Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Unwavering Popularity of Vanilla Scents

"Vanilla isn’t plain to product developers. It’s the x-factor in most fragrances, conjuring feelings of craving, warmth and familiarity. Other scent trends come and go, but vanilla shows no sign of waning popularity, fragrance experts say. That is fueling a chase to find new iterations."


Thus begins the article by Ellen Byron on Wall Street Journal, more of an advertorial for the new Bath & Body Works Wild Madagascar Vanilla, but interesting all the same. Such as this nugget:

"Preference for vanilla appears to form before birth, helped by mothers using and eating so many things that contain it, says Pamela Dalton, a faculty member at Monell Chemical Senses Center, a scientific-research institution. Vanilla can be found in amniotic fluid and in breast milk so people are exposed extremely early on in life, she says. […]
By adulthood, most humans have had so many interactions with vanilla’s scent and flavor that nostalgia drives even more preference for it, says Dr. Dalton, who has studied humans’ ability to perceive the vanilla scent, even at low levels. “We’re very receptive to it, even when it’s blended in other mixtures,” she says."
There's also the Dame Perfumery Scottsdale Black Flower Mexican Vanilla fragrance, out this past summer, which I haven't personally tried but which sounds promising. Vanilla is like the little black dress, an easy solution to a complex dilemma, a sure bet, a staple, the perfect nude lipstick of the beauty world.

Which prompts me to bump up my Vanilla Series on Perfume Shrine which highlighted some of the varieties of styles that vanilla fragrances can take and the top vanilla perfumes in each of them. Always current I suppose!


  1. Jeffrey Dame's Black Flower Mexican Vanilla is a wonderful, comforting and easy to wear. A great addition to one's scent wardrobe.

  2. Oh Vanilla ..... it can be done really well or .... not - yik.

    My favourite vanilla must be Shalimar - especially the older formula.

  3. Phyllis,

    I should probably get my hands into some. Thanks for the rec!!
    Vanilla is a difficult note because it can seem simplistic, but Dame has such a vast experience with vintages I'm sure his won't be just vanilla extract.

  4. M,


    I like Shalimar in the older formulation indeed. Though I'm more of a Mitsouko girl. ;-)

  5. annsmith18:44

    jeffrey dame's black flower mexican vanilla is delicious. i used it a couple of times and sent it on to my daughter who, at this moment, is using it to enhance her key west experience. now that the weather has cooled here, i wish i had more !!

  6. I am a Mitsi girl too helg but when you mention "vanilla" its Shalimar that comes to my mind alot.
    Peaches for the Mitsi !! :)

  7. After going through every vanilla fragrance Comptoir Sud Pacifique made I found The Exact Friction of Stars by Pilar and Lucy to be my favorite vanilla fragrance.

  8. Ann,

    that's very encouraging to hear! I will make it a point to try some in the near future.

  9. M,

    yes, obviously vanilla is more Shalimar, Mitsouko is more a golden crepuscular thing to me (peaches too).
    We do think alike!

  10. Lia,

    maybe because it has a bit of heliotrope/almond? I seem to recall it's more in that direction. Bastard vanillas can be the best ;-)


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