Friday, March 4, 2011

That's how the light gets in: review and drawing!

Scent Spotlight: Atelier Cologne Vanilla Incenseé

Dear reader, let's try a thought experiment. Close your eyes and concentrate on the hottest day you can remember experiencing last year. Think of the way the sum baked the skin, the vinyl seats of the car stuck to the backs of your legs, how the wind was stagnant and the air heavy with heat to the point that the whole world -- animal, vegetable, and mineral -- seemed to bow under the burden of it.

Now try to imagine a vanilla scent that would work under those conditions.

I will straight up tell you that until today I would said I'd never found one. Maybe, maybe, my beloved and now woefully defunct L'Artisan Vanilia might have been able to tackle the task.FN1 But, and I say this is a woman who rarely meets a vanilla I find mediocre, much less unlikeable, that's hot weather is not typically the vanilla arena. The rich sugary deliciousness I imagine is a cozy smell, a warm smell meant to hold back the cold. It is a kitchen filled with baking love or a snuggle in a blanket. It is not meant to feel light, cool, and refreshing in withering heat. For that, even Vanilia probably would have been just a touch too much on the assertive side.

But thanks to Atelier Cologne Vanille Incenseé, I now have a vanilla for the hot days of summer! 
Atelier Cologne introduces Vanille Incenseé with the following romantic lead in:
“He wove through the crowd when suddenly his heart quickened. That scent. It was hers. He had worn it first until she stole it for herself. Now, there she was before him and the magic of years past came flooding back in a moment.”
Vanille Insensée, an electrical current runs through the subtle sweetness of vanilla, jasmine and fresh lime to bond with rich oak moss, woods and spicy 
Top notes: lime, cedrat. coriander
Heart notes: jasmine, vetiver and oak moss
Base notes: vanilla from Madagascar, oak wood and amber
I am so in love with this scent!  What is most surprising to me is how fresh and unique it feels. Light, clean, present without being smothering, it seems like the perfect antedote to the malaise that hits mid-summer when you tire of smelling like green tea and beach florals. FN2. FN3.  And while the sillage in moderate, the staying powder is terrific.  I sprayed maybe 3 sprays on this morning before 8am and it's fourteen hours later and I'm still getting light hits of it.  Normally anything that lasts this long packs such a wallop, scent-wise, but this is light.  

And when I say light, I don't mean wispy like a cloud or thin like fine lace or soft as angel's wings.  I mean light the way glass and space can open up a building, allowing movement and air and vitality to stream in. Light in the way that your spirit can be light.  And yet, the scent is still powerful and strong.  Because it isn't overly foodie or cozy but brings a light freshness to the scene, it is the rare vanilla I think would work beautifully on a man.

There are areas within the realm of scent that are a crowded field. When it comes to these themes (vanilla is one; rose is another), it can be difficult to create something that catches a sniffa's nose, head turning to follow. Though no one means to, it can be hard not to get a little jaded, in a "been there, sniffed that" kind of way.  I applaud Atelier for doing such an interesting interpretation on vanilla. 

You can purchase 30ml for $60 or 200ml for $170 of Vanille Incenseé  from Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, LuckyScent, or direct from the perfumer.  While I highly recommend you do, I'd also like to add that, thanks to the generosity of the perfumer, I'm giving a 5ml decant to one of you lucky readers! FN4.  

Post by 11:50 PM PST March 8 if you want to enter, and tell me your favorite vanilla.

"Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

~ "Anthem," Leonard Cohen

Want more?  Try...
~ a review from Kevin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Perfume Shrine
FN1 Which I would *still* straight roll a body to get a bottle of.
FN2 I like smothering vanillas, so I don't mean that as a bad thing.
FN3 Again, no disrespect. I've got at least three bottles of different "perfect for the beach in summer" scents. Love'em all.
FN4 Scent provided to Feminine Things by Atelier Cologne for review.


KathyT said...

This fragrance is calling to me, and I can't believe that I have resisted buying it unsniffed! I admit to loving vanilla fragrances in almost all forms from woody to dessert sweet. Some favorites are SL Un Bois Vanille, L'Artisan Vanilia, YR Bourbon Vanilla, Molinard Vanille (great for adding a touch of sweet to other fragrances), Fragonard Vanille. I've only tried one Atelier fragrance, Bois Blond, but it sounds like I need to get some samples.

Please enter me into the drawing. Thanks!

Elisa said...

My fave vanilla: probably a tie between Bulgari Black and Spiriteuese Double Vanille.

Cymbaline said...

Perfume, music, books-make life worth living! I'm so glad I found your blog and am having a great time reading through all the posts.

So far I haven't found a vanilla scent that pulls the FB trigger, but this review of VI sounded intriguing so I included it in my recent Luckyscent order. I really like Atelier's other fragrances, especially Trefle Pur.

I also live in the PNW(Seattle) and am ready for warm weather perfumes : )

Diana said...


I still cannot believe Vanilia got discontinued given how beloved it seems to be among sniffas.

Consider yourself entered!

Diana said...


Spiriteuese Double Vanille is one of my all-time vanilla favs as well.

Diana said...

Cymbaline -

Welcome! Always happy to see another PNW sniffa. Thanks for reading. I'm glad we're having a wet winter and spring, but I really look forward to the first warm days of Spring.

Ines said...

I have 2 favorites - Spiriteuse Double Vanille for winter and Vanilia for the rest of the year. :) I'm all up for adding to this.
Please enter me in the draw. :)

Diana said...

Ines, we have the exact same favorites! You and I seem to have a fair amount of scent overlap, which is why I always pay attention to see what you like because the likelihood I will also like it is high. :)

Ines said...

Diana, I noticed that too. :)
That's why I love your weekly round-up, and seem to be adding to my list all the time. Oh well, that's why I have it. ;)

Sue said...

My favorite vanillas are Kenzo Amour, Chanel Eau Premiere, and L de Lolita. I am very intrigued about Vanille Insensee being a summer vanilla, as only Eau Premiere works for me in the summertime and only in small doses.

I'm likewise frustrated that Vanilia was discontinued - never got to try that one, but that may have been for the best, as I certainly can't find it now.

Please enter me in the giveaway and thanks for both your great blog and the excellent giveaway!

Belle1205 said...

I am still searching for my fav vanilla scent. I love they way it smells but it tends to turn sugary sweet on me. I am hoping this would be the one. Please enter me into the drawing. Thank you!!!