Blog post by Gwen

Vanilia – exotic and sensual and iconic

Photo: perfumeniche

The first time I smelled Vanilia from L’Artisan Parfumeur, I knew I was smelling a game-changer for me.

Created by Jean-François Laporte, who launched L’Artisan Parfumeur in 1976, Vanilia was released in 1978 and was one of the first scents from the new-at-the-time niche house. Sadly, it was discontinued in 2010, but I snapped up bottles whenever I could and still have ones from 2004, 2005 and 2007.

Laporte’s fragrances were based on natural scents, using high-quality natural ingredients in surprising combinations that made them an alternative to mass-market perfumes. There is not one of his creations I wouldn’t wear, and a few I haven’t bought over the years. But Vanilia, a stunning and unique interpretation of vanilla bean, just might be at the top of the list.

It opens fruity and floral with creamy, narcotic ylang-ylang linked to a honeyed, boozy note of vanilla bean through their spicy facets. The combination is warm, exotic, sensual and softly sweet. It’s not gourmand at all. That’s because there's very little vanillin in vanilla beans, and it’s sweet, sugary-smelling vanillin, extracted or synthetic, that adds a gourmand note to perfumes. As it settles, a wisp of smoke threads through the composition that announces the presence of amber. The amber reinforces the warm sensuality of the ylang-ylang and vanilla blend, making it more and more cravable as its sweetness develops slightly with skin heat. Sandalwood at the base is warm, soft, and creamy, adding depth and fullness to Vanilia.

The drydown is relaxed, refined and sensual with a real lean-into-me siren call. It has a haunting minimalist quality that makes it unique in the vanilla spectrum and a true iconic fragrance.

It was Laporte’s Passage d’Enfer that revived my interest in fragrance. And with Vanilia, he gave me an appreciation and love for vanilla fragrances. Thank you Jean-François Laporte.