Monday, March 8, 2010

Reversal of expectations: Havana Vanille and Vanille Galante

Two short reviews have been calling my name--calling me out of my writing malaise. I often feel like I don't have much to say about perfume anymore, until I come across either a vintage find or a comparison that might be helpful to others. The spiced, rummy opening of Havana Vanille by L'Artisan Parfumeur already has me reaching for the dish soap to scrub it off. I wrinkle my nose and bear it, but after that it just gets worse, with helichrysum (read: maple syrup) gooping up all that ethereal, smoky tobacco-leaf I was expecting.

On the other hand (literally), I'm shocked to like the gently aquatic opening of Hermes' Vanille Galante from the Hermessences line. Its topnotes hush quickly, almost as if it's been chastised, to a soft murmur of lily. A sexy librarian's scent for sure: it makes the velvety lily in L'Artisan's Passage d'Enfer seem positively screechy in comparison. There is fruitiness, but it's a really intriguing mixture of salt and sweet--a banana-ish sweetness, almost like licking up the most delicate tropical dessert you've never eaten off warm skin. I think if Vanille Galante were a dessert, in fact, it would dissolve in your mouth like a traditional hard meringue. There's something endearingly introverted and lisping about it. It makes me feel a little like Apres L'Ondee does--a bit shattered, watery, tender--and that's high praise.


Alyssa said...

What a great review of Vanille Galante! You actually make me want to smell it. Dang.

Have you tried Lutens Un Lys? It's another salty-sweet lily-vanilla, though with far, far, more lily up front, I'm betting. Got a sample in a recent swap and was very surprised to love it.

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Hey Alyssa, Never smelled that one, due to my fear of lily. But Vanille Galante has helped me past that fear, so maybe I'm ready!

Michael said...

I haven't tried Vanille Galante yet, but Havana Vanille just turns my stomach. I can't explain it but the moment I sniff it I get the dry heaves. Perhaps there's a a note in there that doesn't agree with me. I'm thinking possibly the narcissus, as I usually love vanilla, tobacco, etc.

Good blog by the way.