I love to cook with vanilla, and I love the scent of the beans. But when it comes to perfume, I usually find it cloying and it is just not my thing. Little did I know that vanilla is one of the more difficult fragrances to blend and one of the most interesting.
This past winter, while on a surf trip, I was inspired by a story told to me by a Tahitian woman about her uncle’s vanilla plantation in Tahiti. She and I sat and talked for hours on the beach about her family, life in Tahiti and vanilla, while our kids played in the waves. A week later some sticky, crystal-covered vanilla beans came my way- grown on the big Island of Hawaii. A connection was made and my eyes were opened to this lusty long bean.
There is something magical about the vanilla from the South Pacific. Vanilla, native to South America, seems to have taken on a sexy vibe once it landed in the islands. It is more florally and fruity than its dry and spicy parent. It seems deeper, slightly musky and it has tropical undertones- sticky, heady and lush. It is kind of like the way I transform when I am in the South Pacific or on my favorite vacation to somewhere warm. I wear less clothes, I get tan and frankly, I just feel sexier.
Back in my studio I wanted to deliver this feeling in a fragrance. I wanted it to be something familiar yet beautifully changed. I didn’t want the classic musky-powdery finish we have all come to know as vanilla perfume. I also didn’t want to smell like a human vanilla cake mix. I wanted this scent to smell the way that I feel in the tropics. I wanted it to be something that draws others in when you wear it.
After a year and a lot of work, I think that I have created my new favorite fragrance! Its main constituent, pure vanilla absolute, is laced with jasmine, fruit and a tiny woodiness at the heart, which pushes the sweetness of the vanilla into a sultry and warm place. On the skin it blooms in various stages beginning and ending with the vanilla. It is dreamy. It makes me feel sexy when I wear it. And my husband loves it.
You can try this at Sephora. I hope that you love it as much as I do.