Post by FeralJasmine
I’m given to understand that fetishists refer to ordinary sex as “vanilla sex.” I will not waste time in commenting about how I come to know this, except that it reflects on the peculiar nature of the people I encounter in the course of my work. To me it seems like an incongruous association in several ways. For one thing, vanilla is said to be a note that men almost invariably find sexy, making it a bit fetishistic to begin with. Then there is the nature of vanilla itself. Dark, deep, rich, complex, delicious… How did this come to be conflated with “ordinary?”
Photo Stolen 123rf
Vanilla scents are anything but ordinary to me. Of all the perfume bottles in my collection, at least half contain vanilla in some form and to some degree. And never mind just how many I have; probably not as many as Portia, so go check up on her instead ;-). But even if I limit myself to the vanilla-centric scents, there are lots of options. There is probably no note that lends itself to so many different approaches. I can’t do more than list a few of my favorites, but I will try to spread them across the vanilla spectrum.
Vanilla: Notes in Fragrance
Fifty Shades of Vanilla
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
First, Indult Tihota. This one was created by Francis Kurkdjian and was recently reissued in what is supposed to be its original form, although he is no longer connected with the company. Listed notes are vanilla, florals, and spices. As an aficionado of good vanilla beans, I do not see how floral and spice notes could possibly be disconnected from vanilla. They are there naturally. This one is like rich, creamy, pure vanilla extract of the highest quality that lasts for hours. This is the one for those of us who would stuff vanilla beans in our bras if we could get away with it. (Gentle reader, kindly do not try this. Over the course of a few hours the seeds tend to end up in your cleavage, where they look very disconcerting.) When you want a shot of vanilla in all its glory, straight up, Tihota is the one to reach for.
Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille is a perfume that I used to criticize at every opportunity. I called it heavy, cloying, and unbalanced. Then I tried it on a cold winter day and had to eat my words, and also had to eat the bill for a large decant. Now, instead of heavy, I find it rich and satisfying. I suspect that, when the weather warms up, it will begin to seem cloying again and will be put away for next winter.
Photo Stolen CB I Hate Perfume
A profound vanilla favorite of mine is the gorgeous 7 Billion Hearts, by CB I Hate Perfume. I tried this one in late fall, bought a bottle without reckoning the cost, and wore it happily all winter. I loved the vanilla on a bed of cedar, with a smoky resiny fire in the background, and others loved it on me. Then on the first really warm day of spring, it turned on me. In fact, it drove harsh cedary fingernails right into my skin and refused to let go. I could barely smell vanilla in the pile of partially burnt pencil shavings that it turned into. Now that cold weather is back, it is cuddling up against me again, purring softly. Next spring I will put it aside without regret, knowing that come fall, all will be well between us.
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Finally, there is the exquisite Mona di Orio Vanille. I will not go into the famous shipwreck story that goes with it, because I don’t feel that you should need to hear a story to know whether you like the perfume or not. Bales of spices and woods, eventually giving way to as lovely a spiced vanilla as I can imagine. It also contains a subtle but highly effective use of nutmeg, a note that can be tricky to manage. Try this one, if you haven’t already.
Now, what are your favorites? I need to know what to add to my wish list.