Brooks Otterlake and the Quest for Vanilla

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
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Feb 12, 2019
Or maybe look for some vanillic guaiacwood,
I have Jeffrey Dame Dark Horse, which is exactly that. Pretty nice! It's a little less of a showstopper than I want this to be, but it has a pleasant darkness and a great woody drydown.

The reason Dark Horse and fragrances like Memoirs of a Trespasser don't really hit the sweet spot is that they're a little more streamlined and direct in a modern way. I'm looking for that classically "French" style of rich perfumery.

Lalique Le Parfum feels very Guerlain-like to me, as though Ropion was playing at creating a new Shalimar (and, to his credit, he succeeds). If you took Shalimar's sensual vanilla tones and mingled it with smoky, medicinal bay and sandalwood, you kinda get closer to what Le Parfum is doing. I can't pinpoint exactly where the rich, deep, almost damp booziness it has is coming from, but I wish I could; it's one of the best boozy tones I've encountered in a fragrance.

I would look to Guerlain themselves because vanilla is their specialty, but for various reasons Spiriteuse Double Vanille, Tonka Imperiale, and Cuir Beluga aren't really "it" for me.

I'm probably looking for something more like a more robust Lui, with a kind of voluptuous boozy undertone.
 

IsoESuperman

People of Zee Wurl, Relax
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Dec 30, 2015
I don't think I realized I was on a vanilla quest until I found Eau Duelle (EdT) and Hendley Bourbon (EdC) within a short time of one another. I'll be curious to see where your quest ends up.

I'm hesitant to recommend anything on the "dramatic smoky and/or boozy" front because I find my versions of those descriptors rarely lines up with someone else's, but Tea for Two works for me on the smoky front. Granted, I have a bottle from 2008ish before it was axed and relaunched a few years later. My memory isn't great re: the sample of more modern T42 but I often see folks mention the smoke/cigarette ash-y vibe is toned way down.

Also, I'm not sure I'd even consider it a vanilla-centric perfume. Vanilla, or something like it, is working some magic in the overall scent, but perhaps not to the extent that it'd land it in the vanilla category for everyone.
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
Aha, I came here to suggest The Architects' Club. My favourite vanilla.
I did also like Mona di Orio Vanille, Lalique Le Parfum and Memoirs of a Trespasser.
Have you tried Guerlain Cuir Beluga [edit: sorry, I see that you have] or Olfactive Studio Vanilla Shot?
It's been years since I tried Architects Club, so maybe I should give it another try.

Glad to see another Basenoter who likes Lalique Le Parfum! It's heaven.

I don't think I realized I was on a vanilla quest until I found Eau Duelle (EdT) and Hendley Bourbon (EdC) within a short time of one another. I'll be curious to see where your quest ends up.

I'm hesitant to recommend anything on the "dramatic smoky and/or boozy" front because I find my versions of those descriptors rarely lines up with someone else's, but Tea for Two works for me on the smoky front. Granted, I have a bottle from 2008ish before it was axed and relaunched a few years later. My memory isn't great re: the sample of more modern T42 but I often see folks mention the smoke/cigarette ash-y vibe is toned way down.

Also, I'm not sure I'd even consider it a vanilla-centric perfume. Vanilla, or something like it, is working some magic in the overall scent, but perhaps not to the extent that it'd land it in the vanilla category for everyone.
I love Tea for Two (I have the original stuff).

Hendley Bourbon EDC is great. I sold mine because it felt redundant alongside Ummagumma.
 

Scent Detective

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Dec 15, 2015
have you tried Mona di Orio’s Vanille? Not foody, this one is a spicy, some described it as boozy though on my skin I don’t get that. one of my favorite vanillas.
Vanille Absolutement by L’Artisan is on point but very difficult to find.
I haven’t personally tried this but Aftelier Vanilla Smoke sounds like something you might want to try by name and description, from what I’ve read.
Since someone mentioned SDV - I’m going to throw two others in the ring which are not strictly vanilla but have similar vibes to SDV, but more interesting, in my opinion - Hermès Ambre Narguile and Tauer’s Sundowner.
This was my suggestion as well. Mona di Orio's Vanille is my very favorite vanilla fragrance. Rum, oranges, spices, vanilla, it is very heady stuff and smells amazing IMO. Perhaps you've already tired it though Brooks Otterlake, and if so, what are your thoughts about it?
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
This was my suggestion as well. Mona di Orio's Vanille is my very favorite vanilla fragrance. Rum, oranges, spices, vanilla, it is very heady stuff and smells amazing IMO. Perhaps you've already tired it though Brooks Otterlake, and if so, what are your thoughts about it?
It's very nicely done and is quite complex (far from "just" a vanilla scent), but there's a buttery thing going on in there that I don't adore.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
[...] I would look to Guerlain themselves because vanilla is their specialty, but for various reasons Spiriteuse Double Vanille, Tonka Imperiale, and Cuir Beluga aren't really "it" for me.

I'm probably looking for something more like a more robust Lui, with a kind of voluptuous boozy undertone.
I see SDV often cited as the reference vanilla, but while I like it, it's not 'stunning' in my book, to be honest.

I will suggest Olim by Trudon. Again, not vanilla centric, but it starts as a high-end take on Azzaro pour Homme, and closes on a high end take on Lui, with hints of Shalimar. No booze at all though.
That sais, honestly, I doubt that any frag will do any better than Zegna Passion in the vanillic booze category. Or again, maybe one of the Kerosene.

But wait... wait... wait... let me pull out my joker card from my sleeve :devilish:.... how could I forget.... Pavillon Rouge by Jovoy !!
To my nose, it's vanilla supported by booze, tobacco and leather. As Clooney would say: 'What else?' haha
Here is a quote from my review of 6 months ago on F: "what you are primarily going for is not booze or tobacco or leather... Keep in mind that in both, the main player is VANILLA. (but a very balanced one, not a cloying sweet pastry)"
This one is the niche version of MMM Jazz Club. Might perfectly fit your bill, if you're not too picky on performance. I may pick it up myself in the future...
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
I see SDV often cited as the reference vanilla, but while I like it, it's not 'stunning' in my book, to be honest.
I keep telling folks that I actually prefer Mercedes-Benz Club Black (Olivier Cresp's rendition of the style - a drier, woodier take on the theme with an incense drydown), though that seems like blasphemy in these parts.

Folks really don't like those automobile brands!
I doubt that any frag will do any better than Zegna Passion in the vanillic booze category.
Qualitatively speaking, you're right, but to me Passion is first and foremost about olibanum.

Or again, maybe one of the Kerosene.

But wait... wait... wait... let me pull out my joker card from my sleeve :devilish:.... how could I forget.... Pavillon Rouge by Jovoy !!
To my nose, it's vanilla supported by booze, tobacco and leather. As Clooney would say: 'What else?' haha
Here is a quote from my review of 6 months ago on F: "what you are primarily going for is not booze or tobacco or leather... Keep in mind that in both, the main player is VANILLA. (but a very balanced one, not a cloying sweet pastry)"
This one is the niche version of MMM Jazz Club. Might perfectly fit your bill, if you're not too picky on performance. I may pick it up myself in the future...
Sounds lovely. I'll sample it.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
I keep telling folks that I actually prefer Mercedes-Benz Club Black (Olivier Cresp's rendition of the style - a drier, woodier take on the theme with an incense drydown), though that seems like blasphemy in these parts.

Folks really don't like those automobile brands!

Qualitatively speaking, you're right, but to me Passion is first and foremost about olibanum.


Sounds lovely. I'll sample it.
Now that I think about it, also: Derviche by Rogue. (I'll wear a bit of my sample now, btw, you made me want to haha)
 

Emanuel76

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2018
It's very nicely done and is quite complex (far from "just" a vanilla scent), but there's a buttery thing going on in there that I don't adore.
Interesting!
In my book, "buttery" is a positive feature, unless you're referring to rancid butter (butyric acid).
How is it? Creamy? Creamy-lactonic? Creamy + soft smelling cheese/other dairy products (I assume it's not a strong oud-like cheese, Gorgonzola like)?

-----

How is the saffron in Zegna - Passion?

-----

Did you tried Amouage - Material and Boundless?
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
Interesting!
In my book, "buttery" is a positive feature, unless you're referring to rancid butter (butyric acid).
How is it? Creamy? Creamy-lactonic? Creamy + soft smelling cheese/other dairy products (I assume it's not a strong oud-like cheese, Gorgonzola like)?

-----

How is the saffron in Zegna - Passion?

-----

Did you tried Amouage - Material and Boundless?
The question are not directed to me, but I'll answer anyways, ha!

The saffron in Passion is very noticeable in the base. Probably a pass for who is not fan of that note.
I tried Boundless on-the-fly in store. First impressions: nice, but not striked by it. Haven't tried Material.
 

Emanuel76

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2018

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
Now that I think about it, also: Derviche by Rogue. (I'll wear a bit of my sample now, btw, you made me want to haha)
A very nice tobacco perfume, all in all.

Makes me think a bit of Tauer Sundowner, a bit. (Sundowner also has echoes of Maher Olfactive Treachery.)
Interesting!
In my book, "buttery" is a positive feature, unless you're referring to rancid butter (butyric acid).
How is it? Creamy? Creamy-lactonic? Creamy + soft smelling cheese/other dairy products (I assume it's not a strong oud-like cheese, Gorgonzola like)?

-----

How is the saffron in Zegna - Passion?

-----

Did you tried Amouage - Material and Boundless?
The butter I detect in the Mona di Orio is a melted, warm butter.

I'm not good at detecting saffron as a distinct element, so I defer to Andy.

I have not tried the Amouages.
Gotcha. To me that comes from the rum note, as in a buttery rum note, and I absolutely love it, but I understand...this is about you loving it.:)
I can see why folks would enjoy it. I found it a touch cloying.
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
Hm… maybe

Vanille Havane by Les Indemodables

Or

Hermessence Vanille Galante ?
Vanille Havane is really quite stunning. I have Ummagumma, which is in the same family, so I haven't sprung for it. I do find it foody - a bit of a boozy raisin cake effect - but the quality is remarkable.

I haven't tried the Hermessence. It doesn't seem to get a lot of love.
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
Vanille Havane is really quite stunning. I have Ummagumma, which is in the same family, so I haven't sprung for it. I do find it foody - a bit of a boozy raisin cake effect - but the quality is remarkable.

I haven't tried the Hermessence. It doesn't seem to get a lot of love.
The Hermessence is nice. It's floral, and has a bit of civety musky stink in it.
 

Ga.Peach

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2021
Glad to see another Basenoter who likes Lalique Le Parfum! It's heaven.

So,this is the same Lalique Le Parfum that is sold on FragranceNet.com(for $35/100ml)... BUT
has been reformulated/gutted to be "a mere shadow of its former self" ? As some have said.

I am reading the same thing about Mercedes Benz Club Black. "It's not the same. Only lasts for 30 minutes then gone." Etc.

Anybody buy Lalique Le Parfum or MB Club Black fairly recently?

I'm skeptical because of the low prices. OK, I'm skeptical for other reasons too; but,will spare you the walk(crawl) down negativity lane.
 

thebeck

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2007
what were your impressions? How about longevity/projection? I have been debating sampling it...
Longevity and projection are both on the short side of average. There is no wow factor. The booze is light, but the overall scent is very pleasant. I won't be buying a bottle because i like a little more oomph, but worth sampling anyway.
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
So,this is the same Lalique Le Parfum that is sold on FragranceNet.com(for $35/100ml)... BUT
has been reformulated/gutted to be "a mere shadow of its former self" ? As some have said.

I am reading the same thing about Mercedes Benz Club Black. "It's not the same. Only lasts for 30 minutes then gone." Etc.

Anybody buy Lalique Le Parfum or MB Club Black fairly recently?

I'm skeptical because of the low prices. OK, I'm skeptical for other reasons too; but,will spare you the walk(crawl) down negativity lane.
I formed my opinions on recent formulations of both fragrances. (I also scrolled through many of the recent reviews on the other site - I'm seeing positive reviews far outweigh anything negative when it comes to recent experience.)

The current bottle of Lalique Le Parfum performs quite well in all respects. It's quite heady and loud at first.

Club Black is what it is - a straightforward dark vanilla, kinda like Cologne of the Missions with the "cake batter" feeling toned down. It came off well when I blind-sampled it alongside other straightforward vanillas (Missions, Tihota, SDV). It's not my favorite style overall, since they all, Club Black included, are tip-toeing around "foodiness," but this is the one I connected with most due to balance and wearability.

Club Black isn't a huge performer but it does its job well enough. The scents to which it is compared aren't big performers, either (Cologne of the Missions and Spiriteuse Double Vanille are far from "beast" frags).
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
If you love dark, slightly boozy oriental vanillas (Bourbon), whose sweetness is juxtaposed against the smoke of a lapsang-souchong infused pipe tobacco , then The Rising Phoenix's Sicilian Vanilla Attar might be worth trying.

It doesn't have bombastic projection but the scent is opulent and lasts a good 10h+ on skin.
@Clarissochka mentioned Sicilian Vanilla, too, and it does sound fantastic. But the cost to even sample it is so high that I'm probably not going to take the leap.
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
Have you tried Coty Raw Vanilla?

Kicking myself for not pulling the trigger a year or 2 ago...

Not sure if it's boozy or not, foodie or not, or smokey or not, but it has a lot of great reviews(if memory serves...).

Good luck in your quest, and Happy New Year!
I've seen Raw Vanilla pop up on eBay for reasonable prices now and again!

I haven't tried it, but it sounds nice!
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
So here's where I've ended up with all of your kind recommendations. Some of these might be difficult to sample, so we'll see.

Revisit:
Arquiste The Architects Club
Mona di Orio Vanille
Nishane Ani

Sample:
Anatole Lebreton Fleur Cachée
Celine Black Tie
Henry Jacques Blue Vanille
Jovoy Pavillon Rouge
Les Senteurs Gourmandes Vanille Noire
Loree Rodkin Gothic I
Micallef Note Vanillee
Motif Olfactif Moments
Tauer Vanilla Flash (sampled - 7.5/10)
 
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Sultan al Hindi

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2020
@Clarissochka mentioned Sicilian Vanilla, too, and it does sound fantastic. But the cost to even sample it is so high that I'm probably not going to take the leap.
The cost to sample put me off too but was lucky enough to get a few drops from a kind fellow during a sale.

A cheaper option would be Vanilla Smoke by Aftelier if you can get hold of some.
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
A cheaper option would be Vanilla Smoke by Aftelier if you can get hold of some.
I actually have a sample of that!

It's lovely. An artisanal, more dramatic take on the Bvlgari Black style. I have Bvlgari Black in its earlier formulation, so I haven't sprung for the Aftelier, but I do love how the Aftelier really leans into that smoky tea note.
 

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019

Brooks Otterlake

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Feb 12, 2019
Honest, folks, I have no stake in folks buying bottles of Club Black, so I'll let this be my last word on it. I think it's pretty good. I think "pretty good" is about all a scent in its lane can aspire to be.

I don't think it takes a fortune to create a quality vanilla, or else Cologne of the Missions or Meharees could not exist. So when it comes to straightforward vanillas, I'll admit that it's hard for me to see the value in something like Indult Tihota (even putting my aversion to its foodiness aside).

Once I smelled Club Black blind alongside its "premium" peers, I did not detect a discernible quality difference aside from Club Black's use of "designer" bergamot in the opening (more detectable on paper than on skin).

Club Black is essentially a Cologne of the Missions equivalent - which is good, since Cologne of the Missions has actually become fairly expensive in the USA. I prefer Club Black because it's less foody, but it's not qualitatively an improvement on Cologne of the Missions.

Spiriteuse Double Vanille is marginally better than Club Black/Cologne of the Missions. It is not six or seven times better, as the pricing might suggest.

For what it's worth, there have been vanilla notes I have found to be truly exceptional. The one in Vanille Havane is the one I think of as genuinely "premium," but it goes beyond that "vanilla extract" territory into something a bit more raw and earthy and rare.
 
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