Vanilla Week

Last week was a bit more sweet than i usually like or wear, but i did enjoyed it to the fullest. From Vanille Insensée' dryness to the fiercest Dior Addict, passing along the calmed Eau de Missions and Memoirs of a Trespasser' dustiness, I had a display vanilla cupcake with Vanille that i treated the next day with the flowers and tonka bean from Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle and the week ended with one of the best flankers (in my opinion) of the historical Shalimar, Ode à la Vanille Sur la Route du Mexique.

Native to Central America, vanilla is nowadays grown mainly in Indonesia, Madagascar, China, and on the Reunion Island. Vanilla pods are harvested still fresh, then dried for several months during which they develop their warm, soft, sweet, smoked scent, with woody, spicy and tobacco facets. Solvent extraction is then used to obtain vanilla absolute. One of its main components is the vanilin, which It is synthesized in the laboratory.


While Monday started on quiet rhythms with Vanille Insensée dryness, Tuesday was screaming with Dior Addict (a 2005 bottle). Despite the fact that it contains ingredients that usually add a certain amount of warmth to a fragrance, Dior Addict is pretty cold. Cold and powdery. Nothing discreet and with a dark, strong and powerful vanilla spreaded over sultry flowers and tonka bean with sandalwood' woody undertones, creating an intoxicating spicy melange with a touch of smoke, Dior Addict stands out for heady, seductive and pretentious.


Day 3 - Eau des Missions.

Le Couvent des Minimes was founded in 1613, in the current province of Alpes-de-Haute Provence (formerly Mane), by the Marquis Melchior of Forbin Janson for the order of monks of Minimes. The monks were mostly devoted to the study of plants in general, of medicinal plants in particular. The Monastery closes after the French Revolution and remains unavailable until 1862, when the Archpriest of Forcalquier, Canon Terrasson, transforms it into a hospice. Years later a community of Franciscan Missionaries of the Virgin Mary came came to offer their help to the hospice's inhabitants. Until 1999, when the missionaries left Le Couvent, the monks continued with the study of plants and the production of natural medicines, creams and fragrances. In 2008, Le Couvent was transformed into a Hotel and Spa and changed its name to The Relais & Châteaux Le Couvent des Minimes Hotel & L'Occitane Spa.
Eau de Missions is dedicated to the Franciscan Monks, and according to the old description of the website:
Thanks to its original recipe that combines the comforting vanilla with 5 plants selected for their beneficial properties, this rich and sensual water perfumes the skin with notes of vanilla.
• Vanilla: comforting.
• Centella asiatica: revitalizing.
• Myrrh: repair.
• Benjoin: source of well-being.
• Chinese camellia: protective.
• Virginia Cedar: invigorating.
Often compared with Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain, Eau des Missions is a dark, dense "cologne" offering a calming experience, although it has been created as "perfumed water". Eau des Missions is mainly vanilla. A dark vanilla with citrusy tones, woody, covered in rum and resins, and slightly smoky .


Thursday - Memoirs of a Trespasser. 

Inspired by imaginary authors and books "Imaginary Authors is born from the concept of scent as art and art as provocation. Like a good book, these scents are meant to inspire you. In these bottles are layered narratives that are sure to generate stirring conversation, fragrances that might be capable of changing the course of your own personal story. The hope is that they not only invigorate and intoxicate, but also take you to new places."
Memoirs of a Trespasser is the imaginary centerpiece of Philip Sava, fictive writer and solitary owner of a southern ranch in Madagascar. The real author of Memoirs is no other than Josh Mayer, an indie perfumer from New York.
The fragrance itself transports me to a time of combined innocence and rudeness. My childish boofooneries were followed by well deserved punishments, like not being allowed to get out of the yard and play with the other kinds, so i often seek out refuge in our old house' attic. I was feeling at peace among the dusty, moldy smell of old books, oak barrels and dry tobacco leaves. The smell was my oasis of calm and tranquility and it could kept me locked there for hours breathing it deep inside while reading a 20 years old historical magazine. Memories of a Trespasser encapsulates that exact smell and helps me to hold down on that precious memories.


Vainille by Reminiscence, day 5.

I've read somewhere that Vanille by Reminiscence was the poor man's Cuir Beluga, and, although i can relate to a certain extent, i think that Vanille has enough character to stand on its own.
Vanille is what i like to call a display cakey vanilla, a gourmand without necessarily being an edibile-like type of fragrance that makes your mouth watery. Characterized by a soft booziness combined with sugary pralines and almondy heliotropin, Vanille surrounded itself with bright walls of bergamot, osmanthus and musk that protect the fragrance from falling into the overwhelming sweetness of nowadays and makes even me, the gourmands non-admirer, to appreciate its resinous warmth.


Saturday - Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle. 

Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle is the original Hypnotic Poison without its clothes. Naked, less sweet, less powdery, less powerful, with no licorice and more floral, and it's one of the few cases where i prefer the flanker to the original. It gives me the same feeling as when the opera singer steps out of the scene and allows the orchestra to shine. Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle is less in your face and toned down. The vanilla plays a mayor role, but it's beautifully sustained by orchids, ylang-ylang, orange blossom and roses that cover its nakedness in the most candied way.


Last day - Shalimar Ode à la Vanille Sur la Route du Mexique. 

To create the iconic Shalimar, Jacques Guerlain was inspired by the exuberant gardens of Shalimar in Lahore - Pakistan, built especially for the Empress Mumtaz Mahal.
The fragrance is a tribute to one of the most beautiful love stories ever have existed throughout history: the one of Empress Mumtaz Mahal and Emperor Shah Jahan. Their love broke when Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of his 14th child. Shaken by pain, Shah Jahan built in her memory an historical temple, known throughout the world as Taj Mahal. It is said that on the site of the Shalimar Gardens was once a country house built in the second century by the emperor Praversena II, that after its construction was over it was named Shalimar. In Sanskrit, the word shalimar means place of love. After the disappearance of King Praversena II, the construction deteriorated with the passage of time and in place of the ruins, King Shah Jahan decided to build the Shalimar Gardens for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, as a symbol of his eternal love.
Shalimar is one of the most famous oriental fragrances and was the first olfactory creation that incorporated a considerable amount of vanilla extract in its composition. Its smell is dense and exuberant, and is marked by penetrating citrus fruits intensified by jasmine and rose flowers, enriched with patchuli, iris, sandalwood, incense, ambergris, tonka bean and vanilla, which together create the magic of Shalimar. Shalimar Ode à la Vanille Sur la Route du Mexique smells like the old smoky Shalimar overslept in a Mexican vanilla bed.
Raymond Guerlain designed the bottle for Shalimar, inspired by the fountains of the gardens. As for the blue cap in the form of a fan, this is inspired by a precious silver item that was owned by the Guerlain family.

It was a nice exercise to wear fragrances that i often forget about and i hope to repeat it soon.


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