanilla to be understated and more floral (Lutens Un Lys) than gourmand. I enjoy Hermessence Vanille Galant and Tom Fords Tobacco Vanille is a scent I enjoy for a guy, not so for much myself. I have a small decant of Lutens Bois Vanille but it’s way too sweet. I’m trying to figure out what it could be layered with to temper all of that sugar.

  28. Undina says:

    Last week I would have answered that I don’t really like vanilla perfumes (Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille doesn’t count because I “gave it away” to my vSO and do not count as “my” perfume any longer but love it on him). But last Saturday I suddenly felt an urge to try again two vanillas I have samples of – Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille and MdO’s Vanille. I liked both but, I think, Guerlain’s vanilla was softer and more appealing… Now I’ll need to get a decant of it. And I thought I didn’t like vanilla… 🙂

  29. kim says:

    Oh dear! I would have to disagree about the layering of the Lutens. I adore Bois Vanille but it is too sweet for me some days so then I layer it with another Lutens: one of the woods – Chene, Cedre, Borneo 1834 or one of the spices – Ambre Sultan, Fumerie Turque. Another wonderful combo is Un Lys and Bois Vanille – I was surprised by how much I liked this, especially in the heat.
    Despite loving these heavy Lutens combos, Guerlain’s SDV has always been too much for me – too edible? Not sure, but some days it even made me gag so I gave up! And I’m a hard core Shalimar fan so go figure!
    Off to try the Atelier Cologne – somehow have missed this one.
    Thanks for a great blog!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m glad you had good experiences with layering, Kim!
      Enjoy discovering Atelier Cologne!

    • lila says:

      Kim, I tried you suggestion of layering Un Bois Vanille and Un Lys and I enjoyed it. The sheerness of Un Lys helped balance the heaviness of Un Bois V. and made the latter much more wearable for me! I think it’ll be a nice duo for fall, too.

  30. I love Vanilla Birgit but the only one I can see from my desk is MdO Vanille. No I see Le Male and ETRO Relent, Coco too though I know it’s pretty much hidden vanilla.
    Can’t see anything else, righto, I’m off to grab some and have a vanilla fest.
    Portia xx

  31. Philipp says:

    I am not a big fan of vanilla in perfume, but I am a big fan of freshly-baked Vanillekipferl.

  32. Jennie covic says:

    I have always loved a great vanilla, and seem to be always be searching for the perfect one. I would have to say that Shalimar ode a la Vanille (Madagascar) would be my leading choice so far. I also love Shalimar lotion, but not the perfume as much. But the vanilla Madagascar is incredible! For every day use, I really enjoy Lolita Lempicka L…perfume and the lotion. My very first niche was Annick Goutal,Vanilla Esquise, but found it so fleeting it was just a pure disappointment . I love discovering great new vanilla’s, and the quest is always there!

  33. Nancy H. says:

    I just tried Santa Maria Novella Vaniglia today. It seems to be a lighter version of PdN Vanille Tonka. However, the latter is a little more complex and long lasting, so I prefer it. I also love Andelique Noire. I want to try Guerlain DVM. It is interesting that I have much stronger opinions about vanilla perfumes than other types. For example, the fragrances mentioned above are the only ones I would consider wearing. Yet, there are many iris perfumes, many of which I would wear.

  34. S. says:

    Bois 1920 La Vaniglia is the one for me!

  35. Eva S says:

    My favorite vanilla is probanly Shalimar Ode a la Vanille and Mona di Orio Vanille and my new favorite Arquiste Anima Dulcis has some great vanilla!
    I would really like to try the VCaA and Santa Maria Novella ones in the future.

  36. Joan says:

    L’Artisan’s Vanilia!

  37. citypark says:

    I will throw in a very mainstream scent: Le Bain by Joop! I find it very calming and balmy, must be due to the tonka beans. Of course Shalimar is also one of my favorites.

  38. Veni from Prague says:

    My three favourite vanillas are: Angelique Noire, Angelique Noire and Angelique Noire 🙂

  39. Isabeau says:

    Love Vanillas, my latest discoveries Battito d’Ali, Sleeping with Ghosts by Mark Buxton, Shalimar Mexique, one billion hearts and there are many good Hilde Soliani fragrances with vanilla drydown in it, Vanichic is one of my favorites but also Frecchnissimo and Orgasmo.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Orgasmo??? I didn’t think a perfume named like this would escape my awareness, but I never heard of it. And for once it seems to be a Soliani fragrance without multiple consonants and vocals. 😉

      I’m especially curious about Battido d’Ali, lovely name.
      Thanks for your recommendations, Isabeau!

  40. Cybele says:

    still searching but By Kilian Love is the closest I got so far, not sure if it qualifies as vanilla, though.

  41. Andrea T. says:

    Like many here I love a good vanilla scent – and almost all my faves are mentioned 😉
    Has anyone tried the new Shalimar (Route du Mexique)? How does it compare to the Madagascar?
    Many greetings,

  42. unseencenser says:

    I have tried Mexique but couldn’t detect what set it apart from Madagascar, which I like and do like better than the original OdlV. I need to test them both more.

    I missed this post but I’m glad to see that there aren’t a ton of vanillas mentioned that I don’t know already – because the last thing I need is to add to my vanillas! Vanilla was one of the first notes that sent me down the rabbit hole, and I like my vanillas fairly fruit-accented. Vanille Extasy by Montale is probably my top; also love Iles d’Or, and Ubar. Any Shalimar is good in a pinch; I like the Odes a la Vanille but also Legere. And for my last great citrus vanilla, Hilde Soliani’s great Untitled No. 7 for Luckyscent. It’s good to see vanilla love!

  43. Paula says:

    Ah…vanilla…holy spice in a woman’s garden. OK, don’t tell this to my Mamma but I let a pod or two marinate in a bottle of olive oil: quite exquisite with white fish. But since I am on an equally exquisite perfume blog – not a cooking forum – let me tell you about my favorite olive-oil-free vanilla bottle.
    When I was a teenager, I read a quote from Coco Chanel saying that “a woman without perfume was a woman without a future”. Needless to say I was eager to secure mine at the earliest convenience…only to realize that the best things in life, future included, require patience:
    – Tried all the Shalimars out there…got tired and retired.
    – Gave Lutens’ Bois Vanille a chance…just another disappointing romance.
    – L by Lolita Lempicka: nice try but there’s never been any L in “Wow”.
    – Nuit des iles by Bissoumine: my one true love. I can’t explain it, it’s taking me places I didn’t even know existed. If Atlantis ever was, I swear it’s in that bottle.

    Cheers and please keep this blog going! Loving it!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Paula,
      thank you for commenting!
      What a great choice, I must revisit Nuit des Iles, I have a sample in my stash.

      Also thank you for the cooking tip, that is always appreciated here too! 🙂

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