Vanille doesn’t smell like a vanilla soliflore on opening. It is semi-sweet, semi-creamy vanilla, with a sharp green twang and a boatload of orange rind. The spicy notes of rum merge with the vanilla and orange to create something familiarly boozy, but thankfully subdued. The boozy kick dies down relatively quickly but the orange rind still present.
The combination actually reminds me of the scent of a Lush body wash – non in particular, but more so the feel. It has this creamy texture to it – heavily scented with almost clashing, loud notes in the typical Lush manner, only here it is slightly more restrained. Ok so this is a little nicer than that… the orange rind begins to soften, and a very very subtle clove note comes in which is completely welcome, but almost predictable with the orange/vanilla opening. It begins to creep into gourmand territory that isn’t quite sweet enough to be delectably edible.
The vanilla after just a couple of minutes shows it’s face more – it has a slight green edge, and is a pretty true to life raw vanilla scent. There is no sweet vanilla extract or ice cream going on here and it feels like quite a new take on fragrant vanilla. Unfortunately though, I don’t find it particularly attractive, almost like the sweet, loveable aspects of vanilla have all been pulled out.
The fragrance continues to feel comfortable, dense yet light on the skin, and has the feel more of a cream or lotion than a fragrance. It is similar to how I feel about L’Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme Extreme – everyone loves the cocoa in the drydown - to me it smelt like a flimsy cocoa butter that was neither sweet enough, or even interesting enough. Vanille after a short while is a desweetened, almost savoury vanilla, with a light green spice of maybe cardamom?… and still the dried orange rind.
Here however is where my main problem with Vanille comes in. Mona’s base always pushes through her fragrances and if I’m completely honest – I find it repulsive. I’m not sure if she uses myrrh in here, but it has a similar kind of “breathy” feel but there is something about it that I find extremely uncomfortable. In Vanille, the base intermingling with the vanilla creates a true to life egg smell. If I pull my hand up to my nose quickly for a sniff, the first thing that hits me is this warm egg note which literally turns my stomach. I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone else picking up this note, so try not to be put off – I can’t get rid of it throughout the drydown though, so after the first 15 minutes, Vanille is a complete failure on me.
Vanille has a very pleasant density on the skin, whilst having such heavy notes of vanilla, booze, a long-lasting citrus note, and some cooking spice – it remains light on the skin with a depth to it that smells like it is coming from afar. Whilst I don’t enjoy it myself, I can understand it being called a brilliant vanilla soliflore - it isn’t the most original pairing of accords, but the notes are cleanly put together, of great quality, and providing you enjoy the Mona-Aid, a long-lasting drydown of mixed creamy woods and amber.
Working my way through the Les Nombres d’Or line, it is a real shame that I’m not enjoying this work due to the perfumers signature… Maybe I’d prefer her older more slated work, what was that description Luca Turin gave? “a powerful sweet air-freshener note overlaid with a loud civet fart” Mmmm… that’s more like it!
Mona Di Orio Les Nombres D’Or Vanille 100ml EDP – £125 Les Senteurs