The Vanilla accord is one that’s found in most of the top fragrance brands you can think of – Annick Goutal, Tom Ford, Versace and even mid-range brands like Body Shop. It’s because this note works with most scent compositions, suits everyone, adds sweetness, enhances musk notes and is fairly mild. Here we’re going to take a look at some of the popular vanilla themed perfumes. We found the Guerlain Shalimar to be the best, with a classy, vintage feel to it.
Best Vanilla Perfume
1) Shalimar by Guerlain
Shalimar is the signature scent from this company and was created by perfumer Jacques Guerlain himself, way back in 1925. Its love for its presentation, in this uniquely shaped bottle and for the scent composition. Designed to be glamorous and exotic, the fragrance falls under the fresh and sweet category.
One can get distinct notes of rose, bergamot, jasmine, lemon, tonka, iris, opoponax, amber, balsam, and vanilla. You would think that such a blend might be old fashioned and cloying, but women love how it melts down to a warm, feminine and powdery finish. Shalimar begins with a bergamot top note and gradually plays out to the remaining notes.
- signature classic,
- vanilla note blended out by spicy and floral accords
- complex scent appreciated by a few
- older more mature blend
Shalimar starts with a slightly lemony bergamot top note, making it very light-hearted and velvety.The balsam balances the light notes with the heavier ones and is probably the reason why it lasts for hours. ‘Old Hollywood’ are the words that came to our minds when it comes down to describing this perfume. We can see the likes of Ava Gardner, Katherine Hepburn keeping a bottle of Shalimar on their dressers! Today, we feel that this belongs to anyone that appreciates sophistication, and those that have an adventurous imagination.
There are several renditions of Guerlain’s Shalimar, but nothing beats the classic. We’d say that this goes well with winter nights only because it’s intense and two to three sprays should last longer than eight hours. Shalimar is impeccable but isn’t something you just buy, as the powdery, vintage-like wear may not fit everyone.
2) The One by Dolce & Gabbana
This fragrance is special because it’s a warm, creamy take on the vanilla perfume. Vanilla is actually the base here, and the accords surrounding it are amber and musk.
It does have a pretty bold start, with lychee, peach, bergamot, and mandarin making up for fresh, citrus top notes. But that softens down to a floral heart. The vanilla appears, becomes more prominent after the dry down and is very smooth. The perfumers made this fragrance for women who are classic, independent and know what they want. Reviewed here is the golden yellow bottle for women, the scent also comes in a deep brown bottle for men.
- lasting vanilla dry down
- fresh citrus opening
- creamy and smooth finish
- lacks complexity,
- stronger floral-fruity notes drown out vanilla note
- feels safe
Everything about The One by Dolce & Gabbana is classic from the bottle to the scent. It feels elegant and grown up and definitely good for the winter. One benefit is that it lasts forever and has a powerful projection. On the downside, it feels safe because it isn’t very complex. We think that this perfume is for the person that wants something high end, but versatile for various kinds of events. Unfortunately, the scent is pretty forgettable and many people skip out buying a second bottle.
For us, amber and a very soft vanilla were the main notes that we got all day, with something reminding us of overripe fruit. The One is wearable, had lasting power and had modest silage.
3) Calvin Klein’s Eternity Summer
Vanilla is often kept aside for the winters because you normally find it in sweet, warm fragrances.Its been masterfully reinvented for the warmer seasons in Eternity Summer. Here the vanilla notes are strong, but it has been a character with other notes of litchee, peach blossom, mimosa, magnolia, freesia, musk, cedar, and ginger.
Although it falls more into the floral group, you can get an aquatic, fresh feeling too. This is what makes it ideal for summers and also gives it sophistication as well. There are several variations of Eternity Summer for both men and women. Reviewed here is the 2013 edition for women.
- light and summery,
- blend of vanilla and aquatic notes
- feels like an inconspicuous
- daily wear perfume
- very watery
Ok, so we have to say that this is a very non-existent, watery scent and is good for daily wear or if you need mild projection. But we’re also keeping in mind that it’s meant for the summers and its lightness might be good for some people.
Although it’s soft, it does have strong floral top notes. Other than this, there’s not much to look forward to here. We ‘d recommend this fragrance for your next summer vacation, a lazy day ta the beach or going out to dinner for friends, or any place that doesn’t welcome powerful scents!
4) Dot by Marc Jacobs
The thing about vanilla is that it can be light and played down, warm and luxurious. This note can be fun and flirty too, like Marc Jacobs Dot.If CK’s Summer Eternity is for the summer day, then Dot is for the evening.It’s been packaged in this unusual ladybug designed bottle as a tribute to a garden in spring.
The top notes and heart are unmistakeably honeysuckle accompanied by jasmine, coconut and orange blossom, musk and vanilla. On the dry down, there’s this melted vanilla and driftwood that lasts for some time. It’s the top notes that are very fruity and filled with dragon fruit, pitaya, and red berries.
- fruity and floral
- stays close to the skin
- light vanilla with woodsy musk
- mild longevity,
- mild sillage
The loud, bright red and flowery bottle, you’re immediately lead to think that this is going to be a super-strong floral
blend. The fragrance is in fact, very light, clean, fruity and nonoffensive. This is suitable for those that want a lighter floral-fruity summer fragrance for warm temperatures, with consistent mildness.
The mildness here might also be a problem because it’s got about a fourth of the lasting power and strength of most summer EDT sprays.While the top notes will knock you over, it’s the dry down that’s really nice, comprising of jasmine with hints of vanilla and coconut. Hours later you get loads of vanilla with musk and woodiness.
5) Thierry Mugler’s Angel EDT for Women
Angel is a gourmand fragrance and is striking vanilla because it feels like dessert in a bottle! Let’s explain that a bit. The vanilla accord is extremely creamy and its base notes have got a little of patchouli, sandalwood, caramel, and chocolate.You may be able to get some cash is, cotton candy, honey too. Long-lasting, Thierry Mugler Angle is a scrumptious vanilla treat for the winter.
Strangely, the top notes move away from this sugary sweetness. They’re citrusy instead with loads of melon, coconut, bergamot, mandarin orange, pineapple. There’s also a hint of spicy-florals too and that comprises of rose, jasmine, caraway, nutmeg, and patchouli.
- Interesting blend of sweet
- spices and citrus
- notes don’t overlap
When you see so many notes and accords pushed inside one bottle, you assume that its a powerful scent, meant for certain occasions. That’s true to some extent, so be careful about how you wear this one. One fascinating thing is that the layers in Angel don’t overlap, they’re clearly distinct at each stage, with the base notes staying strong throughout.
We love Angel, it reminds us of a coffee shop during the holidays!It’s polarising as it is strong; for some Angel is unique, bold, daring with a sense of sophistication. For others, it is as too strong and isn’t comfortable wearing it out too often. For us, the notes of sandalwood, apricot, pineapple, and melon stood out the most, with just a murmur of cocoa.
6) Christian Dior’s Dior Addict
This daywear fragrance is largely vanilla mixed with mandarin and rose. At the same time, you will get hints of sandalwood, tonka bean, silk tree flower, and orange blossom. Unlike the soft, sophisticated Dior scents, Dior Addict is strong at first but dives down to beautiful vanilla afterward.
Yet it’s oriental with lots of floral notes and rich, sensual as it is light, full of energy and freedom. The top notes and mid notes consist of exotic Bulgarian roses, Night Queen Flowers, mulberry flowers, orange flowers, and mandarin leaves. The base is more woody with vanilla, tonka bean, and sandalwood.
- balanced blend of woody,
- florals and fruity
- moderate sillage
- long life
strong top notes overpower the vanilla
Fresh, white floral vanilla that is perfect for winter or summer nights is how we sum up the Dior Addict. Another good date night option from Dior, a brand that’s produced some of the deepest darkest, most sensual perfumes imaginable.
The perfume is classy, elegant and has great wear. It really does smell like vanilla essence or ice cream, once you get past the shower of blackberries a tonka hidden in the top notes. You do have to wait a long time, an hour in fact, for the dry down that’s very vanilla.Lots of people prefer wearing this in winter, as its one of those ‘spritz and go’ scents, which lasts forever. On the downside => Dior Addict has been reformulated and is supposedly lighter than before, but still has that unmistakeable vanilla sweep.
7) Vanille Exquise EDT by Annick Goutal
Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise is an oriental take on the vanilla aroma of its soul. Like most of the other fragrances that this brand offers, it isn’t too complicated and comprises of musk, sandalwood, almond, angelica, and guaiac wood. It moves away from the regular vanilla perfumes, and instead of the sweet, spicy, sugary scent, you get a powdery, smoky and woody vanilla made earthy with the guaiac wood and musk.
- nature and more natural vanilla
- powdery finish
- alcohol like top notes
Vanille Exquiseis beautiful in a ‘less is more’ kind of a way and gets softer within an hour’s time. It had mild sillage that can be described as a soft vanilla. It seems to last the entire day and is an exceptional scent for the workplace and a glamorous evening out.Well done and unique, this is the type of scent that isn’t cloying. Up close the scent gets sharper and that’s when you can easily tell apart the different notes.
Classy, warm and elegant, the scent might be too powdery and musty for some. It starts with very alcohol like top note but moves to smoky, linear vanilla that lingers till the next day. Vanilla can either be too sweet, too young, too gourmand but this Annick Goutal creation lacks those issues and that has to do with the musky, woody base.
8) Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford
The Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford is designed for men who are elegant and grown-up. An intoxicating sweet, dark top note where you get equal aromas of vanilla and tobacco. This overture does get subdued very quickly to a more honey, woody chocolate backdrop with notes of tonka and coffee. The vanilla becomes less sweet as it dries down.Main accords that always stand out are the tobacco leaf, vanilla, cacao, tonka bean.
- rich and seductive scent,
- heavy sillage
- mid to average longevity
- cloying and sweet
- too linear and lacks depth
It’s a thumbs up from us for the vanilla and tobacco balance. But it is packaged in this syrupy, sweet base that may be too sweet for some guys, even if it peppered with a very realistic tobacco leaf note.
Tom Ford is known as retro throwbacks, bold accords and Tobacco Vanille is made for fans of the designer that will get what this scent is all about. Anyone who isn’t used to bold, OTT retro style isn’t going to like this.
Tobacco Vanille is multi-layered and sophisticated on top but plays out differently on your skin- meaning that it might get rough. One could easily wear it for evenings, but not as a personal fragrance as it lacks abstraction.
Still, we have to say that marrying vanilla and tobacco is a genius idea, making vanilla more masculine. The vanilla, spices sweeten the tobacco, so that you don’t end up smelling like a burning cigar!!! And that the tobacco flowers, dried fruits, woods, and tonka does add character to this blend.
As for the cloying part – you do have to be careful with how much you apply as the blend is rich, dark, very aromatic.
9) Givenchy Dahlia Noir
Givenchy’s Dahlia Noir is literally that – a grown-up floral perfume, with just the right amount of sophistication. The opening is a creamy iris and wild rose, that gradually becomes stronger than the rose. With longer wear, notice the pink pepper adding a touch of spice, along with the vanilla.
Floral and feminine, the fragrance is expected to be sweet but is instead fresh and clean.
- light and feminine
- subtle but not weak silage
- decent longevity
- beautiful layer plays
- extreme summer destroys fragrance
- passable performance
- generic rose & iris notes
For some reason, fragrance makers seem to be obsessed with sweet vanilla accords. Givenchy has fallen under this spell too but decided not to overdo the sweetness. Thank god for that, because Dahlia Noir is good, isn’t all that powerful but you’ll be able to smell it.On average, you should get four to six hours of wear and that should be great for work. Versatile and light, this is a good choice for the summers but a word of advice – don’t wear it on very hot days, as the scent falls apart. So how does this Givenchy creation fare? In our opinion, it’s pretty but somewhat okay. There isn’t anything really amazing here unless you love rose and iris. We’re not saying that it is a complete NO, it could serve some purpose when layering other scents.
10) Un Bois Vanille fragrance from Serge Lutens
Un Bois Vanille features an interesting mix of woody vanilla, with that you also have sandalwood, coconut milk, black licorice, bitter almond, beeswax, tonka, benzoin, and guaiac wood.
Serge Lutens says that all fragrances made by them are unisex, even though some scents move towards feminine and masculine sides. Un Bois Vanille is summer vanilla and can be carried off easily by men and women. It eventually becomes a skin scent, made refreshing with that woody, sandalwood, light and airy feel.
- ideal for women and men
- light and fresh
- woody vanilla
- easy everyday scent
- strong and sweet opening
This stuff is beautiful, and if you love vanilla-based scents like Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, then add this one to your list. For us, this had a rich, strong gourmand phase with flashes of vanilla lasting about three hours – a lot like burnt sugar on a smoky woods. Quite a contrast to the thinner fragrances that are common today and similar to the Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise.
You’re greeted with a sweet, strong opening overloaded with licorice and coconut. The vanilla is toned down and merges perfectly in the woody tones. Normally we would have said that this scent lacked depth, but the guaiac wood changed that.
The projection was just right and can be carried off in all seasons except for the summer. Sandalwood and coconut take us back to the beach and we’re guessing this is where the summer vibes come in. There are layers alright, but they overlap each other so well that you don’t notice much performance during the day. In our opinion, it shouldn’t be over-sprayed, even if it is light and wears better in winter.
11) Reveal for Women by Calvin Klein
Reveal was made as an oriental scent, and was inspired by sun-kissed skins wrapped in cashmere scarves, lost in the sea salt and summer sunsets. The signature accords are black and white pepper, salt, ambergris, and iris. Sandalwood, musk, cashmere, vetiver are used to construct the base.
- subtle sweetness,
- skin scent,
- woody vanilla
- salt plays differently on various skin types
If the creamy, candy vanilla renditions aren’t to your liking, and you’d rather stick with the woody and musky tones, then Reveal is your signature scent. Completely unisex in our opinion, Reveal isn’t marketed as a vanilla centric perfume, but this accord is definitely there.The pyramid is more modern salt with nuances of sandalwood, ambergris, iris, and soft musk. To add interest and depth, there is a pepper note that pulls it away from your typical vanilla scents. Gourmand vanilla is the best way to describe it; not quite the powerhouse has great longevity with mild sillage.
Even those that aren’t fond of the sea and aquatic the scents will like this one, only because of the way the sandalwood plays with the iris, ambergris. Lovely and warm, working beautifully on your skin even in hot weather. On the dry down, the cashmere, salt, sandalwood, and ambergris take center stage.