Perris deliver a vanilla which is fit for the streets of Monte Carlo. Sophisticated, grown up and not at all like cake batter, this is a vanilla to pay attention to if you want to smell edible but still classy.
Ylang-ylang, champaca, vanilla, amber, musk, sandalwood.
There’s something rather intoxicating about vanilla in scent. Done well it’s moreish, delectable but full of interesting nuances of woodiness, sweet, flowing stickiness, and warmth. Done badly it’s a syrupy, gloopy morass of childish treats, sticky fingers, and over processed unsophistication. Not entirely what you want with a niche price tag attached.
Spray Vanille de Tahiti by Perris and you are treated to a dense and intense experience right from the get go. It begins by pulling the vanilla towards its more floral elements and the opening few moments are thick and heavy. The sweetness of vanilla combines with ylang-ylang and champaca to give the impression of huge, fecund blooms dusty with pollen. It has a bit of that sticky, sickliness that lilies have when ripe and fully open and that is the impression that it gives; warmth, pendulous blossoms hanging under the weight of their own petals, a waxy sheen guilding them and pollen dripping from their centres if you disturb them in the balmy summer air.
This initial phase is interesting but perhaps a little challenging for some. Perris manage to draw it back from being too sickly, but at times it’s a little close for comfort. The florescence of the opening coupled with the vanilla really does work, and it feels like a less familiar take on a ubiquitous note, it just maybe works a little too well and it will be too heady for some.
As the fragrance matures, we are able to really see the full range of vanilla notes in the scent, from the floral edge at the start, through a more synthetic vanillin moment or two and down to the resinous base which has both woody and spicy elements in its richness.
The middle phase of the scent is less important than the top and the base, instead acting more as a transition between the two. The sense of ripe pollen and heavy florals recedes somewhat and the sweetness of the vanilla becomes a bit dewier, a bit more syrupy. It’s like a spoonful of honey or syrup gliding down a sore throat, easing and soothing everything it touches – that’s the impression that develops as the scent matures on skin.
The base of Vanille de Tahiti is really the shining moment of the whole scent, it is what we came here for and it is definitely worth the journey to get here.
At the start of the fragrance, the composition smells a little dusty, a little waxy, given the combination with ylang-ylang and champaca, but towards the base this undergoes a metamorphosis into smooth, warm, silky meanders of vanilla. Those heady, sweet edges are calmed by the amber and sandalwood, and both these newly uncovered facets give a wonderful burnished, shining quality to the fragrance.
The image that Vanille de Tahiti called to mind was a highly veneered sideboard of beautiful quality. On top of the piece, a vase of waxy flowers are in full bloom dropping their pollen on the deep, glossy wood below. At first you notice the floral notes which are prominent, but as you observe for a moment, it is the hues and rich tones of the sideboard itself which call your attention. The wood grain has a satiny feel, silky under your fingers, and the gentle hum of the warm woodiness is entrancing. That’s the sort of vibe that Vanille de Tahiti goes for. The vanilla is still sweet and unctuous, but it has changed to become woodier, at times almost spicy. There is a definite and radiant warmth there which is cosy and comforting and the whole fragrance has a low-frequency buzz about it which doesn’t want to quit. It’s like a cat’s purr, throaty rumblings which soothe and calm throughout the day.
The twists and turns of the story of this perfume bring us to a beautiful crescendo which resonates with richness and is exactly what a good vanilla perfume should be. There’s something alive about good vanilla, the way that it has sinuous curves and is full of light and shade. A good vanilla has depth, in contrast to a cheap, throwaway vanilla scent which will appear very flat in comparison. The sense of depth is very well displayed in the finale of the fragrance which feels like it shows off a range of vanilla facets, whilst steering clear of the ones we are most used to. For the base alone, this is a scent worthy of your attention, and anything else of note you find within the fragrance will be a happy bonus along the way.
The other stuff
The longevity of Vanille de Tahiti is really very good indeed, we get about 8 to 10 solid hours of wear following an application. The sillage of the fragrance is also fairly strong, going to handshake distance or so and trailing nicely.
Like many vanilla fragrances, Vanille de Tahiti wears beautifully in the cold because the warmth it exudes feels like wearing a lovely, cosy extra layer. Given the exotic floral element displayed in this composition though, it is easy to imagine that it would work well in the warmer months too. It’s definitely a versatile scent and one which I can imagine wearing both for day and evening wear occasions.
Perris Monte Carlo hail from the French riviera and the brand oozes just the right amount of luxury and panache that one might expect with luxury goods coming from that region. Their presentation is elegant and un-gaudy, but they manage to hit the relatively small sweet spot of being just fancy enough to be attractive still.
A quote on the Perris website says they are “distinctive yet understated” and this feels like a fair reflection of the brand; not showy and glitzy, but solid quality in interesting formulations and attractive presentation. Who can ask for anything more than that?
Vanille de Tahiti is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £130 for 100ml EdP, or £85 for 50ml EdP. Bloom very kindly supplied us with a no-strings-attached sample of this scent.