I was doubtful when, during a recent visit to Luckyscent's Scent Bar, someone raved about Vanille and suggested I smell it, I guess because something in his voice and praise led me to feel that Vanille was going to be the "break out" fragrance for the line. I assumed, in a knee jerk way, that this was meant to imply that everything before Vanille was a near or total miss, and I figured it must be pretty boring. I smelled other things for a while before I finally brought myself to smell Vanille--including Di Orio's Tuberose and Vetyver, neither of which I particularly liked - but I was pleasantly shocked when I got around to the third of this most recent trio, part of the perfumer's L'Ombres D'Or series. Vanille smells like a Mona Di Orio fragrance, and yet, like Cuir, it smells like something different - not just for her but in general.
I think probably my reluctance had a lot to do as well with vanilla's vogue. I felt the same about iris and fig at one time, a kind of eye-rolling, enough already resistance. Don't get me started on oud. But Vanille isn't the kind of vanilla I've smelled before. The listed notes are petitgrain, clove, orange, rum, vetiver, sandalwood, guaiac wood, amber, tonka, and vanilla. What you get from that is something unique among vanilla fragrances, something at once drier and more succulent, slightly boozy throughout, and spiced to perfection. The tonka and guaiac, I think, give the fragrance something that feels like vintage Guerlinade, though the overall feel of Vanille is distinctly contemporary. Vanille is a sexy fragrance. It makes you want to touch yourself. I can only assume it would make you want to touch other people, too, if they happened to have some on. I'm going to guess this one will bring its wearer a lot of compliments, the kind people get closer to give.
A word of caution about words of caution: Everything I've heard warns against spraying too much of Vanille at once. It might just be my skin but Vanille is nowhere near as diffusive as Cuir, and to my nose, while not subtle, it's certainly no powerhouse. Like Cuir, it stays fairly consistent throughout, but it's playing at a lower decibel. Several people have advised against spraying it altogether, opting instead to dab. I've yet to find any fragrance I'd rather dab than spray, for my own sake or anyone else's, and Vanille is hardly the place I'd start. Wear it with abandon, I say. It might just make you some bedfellows. This is a beautiful fragrance, and another demonstration that Di Orio is infinitely more talented than her detractors would have you believe.