The 3 Bears: Note Vanillee, Un Bois Vanille, Spiritueuse Double Vanille
This is the time of year where vanilla scents are the ones that I reach for. The weather is chilly, the holidays are upon us and the gatherings with friends seem to warrant some comfort scents. For me vanilla is comfort.
Of course, the weather in Los Angeles just refuses to cooperate. Somehow I just can't manage Christmas Spirit when it's 85 degrees out. (I know, you all want to slap me)
In any case I recently compared the three scents in the title of this review and it really reminded me of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. To wit:
Note Vanillee is the creation of M Micallef, and is decidedly the Bad Girl of the bunch. There's the comfort of vanilla, but it's tarted (literally) up with licorice, honey and quite a bit of booze. This is the secretary who wears sweaters just a little too tight and skirts a little too short and at the office party will end up doing it with the CEO on the Xerox machine. I love it.
Un Bois Vanille contrasts with its relative austerity. One of the scents that were fractured off of Feminitè du Bois, it's richer and darker and dryer than the Micallef. There's little that's playful to it and in comparison it can almost seem harsh. But only in comparison. On it's own there's a deep almost burnt caramel lusciousness to it that comes along with the austere woods that's touched with bitter almond. This isn't passing Cinnabon at the mall, this is a witches brew over an open flame in the deep woods.
Spiritueuse Double Vanille for me was the one that was just right. It has some of the kick-up-your-heels aspect of the Micallef without having both ankles in the air (if you'll pardon the expression). It has some of the burning wood feeling of the Lutens without some of the "Blair Witch" connotations. It's also one of the truest vanillas I have ever experienced in perfume: it is remarkably like a home-made vanilla extract, which is merely a pod and really good vodka that is left to sit. Frankincense, pepper, and rose flavor it and when I wear it I can't help but when I am alone stick my nose under my sweater and breathe deeply. If Nigella Lawson had come up with a perfume, this could well have been it
Now I just have to get it past these darned bears...
Note Vanillee is $115 for 30ML at LuckyScent
Un Bois Vanille is $120 at the usual Uncle Serge Suspects
Spiritueuse Double Vanille is $225 at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman
I tested the first two at ScentBar, I tested Double Vanille from the bottle I purchased at Bergdorfs
Image source, trovarsinrete.org