Spiritueuse Double Vanille 
Guerlain (2007)

Average Rating:  74 User Reviews

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About Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain

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Part of the "L'Art et la Matière" collection.

Spiritueuse Double Vanille is a luminous fragrance: golden vanilla dazzles us with its multiple facets and incredible splendour, far from sweet and childlike insipidity. A stunning composition in which each raw material recalls the journey, the long crossings by boat, in which the wood of the hull melds with that of the rum barrels and spice boxes.

Fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain

There are 74 reviews of Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain.

Time has been kind to Spiriteuse Double Vanille. I think it’s helpful to remember that it was launched as part of a pretty great collection, Guerlain’s early entries into the high-end niche market, with bottle sizes and flacon styling comparable to Armani’s Privé line. You could argue, I suppose, that Guerlain already had its Privé line—its parfums/extraits—but Chanel also jumped on the Excluaif bandwagon, so I don’t fault Guerlain. for refusing to enter the 21st century, with perfumes that were less dense, heavy, and classical, not with so much interesting action occurring in indie and niche perfumery. Besides, if any house had a right to create and marked a scent that celebrated pure, unadulterated,vanilla, Guerlain is it. Their Shalimar was, is, and always will be the greatest Oriental perfume ever created, it opened up its own darn genre, and Guerlain’s famous benzoin-vanillin base was a landmark in modern perfumery, with an exemplary use of synthetic materials to add texture and interest to natural resins.

I think, with SDV, Guerlain took Shalimar’s other most striking compositional features, its creamy Bergamot lemon-pudding opening, and its bold, raw, almost acrid green frankincense, and remixed them into a perfume that pays tribute to Guerlain’s past and, at least at one time, almost 15 years ago, what Guerlain’s future could, and still can, be.

It opens with a relatively bright but still resinous bergamot, with a an almost leathery citrus peel texture, that links the opening to the perfume’s middle phase, a dense, shadowy vanilla, that smells like vanilla beans, boozy extract, and a smooth woodsy accord that distinguishes SDV, from more overtly marshmallow-toasty gourmands. Not that SDV is not a gourmand, it just is a much woodier style than the powdered floral gourmand, of Vaniglia del Madagascar, or the campfire-and-kitchen meringue of Tihota.

This darkness, this depth. Is enhanced by a thick frankincense that smells both black and green, at the same time. Concentrated frankincense also contains a burnt-lemon that ties the perfume’s bass with its lemon opening. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, all of these accords are present in Shalimar, and I think this supports my contention, that SDV has a clear connection with Shalimar, bringing the house’s work almost full circle, with its woody elements a nod to the work of Serge Lutens, whose revolutionary Orientals brought, or even substituted woods, to and for, the sweet amber accords of classic perfumes of that family.

The final verdict I have on SDV is, actually, pretty simple: it’s just gorgeous. It is comforting but also mysterious, even if it is not challenging or difficult. The impeccable quality of its materials stand out when I compare it with most of the other vanillas I’ve smelled, that have plasticky off notes or a quality of thinness that is completely absent from SDV. It is the rarest of things, a vanilla with brains, and a serious but not somber or bleak demeanor. Some people who love perfume just cannot get on the vanilla train, they find the concept itself either too simple or too ditzy to embrace as serious perfumery, but the excellence of work like this redeems SDV, making it a solid best-in-class.

My bottle also has had the benefit of age. Guerlain built the best of its classic fragrances to last. A Guerlain boutique SA told me, a long time ago, that Guerlain cave-ages their haute parfumerie, like the great French wine and cheese producers. and examples of aged Shalimar make for some of the most decadent and near-orgasmic perfume smelling experiences I have ever had. I think Spiriteuse Double Vanille was probably created the same way, and I look forward to exploring its slow changes, as the perfume continues to mature. It is one of the treasures of my collection, and I feel like the serious money I spent on it, was worth every penny. It is a terrible shame that Guerlain discontinued it, as it deserves a place among the greatest perfumes this house ever created.

Pure Vanilla is not an original concept, but I give this treatment of it a pass in the originality department, as the treatment of it here is so thoughtful, and its subtle, carefully wrought details are enough to make it special. The quality speaks for itself. It is incredibly wearable, perhaps best on snowy nights, like the one during which I write this review. It has no gender, being woody and smoky enough for even the pickiest of masculine wearers, and it is both a comfortable perfume and a contemplative one. I find something new to appreciate, every time I wear it. I believe it is less foody than some reviewers find it, and for Vanilla Grail chasers like me, I am not sure there is anything greater.

As befits a perfume so profoundly packed with resins, SDV wears close to the body, with more sillage rather than projection, although it reaches a foot or two past my fingertips when I wear it on my wrists. It hangs on at least 12 hours, leaving its delicious, smoky trails around the house for closer to, at least, a full day.

There has been so much hissing and moaning, abour what has, or has not, happened at Guerlain, since its corporate takeover by LVMH—Guerlain has lost the plot, the boutiques are almost all gone, what IFRA will do to Mitsouko (and Chant d’Aromes, and Chamade, too)—that the perfumes, the reason we are all here, I think, sometimes get lost in all the noise. It is easy to forget that, even in its golden age, Guerlain launched many perfumes that were not nearly as successful as the classics that are still in production, so it is kind of silly to pretend that every perfume was a masterpiece and a commercial success. There were more misses than there were hits. Out of the perfumes Guerlain launched since its corporate purchase, I think Spiriteuse is an excellent example, of the house at its best, a summation of the house’s lush, flamboyant style. Five solid gold stars, and two triple-layered Chanel Vamp-coated thumbs up.
Jan 11, 2021

Arguably the ultimate vanilla perfume, in part because it smells so much like a bottle of pure vanilla extract.

But there's actually a lot that goes into this. Sure, it's focused on vanilla, but it's a bit powdery, with a hint of amber and ethyl maltol's cotton candy and roasted nut undertones. There's cedar and honey masquerading as pipe tobacco, and immortelle simulating booze, while some sort of green resin gives it subtle hues of working in a garden.

Years later, I think this lives on as the best-of-genre for vanilla perfumes, so I have no choice but to give a thumbs up, but it still suffers from the candied silliness that plagues the category, and earns its spot at the top by being the least childish of a childish genre, so don't expect miracles if you aren't a vanilla fan.
Nov 15, 2020

A cautious thumbs up for possibly liking the quiet hum of this bourbon vanilla. SDV was part of a larger order of samplers to rule out a few potential candidates for full bottles. Vanilla is a treacherous note in my opinion because it is so ubiquitous, comforting, satiating, and inviting, it can betray a wearer at any moment without notice sending you into tawdry, gluttonous, or cheap artifice without much warning.

When it comes to vanilla there are three things I do not want to smell like: a candle, a bakery item, or an art medium. My grandmother used to send little care packages to me as a child that had domestic Japanese items I assume were either purposed to dial me into ‘my’ culture, or she didn’t know what else to get her first ever grandchild, an American she couldn’t relate to. Whatever the case, she always included stationery products like pencils and erasers, and the Japanese erasers had a woodsy vanilla-like scent to them.

SDV reminded me of those erasers so it is a strong contender to enter my library criteria by representing a memory but that memory is an art supply so I’m on the fence. I do think it’s pleasant enough to merit a larger decant.
Sep 27, 2020

Smells like creamy, vanilla ice cream or a fluffy whipped cupcake icing for awhile. In the background, a mysterious incense blend with a resinous beat.

The vanilla crumbles to an icy powder, mixed with vague rose... Muted flowers. It stays a vanilla-resinous thing for a long time... Vanilla wrapped in benzoin, with a hint of spiced rum.

Overall, it's a good vanilla scent for which I'm glad I finally tried it.
Aug 8, 2020

The opening blast is a medium-bright combination of a very restrained vanilla, a tad of bergamot, and an additional element that at first for a moment came across as the slightly boozy aroma of butterscotch liqueur, but that very soon morphed into a frankincense that added a somewhat darker and deeper feeling to the top notes.

The drydown commenced with an ylang-ylang impression that was uncharacteristically light and lacked any notion of richness and creaminess; and elegant and slimmed-down ylang lite so to speak. At this stage the intensity of the mix had diminished considerably, turning the whole of this olfactory blend into a skin scent; I was expecting its demise at any time soon.
A duo of a light and somewhat nonspecific rose and a jasmine that is a bit more convenience completed the floral input into the heart notes. Interestingly, towards the end of this stage the whole mix appear to stage a comeback and grew somewhat more intense and a bit more vibrant.

Soon the vanilla receded, as did the intensity of the fragrance on me again, and for a while it became a skin scent once more. The drydown was now dominated by the ylang-ylang of uncharacteristic lightness that I described previously.

The vanilla had fortified in prominence as it entered the base phase, and and again a - very weak booziness was making a transient appearance, with a benzoin adding a bit of raspiness, but ever so discreetly, towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and a total longevity of about eleven hours on my skin, with the fluctuations is its performance that I outlined above.

An interesting vanilla composition for autumn days, and a vanilla scent that is breaking away from the traditional stereotype of the heavy, intrusive and cloying vanilla that dominates a fragrance and suffocates all other ingredients. It is not without it’s moments of originality, but it also has phases that are generic and edging towards the mundane and disappointing. Overall is manages to scrape into a positive score - just be the skin of its teeth though. 3/5
Feb 27, 2020

Really not understanding the hype for this one??

Ice cream with a slight incense/spicy vibe. Skin scent from start to finish.

At this price it's a no go for me!!
May 25, 2019

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