Blog post by Gwen

Vanilla Shot – vanilla-y and resinous and original

The über - talented Bertrand Duchaufour has got to be one of the most prolific niche perfumers working today. Former Perfumer in Residence at L’Artisan. He’s created more top-notch fragrances for more perfume lines than I could list here, so let’s talk about just one: Vanilla Shot from Olfactive Studio’s Sepia Collection. This collection which is a trilogy of Extrait de Parfum – Vanilla Shot, Leather Shot and Chypre Shot all signed by Duchaufour. The ‘shot’ in the names refers to both the sensory and photographic click of a camera.

Each of the fragrances in this collection is a stunner,

Vanilla is enjoying a moment in the fragrance world and I couldn’t be happier. The truth is vanilla is a pervasive note in perfumery and its popularity has only increased with the current appetite for gourmand fragrances. But vanilla is much more complex and nuanced to be pegged as sweet or dismissed as gourmand.

So, I was curious: what would Duchaufour do with vanilla for Olfactive Studio?

All fragrances for Olfactive Studio begin with a collaboration between a perfumer and a photographer. In the case of the Sepia Collection, the collaborators are Duchafour and English-born environmental artist, sculptor and photographer, Martin Hill.

The Press Kit for Vanilla Shot says this: ‘Photography and fragrance enhance each other. In Vanilla Shot, an arch made with thin pieces of sculpted wood connected by floating flax threads above the Wanaka Lake in New Zealand evokes the slender and elongated shape of vanilla beans: A composition that bespeaks extreme balance and tension.’

Vanilla Shot opens with a bracing shot of spice: orange-faceted, herby coriander and bittersweet saffron brightened by the nose-tingling effervescence of aldehydes. The spices don’t deepen, instead they float over the heart, warming notes of deep, sensuous rose, thick, jammy fried fruits and resinous opopanax. This is the irresistible siren call of the foreign and the exotic – a Duchaufour fingerprint. The fruits and flowers give way to a dark, creamy, caramelized note of vanilla balanced resins: by warm, woody myrrh, vanilla-tinged Benzoin.

The drydown is complex, rich and sensuous. The funny thing is, about an hour in, I put my nose to my wrist and smelled a shadow of the fragrance. At first, I found this disappointing – the scent didn’t last. But then I kept smelling it away from my nose, for hours. Then it occurred to me: this is the effect of looking at a photograph up close and not being able to see the whole picture until you move back away from it. Clever. Well, Duchaufour has been called the master of shadows.

When I do take in the whole fragrance one thing is clear: with Vanilla Shot Duchaufour has created a truly original vanilla scent that’s easy to wear and enjoy.

Check out Vanilla Shot in our Shop.