Coty Vanilla Fields ~ fragrance review

Coty Vanilla Fields

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.

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65 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Oi! Vanilla fields is by far, hands down my least favorite fragrance of all time…even though I realize intellectually that there are worse cat pee smelling juices out there…

    Long story short (too late!), I was newly pregnant with my daughter in 1993, and pretty much any strong smell would set off my gag reflex. I had a sweet friend, who was part of my group of girlfriends and she was dousing herself in Vanilla Fields. I could not sit next to her or ride in a car with her without turning green and I didn't have the heart to tell her that her perfume REALLY made me sick. Even now, if I smell it, I kind of want to toss my cookies…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Perfect! John Tesh, take me away! Ha!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ugh. That sounds like a horrifying scent memory. Thank goodness Vanilla Fields has the half life of a tic tac.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It was between him and Yanni, and Tesh just seemed, well, “beige-r”.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I liked Vanilla Fields when it came out. It was the era of Vanilla, and Body Shop Vanilla oil was heavily applied, and re-applied constantly, by just about everyone I knew then. (I think our dorms & classrooms must've smelled like an ongoing bake sale!) and Vanilla Fields was, in my mind at the time, a nice alternative to straight-up sweet vanilla oil. It had a little vanilla, but not so much.

    I haven't worn or smelled this in years. I'll have to revisit it. They had a flanker awhile back, I saw on the shelves, called Lavender Fields, but it was in a gift pack, and I didn't get to smell it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Angela –

    What a crack up. I laughed out loud several times – thanks. And the website……what hoot! Sounds like a perfect scent for Irvine, CA…..have you ever been there???? It's gated community after gated community of track homes sardined next to each other in three CITY-REGULATED colors: beige, a little bit darker beige and light beige. It's VERY Vanilla Fields.

    • devaluxe says:

      OMGOSH – whoever mentioned Irvine being all beige and gated communities is DEAD ON! My friends and I call it “The Land of Perpetual Beige” No lie. That’s hysterical!

      • Angela says:

        A place it sounds like I don’t need to visit! Although I guess the houses would match just about any wardrobe.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of Martha's Vineyard, where you're free to paint your house any shade of stark white you wish!

  8. Anonymous says:

    My goodness, the Vanilla Fields website Escape to Nature Quiz is a hoot – like were you a dove, a butterfly or a wild horse in your past life – thanks for a good laugh!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Loved that comment, too, I laughed out loud. Was just listening to his radio show in a public bathroom the other day and thinking: Man, this guy drives me bonkers. He's so inoffensive, it's offensive.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Perfectly put!

  11. Anonymous says:

    It's surprising how little vanilla Vanilla Fields has, really. Lavender Fields sounds interesting.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I've never been to Irvine, and now I'm never going for sure! I'd much rather visit a neighborhood full of houses with old couches on the porches and broken down jalopes in the driveways.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I thought they had better taste than that there. Shows what I know…

  14. Anonymous says:

    I still haven't taken the quiz, but now I will. I hope I was a wild horse.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I love those “what to do with those weird cheap canisters of stuff that don't make you gag” conundrums. I have a can of ! that I think I finally used up as bathroom spray… I like your Vanilla Fields solution. Maybe you could use the Charlie like mace? But what if it leaked in your purse…. (shudder)
    So you liked Vanilla Musk better?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Too bad they actually couldn't get Tesh for their ho-hum website.
    I agree this fragrance doesn't bother me nor does it make me swoon. All my girlfriends wore this in high school and they were mega whores, so maybe there is more to this than meets the eye. Maybe we need a man's opinion:) Are you going to review Malibu Musk or Exclamation? Those were my scents back in the day of teenage angst.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have often thought about Vanilla Fields over the years (I think I wore it in the 7th or 8th grade, and loved it dearly). I am so glad to see that you've reviewed it, Angela!

    Now, I know that this may garner many outraged responses, but I feel compelled to mention the following vignette: I was shopping one weekend at my neighborhood shoe store in Brooklyn, when I caught a whiff of something I was 75% sure was Vanilla Fields. How retro!, I thought. I asked the girl closest to me what she was wearing, and she replied, “Andy Tauer”.

    Is there a Tauer fragrance that smells like Vanilla Fields?! Tauers undoubtedly smell more complex, but perhaps one of them approximates the gist of Vanilla Fields in the deep drydown?

    It has certainly been a long time since I smelled VF and would not be surprised if my olfactory memories were playing tricks on my mind.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yep, to me Vanilla Musk was better. It really is a whole different fragrance than Vanilla Fields.

    I think I'll bury the Charlie in my backyard under a full moon. I'm sure I can find the appropriate incantations somewhere on the internet…

  19. Anonymous says:

    Holy Smokes! I exclaim because (1) how wonderful to run into another fragrance lover who knows and wears something by Andy Tauer; and (2) what of his could possibly smell like Vanilla Fields? I'm stumped.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Terrifying! I'll bury a few cloves of garlic with it, too, just in case.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I had a best friend that wore it years ago, and it smelled great on her. It was so soft and it lasted forever. Where-ever we'd go people would give her compliments.

    On me, it turned to the dark side.

  22. Anonymous says:

    On me, I don't think people would be able to smell it very long. Of course, I tried the body spray, maybe the cologne lasts longer.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Delurking to say that I haven't used Vanilla Fields since waaayyy back in my early 20s (around the time it came out), but I remember loving it back then! Of course, I was also a wearer of Charlie White and something else called Femme Fatale (can't remember who made it) … I bought my fragrances exclusively at the drugstore, in keeping with early-20something budget. I would be curious to try it again and see what memories it conjures. Your description of the Vanilla Fields website is hilarious. Thanks for the review!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Angela,

    You've outdone yourself! Your reviews for Vanilla Fields and Charlie just about killed me – I was laughing so hard. You are a gifted writer, I so enjoy your reviews. Keep it up!

  25. Anonymous says:

    I'd be interested to know how you like Vanilla Fields now! I'm really curious about Femme Fatale, too–alluring name.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much!

  27. Anonymous says:

    The parfum lasts all day. It's only available in the gift sets, I think.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ciara Femme Fatale? The purple stuff? I had some of that… it was not for me, that's all I can say ;)

  29. Anonymous says:

    Oh, la, la! Jean Naté!! T=Can't wait! The after-bath splash was a fixture in our bathroom growing up (the gallon jug, I think) – my mum always used it after her bath. I've been just giddy over these trips down memory lane! Your reviews have had me in giggles and smiling all day :)

  30. Anonymous says:

    It probably wasn't fair of me to review just the body spray. I'll have to try a stronger concentration of it sometime, although I'm not sure any of my loved ones will give me a gift set of Vanilla Fields at the holidays!

  31. Anonymous says:

    The name is so good! Well, I'll avoid it, then. I know you're right.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I love it. I have my own jug in the fridge right now!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this week's reviews.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Glad you finally tried this! I have the cologne so it lasts longer and sounds like it has a stronger fragrance than what you must have gotten.. I have worn this a couple of times, but kind of meekly – I am not sure if it is so common that it will offend the fairly sophisticated noses at work! I'm going to have to blast myself at home and see what happens. I tend to start light and work up, which backfires now and then – Patchouli Noir smells amazing in small doses but I about killed my work mates with a true patchouli-laden dose of it.
    My smells from the 70s were Jontue (wish I could try that again!), Halston, Ciara, and Tatiana. I think my first perfumes ever were Heaven Sent, Ambush and Chanel No. 5 (!). My first big-girl purchase was L'Heure Bleue (which I just got a new sample of to revisit).

  34. Anonymous says:

    I love & still wear Halston!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Oh yes, Ciara Femme Fatale! That's what it was. Yes, it was purple. I'm sure I'd hate it now … I recently tried Charlie White again for nostalgia's sake and found it awful (though not as bad as the original Charlie, based on Angela's review anyway!).

  36. Anonymous says:

    Never even heard of the fragrance (I'm practically a child, remember?) and I'm pretty sure my sad little drug stores don't have it (I check the cases every so often). But great review! The website had me clutching my sides with laughter. “My best friend is a) my cat?” xD “In the mythical world I'd be d) a jackalope!” xDD And that little boppy song is so happening. It's the music for the elevator to hell. xDDD
    Also, in my “fantasy outdoor room,” I should apparently “plant a variety of flowers to wrap around [me] like a hug…” Or, you know, drown myself in the fountain.
    I tried to make a sketch of the project thingie but it lost me after “drawer pulls.” Note the “archive” has four tips, only one of which makes sense.
    I'll definitely be linking my friends to the website; it's definitely not to be missed. ;D Sad thing is, this review will probably give it more hits that it's ever seen.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Can you still get it?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Don't go by my review–I'm definitely biased!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Yes, you can. You can regularly get the 3.4 oz bottle of Halston at discounters like Marshall's and TJ Maxx for $9.99. Online discounters have it, too. Of course, I'm biased, b/c I just loved Roy Halston and his designs to bits, but it is a great scent, IMO. At least on me, it is! Woods, moss, amber… a few of my favorite things!

  40. Anonymous says:

    You're not going to lob it off the roof of a tall building to scent-bomb the city?!?

  41. Anonymous says:

    April Fields was another flanker, now that I think of it. I don't know if it's still around. I never smelled it.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Love Tatiana too, is it still around?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it can be found at TJ Maxx, Ross, JC Penny's and around the holidays, in sets at Walgreens.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Wasn't that jackalope choice weird? The survey set me up with a cheap looking chaise laden with roses. I guess they decided I'm a romantic.

    I don't think the website has been updated since late last year, either.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Yet another flanker.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Too afraid! Actually last night I gave it to a friend to give to her mom.

  47. Anonymous says:

    The bottle is cool, too.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I think it is.

  49. Anonymous says:

    You can buy it at Walmart for under $10, or online.

  50. Anonymous says:

    These are very amusing to read! ^_^

  51. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad you like them!

  52. Anonymous says:

    What a fun review. . . that website is awesome! My room had a little white doggie. Perfect! Thanks for the laughs. . .

  53. Anonymous says:

    You are so lucky! I wish mine had a little white dog in it…all I got was a cheap looking chaise and some roses.

  54. Anonymous says:

    You can get Tatiana, Jontue, Halston and Heaven Sent at Big Discount. Probably other places too but that came up near the top of a google search for Heaven Sent. Kinda tempting but I have been discovering that where scent is concerned it's a little hard to go “home” again.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Poor Vanilla Fields – it really gets no respect, LOL, and with that website I can see why. But I confess…though I'm plenty old enough to have worn this waaay back in high school, I had never, ever sniffed it. I bought it blind after reading the review in Perfumes: the Guide, which described it as a woody floral, a “sweet little ditty of summer afternoons.” Well, I don't get vanilla from it, nor “woody” either…on me it's a very sweet floral and too strong for hot weather. I won't re-purchase, but I may try it on cool autumn days…you never know. (I have really enjoyed the drugstore fragrance reviews!)

  56. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed the reviews!

    The Perfume Guide has been great for spurring me to try perfumes that I'd overlooked, but it doesn't mean that I always have the same opinion as the authors. I do love digging around in the book, though.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I'm just now catching up with NST from last week, and almost swallowed an olive pit reading this. I can't see my room! Must be a bandwidth problem. I'll have to try it at work tomorrow. And I am sure you were a wild horse in a past life. I was a jackalope (I know, I'm mixing up the categories, which is no doubt not permitted).

  58. Anonymous says:

    The room comes up in a popup window, so if you have disabled popups, you won't be able to see it. I hope you got the room with the dog!

  59. Anonymous says:

    UPDATE: finally tried this on a crisp autumn day, and once it dries down, it's nice. Still very sweet, but a pleasant reminder of summer.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes weather makes all the difference. I'll have to try it again now that it's cool outside.

  61. Dizzy Dazzy says:

    I used to wear Vanilla Fields when it came out in the early 90′s. I am in the UK and have not seen it for sale in ages although there are a few bottles for sale on eBay. This is a nice perfume for a younger girl as it is quite innocent and wholesome. It’s not grown up or sophisticated nor overly precocious. It’s definitely younger rather than older.

    • Angela says:

      It’s fairly inexpensive, too–another reason it might be good for someone young!

      • Dizzy Dazzy says:

        Is it expensive now? When I bought it in the early 90′s it was really cheap, you could get it from the Chemist rather than a department store. It was always off the shelf rather than from the perfume counter. And I am not positive, but seem to remember it was made by Alysia Ashley (I think that’s the right spelling). Maybe Coty bought the recipe and upped the price?

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