I have trouble with vanilla fragrances, often finding that they fall flat on my skin in a neutral layer of sweetness that is both boring and unappetizing. The thing is, I do love the scent of vanilla, so struggle to find one that works. Although they’re not always to my taste, here are two solid vanilla’s
Vaniglia Del Madagascar opens up with a recognizable, sweet vanilla. I struggle to use the word “rich”, as I said, I just don’t get that plush feeling I crave from most vanilla fragrances. However, there is some slight depth to this, and also a bizarre citric, salty accord that rests over the vanilla in a translucent layer. The ever-so-slightly candied lemon and some quiet, almost unidentifiable floral notes (orchid?) sit on the vanilla adding a minimalistic but necessary alternate dimension.
The vanilla from start to finish is the leading player without a doubt, and it’s all down to whether you like the simple aroma of Madagascan vanilla as to whether you’ll like this. There is a subtle amber in the background adding a tiny bit of depth – but Vaniglia Del Madagascar goes on light as air, but gradually gets denser and more potent as time goes on – which is an unusual development. On the skin, the vanilla gets better and better which is one thing I find really appealing about this fragrance.
It is undoubtably comfortable to wear which is surprising for me finding most vanillas turn cloying and clammy on my skin – they gain a dense, almost clotted texture with a dirty, breathy note that I so often bring up when discussing amber and myrrh – here however, that turn never happens. Instead it keeps its light and its translucency, whilst still remaining potent with a beautiful sillage – throwing back to my nose an almost almond-biscotti aroma, so maybe there’s some heliotrope in here giving off a subtle almond vibe?
Anyway – it’s a straightforward, lovely soft vanilla that still won’t make it on my full bottle list but is nice enough to sniff.
Memoirs Of A Trespasser opens a little more bitter, a far more interesting beginning of almost soiled citrus, and a slightly diluted boozy accord. It smells like the sticky residue of a shot glass of whisky – the alcohol has evaporated but left behind is a slightly acrid but sweet vanillic liquer.
Underneath, the madagascan vanilla gets more and more prominent, showing a similar translucency to that of the Vaniglia Del Madagascar – only with a greater complexity underneath. There’s a smooth, sweet wood listed as guaiacwood (a note I have little experience with) – but it comes across as a lovely, delicately smoked support. A lightly-handled bundle of resins is grouped underneath, a slightly smoky and smooth myrrh and vanillic benzoin with an amber-y base, holds the still leading vanilla. It sounds dense, but Memoirs Of A Trespasser is completely translucent – these additional notes an extremely subtle edge.
Thanks to the resinous base notes, the vanilla is a little less sweet than Vaniglia Del Madagascar, but still – completely smooth and it doesn’t clot and congeal on my skin. The subtle trail of incense smoke throughout keeps the vanilla interesting and three-dimensional.
The vanilla that stays till the end results in the late drydown smelling extremely similar to the Farmacia fragrance, only a little de-sweetened and a little more subtle. Still, I find it the most interesting of the two, but preferring the sweeter drydown of the other (and appreciating it’s gain in strength as time goes on). However, Memoirs Of A Trespasser gets drier and dirtier as time goes on – resurrecting the slightly soiled opening of the beginning – that charred quality with a hint of smoke which I like – at this point I find it hard to decide which vanilla I prefer, and am understanding how a vanilla soliflore can have different personalities.
In honesty, I have sampled Memoirs Of A Trespasser numerous times and never thoroughly enjoyed it – or understood it. As a result, I ordered some samples of other vanilla fragrances – and as proves in this review – it made me appreciate the fragrance a lot more. The perfumer (in recent conversations) suggested I may be anosmic to the ambrette seed musk in this, and I can totally appreciate that, as I don’t detect a note-worthy muskiness in this, at least not until the late drydown. If it is a prominent accord, then it’s likely I can’t smell it – but there we go, that’s what makes these things so much more interesting!
Both vanillas I find easily wearable and comfortable, which is a rare find for me – still, I haven’t yet found the vanilla for me… Mona Di Orio’s came close – that was before it started to smell like egg shells
Vaniglia Del Madagascar 100ml Parfum Farmacia SS. Annunziata – $160 Luckyscent
Memoirs Of A Trespasser 60ml EDP Imaginary Authors – $85 Imaginary Authors