Hi all, I hope the New Year is treating you well so far.
Vanderbilt is not a fragrance that gets much attention from the perfume crowd, and I have ignored it myself for years because:
a) I was suspicious of a perfume costing $10;
b) I assumed it is a hot swill of all those loud 80s and 90s perfumes like Red Door, Giorgio Beverly Hills, Oscar de la Renta and Amarige;
c) I don’t know anything about Gloria Vanderbilt except what I read yesterday on Wikipedia
d) I don’t like the muddy lilac of the box;
e) I don’t wear floaty dresses and I’m indifferent to white swans.
But – you should try everything once, eh?
Vanderbilt by Gloria Vanderbilt 1982
Vanderbilt by Sophia Grojsman
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, pineapple, orange blossom, lavender, green notes, bergamot
Heart: Carnation, tuberose, orris root, jasmine, ylang ylang, rose
Base: Sandalwood, cinnamon, opoponax, musk, civet, vanilla, vetiver
And here’s what I think. Yes, Vanderbilt smells like a perfume of its time. I won’t say it’s dated, perhaps ‘remote’. The opening bergamot and green notes I enjoy but a slightly harsh tuberose does indeed bring to mind all those fog horn white florals I spent years avoiding. (I’ve come around to Amarige.)
That calms. Actually, after a strong opening, I find that Vanderbilt settles to the skin and after about 20 minutes is much softer and quieter than I had expected. For the rest of its (relatively short, 4-5 hours) time on my skin it forms a pleasant veil of scent with a sweet, praline or cake-like note. It’s borderline gourmand on me, although I have low tolerance to gourmands so I may be hyper-alert to that facet. It’s pleasant, but perhaps suited to cooler weather than we have in my part of the world at present. I can imagine it wafting up beautifully from the depths of a winter jacket.
If you wore Vanderbilt back in the day, do comment. Was it bigger then? Carnation more prominent? I don’t get any at all. Pineapple? There’s a juicy note in there but I don’t identify it as pineapple specifically. Civet? Nope, left the building. In fact, after the opening few minutes I can’t really pick out any notes. It’s a sweetish and slightly spicy (cinnamon?), harmonious whole. Quite feminine, and recognisable as Sophia Grojsman’s work.
In my collection, Cacharel LouLou is about the closest I have to Vanderbilt, except that LouLou has decidedly more character. I’ll put Vanderbilt away until the autumn, when I’ll see how it performs as a casual set-and-forget fragrance.
Not wanting to quibble, but white swans are usually quite muddy and grubby aren’t they? With black swans you’d hardly notice, and they are more interesting. I’d probably prefer a black swan of a fragrance. You?
All the best until next time folks!