Solid baroque vanilla
By far one of the nicest and most creative vanilla scents on the market. Vanille opens with an intriguing clash of notes, with vanilla standing just halfway a citrus top note, a boozy note and a base accord with both “creamy” sweet woods (sandalwood), spices and darker notes which to me smell like a sort of “roasted” leather/birch note, smoked and dry, with a hint of vetiver. Really subtle, yet providing and enjoyable, thin “black” base layer. That’s it initially, a martial and quite “angular” blend with a rather sharp and simple composition style, yet fascinating, ghastly in a way but also romantic: finally the Neoclassic inspiration behind many Mona di Orio scents finds a meaning here, and it’s well developed (instead of going completely wrong, like in several other scents by her). The mood and the atmosphere here are really charming and peculiar, a sort of decadent, odd, skeletal ambiance with dark, dry powdery notes, gloomy and smoky in a way, but also deceptively “white” and soapy. This dry note of vanilla smells like the smell of old books and papers – which is no news, as I recall having read somewhere a chemical similarity between “aged paper” and vanilla. If they had mummies during Renaissance, I guess this may have been their smell. Or, the smell of an antique closet stuffed with your great-grandma’s toiletries and books. In a way, and only for its first stages, it reminded me a bit of La troisième heure by Cartier (for its vanillic-dark structure, although here is all more dry, dusty, woody and less leathery), plus with a touch of clean, gray-ish musky-soapy-aldehydic notes. As minutes pass, say within the first hour, Vanille “warms” up becoming less dry and less smoked and letting resins and sandalwood emerge better, becoming overall softer, sweeter and more Oriental. Despite its name I wouldn’t really consider this a gourmand, but a solid, unisex, classy and really compelling creative take on vanilla, of which here Mona di Orio enhanced the dusty, dry and darker nuances. It’s still fun for me to realise how she was able to accomplish only either great scents or total disasters, but still, this one is really good.