Vanillas, the cat’s pajamas- L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia, Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille & Metallica, E. Coudray Ambre et Vanille

Most people who know me know that I’m really not one for lists. The leaving out things feels oh-so-wrong and it means inner turmoil to mention 10 favourites even just as a ‘mind game’.


Guerlain Still life by Lilly Marthe Ebner

However, just the other day at ‘Another Perfume Blog’, I found myself naming my four favourite Vanillas. I did so without hesitation and without feeling that I neglected some other perfumes in my collection and it inspired me to do this post, and put the post I was writing on; the next episode of ‘Best Fragrances never made’, on hold.

Now, perhaps because I am not the biggest vanilla-fragrance lover in the world, I haven’t actively been seeking out all vanillas on earth, the way that I have probably sniffed most big iris perfumes out there, however I have been through quite a considerable amount, and these were the (FB-) ones that made it into my perfume cupboard, and will not be leaving again.


Vanilia; this discontinued* L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrance, is just a gorgeous non-foody, woody-smoky vanilla perfume. It speaks with a husky voice and has a crispness like fire logs disintegrating in the fireplace on a windy autumnal evening. It’s comfy, not in that it wraps you up in woolly blankets and brings you hot chocolate, but in the way it makes you comfortable in your own skin. I can’t believe that this one was made in 1978; it’s probably more visionary and contemporary than most other vanillas out there, even if in perfume terms this one is almost a vintage. Perfumer Jean-Francois Laporte

E. Coudray Ambre et Vanille; One of my first ever *niche* fragrances. This is a light and elegant vanilla amber fragrance. There’s a bit of a play-doh note due to heliotrope, and it’s a tiny bit flower-powdery to make it an understated amber-vanilla with a classic feel. It’s the waft that’s on your favourite well-loved woolly sweater. I find it incredibly easy to reach for, it’s sweet and inviting without serving cupcakes.DSC02292

Guerlain Metallica (discontinued); this one is gorgeousness. The vanilla mixed with ylang-ylang. Very special guest star, I bring you; Carnation! Lovely spicy and metallic, doh!, give that some soft iris to die for and the Guerlinade dry down. Guerlain heaven, sadly, very sadly discontinued. Impossibly elegant, silk scarf with tiger-print. You smell grrrreat. Perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain

Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille; foody, no, more like boozy. But liquor so dense you can almost cut it. Smokey, dark pitch-black, moist vanilla pods, with a bitterness of Pastis. This one comes fully equipped with an old library, mini bar and leather sofas, which makes it possibly a bargain! I always have men commenting on this one, but you know what? I’m wearing SDV and I couldn’t care less what other people think! Perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain

How do you feel about vanilla perfumes? Any favourites? Cupcakes or woody-orientals?


* As Ines made me aware of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s Fleur des Comores is a great substitute.

** So many reviews for vanilla perfumes out there. Some pretty extensive lists on Olfactoria (a write up by Tara of Neil’s vanilla talk) perfume posse and the non blonde.

14 thoughts on “Vanillas, the cat’s pajamas- L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia, Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille & Metallica, E. Coudray Ambre et Vanille

  1. i really enjoyed this Asali, especially seeing as I’m still looking for a vanilla perfume. I don’t like sweet fragrances which is a bit of a problem!

    I had a sample of Vanilia a long time ago and wish I had a bottle. Gorgeous ashy vanilla.

    I think I really need to just buy a decant of SDV to make a final decision about it, once and for all.

    Trying hard not to think about how good Metalica sounds 🙂

    • Thank you, Tara. Yes, I think for me it goes awry whenever it becomes too foody, and when there’s too much patchouli.
      Go on with the SDV, you won’t regret it when the winter comes. 🙂

  2. My favorites are on your list. I love Vanillia and yes, those Fleurs de Comores are a really close thing. I don’t think I ever tried the Coudray one though. It sounds right up my alley. 😉
    But the one vanilla Nat’s post made me think of was MdO Vanille. I love that one. Too. 🙂

    • These are you favourites too 😀 I thought you liked the heavier ones? Perhaps you like those too.
      The Mona one, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s because I thought I’d love it, and then I am always disappointed that I don’t. Maybe it just needs the right circumstances 🙂

  3. ‘Sweet and inviting without serving cup cakes’ – ha ha!

    I got myself a sample of the Spiritueuse Double Vanille not long ago and I find it really classy and comfy at the same time.

    You inspire me, I think I’m going to put some on right now for the night! 🙂

    • Oh yay! A very nice sleeping-scent. Sweet ( non-cupcakey-) dreams 🙂

  4. Since I’m not a vanilla lover, I’m not surprised that out of your four I tried only one – SDV – and it’s my #3 favorite vanilla scent after MdO Vanille and Le Labo Vanilla 44. But maybe it’s #4 – I’m not sure where I want to put Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. Diptyque Eau Duelle is not bad but much simpler than the other four I mentioned.

    On an unrelated note: if you were wondering why [some] people never “Like” your posts, at least for me that Like button never shows and stays in “Loading…” state forever. I checked in three different browsers (IE, FF and Chrome).

    • Dear Undina, yes, Natalie and Ines already told me about the ‘likes’ but since it seems to be a problem with the template, I’ve failed to do something about it, I will look into it soon, promise 🙂
      Since you all like the le labo vanilla so much, I will need to test it now, even if it’s so defficult to get hold of. Tobacco vanille is good, but I suppose never quite the thing for me, or perhaps, like the MdO, it just needs the right time and day. Eau Duelle, I agree is nice and simple, which is fine, it’s just that in that direction Vanilia is so indefinitely better, that I’d have to be a vanilla aficionado to want both. Anyway, I thought everyone loves vanilla, so I’m pleasantly surprised to se I’m not the only one with just a handful of favourites.

  5. Jasia, although I’ve never tried L’Artisan Vanilia, your description of it is gorgeous and I can very well imagine what it smells like. Thanks to your generosity, I can say that I’ve tried the E. Coudray Ambre et Vanille and concur with your assessment; it’s a very nicely balanced combination of amber and vanilla. The other one on your list that I would include on mine is the Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille. I bought a big decant of it when it first came out and thought it was the best vanilla ever made. (Although I did make the mistake of wearing it in high heat, where I was outdoors for an extended period of time and got nauseated by it. Still that was my mistake, not the perfume’s). 😀 It truly is a gorgeous, boozy, mysterious vanilla.

    • Yes, mysterious is a great description of SDV, and oh no for wearing it in high heat! I hope it didn’t traumatise you? ‘Best vanilla ever’, do you still think that? For me narrowing it down to 4 is as good as it gets in terms of favourites 😉

      • Sorry for getting back to you late, but yeah, I do think of SDV as the best vanilla perfume ever, as far as vanilla-centric perfumes go. My favorite vanilla perfume is actually Montale Boisé Vanillé, but it’s not really vanilla-centric and it’s hard for me to lump it into the vanilla category. (Plus, it doesn’t have a lot of fans; I’m one of a few oddballs who loves it.)

        • Please don’t worry Suzanne, you know how I feel about that:-)
          You made me very curious about the Montale, nothing like a good challenge to get my perfume-curiosity going.

  6. For some reason, the L’Artisan Vanilia didn’t move me as I expected, and I speak as someone predisposed to love most interpretations of the note. I can’t even recall why this was exactly. Perhaps the smokiness – I don’t care for Vanille Insensee for example (the Atelier one, in case I have the name wrong), which I remember as another smoky number. So the exceptions to ‘mostly loving vanilla’ may well be smokiness / non-foodiness and also uber foody or booziness! Yes, I don’t care for alcoholic or treacly takes on the note, and SDV is a bit borderline in this regard.

    My favourite ‘straight up’ vanillas are Vaniglia del Madagascar (spelling is approx!), Creed’s Sublime Vanille and Le Labo’s Vanille 44. AG Vanille Exquise is okay, but leaves me wanting for some reason.

    My favourite vanilla with a twist may be Eau Duelle. Am curious about the Metallica, on account of the ylang twist! Not tried the E Coudray either, for that matter.

    Oh, and I do NOT like Tihota. Too much of a good thing, hehe.

    • So basically out of my 4 favourites you’d probably care for Metallica and/ or Ambre et Vanille. And I have still to try the Le Labo as well as the atelier cologne.
      It’s funny, it’s always made out as if vanilla is an easy note to love, but after this post I’m not so certain that that’s how it is. People seem to have their definite likes and dislikes and it also seems that not nearly as many people adore cup-cake vanilla as one should think…

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