When I pulled the canister of Coty Vanilla Fields cologne body spray from the shopping bag, my sister said, “That looks like it should sit on the back of the toilet.” The Vanilla Fields body spray is in a tall, thin aluminum canister that looks a lot like Renuzit air freshener. Not a promising sign.
Fortunately, Vanilla Fields, while not breaking any records for perfume innovation, still smells better than canned room spray. Coty launched Vanilla Fields in 1993, and the next year it won a Fifi award for Women’s fragrance of the Year, in the Mass Appeal category (an award no longer offered). The Vanilla Fields website describes the fragrance as a blend of mimosa, jasmine, and vanilla, and it is clearly marketed toward the earth-tone wearing suburban mom who values “fresh and pretty” over “seductive and imaginative”.
To get an idea of Vanilla Fields’ target audience, take a look at its website. A rinky-dink tune plays while you look at a woman in a beige, Eileen Fisher-ish shirt sit on a shabby chic couch. She’s likely perusing the Coldwater Creek catalog. Click on another tab, and you’ll see a project to build some sort of storage device for recipes (I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was). Another tab offers a quiz that will help you design a relaxing “outdoor room”. The whole site is awash in taupe and beige and seems to say, “John Tesh, take me away.”
I think Coty pegged it. Vanilla Fields is an inoffensive, slightly powdery floral scent with a little sandalwood, vanilla, and amber in the drydown. I do smell the mimosa briefly, but after a few minutes it’s folded into pale flowers that smell like they include candied violet and ylang ylang. Despite that “vanilla” is in its name, its vanilla is curiously subdued. Vanilla Fields body spray’s sillage is one inch, and it lasts half an hour at most. You could go wild spraying it on and not worry about bothering anyone else. The problem is that Vanilla Fields may not inspire you to do anything wildly.
I won’t leave my canister of Vanilla Fields in the bathroom for use as an air freshener, but I probably will tuck it into the linen closet to spray in the sink when I do handwash. It will add a subtle prettiness to my lingerie drawer without interfering with whatever perfume I do eventually wear. That’s more than Renuzit can claim.
Note: image via Images de Parfums.