Blog post by Gwen

Vaniglia – rich and dark and suave seducer


Vanilla Bean

The first time I smelled a fragrance from Santa Maria Novella was on a visit to New York in 2005. I was a budding perfumista then, eager to explore the hard-to-find niche fragrances I’d read about on blogs. I’d made a list of fragrances to try and where to find them.

 I still have the list, and looking at it now, I see that Rosa by Santa Maria Novella was at the top of it. So, after breakfast at Balthazar’s, I made my way to LAFCO, on Lafayette St., where Santa Maria Novella Fragrances were sold. When I opened the door and stepped into the shop, I didn’t realize how much my life would change. I found the Santa Maria Novella counter among tables of candles, diffusers, soaps and creams. Spritzing, sniffing and smelling, I was in olfactory heaven. But not having the vocabulary to express what I was experiencing was frustrating. When a sales rep stepped in to help me, she gave me the words and tools to assess and appreciate the scents I was smiling. She was generous with her time, and what I learned from her has stayed with me. One of the first things I discovered that day was that I love vanilla scents. And I love incense, herbs in perfume, opoponax, myrrh, jasmine, pine, citrus, and so much more, oh, and roses.  I didn’t walk away with Rosa that day; I walked away with Vaniglia, Patchouli and Aqua di Colonia. And this was just the morning of my first DAY! My next purchase was some sturdy shoes and blister pads.

Vaniglia is still my fragrance reference for vanilla scents. What I enjoy about Santa Maria Novella fragrances is that they are straightforward, rarely conceptual or abstract. Their Patchouli, for example, is just that – gloriously, unabashedly dirty and realistic. I find it irresistible, and I feel the same about Vaniglia.

It opens with a tingle of bergamot, brightened with lemon and sweetened with fresh orange. It is a lovely start that soon introduces an opulent note of jasmine that’s sweet, floral, heady, and musky. Soon, the jasmine links to a note of vanilla, like vanilla bean, dark and rich. The combination of jasmine and vanilla is surprisingly sensual. The vanilla blooms with body heat, revealing facets of cocoa and coffee to me. As it approaches the base, a note of smoke curls up througthe scent. It’s from benzoin, a resin from which incense is made. It gives Vaniglia a feeling of familiarity. Benzoin has a cinnamon aspect that adds spicy warmth to Vaniglia. Sweet woods heighten the sweetness of the benzoin, but the vanilla at the base seals the deal with an unforgettable booziness.

Vaniglia is a well-crafted, well-balanced (not too sweet, not too smoky, not too boozy) cologne that plays up different facets of vanilla to create a sensual, suave seducer that stays close to the skin, whispering “lean in” for hours.

Definitely worth the blisters.

Check out Vaniglia in our Shop.