Montale is not my favorite line. I enjoyed Sandflowers last year, but as much as I still like it, I’ve grown tired of it and never wear it. I’m not a fan of Aoud so this rules out a good portion of Montale fragrances. Blue Amber is nice but I have too many other amber orientals I like better. Steam Aoud is one of the strangest fragrances I’ve ever worn. Granted there are loads of Montales I haven’t tried – simply because there are so many – and they’re expensive and can never be found on discount. But, I’m here to tell you, along came Chypre Vanille and I find myself oddly drawn to it.
For me, Montale Chypre Vanille is NOT a chypre nor is it a typical vanilla fragrance. I don’t smell anything like oakmoss nor patchouli which has come to be the ‘modern chypre’ base. I’ve read as many reviews of Chypre Vanille as I can find and I don’t agree with most of them. The vanilla here is not foodie but I would also not call it dry. It’s a sweet vanilla, but not a foodie vanilla, if that makes sense. Think of the sweetness of Shalimar – I would say it’s sweeter than that – but the vanilla here is similar to the type of vanilla in Shalimar (sans the citrus edge). I do not mean Chypre Vanille smells like Shalimar – it doesn’t. I’m just trying to describe this type of vanilla.
Overall, once dried down, I think Chypre Vanilla smells like the most buttery sueded vanilla LEATHER imaginable. It starts off syrupy and potent, like most Montales, with a hefty dose of powder. But this isn’t Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder – it’s more like an orris root powder. You’ll have to be a hardcore Scent Junkie to make this sort of powder distinction but if you can imagine what I’m describing, you’ll get it. Once you get past what I think of as a rocky start, it becomes a gorgeous soft vanillic suede. There aren’t any spices jutting out, it’s all about being smooth, creamy, cozy and sublime. I’m just so oddly attracted to it.
The past few months I’ve found myself enjoying vanilla fragrances when I don’t normally like this category at all. TDC Oriental Lounge is a nice take on vanilla and L’Artisan Havana Vanille is excellent. Montale’s Chypre Vanille is probably my favorite take on vanilla of late – it’s wonderfully unique and I can’t say I’ve ever smelled anything like it.
Chypre Vanille is easily unisex. The longevity is excellent.
Notes (borrowed from Luckyscent): vanilla, rose, amber, incense, sandalwood, iris, vetiver, tonka bean