Vanderbilt by Sophia Grojsman for Gloria Vanderbilt 1982




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.

Further reading: FragranceBouquet 
My Beauty Spot currently has AUD$10/100ml

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!

11 thoughts on “Vanderbilt by Sophia Grojsman for Gloria Vanderbilt 1982

    • The bottle design? It still has the distinctive swan imprint. I’ve not smelled vintage so can’t offer a comparison.


  1. My mother wore and loved it until quite recently. I haven’t seen it in stores and she doesn’t shop on line.

    Sophia Grojsman is such a well respected nose and I am now keen to try it. It’s insane to be able to buy a perfume for $10 for 100mls!! Think I’ll get one for my mother.
    Thanks for your review Ann-Marie x


  2. I enjoyed wearing Vanderbilt in the 80’s. I have not smelled it since I last wore it but from what I can remember it was similar to Sand & Sable by Coty and Fracas by Robert Piguet.It’s a beautiful tuberose white floral spray candy,loud and proud like 80’s music.Loved it, hope it hasn’t been reformulated!


    • Hmm …It probably has, like all older fragrances. I don’t find it especially loud. But there may have been a stronger concentration once? I’ve only smelled the current edt.


  3. White swans may be fairly commonplace, but most of the ones I’ve seen have been quite white indeed, and I am repeatedly stunned by their beauty! I think black swans as something exciting and different might be a bit trite for me.


    • Ah, I never see white swans where I live. I think I saw some in London once and was disappointed. Maybe thats why I think they are mucky. I do see black swans. They are cool!


  4. Oooo…Black Swan EDP. I could see it now. Though not smell it, because we need a perfumer to bring that one to life please!


  5. I remember having a miniature bottle of Vanderbilt in the 80-ies and it was nothing special to me. Back then I had no idea or feeling about the ingredients and many years have passed but I’d say it was too sweet for my taste, maybe that’s what you notice as bordering on gourmands. I’m not a gourmand lover either. It was all about flowers, I can’t remember pineapple or civet, maybe cinnamon which gave it all a powdery feeling. So, obviously I had no need to try the latest version of Vanderbilt and unfortunately I can’t compare it.


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