Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jennifer Love Hewitt Has Them Hooked from the Nose

“I carry McCormick’s Pure Vanilla — the baking kind — and dab it on my neck,” Jennifer Love Hewitt, the popular American actress and producer, tells Us Weekly. “Men are attracted to the scent! One time, I put it on and four different guys were like, ‘You smell amazing!’”

"Vanilla is the bronzer of the fragrance world. In large doses, it's overwhelming, but when used to subtler effect, it can be wonderfully sexy. [...] a great deal of what we associate with vanilla scent, in terms of perfume, is just an approximation, created in a lab, which is then usually wrapped around some other note (fruit, chocolate, musk) for a sickly, cavity-inducing effect. " writes Allure.

Vanilla cooking extract is really vanillin, not the richer, more treackly product of the vanilla pod (which is an orchid), but it has the intensely soft, cuddly scent of childhood. Could it be that the subliminal message is a child-like quality is most desirable? Or is it that triggering a happy time for most people is a feel good, win-win situation?


  1. Yuck. What grown woman wants to smell like a cupcake?

  2. Jennifer Love Hewitt for one, I suppose! (ha!) Ya, ya, I know, operative word being "grown". I sometimes think they just make these things up to see if they stick or can create "ripples".

  3. Pure vanilla extract (including Mccormicks) has several hundred compounds extracted from the vanilla pods, not just vanillin. Artificial vanilla extracts made from guaical are almost entirely vanillin but those from eugenol or lignin contain impurities besides the vanillin. Jicky initially used a eugenol based vanillin and the phenolic smokiness is an impurity.

  4. Helg -- Even if it has nothing to do with this vanilla-themed post per se, I just wanted to write and say I love "Santal Massoia"; I sampled and purchased it after stumbling over your review here. It fills a void which Gucci Rush for Men and Tam Dao left behind when the sandalwood ran out. Yet it's better, with its pepper/coconut take on the sandalwood theme. Great summer scent. (Alas, I've already got a great summer scent I'll continue to wear, but now and again Santal Massoia is the perfect getaway!)
    Again, "Perfume Shrine" has proved to be the perfect reference site.
    All the best,

  5. Anonymous03:26

    ha... i have to admit that i've actually tried this, but found that it fades very quickly - so it's nearly worthless as a seduction tool. but for the few minutes it lasts, it's very nice.


  6. I seem to fail spectacularly on hitting 'post reply' properly. Attempt no. 3, I think.

    Childhood doesn't smell of vanilla in here, but of disinfection, soap and that ointment (Elena, I'll certainly send you a pot) used for rashes and burns and cracked heels, which is made from lanolin, idunnowhat and a dab of lavender oil. Today's kids may be different, though, they don't get road rash and insect bites while playing with the computer but still, there's nothing soft or cuddly about childhood. It's our projections.

  7. Monkeytoe,

    thanks for commenting.

    Yes, I too have read LT's review on Jicky (in fact referenced something on lignin and guiacwood in re: Shalimar in my Shalimar review here) and about the impurities.

    But in my experience (apart from McCormack's which I don't use and don't know about being "pure vanilla extract") each and every one of the cooking grade "vanillas" I have seen is pure vanillin (it's tiny white crystals without fail). I personally prefer to just buy the dried pods and "shave" them myself. They do provide a richer, rounder, less "easy" aroma.

  8. Michael,

    thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. They're much appreciated!

    Overjoyed you enjoyed Santal Massoia. I think JCE's easy, effortless elegance is very much your speed and his latest in the Hermessences is a very pleasurable, sensual composition around that sandal and coconut theme. Who would have imagined coconut to be swo refined, and yet...
    Enjoy!! (but now curious, which is your staple summer scent?)

    Hope you're very well and everything is going great!

  9. J,

    how very interesting! I wouldn't have imagined vanilla anything to be fleeting, but I always learn something new every day.

    I did like the old The Body Shop Vanilla which had a true and lasting vanilla scent, lovely perfume oil.

  10. L,

    hi there! Sorry about the troubles with the Blogger platform.'s annoying!

    You have an excellent point. We do use our projections I suppose. Baking cookies with mom etc. (We mostly used mahlep -which comes from cardamom- and cloves in our house, so I have great associations with those) And you're right, today's kids spend too much time indoors and don't scrape themselves up enough. I always thought that bandaging process is an intergral part of growing up, but less so nowadays.
    Interesting ointment! No camphor, though, eh? (traumatic overuse of Vick's due to colds)

  11. Lilli02:45

    I used to have the body shop vanilla, too, but this was years ago. It used to get me a lot of compliments, as well!

    I had an off topic question for you, I hope that's ok: Do you know of any similar perfumes to the discontinued Eau de Miel by L'Occitane?

    P.S. I got "Lovely" as you suggested, and it really is nice!

  12. L,

    TBS did a grave mistake to discontinue that old vanilla and substitute with the less distinctive "new" vanilla. The old was superb.

    Re: Eau de Miel, I am reminded of it when smelling L'Instant by Guerlain (probably try the EDT as the EDP packs a punch). Tiger Lily by BPAL also has a similar dry down. Do try MAC Naked Honey too, though I haven't tried it (it was all the rage on the blogs though when MAC was heavily promoting it, if that says anything)

    Very glad to hear you found Lovely enjoyable! :-)

  13. Lilli12:33

    Thank you so much! :-) I just ordered L'Instant. It's actually for a gift, so I'm really glad you could help. You're the best!

  14. Lilli,

    you're most welcome! I hope the gift proves a resounding success! :-)
    Thanks again for stopping by and for your interesting question.

  15. Lilli12:39

    I just wanted to say thanks, again. It finally arrived and she really liked it! She's even not a "perfume person", so I consider it a huge success. So happy you could help me!

  16. L,

    aww, ain't that sweet!! Huge success indeed and I'm so happy I could help. Any time. :-)

    Thanks for letting me know, very kind of you.


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