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L’Artisan Vanilia – Endangered fragrance - SOLD OUT

Wikipedia - Polar Bear- Endangered Species

The holidays are done. Another year to pack away – the decorations go back in the boxes, along with some new memories - the family had a great Christmas!

What did Santa bring me? Perfume, of course - you had to ask? Not the newest release, not the most expensive, not the weirdest or most unique, but a hard-to-find “endangered” fragrance. One of my humble requests to Santa was for a bottle of L’Artisan’s Vanilia, and there it was in my stocking.......

I love perfumes that have a gourmand twist to them – a tantalizing note of licorice, coffee, chocolate, booze, or spices can make me spin with pleasure for hours. (Reading about Lolita Lempicka, New Haarlem, Borneo 1834, or Caravelle Épicée will give you an idea of how these notes affect me.) Vanilla is a smell/taste sensation that I adore but I’ve resisted buying because, well... it’s not something I wear every day, and I have a lot of samples of great vanillas, but when the mood calls, I invariably reach for Vanilia.

Vanilia, by Jean-François Laporte, was released by L’Artisan Parfumeur in 1978, as one of the first scents from the new-at-the-time niche house. According to our sources, it’s now discontinued by L’Artisan, overshadowed by their new releases, such as Havana Vanille - renamed Vanille Absolument - and Traversée du Bosphore, which are absolutely fabulous vanilla-based scents but much bigger and complex than Vanilia. And therein lies the difference...... 

Ylang-ylang, vanilla bean, amber and sandalwood are the listed notes in Vanilia – pretty simple. You’d expect Vanilia to be a sweet vanilla with a woody dry-down, straight up, linear and uncomplicated, but you’d be wrong. Right out of the bottle I smell an intriguing accord from the ylang and vanilla combo – it has a soft citrus-green floral quality which keeps the vanilla quietly in the background, avoiding the sugary “dessert effect” which is typical of so many vanilla scents.

I can’t figure this green floral thing out until a little research on Wikipedia reveals that the fragrance of ylang-ylang “contains notes of rubber, and custard, with bright hints of jasmine and neroli” – jasmine=green, neroli=orange.....floral mystery solved.

The floral top notes burn off mostly after 15 minutes or so, and then I detect the smoky, spicy mix of amber and sandalwood, which I smell as nutmeg and a hint of resins. A few minutes later, I have the sensation of breathing a powdery incense. The amber sweetness develops slightly more in the dry-down but it’s creamy and soft, never cloying, the florals keeping the sweet note contained. The scent on the skin stays up-close and personal rather than loud and annoying, an amazing feat for a vanilla. 

But Vanilia is no ordinary fragrance. Although it’s called Vanilia, it’s not in the least foody, so if you’re a vanilla addict wanting a fix, you’ll be disappointed. The Perfume Guide gives it 5 stars, and LT describes it as ”Shalimar meets Andy Warhol – so devoid of chic – trashy and happy, the purest example of a summer fragrance”. 

That’s one side of it, the hot weather side. In the winter cold, it reveals much more of its character, showing a spicy warmth and depth, and a subtle, almost haunting minimalist quality, which makes it unique in the vanilla spectrum. And very different from the big new L’Artisan vanilla kids-on-the-block.

It’s a shame that L’Artisan has discontinued this fabulous fragrance. Don’t expect Santa to bring it next year – if you find a bottle of Vanilia somewhere, don’t even think about it – just BUY IT!  


August 2018: Vanilia  is no longer available - anywhere! Unfortunately, our bottle is SOLD OUT. 


Glad you're back!

Happy to see you're back blogging--perfumeniche has become one of my favourite me-moments of the week! Love to read what you've both posted. Happy New Year!

Re: Glad you're back!

Thanks for your comment, and the compliment, and a very Happy New Year to you, too!
Yup, we're back - in our pleasure dome of sniffin' and writin'....
We're going to have fun this year, so stay tuned!