Notes: vanilla, spices, benzoin, frankincense, cedar, pink pepper, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, ylang ylang
I’m a vanilla girl. Not personality-wise -- there I would be more pistachio. What I mean is that I love vanilla scents. The rich, overtly-vanilla ones, decadent and gourmand, as well as oriental or floral fragrances that have a warm vanillaic base. My husband likes them too, which makes me more inclined to wear them. So imagine my dismay when he proclaimed, after sniffing a ribbon spritzed with Guerlain’s new vanilla-based fragrance, Spiritueuse Double Vanille, “it smells like Play-Doh.” I had been looking forward to experiencing this new perfume more than any other during the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball. I snatched the ribbon from his hand, for I had let him smell it first, and had my turn. It didn’t smell of much at all. I was crestfallen. But somewhere at the back of my mind, I was relieved that I would not be forking over $200 to the fabulous Guerlain rep.Wanting to give it another shot, on skin, I raced out of Bergdorf’s cramped café straight to the Guerlain counter. Miraculously, I was the first to arrive, proclaiming, somewhat breathlessly, “I need to smell the Vanilla.” I was promptly spritzed. I closed my eyes, sniffed deeply, and my wallet instantly felt lighter. I waved my arm in front of my husband, who spent an uncharacteristically long time inhaling the fragrance. “Mmmm, spicy. I like it.”
Play-Doh was nowhere to be smelled. I would suggest foregoing the ribbon tester for a strip of paper, or, better yet, some nice warm skin. Although vanilla is there from the start, cedar is the most prominent opening note, woody and aromatic. It is tinged with the subtly sharp spice of pink peppercorns and a whiff of other sweeter spice notes. As the scent dries down, the vanilla becomes more pronounced, rich and deep, but somehow gentle. As the vanilla takes center stage, a rich, resiny incense forms the backdrop. The rose is barely perceptible, and the ylang doesn’t speak to me at all. All of the notes combined create a fragrance that is somewhat reminiscent of tobacco. It’s honeyed, but not overly sweet. Eventually, the vanilla takes over almost completely, with tiny traces of the incense and cedar in the depths.
I told the nice Guerlain reps that I would have to think about investing in the fragrance and would probably be back. Fifteen minutes later, my husband was toting that little rectangular shopping bag….