Perfume of the day: L’Artisan Vanilia

L'Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia perfume

September was just beautiful in my neck of the woods, with one crisp, cool, sunny day after another. October has been, frankly, miserable. It has been grey, rainy and cold for the last week: just cold enough to require long sleeves and flannel sheets, but not quite cold enough to actually turn on the heat. I am not normally a huge fan of vanilla fragrances, but it is the sort of weather that calls for a cozy-comfort sort of scent, and vanilla fits the bill as well as anything.

L'Artisan Vanilia was released in 1978, and the notes are ylang ylang, vanilla bean, amber and sandalwood. It starts off smoky, and the smokiness intensifies over the next 20 minutes before fading into a lightly resinous floral-vanilla blend. There are subtle spice notes, perhaps nutmeg and clove, and the amber lends some depth. The dry down is creamy and warm without being overly sweet.

It is a perfect in-between kind of scent for someone who likes the smell of vanilla, but doesn't particularly relish smelling like baked goods. True vanilla freaks might be actually be disappointed, as it is as much an amber-floral scent as a vanilla scent. What sweetness there is smells like the sweetness of flowers, not vanilla sugar, and there is absolutely nothing foody about it to my nose.

L'Artisan Vanilia is an Eau de Toilette, and the lasting power is average. I have read several times that it is one of L'Artisan's most popular fragrances, and I am surprised that they have never released a Vanilia Extreme. A bit more vanilla, a bit more spice, a bit more lasting power? It would be perfect.

For buying information, see the listing for L'Artisan under Perfume Houses.

Other vanillas to consider: i Profumi di Firenze Vaniglia del Madagascar, La Maison de la Vanille Eau Noire du Mexique, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, R – I reached for this myself yesterday; first time in months. And I'm thousands of miles away (though maybe about the same latitude?). I second everything you say. This is not the vanilla for someone with a sweet tooth – CSP seems far more foody to me. It layers rather well with other l'Artisans, so maybe that's why they haven't come out with an Extreme version? The lasting power on me is pretty much eternal – even after a shower and a good arm-scrub!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi! =)

    Vanilia is one of my favorite layering fragrances… it's got that warm, subtle quality that gives a wonderful nuance to all sorts of fragrances. It has a wonderful softening effect on more pungent scents as well. My favorite layering combination is Vanila and Passage d'Enfer… there's something to that blend that just makes me smell my wrist over and over again!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This fragrance is what keyed me in to the fact that I just am not into vanilla fragrances, since as you say, it is far from foody, and yet it was still way, way, way too much vanilla for me. A true test.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow, N, even the Extreme L'Artisans don't last an eternity on me. You are lucky! Do tell me what you layer it with?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi M! Will have to try it with Passage d'Enfer, that sounds perfect.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lovely review! It definitely layers well with Passage d'Enfer. I also like it with Tea for Two, to bring out a sweet/smoky side a little bit more.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I wasn't impressed by Vanilia when I sampled it months ago. You've inspired me to look for my vial and try it again.

    Have a nice weekend, R!

  8. Anonymous says:

    As good a test as any, T!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Iris, I have never been tempted to buy a full bottle, and my decant is ignored for much of the year, but for those first cold days of fall, it is perfect!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hello dear R!! Hope you are well.

    Great review and I did test my sample of this recently.

    It is nice but apparently Mure et Musc is their biggest seller in France. I went for the FdO launch party last night and it was fun but no way will I shell out 190 euros for that – it is more a skin scent on me. Goergeous nevertheless…

    Have a great weekend. :)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I must say I am not a fan. It was rather plain to my nose, neither vanilla nor wood so to say. I should re-visit it though, your review is so lovely and skin chemistry and tastes to change…

  12. Anonymous says:

    I've layered it with PdE and Tea for Two – as others have mentioned -and also, suprisingly successfully, with SL Un Lys.

  13. Anonymous says:

    R, Great review :) I really, really like Vanilia! I like vanilla based fragrances in general – as long as they aren´t too foody which thankfully isn´t the case with Vanilia – as you already pointed out. I´m planning to purchase a bottle someday. A lot of people say it´s too smokey, but I don´t get any smokiness. On my skin it gets a bit fruity with a subdued floral note which I like.

    I think it´s very comforting & rich. Moreover I don´t have any problems with the staying power of L´Artisan fragrances at all.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi N! The FdO is gorgeous, and I wish it were half the price, in which case I would snap it up immediately. You have a great weekend too!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks V, will have to try some layering this weekend!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Un Lys — that is surprising! Will try it :-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am normally not a fan of vanillic or gourmand scents, but this one does sound soft and nice for fall.

    I found your description very appealing – especially since it contains soft woods and florals. Nothing I dislike more than smelling like baked goods! I'm on the West Coast, and your fall weather sounds exactly like what we've been experiencing! It is very gloomy and rainy right now in my part of the world too.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I'm gonna have to try that combo, too. :)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Funny you should write about Vanilia this morning, R. I was just thinking about it on my drive into work this morning.

    I am not a vanilla person either (more chocolate, ha, ha!), but as you mentioned, this fragrance is perfect for those of us who don't like those sticky sweet vanilla fragrances. This one is soapy and floral and so easy to wear. It last all day on me.


  20. Anonymous says:

    yes I did mean gorgeous! ;)


  21. Anonymous says:

    M, I don't find the sandalwood noticeable either, other than some smoothness in the dry down. I wouldn't argue with plain either, as the spices are light. Perhaps that is why everyone seems to be layering it?

  22. Anonymous says:

    S, you are another lucky one — all of the L'Artisans are short lived on me. I don't mind so much as I like to change fragrances over the course of the day. I do get smoke, but I love smoky scents so it doesn't bother me!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I hate October gloom. And so far this year, we do not even have the customary fall foliage color to cheer up the my area of the mid-Atlantic coast. Just grey skies!

  24. Anonymous says:

    R, we know what you are thinking, LOL ! Hugs to you, and hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  25. Anonymous says:

    R, I wouldn´t mind getting some smoke either, I do like smoky scents as well, but Vanilia is also nice the way it is :)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hi R: I was using this as room spray (gone are the days when I could easily buy a bushel of $1 vanilla candles from Tijuana that were HUGE, weighed a pound, and fragranced the house for a YEAR without ever being lit!) Anyway, one day I had sprayed Vanilia into the air and then wore Eau d'Hermes. Since then I almost always wear E d'H with Vanilia. K

  27. Anonymous says:

    K, there you are again, spraying expensive perfumes in the air! Actually the mix with Eau d'Hermes sounds very nice…yet another to try.

  28. Anonymous says:

    as a former L'artisan Rep.

    the most common blends for Vanilia were:

    Mimosa pour moi, l'eau d'ambre

    Vanilia is very versitile and it is my favorite scent by l'artisan for my Girlfriend to wear.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the recommendations, I really had no idea so many people were layering this fragrance. I don't have the Ambre but the Mimosa sounds worth a try.

  30. RusticDove says:

    This is the perfect vanilla scent for me since it isn’t overly sweet or gourmand and the sandlewood dry down is right up my alley. For some reason, I get a little, sort of ‘green’ feel from this at first. Probably just me being weird. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the notes to justify that, but it definitely seems a little green to me in the beginning. Anyway, I am now, officially, a L’Artisan fanatic. I am in the process of sampling some of their fragrances and so far, I am really impressed [and having a great time!].

    • Robin says:

      It’s a great line to be fanatical about since there are so many of them :-)

      • RusticDove says:

        Dangerous too – hardly any smaller, less expensive bottles. [And that decorative fig bottle?! I covet that big time.] Oh well. The only critique I have is that they seem to be short lived fragrances – maybe that’s why they mostly sell larger bottles. Duh. hehe

        • Robin says:

          I want that fig bottle too!!!

    • Haunani says:

      Rusticdove, I just tried Vanilia, and I get green in the beginning, too. I like that! And the nutmeg in it really stands out, too.

  31. Haunani says:

    Coming late to this one. Just tried and find it to be the perfect, balanced vanilla for my skin. I can’t find the name of the perfumer (nose), though! Do you know?

    • Haunani says:

      Never mind! I found it. It is Jean Laporte. What a great fragrance! Like the best quality cup custard topped with freshly-grated nutmeg. Mmm, mmm, mmm!

      • Haunani says:

        Now I’m confused after doing more reading. Jean LaPorte founded L’Artisan Perfumeur (and MPG, too), but was not a “nose”? One article I saw said that the first creations under the L’Artisan label were rarely “signed” by a perfumer. Does this mean that I will never know who created Vanilia?

    • Robin says:

      I heard a rumor that this one would be discontinued after Havana Vanille was released, but no idea if it’s true. I suppose if you love it you might be wise to buy it soon though!

      And sorry, I don’t know who the perfumer was.

      • Haunani says:

        Thanks, Robin, for the advice. It’s completely different from Havana Vanille, isn’t it? I like them both a lot!

      • austenfan says:

        I bought a 50 ml bottle for this as it was on sale. The lady in the shop confirmed the fact that it will be discontinued. She was quite upset about it. It’s a good scent. It has one of the funniest reviews in Perfumes the Guide, although I don’t find it quite so loud and vulgar as it is described by Dr. Turin.

        • Robin says:

          I like it, obviously — really too bad it’s been axed.

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