Tag Archives: Vanilla fragrance

Aquolina Pink Sugar

2 Apr

Here’s the progression of Pink Sugar on my skin:
black licorice—->pink spun sugar—->vanilla caramel

Pink Sugar opens with the strong sweet scent of chewy black licorice candy and little else. After about 20 minutes, the black licorice diminishes significantly and is replaced by fluffy vanilla spun sugar and a sweet milk note, which by a long shot- could translate to pralines, creme brulee or caramel and nougat. Take your pick.

Pink sugar is a unique gourmand because of the heavy and prominent licorice top notes, and even if you aren’t a huge licorice fan, just wait patiently until the top notes have dissipated. The dry down is softer and milkier, without ever becoming obnoxious or cloying. Apply responsibly!

If applied with discrimination (one spray), it does not project a lot, so it’s appropriate for any situation where you’d want to smell like a candy ball. It’s longevity is considerable. I like it because it ends in sweet milk, as opposed to the dusty shapeless musk so common in contemporary gourmand scents. Absolutely worth experiencing…
for the experience.

This lasts close to forever on skin. It’s like an olfactory temporary tattoo. Be ready for the commitment.

A Perfect Vanilla? Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille (Revisited): An Updated Review

29 Mar

I have come around to this fragrance. After sniffing my way through quite a few vanillas, including niche, designer, and drugstore (as well as a bunch of organic vanilla essential oils),

I have come back around to this one.

Here’s why: Un Bois vanilla is layered and complex, the vanilla is  unquestionably the focus, and yet it has the most beautiful, natural,  cool translucency and airiness that I have ever experienced in a vanilla. It isn’t weak, it is just so artfully constructed that it never evolves into all of the things which are so easy to dislike (or like?) about a vanilla.

BV is very well blended but has great note separation, and is paired with such high quality, complimentary notes of beeswax and various woods, it really is quite memorable, and is not a projection monster (thank God) but instead settles into a beautiful very natural woody sweetness that stays with me quite a while.

Un Bois Vanilla is much more complimentary to one’s own skin than those vanillas which are opaque, excessively rich, and viscous-smelling.

Also, it doesn’t break down into a musk, which is frequently an easy cop-out for  fragrances that otherwise have merit until their unfortunate final stage of development. So far this is my favorite vanilla on the market, and if I had the money I would definitely own a FB, despite the fact that I am not usually attracted to gourmands.

After revisiting Un Bois Vanille, I tracked down a more technical and beautifully written review on Fragrantica by commenter jtd (author of ScentHurdle.com), which reinforces my new found observations. Here are his conclusions about Un Bois Vanille. I could not have said it better, so I am including his review in its entirety. Enjoy!

“Vanilla is a key component to both the contemporary dessert/gourmand and the classic amber oriental. Vanilla is almost inescapable in perfumery, but it’s usually found in the familiar company of labdanum, balsams, resins, spices or ethylmaltol in the above genres. It takes effort to dissociate it from the foody, cuddly feel. Despite its brief plastic/cotton-candy camouflage topnote (wonderful!), un Bois Vanille does just this. After the foody misdirection, BV avoids the expected. The tease of edibility shows itself as a licorice note, not cotton candy. The licorice also keeps BV from going the amber/oriental route since the genre is almost by definition warm, round, thick. Licorice here comes off as anise-like not candy-like. It’s cool and focused and it brings out vanilla’s sharp, bitter side, making it more potent than plush.After the expansive opening the heartnotes are fairly quiet, with a dry, airy feel that I would think to associate with frankincense, not vanilla. By drydown BV is dusty but still taut, reinforcing the point that vanilla can be strong and direct without being lush. BV stays cool as it winds down and resists becoming a skin-scent, further bucking a vanilla stereotype.BV solves a problem for me. One of very few in perfume fan-dom, I don’t like Caron’s Pour un Homme. The lavender/vanilla combo has no synergy and reminds me of the feel of a stuffy head. In BV, the cool side of the licorice fuses with the vanilla in a way that I imagine Pour un Homme’s minty lavender and vanilla combo works for the rest of the world.”

*  *  *

Un Bois Vanille also solves a problem for me. I have been on a search for a wearable, vanilla-dominant fragrance, and it wasn’t until I became better acquainted with the spectrum of vanilla offerings out there (I realized there is much work to be done still) and came back around to this one, that I was finally able to see it for everything it contained, (or didn’t contain) in order to make it so welcoming and unique.

At last, I can finally rest with this one for a while before moving forward in the never ending quest for a transcendent, exceptionally well constructed vanilla fragrance. Much thanks to jtd, Fragrantica, and of course, to Serge Lutens.

Here is my original review of Un Bois Vanille, if you want to see an example of how much perception can change as our experiences continue to inform us.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Ginger Biscuit

17 Mar

Discount Snickerdoodles and Vanilla-Spice tea…

Ginger Biscuit opens with a distinct sweet milk note, like the milk remaining in the bowl after the sugar-coated cereal is gone.

There’s a dusting of spices through its development: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, but it really is just a light dusting. A vanilla snickerdoodle cookie brimming with artificial ingredients and a visible sprinkling of spices on top. I am also reminded of artificial vanilla-spice tea bags, though there’s no actual black tea note here.

Ginger Biscuit does not smell like true to life cookies, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, like a few other of Jo Malone’s weaker offerings, e.g. French Lime Blossom, Vintage Gardenia, and the rest of the Sugar & Spice collection (with the exception of Bitter Orange & Chocolate), Ginger Biscuit suffers from a surreal transparency – the overall composition just seems to miss the mark.

GB projects pretty poorly so you can wear it wherever, whenever. I can’t imagine it offending anyone. It reminds me of Bond No 9′ I Love New York For All, sans the black pepper, leather, and monster projection.

Ginger Biscuit lasts a good long while, and if you dig artificially flavored mildly spiced cookies, this could be your (go-to fragrance for a) cup of tea.

Personally, I would go for JM’s Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, or L’Occitane’s Eau des Baux if I were in the mood for a soothing spiced vanilla.

On the other hand, I could see Ginger Biscuit layering beautifully with the majority of the fruit-centered JM offerings, (I’ll bet the English Pear and Freesia layers with this amazingly) so if you love all things JM, this one is worth a sniff.

Aquolina Gold Sugar

13 Mar

Jelly Belly jelly bean candies feature “recipe ideas” on the backs of their bags, which are very similar to the fragrance layering concept.

The idea goes something like this:
Hot Cinnamon Jelly Belly + Green Apple Jelly Belly=
Apple Pie!

Lemon Jelly Belly + Cream Soda Jelly Belly=
Lemon Meringue Pie!

I think the notes in Gold Sugar by Aquolina have a similar quality, and the outcome is a complete recipe for a tropical vanilla CGI milkshake. Gold Sugar is a great example of the Japanese concept of Kawaii, meaning “adorable in a cool way.”

Gold Sugar starts off with diet lemon-lime soda in the opening, and a generic coconut-flavored jelly bean note… not exceptionally creamy yet, but extremely sweet.

Once it opens on my skin, faint and pretty CGI florals appear, as well as a creaminess which is half-way between a bubble bath, and a vanilla ice cream or cream soda-scented body lotion.

Once the diet lime soda fades, the heart reveals a warm almost spicy sweetness on top of the milkiness which really does smell like a loose interpretation of vanilla custard with caramelized sugar on top. Maybe it’s vanilla custard realized as a scented lotion or a candle… or, a fragrance.. Miles from the real thing, but pleasant nonetheless.

Gold Sugar projects well and the warm sugary milk scent goes on and on. The diet lime soda in the opening had me suspicious, but once it calms down, it’s a creamy vanilla (jelly)bean…

If this really was a jelly bean, I would save it for last along with my other favorite flavors. I bet it would combine really well with the peach…

Bond No 9 I Love New York for All

10 Mar

I ❤ New York for All by Bond No 9 is smooth black leather gloves, cupping a generous handful of artificially flavored cocoa cereal with a dusting of instant coffee powder and black pepper. I wonder what the corn syrup content of this stuff is… or maybe they use Stevia.

There are slightly flowery and milky elements as well in the opening, though the above description pretty much sums it up for me.

When I smelled it on a test strip, my first thought was, “cinnamon toast!” because of the peppery aspect of the cocoa/coffee note, and the butteryness of the entire composition.

Now that I am experiencing its development on my skin, I can see that it is just as much a vanilla oriental as it is a gourmand. I do not want to eat this leather-gloved hand overflowing with unconventionally dressed chocolate cereal. I don’t entirely mind it either. It is very well blended but retains good note separation, and the vanilla/coffee milk becomes more prominent as it dries down.

The subtle floral in it keeps it fresh, and the milkiness keeps it from being too loud. The projection and longevity are very good. This would probably cling to clothing forever if applied directly to it.

I still feel like there is some cinnamon in there…

I’ll get over it.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

8 Mar

Hypnotic Poison smells like a teenage girl covered in baby powder.

It’s  also very similar to instant hot chocolate mix, complete with dehydrated mini-marshmallows in a paper packet. That is all. Smell it again and consider it. It is less like a food (or a fragrance for that matter) and more like an artificial flavoring agent. In the same vein, it is also reminiscent of the crumbly dehydrated vanilla “Astronaut Ice Cream” sandwich, which comes in the foil package and is sold in the gift shops of children’s museums.

It is not my intention to irreparably taint this work of abstract art for anyone by pointing out that the pretty, asterisk-looking thing painted boldly and unapologetically across the canvas is representative of a sphincter.  I have read some really spectacular reviews of this fragrance (using spectacular here in the most literal sense).

Artificial hot chocolate powder is either a great or an awful thing, depending on your feelings about that particular scent. Personally, I enjoy it but there is nothing more to Hypnotic Poison than that.

Tasha Goldblum Portfolio 6

Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee

21 Feb

This is a dry, powdery vanilla that brings to mind the crumbly frosting around the edges of the mixing bowl that has hardened into a vanilla crust which cannot be re-constituted. That said, it is not a sweet butter cream vanilla, so much as a vanillin powder scent. There is something very faint, which occasionally causes me to turn my head, wondering if that particular note came from Vanilla Insensee, or somewhere else. It’s not an aquatic fragrance by any means, but here and there, something similar in color emerges from the wood notes and catches me off guard.

The spice, woods, and mild citrus notes create a kind of synthetic undercurrent as if the vanilla has been “polluted” instead of complimented. It’s also somewhat reminiscent of a low-mid range hotel room when you first walk through the door. No-smoking.

Tasha Pilot-Slow

Painting and Assemblage

Rose Strang

Art and Photography by Rose Strang


lifestyle,illustrations,travel & beauty

Amy Berkowitz



a blog about perfume

Perfume Shrine

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime

Modern Urban Sensory Experiences

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime

My Life Among the Lithops (and Other Strange Plants)

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime

Perfume Project NW

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime

sherapop's salon de parfum

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime


Children's Book Reviews

Pour Monsieur

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime

From Pyrgos

To stop and smell the roses takes a lifetime

Bigslyfragrance's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog


An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.

%d bloggers like this: