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Friday, April 17, 2009

Vanille Galante by Hermes: Perfume Review

"That time was like never, and like always.
So we go there, where nothing is waiting;
we find everything waiting there."
Pablo Neruda, Sonnet IV

When I really love a perfume, I am reluctant to analyze it. Breaking it into details will rob it of its magic. The tops notes of this, the heart accord of that, the hint of the other, perfumer's intention, the concept, the whys and the hows of it, none of that today! Does any of that matter? I never expected to love a vanilla created by Jean-Claude Ellena, and, having fallen in love with it, I don't want to know why. Nor do I believe it is possible to know why we love something or somebody. I don't mean "like", it is always possible to know the reasons of like...I don't love somebody for his brown eyes, sweet smile and sense of humor. I like him for that. I love him for no reason at all. I like the unripe, slightly salty melon of Vanille Galante, the cold lily note, the almost non-existence of vanilla, the pure, calm water in which the ingredients serenely flow, the pastel colorlessness of it all. But these are details. Details don't always add up to love and never explain it.

Why do I love the scent like that, which I was not meant to love at all? I am not a fan of vanilla, I am not fond of pared down compositions, I certainly don't appreciate aquatics. Is it quantum physics, molecular attraction, timing...? When there is no reasonable explanation- it's love.

Vanille Galante is available at Hermes boutiques, $235.00 for 100ml or $145.00 for a very convenient set of four 15ml bottles.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I caught a whiff of this on a friend at the Sniffa a couple wks ago. I was fully expecting not to like it. Aquatic. Lilies. And only vanilla in the most abstract sense.

I was wrong. It was lovely & I need to smell it again, on me this time.

10:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep, exactly. I am still in shock I love this so much.

10:45 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Bashert. Love that! Sadly, it was not to be for me and VG. But...maybe I should retry it. Maybe magic will happen the second time around.

11:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bashert. That's it. Some things are just meant to be. I admire it, respect it, would wear it (although I know melon blooms on me), but do not love it. I do, however, love Sublime Balkiss, another wholly unlikely choice.

1:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Hanna said...

I think anyone who believes in destiny is just making an excuse for not be responsible for their own decisions. I do it all the time. Yet, I know when I blame fate I'm really just being cowardly. Then I feel guilty. Oy, vay!

1:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Sparkle said...

I know what you mean about unexpectedly liking something. I never thought I would like the smell of ink and incense (ink???), but I love Commes des Garcons 2!

1:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Oh boy, I will probably love it too! That is, if I ever get to try it, since Hermes apparently likes to keep their best stuff away from me!

1:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Bryan said...

I love that we are still scent twins. I was in Vegas, at the Hermes boutique. I stood there with the scent strip, surrounded by about four SA's (yeah, the economy is a bitch). They all looked puzzled...why was this guy asking for the Vanille when we keep trying to push vetiver on him....
I swear my eyes rolled back in my head when I inhaled this lily "thing". I get the vanilla...just the perfect amount.
I can't wait for Jean Claude to get his hands on tuberose. A guy can fantasize.

2:18 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Marina, I'd have been very puzzled if you hadn't loved this, given that we often have very similar tastes. I did have a shock when I smelled Vanille Galante -- the "wow" thing. But then I went back and analysed. Do you get that teensy whiff of hay/tobacco/narcissus right at the start? And that impression of the lightest possible dusting of vanilla-infused sugar? And the whiff of clove?
Oddly, I don't read this as aquatic, but as airy.

3:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Silvia said...

Equally surprised to love this as much as I do. I wore it a lot when skiing, it was amazing in the crisp cool mountain air of the Alps, like being wrapped in a veil of the softest and highest quality pashmina.

6:54 AM EDT  
Blogger krnszn said...

Sounds wonderful! I've been wanting to try this one for awhile. Thanks for the push, Marina. :-)

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger lovethescents said...

When I first tried this I thought, where have I smelled this before?? It reminds me so much of Stephanie de Sainte Aignan's Eau Nirique, but minus the jasmine. I smell a lot of banana here...although it might well be the melon and my nose is deceiving me. I wasn't initially wowed by it, but the weather is getting warmer now, and I think that might make a difference.

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Love at first sight / sniff can be no less strong than this kind :-) Sometimes you wait years for magic to happen, and one day- BHAM! :-)

9:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I need to try that one. I could love that too. Nothing surprises me anymore :-)

9:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I absolutely agree with you. We make our own destiny. But it's nice to believe in fairy-tales sometimes.

9:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What a lovely nickname you have. CdG 2 is fighting another scent for Top 1 in my personal hit-parade.

9:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What you need to do is come to NYC and we will hit all the boutiques and counters.

9:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Once a twin, always a twin :-) I agree about tuberose. I was smelling Goutal's new Matin d'Orage and was thinking how much better that transp[gardenia could have been if done by JCE.

9:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You know, I get no "base notes", so to say, in it. Nothing at all dark: melon, lily, water, a touch of vanilla, that's it.
I kind of thought that, as I liked Mousson and love watermelon notes, I could at least not hate this, but I was scared of vanilla.

9:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh, now I wonder just how it would "sound" when it is cold!

9:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Let us know what you think, when you do.

9:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am trying to remember if I tried Eau Nirique. I do not get banana in VG, but that's just me. I am glad I don't :-) I have this feeling VG might become sweeter in warmer weather. I feel that a warmish spring day is ideal for its pastel beauty.

9:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous Trish said...

Flora, I will bring my little bottle of VG when hit the PH for you to try :-)

12:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

We sniffed this weekend before last at the Hermes store in Las Vegas and it was pure love for my hubby. I got him a bottle for his birthday and then couldn't keep the secret until late May... he is wearing it today and it's love, love, love. I never thought a cold vanilla could exist, but it's exquisite.

Carmencanada -- yes, yes I do! All of those (except I hadn't noticed the clove.)

12:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yay, go Mr Ducks! :-) "Cold vanilla" is a perfect way to describe this.

12:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your Bashert is killing me, I'm laughing alone by my desk, watching the trees at the open window thinking the greatest things are Bashert.....Quel Amour by Goutal was Bashert at the time, for me, because with all its frank playfulness it just swept my inhibitions away. I read about the fragrance an excellent review by Octavian, but I don't know how to get it sent back here to the far far end of the Mediterranean. You must be tired of hearing how glorious is your blog, but I won't make it any easier for you: it is just glorious!

9:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I mean the Vanille Galante by Hermes.....

9:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

No, I don't get tired of that. :-) Thank you so much. I remember loving Quel Amour too. But I guess, if love passes- it wasn't bashert, eh? :-)

9:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I MUST try it as soon as possible, based on this review alone. Spasibo, kak vsegda ty napominaesh' mne o tom chto samoe glavnoe v aromatax--pure pleasure!

10:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope you review it after you smell it, very curious to see what you will think of it!

10:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous Mals86 said...

For a "not-review" review, that was perfect. And I just wanted to thank you for such a beautiful and appropriate description of a scent you love. When something is more than the sum of its parts, it really is magic, isn't it? If you can explain love, it isn't love.

1:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

hey...but a nice and fruitful romance is as bashert as anything, if I may say so without bordering on licentiousness. :-)

4:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! And I absolutely agree. Love is inexplicable by definition.

4:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree :-) Let's just say that whatever brings us happiness, however, temporary, is bashert :-)

4:28 PM EDT  

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