Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain Review

Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain           75ml EDP for $350 NZD from Nordstrom

Notes: Top notes are pink pepper, bergamot and incense; middle notes are ylang-ylang, cedar, bulgarian rose and jasmine; base notes are benzoin and vanilla.

Since Vanilla is my favourite note I simply had to get my hands on Guerlain’s rare, expensive and worshiped SDV. I normally buy my samples from Luckyscent but since they don’t stock SDV I bought a 3ml vial from The Perfumed Court.

It opens as a benziony and woody bergamot with a touch of pink pepper. It reminds me of the opening of Mona di Orio’s Vanille. It’s bit too mature for me (as I’m 22) with a tad too much benzoin. Up close it’s really intense but from a distance I get wafts of this gorgeous vanilla. A kind of creamy vanilla ice-cream but it’s more liquid than solid – like a high-end vanilla beverage flavoring. I would like a perfume based on that vanilla because, sadly, this isn’t really it. This is too elusive; it dances around the vanilla but doesn’t truly embrace it. I can’t really tell where the fragrance is coming from despite knowing it’s my arm as it halos.

This is mainly a smoky-woody-incensy-ambery-benziony-tobacco scent with wisps of vanilla. I don’t find it sweet or boozy. It also reminds me slightly of Serge Luten’s Un Bois Vanille which was honey/beeswax, liquorice and benzoin on me and I didn’t like it. Whilst there’s some sort of deeply woody aspect to this I don’t get cedar. I don’t get any florals – I was hoping for rose.

SDV smells like the kind of stuff millionaires wear in their luxury houses on the top of snowfield-hills with glass walls for views whilst smoking a cigar with a sexy woman in their arms. Or, more like, it’s rubbed off onto this woman as it does have hints of that feminine vanilla. She has a fur wrap, dark red nail polish and a glass of expensive liquor.

A few hours in it does get more vanillic and weaker. It becomes softer, more feminine and almost powdery. It feels shier now. It brings to mind images of an exclusive club in a library. It’s warm and cozy. At times I almost want to lick my arm as it’s yummy but it’s still not what I imagined it to be. From the bottle it smells like a gorgeously boozy vanilla essence with a tinge of benzioned cedar. That’s how I thought it would be on my skin but it’s not.

The fleeting whispers of vanilla I get it are nice but it’s not enough. In-fact I don’t actually know if vanilla is an active ingredient or if some ingredients are trying to emulate it. It just doesn’t feel real enough to me. I have a love-hate relationships with this perfume. Sometimes I think it smells gorgeous but other times it makes my stomach curl. I can’t justify buying a (RARE AND EXPENSIVE) full bottle and maybe when I’m older I’ll like it more. 7/10.

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