Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Jo Malone- Vanilla & Anise

One might expect a perfume called "Vanilla & Anise" to be a thick and rich gourmand, cozy and spicy, and probably most suitable for cold weather. Then again, you have to remember we're talking about a Jo Malone fragrance.  I think of Vanilla & Anise as the cool blonde interpretation on this theme. It's a lot crisper and quite sheer, often compared to Hermes Vanille Galante, though I find the similarity more in spirit than in the way they smell on skin.

Jo Malone achieved the cool atmosphere of Vanilla & Anise through the use of a very clean neroli note in the opening. This cologne-style neroli is very dry and quite long-lasting. It dictates the way the other white notes appear. None of them, not even the tuberose and frangipani, are heady or tropic. They're streamlined and tend to hold back. If there's any opulence in the composition it comes from the orchid-vanilla combination, but even then everything is pulled together precisely, understated and very (very!) tasteful.

Seriously, Jo Malone's Vanilla & Anise makes Ellena's Vanille Galante to seem dramatic and exuberant with its banana-melon note. If you ask me, Vanilla & Anise smells better and is far more pleasant to be around. The low-key dry spices in this 2009 Jo Malone perfume are interesting and offer quite a bit of depth to the breezy elegance. I think Vanilla & Anise is a lot more unisex than a Jo Malone SA would let you think. It's not a comfort scent and it's definitely not sweet or foody. Men will enjoy the citrus opening and dry base. It's a compliment-getter for all, easy to wear and doesn't require special occasion, circumstances or a season.

Notes: bergamot, neroli, wild fennel flower, star anise, oleander, tuberose, frangipani, purple vanilla orchid, clove, white amber, vetiver, vanilla bourbon absolute and tonka bean.

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise ($55, 1oz EDP) is available at most decent department stores, Jo Malone boutiques and online.

Photo by Melvin Sokolsky for Harper's Bazaar, January 1963


  1. I love a couple of Jo Malone colognes but they seem to dissipate off my skin w/in the first hour. I wish I can get longevity beyond 30min out of Fig&Cassis as well as Vanilla&Anise, two of my very favorite fragrances. :(

  2. Liz, I haven't worn F&C in ages, so I can't comment on its longevity, but V&A lasts on me for 10-12 hours easily. Skin chemistry is a funny and frustrating thing.

  3. Happy New Year!

    Would you compare this to Diptyque's Eau Duelle?

  4. I think it's a very nice vanilla perfume (and this picture feels just right!). Not only Vanilla & Anise wears nicely on its own it pairs great with Nectarine Blossom or Orange Blossom colognes.

    I have no problems with most Jo Malone colognes' longevity (Cherry Blossom, some from the Tea Collection and the latest Bluebell being sad exceptions).

  5. Jo Malone body creams are the best investment in this line. If you want a truly long lasting fragrance, try Blue Agave and Cacao.

  6. G,
    I couldn't agree more!
    I love JM Vanille & Anise and am sortof bummed I never wrote about it after reading your perfect review :-/

    It's one of my favorite vanillas and easy among the top three from Jo M (I think the tops from this line are: Pomegranate Noir, Vintage Gardenia and Vanille Anise)

    I don't like foodie vanillas (at all) so I really enjoy things like this Jo Malone as well as Atelier Vanille Insensee and Creed Sublime Vanille and AG Vanille Exquise.

    Thanks for writing about this underestimated Joey M. :)

  7. Thank you for this review! I literally spent a couple of hours at the Jo Malone counter yesterday choosing several colognes. My husband is in love with Red Roses (gasp!) and I wanted several others to layer with it, to add some more depth and dimension. I'm not normally much of a rose person, but I will say that as those things go, I was impressed with it.

    However, while at the counter I fell in love with Nutmeg & Ginger, Wild Fig & Cassis, Grapefruit and Vetyver. I don't know how much I'll be wearing the RR as winter progresses, but for Spring it will be quite light and clean. In the meantime, I'm layering some of the others to see what happens.

    I only wish I was half as good as you at describing scents. I MUST get some books on the subject. Your descriptions and understanding of various notes always leave me flabbergasted and completely outclassed. :O)

    Thanks for the review...Vanilla and Anise is one of my favorites as well!



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