Vanilla is one of the most overused perfume ingredients there are. It has become that way because it is an easy fragrance ingredient to use. You can warm it up and create a comfort style. You can go gourmand with it and make a sweet confectionary. There are excellent perfumes in both of those descriptions, but they leave out so much of what is possible with vanilla as an ingredient. It doesn’t have to be easy-going it can be the center of something different. That is what Rosine Vanille Paradoxe brings to the table.
Vanille Paradoxe is part of a four-perfume collection called Les Extravagants for the brand. Rosine made their mark on me with their release of Rose de Homme in 2005. One of my favorite rose perfumes I own. Rosine has been a perfume brand focused on rose in all its perfume forms. It has an effect of sometimes feeling like variations on a theme. Everything which bears the Rosine name is an above average to excellent rose. They are so competently done that the differences are in the nuances and those can sometimes be slight. After being warned, in the press release, that Les Extravagants was going to be an extreme version of rose I expected more of the subtlety which has become the brand’s stock in trade. What I found was a collection which uses the subtlety of rose to modify constructs which focus on other ingredients.
The focal point ingredient of Vanille Paradoxe is obvious. Perfumer Delphine Lebeau-Krowiak who has been the artist behind many of the Rosine releases since 2014 has a firm grasp of the aesthetics. It is one of the reasons she can make a perfume like Vanille Paradoxe which doesn’t use the rose as a keynote feel like it is still a Rosine perfume. The way she does that is to use vanilla as if she was using rose in its place. She wraps it in green herbs, woods, and spices. This creates a vibrant vanilla reminding you its source is an orchid.
Vanilla is there right away. The first contrast comes in the gin-like scent of juniper berry. Mme Lebeau-Krowiak sandwiches them between tart grapefruit and greenly herbal rosemary. Cardamom and cedar provide green of a transparent and woody nature, respectively. The cardamom as it first appears adds to the top accord with an opaque citrus-y style. The cedar comes off as raw and woody with a significant green component. It starts to seem like it is going to form an unpleasant edge. This is when a judiciously measured amount of rose is titrated into the mix. It never takes the lead, but it has a rounding effect on everything. Right here is where Vanille Paradoxe is at its most enchanting. Ambroxan takes the cedar in a drier direction while musks slightly tint the vanilla sweeter. Not a lot just a noticeable amount.
Vanille Paradoxe has 14-16 hour longevity.
Mme Lebeau-Krowiak has made a gorgeous version of vanilla so fresh it will be perfect for the early days of spring when there is still some frost around.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Rosine.