Sublime Vanille (Creed) "Inedible Vanilla"

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I hated vanilla in perfume. I'm not sure why, but it bored me. I associated vanilla with ice cream, girl's perfume, boring ambers and orientals worn by unadventurous academics who tortured English Lit majors with turgid third-period ramblings. Always nice, but never interesting, vanilla simply didn't factor into my world.

Then I met Caron Pour un Homme, and everything changed. I hated vanilla? Where the fuck had I been all my life? Vanilla is stunning! Vanilla is masculine. Vanilla is elegant. Vanilla is in.

Shalimar, Guerlain's flagship oriental, is probably the most wearable treatment of vanilla on the current market, and it's terrific not because it smells expensive (that doesn't hurt), but because it smells at once luscious and inedible, like the whiff of a beautiful woman's bare skin on an October breeze. There's the dry, boozy sweetness, and a musty, almost-beige veneer of concentrated vanillin, brutally rich and modern, but also very familiar. Guerlain treats it well by framing it with citrus, opoponax, sandalwood, and musk.

Creed attempted to do its own Shalimar-like oriental with Sublime Vanille, but dialed back the "Frenchness" by simplifying the form, and amping up an atmosphere of starchy Britannia. If you compare the two, you'll find they really don't smell anything alike, but share some basic structural elements and high-quality raw materials. Creed's citrus treatment is transparent, a little sharp, and very dry. There's not as much of an ambery glow to Sublime Vanille, and I think Shalimar feels altogether warmer, and more inviting. After that initial fruity burst, the "big vanilla" heart appears, and Sublime Vanille becomes a three-note tune: intense, grandiloquent vanilla, predictably mingling with tonka and musk. It's simple, it's loud, and it's very nice. But it's no Shalimar.

One day, Creed will find a reason for me to part with $640. Sublime Vanille ain't it.


  1. A little off topic, but I was at Neiman's the other day, and I decided to resniff this. I had smelled it before launch at a special event, but that was ages ago, and without thinking I just grabbed the bottle (or should I say "jug"?) and pulled out the stopper. Well, the force of it caused the juice to slosh around and splash a good amount on the counter. Ha. Of course, I felt like a moron, and didn't even want to calculate how much, in dollars, I'd left on the Neiman's counter. Oops.

    1. haha that's funny. bet you got some dirty looks from the other side of the counter. those bottles are pretty, but darned if I'd know what the hell to do with it if I had one. I'd probably be sloshing it all over myself by accident.

  2. Yeah, they didn't love me at Neiman's that day. :)


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