a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
LES NOMBRES D’OR VANILLE – 2011 – ♂♀
Classification: Oriental Woody
Top: Bitter Orange from Brazil, Rhum Absolute
Heart: Petitgrain, Clove, Vanilla from Madagascar, Tolu, Gaiac Wood, Vetyver, Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang
Base: Tonka Bean, Leather, Musk, Amber.
Perfumer: Mona di Orio
Price: $170 for 100ml bottle
When asked about the inspiration for Les Nombres d’Or Vanille, Mona di Orio conjures up a romanticized setting involving old wooden ships set on a journey to Madagascar or the Comoros Islands. She imagines the ship’s cargo being precious commodities such as rum, oranges, vanilla beans, ylang-ylang, cloves and sandalwood. Like most artists, the creative process is making what’s imagined or felt real. Les Nombres d’Or Vanille was conceptualized by Mona di Orio with vanilla being the focal point in this fragrance. She wanted to capture the essence of vanilla and play on its worldwide popularity but in a different way. As always, Mona di Orio had interesting ideas when it comes to developing perfumes. Les Nombres d’Or Vanille is no exception.
Les Nombres d’Or Vanille opens with a boozy concoction of rum generously spritzed with fresh bitter orange. The notes are simple and short-lived, but the opening bouquet is pure indulgence. Vanilla’s popularity usually brings to mind elements of creamy sweetness, the likes of which you would find at any fragrance store. You will not find that quality of vanilla in Les Nombres d’Or Vanille. Mona di Orio searched for a vanilla that was unique to her nose. She was looking for vanilla with character and finally chose a vanilla absolute from Madagascar. This vanilla is smooth, dry and velvety without all the unnecessary dense sweetness. The vanilla’s tendency to sweetness is further tamed with splashes of Bourbon vetiver. The use of vetiver keeps the sweetness in check and gives the fragrance an underlying green accord. At the heart’s onset, there is an unexpected smokiness that appears, created by the use of gaiac wood. This smokiness produces a vanilla that is less pretty and more unassuming. Petitgrain, with its woody nature, further alludes to Mona di Orio’s vision. Indonesian cloves adds a sharp peppery note to the smokiness giving it a resinous quality. The spicy, vanilla-like scent from tolu continues to keep Les Nombres d’Or Vanille highly focused. With all these elements working in harmony, it is fairly easy to visualize Mona di Orio’s proposed journey of vanilla. Sandalwood adds depth and keeps the continuing theme of dry and woody. A gentle warmth is created with the addition of amber and tonka bean. The softly sweet ylang-ylang adds a floral facet, rounding out the fragrance’s profile. Leather and musk remind us that this is a rustic journey and adds an animalistic and aged note, giving Les Nombres d’Or Vanille poise.
I enjoy the scent of vanilla, but most fragrances in this genre lean excessively to the sweet side. Les Nombres d’Or Vanille is a contradiction to everything I expect from a vanilla fragrance. The vanilla is placed in a situational journey, harmonized with elements that support the vanilla structure, a few unexpected surprise elements, and a conceptualization is realized. By today’s standards, Les Nombres d’Or Vanille is by no means a hip young persons’ vanilla. This fragrance is all about paying homage to the pure scent of the historical bean itself. Les Nombres d’Or Vanille is sophisticated, worldly, respectable and a true masterpiece.