Tag Archives: natural perfumers

Vanilla Fragrances for People who Don’t Like Vanilla

vanilla collage

In the past few years, vanilla has appeared in just about everything you care to name from cheap candles to mass produced mainstream fragrances to room sprays. It’s enough to put you off. In fact, that’s exactly what it did and I confess to having become a vanilla swerver.

However, several vanilla fragrances have turned my head and made me look again. From under the mass market tsunami of vanilla abuse come rays of hope, and reminders that vanilla, before its over exposure, was one of the greats and still can be.  The right vanilla, blended with flair and instinct, can give heart and warmth to a fragrance, and offers respite from the sickly cupcake confections and synthetic waxy imitations.

Huff post
Huff post

Here’s a roundup of the vanilla scents I would never tire of wearing. If you’re no vanilla fan, these beauties will turn your head and change your mind. Not all vanilla is equal.

Tauerville Vanilla Flash

vanilla-flash-bttleVanilla is not the first thing you will notice about Vanilla Flash. In fact, with me, it was the roses. Andy Tauer, a true gentleman and frankly, a modest genius too, has created a vanilla scent that frames the vanilla rather than allowing it to take over. Here vanilla is teamed with spice, tobacco, roses and patchouli and is chilly rather than warm.

My review is here. I could wear this all day and all night. Bravo Andy. Here’s the link to the Tauerville website.

Aftelier Perfumes Vanilla Smoke

vanillasmoke1If I could sum up cosy in one scent it would be this. The wonderful Mandy Aftel, who works only with natural ingredients, has taken the warm heart of vanilla and added it to the subtle wood smoke of a hearth. One sniff and my brain thinks it’s Christmas. You can read my review here and buy it from here.

 

Agonist Vanilla Marble

vanillamarblebottleThis is another scent that portrays vanilla as chilled rather than warm and it works to great effect.  In fact, I sent my dear friend Pippa a sample of this prior to her wedding and she chose it as her wedding day fragrance. She made a beautiful Edwardian bride and she smelled glorious. You can read my review here and  buy Agonist from here.

 

DSH Perfumes Vanilla Chantilly

DSH perfumes
DSH perfumes

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz mixes and macerates her stunning potions in Boulder, Colorado and is always a joy to deal with. Like Mandy Aftel, Dawn also uses natural ingredients and Vanilla Chantilly manages to take the buttery woodiness of vanilla without adding any sugar and syrup.  It smells both clean and warm, both cool and dark. Dawn has kept the sticky woody pod character of vanilla and blended it into a musky, spicy accord with a hint of almonds.  I get so many compliments! You can buy it from the DSH website.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

hypnoticThis is the richest deepest vanilla on the High Street. With hints of almond, this is pure luxury with nary a cup cake nor a Pound Shop candle in sight. This feels wonderful to wear and really opened my eyes to how great vanilla can be.  My review of it is here.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com and John Lewis.

Library of Fragrance Play Doh

PlayDoh-30_grandeIt may have a playful name, but it’s worth taking seriously.  This is a superb vanilla scent that yes, smells like Playdoh, but then Playdoh smells like vanilla. In fact, this reminded me of marzipan, which always gets my mouth watering.  Here’s the link  to my review and here’s the link to the Library of Fragrance website.

4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on The Planet Ever (IMHO)

4160 Tuesdays
. 4160 Tuesdays

Last but by no means least, comes this cult classic from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays.  I always think of the vanilla in this as golden and fuzzy, so add that to a cup of Earl Grey with its bergamot infusion, and stir in the scent of antique dark wood, and this is the pleasing result.  It’s good vanilla, rich and warm, with not a cupcake in sight. You can read my review here. and buy it from here.

Over to you

What’s your opinion on vanilla? Do you have a favourite vanilla scent? Do let me know, I always love to hear from you.

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Aftelier Perfumes: Curious by Mandy Aftel 2017

curious aftelier

 

When Mandy Aftel makes perfume it’s often about a discovery or a facet of nature that Mandy wants to celebrate.  Her scents evoke scenes and visions so vividly that I can’t shake the feeling that she is more alchemist than perfumer. There is magic in her fingertips the way some people have green fingers and some people don’t.

Curious was inspired by Mandy’s new museum of scent in Berkeley California. Here she invites you to explore the curiosities of olfactory natural history.  The museum is very much hands on.  You don’t just look at stuff- this is an all-round sensory journey: touch it, smell it, sniff it, try it.  I haven’t been there yet, but in a year’s time, I will be visiting. I’m booking flights very soon and boy, will my blog have coverage!

from www.aftelier.com
from www.aftelier.com

Curious lives up to its name. It opens intriguingly, with a green note that smells almost medicinal, with a herby clary sage style bitterness. It reminded me of the glorious smell I once caught as a child, watching a neighbour creosote his fence. Many of my friends wrinkled their noses but I loved the tarry earthy scent and it remains one of my favourite aromas today.

CuriousGroup-ss

Curious contains hay and tobacco: two notes which are not often as you might imagine in fragrance. Tobacco can veer from green and soapy (think Givenchy Amarige), to dry and oaky (think Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan).  Hay can smell sweet, grassy, musty, honeyed or dry, or a combination of all of them.  In Curious, it smells damp to me, and coupled with woody tobacco it reminds me of a hot damp green field as the sun dries everything out. There is a deep earthiness to  Curious which reflects its roots as a product of nature.  After a while, the drying- out-in-the-sun feeling became an autumnal smokiness, like a bonfire in the distance.

aftel museum two

Curious unfurls its layers like a tree in all seasons, merging from fresh bud to green bitterness, to dried leaves to twiggy stem, but always grounded by the earthiness from whence it came.  It brings out the pagan in me.  There’s nothing like it. Mandy has made a beautifully unique scent that I urge you to try should you ever get a chance.  As with all of Mandy’s creations, every ingredient is natural.

Stockists

Curious is available from the Aftelier website. There is also an excellent sample service. The museum details are also on the website. If you live within a ten-thousand-mile radius, it’s definitely worth a visit. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.

curious
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