Vanilla perfume has long been a favorite because of its ability to comfort, to warm up a fragrance and bring some disparate parts together. Whether it's from our time growing up with the smells of baking in the kitchen or just an inherent quality to vanilla that is soothing doesn't really matter. The effect is the same. Vanilla perfume can also be way over the top of being too sweet or too big, so it's good to wear a vanilla perfume with a light hand, no matter how much you love that smell!
There is a wide range of vanlla perfume to choose from - from the out and out foodie version that's pretty much straight up vanilla extract, to the complicated grown-up version of vanilla that lets the vanilla whisper from a cloud of smoke or lillies.
Vanilla beans are grown in long pods. To get inside to the bean, you have to cut carefuly down the pod, open it up and scrape in the little bits of vanilla. That smell is amazing. That is the best reference scent for vanilla, just a couple of vanilla pods.
The first cultivation of vanilla was in Mexico, but it didn't get much widespread use until the Aztecs conquered the Totonac people - the vanilla cultivators - who pretty much loved it. Once Cortez stumbled upon the Aztecs, back vanilla went to the Old World, where it took its place in kitchens everywhere, after, of course getting its name, vanilla, which means little pod. It is the second most expensive spice in the world, right after saffron.
Choosin the right vanilla perfume can be difficult. You first need to evaluate how sweet or not sweet you want your vanilla. The best place to start is with a vanilla sample set, trying a wide range of vanilla perfume to see which one, if any, suit you - whether sweet, smoky, buried under lillies or with just a vague hint of vanilla. You can check under Sample Sets by Note. We have also listed those vanilla sample sets in this category as well as all of the vanilla-centric vanilla perfumes. For some much longer reading on the subject with lots of suggestions, head on over to Perfume Posse for the Vanilla Perfume Comprehensive Guide.