Winter is a-coming, and I be a-laying down fat to keep myself warm. Ambers, dark musks, spicy orientals, creamy gourmands…..I’ll take one of each, please. But the perfect vanilla has always eluded me. I mean, yes, there’s Shalimar, and Shalimar is pretty much the perfect everything. But Shalimar is an awful lot more than pure vanilla – there’s leather, incense, musk, and bergamot in there too. I’m on the look-out for a vanilla vanilla.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. Even though the word ‘vanilla’ itself has come to mean something pedestrian, simple, or even a little boring, the variations that perfumers are able to visit upon it seem to be endless. My quest therefore becomes like the search for the Baby Bear’s Porridge – you know, the vanilla that is ‘just right’. Of course, it would help if I knew what exactly I was looking for in a perfect vanilla fragrance. But, like with good art, it’s something I’ll only know when I smell it. Here are the vanillas that I have tried and tested thus far.