Hermes Vanille Galante ~ perfume review

Hermes Vanille Galante fragrance

It has been a very long time since I actually swooned over the first sniff of any perfume, but the latest from the Hermessence collection at Hermès, Vanille Galante, was a rare case of love-at-first-sniff. Happily for me, so far it appears to be a lasting relationship — just as well, since I bought it unsniffed.*

I will start by mentioning that Vanille Galante is likely to be a disappointment to vanilla freaks (there have already been a few disgruntled customers on the fragrance boards). The early scents in the Hermessence series (Ambre Narguile, Rose Ikebana, Vetiver Tonka, Poivre Samarcande, Osmanthe Yunnan) were mostly "about" the material they were named after. Paprika Brasil and Brin de Reglisse were less directly so, and Vanille Galante, while presumably a reflection of some sorts on vanilla, isn't a vanilla perfume at all in the usual sense. It may not please men, either, insofar as it's arguably the most feminine in the Hermessence collection. And one final warning, this one for aquatic-phobes: I do not know if it contains calone, but it sure smells like it to me.

Like the others in the collection, Vanille Galante was created by Hermès house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, and if I had to sum up what it smells like in a few words, I'd say lilies floating in salty water. The opening is dewy and bright and fresh, and even more airy and transparent than Jean-Claude Ellena's usual airy and transparent. It is fruity — both melon and banana in the early stages — and liberally sugared. It's spicy-peppery early on, and lightly green. As it dries down, the lilies fade slightly into a more blended, indistinct floral, still very sheer and salt-water-y; farther on, there are hints of pale, very dry woods, lightly charred.

It sounds just like something I'd hate — melon and banana! — but it's simply gorgeous. Regular readers know I have complained about the recent resurgence of the aquatic trend (and that I did not like Ellena's most recent aquatic entry, Hermès Un Jardin après la Mousson), but if all aquatic florals could all be made to dance on the skin like this one does, I would make my peace with aquatic notes.

The first time I wore Vanille Galante, I thought it had faded entirely after an hour, but it has a way of reappearing long after I thought it was gone. Now I would say that the lasting power is good, but that it has a tendency to induce olfactory fatigue (in me, anyway, at times) rather quickly.

Hermès Vanille Galante features notes of ylang ylang, green notes, spices, lily, salicylates, sandalwood and vanilla. It is available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette, or in a discovery set of four 15 ml bottles. I'm sorry but I don't know the current prices for the Hermessences (please comment if you do), and do note that the leather sheath shown in the image above costs extra.

* But in my defense, I only bought 15 ml this time. And I shall drain it in no time.

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110 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, Robin. I thought calone would make you run the other way… screaming! Banana? Very curious….

    Of course I'm interested in a sniff even if it doesn't sound like my thing… however, I am wearing Mousson today, which I am proud to admit that I enjoy quite a lot. And as a matter of fact, I've been hankering for “true” vanillas lately, which I never thought I would.

    Curious about the salicylats & “salty water” thing — would you say there's any similarity whatsoever between this and FM Dans tes Bras, but with lily instead of violet?

    And did you do a split of the 15ml set? I'll be curious about current prices if someone chimes in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, bear in mind that I used to love New West. I think it is largely that I got tired of the whole aquatic category. Many aquatic scents smell “dated” to me now. But Mousson in particular, I don't know…I really found the aquatic note overwhelming. It isn't nearly so strong here.

    No, no real similarity w/ DTB other than the one note. DTB smells like “salty skin”, this smells like “salty water”, although not like seawater really. Maybe like “fresh salt water”, LOL…does that make any sense?

    Yes, bought a single 15 ml from someone at the Scent Split wiki!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have been wearing this for the last 2 weeks on and off myself – bought mine unsniffed also.
    I am not a fan of ylang ylang or lily and I think it's this that's tripping me up on enjoying VG. The tidbit of vanilla in VG is quite delicious smelling and my favorite part, but in combination with the florals and the watery note (which reminds me of sunblock) it becomes something else entirely.
    I love the salty aspect of most fragrances, but in VG the chemistry on my skin does not make it easy to love.
    I am still waiting for it to 'click' for me. I fear it might not. I am glad that you find it wonderful Robin – you and I have such wildly different tastes on the new Hermessences (you don't like Paprika Brasil and I love it; you like Osmanthe Yunnan and I feel very indifferent about it…)
    Does anyone else get the almost 'ham'-like character of the lily spices?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ah, if you don't like ylang or lily, I can see hating this. And on the ham spices — yes, briefly! Also smells almost like carnation (very clove-y) for a time. Would love to see a complete list of notes on this one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Fresh salt water” makes sense to me… in contrast to the “brackish bay water” — quite stinky but NOT polluted! — that I grew up near on the Jersey Shore. ;-)

    That wiki is the greatest thing, I think.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love the 'lilies on salt water' description. I see what you mean,and it's much more poetic than the 'banana marshmallow' that I conjure up in my head. Good to know that it's not just me who find VG disappears not long after arriving…then magically reappears when you think it's gone. Mind you, I went through 15ml IN A WEEK in my desperation to keep the sillage going. I've never got anywhere near using up 15ml of a Hermessence, ever. I really, really like VG, and I think it may be even better as the weather warms up. Or it may smell of stronger bananas…who knows?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Scent Splits is great…wish more people used it. Here's the link, for anyone who doesn't know the site:

    http://scentsplits.wikidot.com/

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, Robin, obviously I must go back. I sniffed this in Vancouver — $165 Cdn for the set of four 15ml, $250 for 100mls — just yesterday, and, interestingly enough, my very first thought was, “Robin on NST is NOT going to like this!” It had the ham spices, some funny, slightly weedy mimosa-type note, and then it trailed off into insignificance. I clearly must give this one another try. Your love of it pains me, Miss K; I thought I had avoided another spendy lemming, but I tend to come around to your way of sniffing sooner or later, so must add this to my imaginary Purgatory basket. *Sighs*

  9. Anonymous says:

    Banana marshmallow! There really IS something sugared about it…the florals are sweet, but beyond that it has a definite “sugar” note to me, so I can see the marshmallow reference. But 15 ml in a week! I cannot afford to go through it at that rate, LOL…I will have to put it away until spring, maybe.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh thanks Robin! Can I sell my own decants here? I sure do recognize many names from the perfume blogs.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ouch! That is spendy stuff. The original price, I think (?) was $165 or $170 US. Then at some point later I posted that and someone corrected me because the price had gone up to $180, and then I think it went up again.

    And sorry to be unpredictable when I'm usually so very predictable! I do just adore this stuff. If I had bought the whole 100 ml unsniffed, I'd be perfectly pleased.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes, you can! I wrote more about it in the article on splitting bottles, in case that helps anyone else:

    http://www.nstperfume.com/blog/_archives/2008/7/14/3789736.html

    Right now the only drawback is that there aren't quite enough people using it. It's a great replacement for the now-banished decants on eBay!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Awesome, I will read the article when I get back from errands. :~)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Often with the master perfumers, the whole is greater than the sum of the ingredients. tTat is their genius… I find this especially true with JCE!!!!

    interestingly, VG its not fab on me, but i can appreciate it on others. I am still a vetiver tonka chick and I am in heaven wearing the kelly caleche extrait….

  15. Anonymous says:

    I still see ALOT of people selling decants on the bay.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Me too. But there isn't nearly the selection there once was. Scent Splits is still relatively new, but it's in many ways preferable to me over eBay anyway…smaller community, I know many of the people there.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Vetiver Tonka is a great scent, no doubt. I have now gone through several of the 15 ml bottles…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Lilies floating in salty water? Ooh, that sounds very, very tempting. Banana marshmallow? Even more tempting.

    Girl, you're breaking me down…

  19. Anonymous says:

    Great review, Robin. While this doesn't really suit me (my favorites in the series are OY & AN), I did like it more than I expected to. I think it would make a really nice summer fragrance for a lot of people.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin,

    Last time I bought an Hermessence at the Hermes boutique, about 4 months ago, the price was $210 for a 100 mL bottle. The leather box or “etui” alone costs $450 and each Hermessence fragrance has its dedicated one that matches the leather cap color (You don't want to be caught dead with a bottle of Vetiver Tonka which has a sandy brown leather cap placed in a “Poivre Samarkande” dark brown leather box of course)

    Needless to say that I won't be buying any anytime soon in this economy!

    Or may be I should, since placing my hard earned money in glass bottles appears safer than leaving it at the bank nowadays!

    Eric

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Robin. I'm so glad to hear that you are enjoying Vanille Galante. Personally, I adore it, and found my first sniff of it (a few weeks ago in Paris) to be absolutely mindblowing. There is something about the airiness of the structure, and how it unfolds in space, that I found absolutely breathtaking. And I love that it is a vanilla that eschews the usual pastry-shop direction of “gourmand” vanilla fragrances.

    A couple of days ago, I was also reflecting that VG has changed my feelings about the recent slew of aquatic fragrances — I found myself revisiting, for example, L'Artisan's Fleur de Liane, and Annick Goutal's Un Matin D'Orage, and really enjoying the watery-green-floral vibe. As Chandler Burr pointed out about Un Jardin Apres La Mousson, Ellena has managed to create 'wateriness' without resorting to Calone. I will grant that some of the watery/marine/aquatic excesses of the 1990's are to be avoided, but I am curious now to see how perfumers working in this renewed aquatic direction are able to do so with a kind of refinement and finesse.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What is calone?
    And why do I want to sniff IMMEDIATELY and will got to a Hermes shop and dare to even go in?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Lilies floating in salty water? Looks like I will have to participate in a blind split. Watery floral + salt = There is no way that I will not like this one.

  24. Anonymous says:

    R, I honestly don't know if you're going to like it or not. Maybe I wouldn't guess w/ anybody, since it's a rather unusual scent.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it will be perfect in summer, although actually it wears very nicely now. And we agree on OY! I would say my other favorite is Vetiver Tonka, although really the only ones I don't like are the Poivre & the Paprika.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, $210 is heartbreaking. Thanks though!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Mine bottle did not cost much — less than $40 IIRC, even with shipping.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Does CB say Mousson has no calone? Well, the technical achievement (if it is one, I know nothing about aromachemicals and for all I know there are 80 of them that smell like it) is lost on me: it smells just like melon water so it might as well have calone, LOL…

    This one did make me try Mousson (again!) and still no luck. I'm afraid I dislike it more every time I try it. Still have high hopes for the AG though.

  29. Anonymous says:

    An aromachemical used to impart an aquatic note — basically smells like fresh air & water, but also very much like a cross between watermelon & cantaloupe.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Those are the prices in Canadian funds, R, and our dollar is in rough shape, so hopefully in $US the numbers look a little less alarming.

    P.S. Dropped by the Hermes boutique again at lunch. Still don't get what you got. I can't tell you how relieved I am — which makes me stop and think. What has happened to me, that a woman with about a year and a half's worth of fragrance-blog-watching and swapping under her belt is actually RELIEVED she doesn't love something? Is that ever-so-slightly WEIRD??!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Haunani, if you like the sounds of watery floral + salt, I hope, if you haven't already, you have the chance to try FM Dans tes Bras. To me, it's all watery violet and salty skin. . .just lovely.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Haha. I actually almost kiss the ground when I don't love something! I still horde the sample vial though…

  33. Anonymous says:

    Oh, she's tried DtB alright… we went in on a split! H, if you find a GREAT deal on a split of the 15ml of this and there are two spots open, do let me know. Robin NST, the $40 price you got it for seems like a real steal. I've seen the 15ml Hermessences selling for $50-$60.

  34. Anonymous says:

    No, see below — it is $210 here, or was some months ago. Hope at least it hasn't gone up since then.

    And yes, I'm relieved all the time when I hate something! Except when I've been particularly stupid & already bought it, LOL…

  35. Anonymous says:

    But that is not a “real” split — you should pay the regular price plus some shipping, plus maybe a small fee for paypal.

    And just checked: I paid $39 total.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Must try this, it sounds lovely, but confess if I dislike it, I'll be relieved. Though I have hung onto samples long enough that by the time I do fall in love with them, they've made it to the discounters. But these Hermessences are never discounted, are they?

  37. Anonymous says:

    So THAT's what calone smells like – a cross between watermelon & cantaloupe. I sure get that scent from Mousson!

  38. Anonymous says:

    OHMIGOSH! Thank you for the link to scent splits!!!! What an EXTREMELY cool place….oops, there goes another pile of $$$$…

    Clearly I'm gonna need to get decanting supplies.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, I've never seen one discounted anywhere. If I did, I'd probably buy them all.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Robin, you are right – I LOVE Dans Tes Bras! And thanks to Joe, I have some. Joe, I would be interested in doing the same with this new one. What if we each took 2 slots? E-mail me, if you like!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Haha. H, I am feeling a little poor this month, so only one slot for me. And I don't live near an Hermes boutique and I think those are the only places that sell them…. maybe we can hope that a split angel here on this comment thread will email both of us wanting to share ;-) Or I'll post something on scentsplits or mua.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I can't do another Jean Claude Elena melon juice. The melon blooms on me after a few days. I'm devastated. This is another JCE I've waited for and can't wear. [Kicks can, walks off into sunset.]

  43. Anonymous says:

    Joe, I don't live near a Hermes boutique, either. And I should probably be good and go for just one 15 ml. Split angel, where art thou?

    BTW, Robin, with Dans Tes Bras, I get lovely fresh dirt, salt and violets. But next time I wear it, I'm going to see if I get any wateriness!

  44. Anonymous says:

    Seconding what my friend JTC says… So glad you liked it, Robin! My mind is blown as well. I'm pretty sure there's no calone in it, and I know Octavian of 1000fragrances, who was the first to pry the mini out of my spraying little hands to sample it, agrees.

    I don't feel it's so aquatic as incredibly airy. I get everything you get — the lily, the “ham”gaiac-like smokiness, the carnation spiciness… Its texture is totally different from other lily vanilla pairings (SL Un Lys, DK Gold).

    I see a full bottle of this as soon as funds roll in. The 15ml are going down quickly, and I'm exercising restraint!

  45. Anonymous says:

    Vanille Galante finally arrived in Vancouver and I tried it today. A lot of lilies and very little vanilla, but interesting. I personally prefer Un Jardin Apres la Mousson though and my first impression is that this is taking a similar concept to more floral territories. My favourite Hermessence remains Vetiver Tonka.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I found Octavian's review of this (http://1000fragrances.blogspot.com/2009/01/vanille-galante-herms.html) most illuminating. I get the impression that Vanille Galante's extraordinarily airy radiance is in part due to the skillful use of Hedione and salicylates.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I can see that very quickly i will have no money after seeing this site. OMG, I am in heaven. Perhaps I will have to go into business on the site to help fund all my new purchases.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I guess if you really hate it you can always flog it off on wikiswap. I, for one, would be interested on gettting my dirty mitts on it!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I may be interested as well if you see any come up. Perhaps we should stalk Mikeperez23 lest he decides once and for all that he no longer wants his bottle?

  50. Anonymous says:

    You can order them over the phone, and presumably you could list the other 2 bottles on Scent Splits – but helps over there if you have a swapping reputation somewhere — basenotes or MUA.

  51. Anonymous says:

    You guys would know better than me, but I swear I smell melon in there! Doesn't matter, it's a great scent, and unlike anything else out there.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the link!

  53. Anonymous says:

    Quinncreative, do try it — it's nothing at all like Mousson!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Vetiver Tonka is brilliant, no doubt about it.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Late to this, but fascinated with Vanille Galante. My first reaction was like, not love, but I find mysellf wearing it more and more and wondering just how JCE managed to create such delicate architecture in this seemingly, but not actually, fragile perfume. Wearing it makes me feel as if I am inside a geodesic dome made of transparent glass with a pale yellow light streaming in. It is mostly vanilla for me, but as you have noted, not the usual kind, Instead, a vanilla that is both lighter and more complex. I'm not picking up any calone in VG and am wondering if it is the salicylates listed in the notes that provide the sense of lightness and space?

  56. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I absolutely think it is the heavy dose of salicylates that give it that airy feeling, and “inside a geodesic dome made of transparent glass with a pale yellow light streaming in” is a great description! I still smell melon though :-)

  57. Anonymous says:

    I rang the Hermes shop in London and they are sending me a sample free of charge! I can barely contain my excitement – thanks for the heads up on this.! This might be another ylang scent for Valkryie to try who said she was looking for a new one over on the lazy poll free-for-all thread the other day.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful! I don't think I've ever managed to get a sample out of them on the phone, although they're very nice about samples in the stores.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Ayala, glad you mentioned the lilies, I was interested in trying until I saw that…. I like them, but get a migraine + nausea after smelling.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I did offer to pay, as I did with L'Artisan in London recently, who also sent out a sample. That ended up in my purchasing a FB of Premier Figuier for a girlfriend, so who knows what may come of this VG encounter?! (Must say those initials are like Vintage Gardenia walking over my grave – shudder…!)

  61. Anonymous says:

    No worries…this is miles away from JMVG :-)

  62. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of vetiver and JCE, I just got to try Sycomore and fell madly in love. Omigosh. I'd swear it was created by Jean-Claude Ellena himself; it's got that airy, peppery-fruity base that reminds me of the Jardin series. I think it trumps Vetiver Tonka, even. Whoooo-hoooo! Now, would a couple of hundred dollars please drop from the skies — or let's cut to the chase and just drop me a whole bottle!!!!

  63. Anonymous says:

    The store in NYC didn't have samples. I fell in love with VG off a strip, purchased a 15 ml bottle from Perfumed Court. Now I don't know. The lily is sooo dirty & heavy, weighed down even further by the banana note. I don't find this transparent at all. Maybe I'll find it more appropriate in the summer – or it will get even heavier. I might have to end up by selling it – on scentsplit! (now I know).

    I do notice that I have a lot of trouble with spray bottles. There's just no way to calibrate the dose, I always wind up with too much of a good thing. I've taken to buying Chanel type dauber/stopper bottles off eBay when I can find them, and decanting a favorite scent to these so I can just touch a little on. At Bergdorf's in NY, the salesman says that Serge Lutens advises shaking the bottle (so you don't get too much alcohol in the mix), and then wiping the spray tubing over your skin, which just dispenses a whisper of the frag. Particularly with his perfumes, this is a good move for me – though I rather doubt SL himself says that because when you're at the Palais Royal they take a brush and SLOP on the juice (I was horrified – and my husband complained all day). Do you have any good sources for empty dauber bottles that are airtght?

  64. Anonymous says:

    Sarah, I like pilotvials for empty bottles, and they've got a pretty good selection. They sell at their own website, and they might still sell through ebay too — they used too. Don't know that they have a real stopper bottle though, I don't buy those — if something is too strong to be sprayed, I just decant into a screw-top bottle and dab on with my finger.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Sycomore is lovely. Wish perfume would drop from the sky more often.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Robin,
    Your review is spot on IMO. I get quite a bit of melon (not so much banana though) and a good deal of ylang ylang as well. I love the (non-foody) vanilla hovering in the background, it's simply gorgeous, and wish it were more pronounced.
    It does remind me of Mousson, without the spice.

  67. Anonymous says:

    [Lifting head from table]. . . Really? I had such high hopes. . .I really need a perfume I'm madly in love with.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Luckily it did not remind me of Mousson, or I think I would have cried, LOL…but it does seem to be playing w/ similar themes.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Well, not everyone is loving it. But it really isn't like Mousson to me, despite the fact that they have some things in common.

  70. Anonymous says:

    I am confident it is – am happy to report that I just agreed to swap my JMVG for Marc Jacobs Blush unsniffed. Almost any perfume would be preferable, I figured, so am glad to take this leap of faith!

  71. Anonymous says:

    I think I'm one of those rare freaky-deakies that kind of likes Mousson, so the theme/potential similarities is OK.

    I also think I might be the only one getting the ylang ylang over the lily. Anyone else??

  72. Anonymous says:

    Hope you'll love the Blush!

  73. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, I think lots of people loved Mousson! I'd be surprised if it wasn't selling well.

    I get lots of ylang early on, but then mostly lily.

  74. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the review Robin! I am such a JCE fan. sigh. hoping for my wallet's sake that i am not bowled over- will see!

  75. Anonymous says:

    Will keep my fingers crossed that you hate it ;-)

  76. Anonymous says:

    My experience with Vanille Galante, as would be acted in my very own imaginary biopic:

    Me: Do you happen to have VG in yet?

    Salesperson: Why, yes. We just got it this week.

    Me (excitedly): I think I'll spray it on a card.

    (sprays on card)

    Me: Why, DK Gold, what are you doing here? I told you, it's over.

    VG: Spray me on your skin!

    Me (hesitant): Alright….

    (sprays on skin)

    Me (horrified, in soliloquy): HOMG, RUBBER!

    VG: But good rubber, right?

    (wails)

    Salesperson (oblivious to my plight): PS, we don't have samples yet. Now, you can have some other samples.

    Me: Thank God for consolation prizes!

    So yes. Gold + Rubber + More Rubber = VG. It's only been an hour but I'm not sure it'll get better. Now, I did spray it three times in one spot; maybe that's not ideal. And I still have to test it in the crook of my arm, which always provides a different smell. I'm to be called when the samples come in, so I'll come back if something drastic happens to my opinion. Right now, though, it's battling with OY for least favorite Hermessence.

  77. Anonymous says:

    LOL — awesome story, thanks! We are probably Evil Fragrance Twins.

  78. Anonymous says:

    When it comes to JCE, that seems to be the case. But we seem in sync as far as irises and what limited SL sampling I've done (save, of course, Borneo ;3).

  79. Anonymous says:

    LOL — I'm out of sync with most everyone on Borneo!

  80. Anonymous says:

    When I wear VG I get a feeling that I am wearing two perfumes at the same time. Close to my wrists I get that green notes melon scent but it seems that into surrounding it lets aroma of this airness and no melon in it, just pure, bright vanilla.
    It feels like the melon note is for me, and vanilla airness is for others :-)
    This is a first perfume that keeps giving me this sensation. Brilliant.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I don't get quite that sensation, but there is something very “unblended” about VG…and I like that too.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I just had to post this…finally got to smell Vanille Galante and I thought, this is veeeerrrrry familiar…what is it??? I got it. It smells so very much like l'Eau Nirique by Stephanie de Saint Aignan!
    Anyway, it's not that important but I just had to share :-)

  83. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, will have to see if I still have a sample of the SdSA scent.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin,
    Is VG anything like Donna Karan Gold in EDT? I keep seeing the comparison to Gold kicked around, but Gold EDP sounds heavy – the antithesis of my sample of VG.
    Thanks for the lovely review!
    Sue

  85. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm…other than the obvious, that they're both lily, they aren't much alike to me. Gold, to me, is not heavy so much as loud (don't know if that will make sense to anyone but me), but the style of VG is just entirely different.

  86. markolomeu says:

    My mother is simple obsessed with lillies – she loves the delicate posie of the flower, the wamr and deep smell of them, the nude and smooth colors of the petals… if this is anything close to what you have described Robin, it may be her next purchase – we are actually heading out to Luxembourg in just a few minutes; the first stop in the city will have to be Hermes!

    • Robin says:

      If she wants warm, deep & rich, she might prefer something like Serge Lutens Un Lys…this is light & airy. Still, very much worth a try — it’s a beautiful scent! And never hurts to stop by Hermes, LOL…

    • markolomeu says:

      Well, the verdict is in, from both my mother and I: I like it, she LOVES it… Mother’s Day is coming up soon I guess…!

      • Robin says:

        Ah, great! Looks like you’re going to have to get an expensive MD present!

        • markolomeu says:

          Yeah, but she is worth it!

          I actually like it better as a prospective purchase over some of her other scents… she recently purchased a bottle of Brin de Reglisse, and Dad bought her 38 Rue Cambon for Christmas… I guess my developing habit of all things perfume is rubbing off on her, because she is bracning away from the same few all the time!

          I found what you said to be spot on – the opening is slightly yougart-like, almost as if there was a lily yougart, slightly salted, mixed with woods and slightly burnt vanilla. Really nice to smell; spring is truly here!

          • Robin says:

            Hey, she’s building up a nice collection!

            And yes, we’re finally having beautiful weather too :-)

  87. asuperlongusername says:

    It’s me again. I got that sample today.

    Lilyrubber. And what smells a bit like bananas foster. I definitely won’t put this on my skin ever again. Want a once-dabbed sample? D=

  88. enidan says:

    This is a lovely and smart review, and to me this is certainly the smartest take on vanilla I have come across so far.
    To my nose the vanilla is more dominant than what’s expressed in the review and comments, but it’s utterly sweet, moving and even slightly whimsical.
    I am recommending it to my little sister, who is a total vanilla groupie; I think she will appreciate this witty take, which for once isn’t too foodie, even to someone like myself who usually abstains from predominent vanilla notes.

    • Robin says:

      Hope your sister will love it! Whimsical is actually a perfect description for VG.

  89. SmokeyToes says:

    I just visited Hermes yesterday, and tried the Vanilla Galante, Pamplemouse Rose, Eau de Gentaine Blanche and Vetiver Tonka. I loved all but wound up purchasing Hiris b/c who knows how much longer it will be around.
    The SA (Jared) was great, very helpful and informative.

    • Robin says:

      Well, spill, which was your 2nd favorite? I’ve tried the GB but not the PR.

  90. I dared to go to Hemrès and I was very impressed by VG but dd not find anything about Vanilla in it, fortunately. Since I also love lillies (Penhaligon’s Lily and Spice is on my wishlist like many other) I wold loe to try it a bit longer.
    The testing kits cost 15mlx4 100 Euro. Okay, but no mix&match. Because I am not sure if I like the ambre anrgule I wait till I dare to go in the next time. I am sure I will end up with the kit, it’s just a question of… my birthday. I use to buy myself a present every year, something “nice to have”.

    • Robin says:

      No mix & match, really? I could swear they used to allow mix & match, but maybe I’ve just forgotten. That’s really too bad.

  91. raluca says:

    I tried vanille galante in a Hermes boutique in Rome this month. The air in the city was so scented, a replica of Paradise I guess- jasmine, linden, oleander, bougainvillea, pine, tuberose, etc etc and more. Therefore the light VG was too shy to be felt. In fact, it was very close to the smell of this false jasmine which is Trachelospermum jasminoides, an evergreen ivy which is everywhere in Rome and has a nauseatic powerful fragrance, more honeyed and meloned than jasmine.
    I heard that VG is based on vanilla flower, not vanilla spice.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, wish I could have been in Rome then!

  92. ami says:

    i hate vanilla perfumes so i had to try this.
    on my skin or to my nose it was suprisingly simple, so much unusual from Ellena, miss vanilla sitting next to a cup of jasmine green tea

  93. ami says:

    actually i do, but quite releived i found a scent of Ellena I do not want to buy immediately. (i was not that lucky with un Jardin sur le Nil, hehe) too much vanilla still, however, a really elegant and modest one.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, it’s nice to find one you don’t need, isn’t it? Esp. at this price.

  94. jonr951 says:

    One word, BEAUTIFUL!!!! Hermes was kind enough to send me a sample. Its so different from anything I’ve ever smelled before. All I get is lily and vanilla. Its devine. Its probably my favorite floral fragrance and I’m not very fond of floral fragrances. I need to get me a bottle of this too. Its such a high quality fragrance. I have to have it. : )

    • Robin says:

      So glad they sent you a sample, that’s nice! It really is a great scent. I love that you can get the 15 ml too…

  95. jonr951 says:

    Oh do I hope the rumored black iris that smells of chocolate is the next Hermessence. I can’t wait! : )

  96. jonr951 says:

    OMG Robin did u see Iris Ukiyoke on fragrance.org!!! I can’t wait!!! YAY!!!! : )

    • Robin says:

      No — cool! I knew there was an iris coming but didn’t know the name.

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