Pacifica Island Vanilla

9 May

Okay I’ll admit it. I’ve been on a crazy vanilla hunt recently. After Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille recharged my hope for the note, I have been looking for an exceptional, affordable vanilla.

Pacifica Island Vanilla is everything I wanted. It has none of the artificial, “this isn’t lime and vanilla, it’s fruity plastic!” of Burberry Brit, Jessica Simpson Fancy, and even Viva la Juicy (my favorite of the vanillic generic trio.) It does not fly at your throat and sinuses and try to strangle you like Lush’s Vanillary or Sud Pacifique’s Vanille Extreme . It doesn’t have that sugar on steroids quality that Pink Sugar has (fun, but not appropriate in many situations).

You do not have to wait for the dry down to love Island Vanilla. It’s great from beginning to end.

Island Vanilla is honey-laced. It is milkier and more complex than the vanilla essential oils you might have resorted to after a long and disappointing quest to find the affordable vanilla of your dreams.

This my friends, is vanilla paradise.

From the moment I sprayed Island Vanilla on my skin at whole Foods, I knew it was exactly what I wanted in a vanilla for $20/bottle. I normally can’t stand Pacifica. Their Mexican Cocoa made me run to the nearest sink, and Wakiki makes me feel physically ill. Indian Coconut reminds me of car air freshener. But Island Vanilla is as far as I can tell (and I have smelled most of their fragrances) one of the few exceptions.

From the opening, Island Vanilla smells soft, sweet, milky, fresh, and damp. There is something very natural and intimate about it. The slight traces of fruitiness at the opening, as well as the absence of musk (thank God), and the absence of powder, all make me think of the flavored fruity vanilla milk I used to drink when I was in China nine years ago. The fruits are mere suggestions, the way wine can smell from leather without a belt strap soaking in it. It’s not actual fruit smell. It’s a fruity quality. Fruity as opposed to smoky, etc. but NOT actual fruits.

I say flavored milk, but this was not at all like the super sugary brands of sweetened flavored milk in America. The flavored milk in China was not any one particular “fruit”. It was just gently sweetened, with a very mild, ambiguously vanilla/fruity element. When imbibed straight from the refrigerator, it was so incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day. Summery vanilla at its best and most accessible!

Island vanilla is smooth, sweet but not too sweet, vaguely fruity, with a very prominent honey/ milk note. It’s like the vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with honey that I use to eat as a girl. The ice cream would melt as the honey chilled and became chewy like caramel.

I straight up love Island Vanilla. This may sound corny, but when I first smelled it, I thought, it’s a kiss from a beautiful girl who has been drinking vanilla milk!

I encourage anyone that loves sweet vanilla with access to this brand to go out and give it a try. It shocked me into buying it at first sniff, and I still love it just as much after wearing it for a solid week.

This would be amazing for layering, but I prefer it on it’s own. While I am saving my money for a niche vanilla, I am thrilled and relieved to have this in my collection.

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