Launched in May of 2020, L'Artisan Couleur Vanille is a salted vanilla fragrance created around a woody accord of immortelle flower, reminiscent of the softness of trade winds. It features top notes of bergamot, sea salt and freesia; middle notes of immortelle, vanilla orchid and cashmere wood; and base notes of tolu balsam, Madagascar vanilla, benzoin and musk. It is an eau de parfum, edp.
Perfumer Aliénor Massenet was leafing through an atlas when she suddenly visualised sailing off the fabled island of Madagascar. The trade winds swelling with sensual hints of the land’s astonishing bounty. The heat of the sun amplifying the fantasy. "The images started to take shape. I could smell the aroma of a vanilla pod, subtly bathed in bergamot, everlasting, benzoin and tolu balm, and gently caressed by a salty sea breeze with a dash of iodine. The whole story was there for the taking….”
An excerpt of a review from Bois de Jasmin
The combination of salt and vanilla is not common in perfumery, despite the ubiquity of these ingredients in modern patisserie. For one thing, salt is a fantasy impression created by certain marine and dry woody notes in fragrances, and its effect is cancelled out by the sweetness of vanilla. Also, when a perfume promises vanilla, we expect warm, creamy and cuddly–a bowl of custard, if you will. L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille, however, dares to be different.
While retaining the creaminess and dark sweetness of vanilla, perfumer Aliénor Massenet, who worked with L’Artisan Parfumeur on this launch, blended fresh floral and salty notes to balance out the richness. The sweet and salt facets give Couleur Vanille its personality, right from the top notes.
With time, the saltiness recedes to the background, letting the warm woods and musk take its place. The bittersweet immortelle continues the salty-savory theme of the composition. Vanilla, however, doesn’t leave center stage, and as the perfume dries down, it becomes darker and spicier. Plain vanilla it is certainly not.
Couleur Vanille has an enveloping character, with a lingering sillage. I like the opening chords, but the drydown with its melange of woods, balsams and vanilla is the best part.