Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Montale- Boisé Vanillé

Montale's non-oud perfumes tend to get lost in the sharp medicinal fumes coming from the (far too many) ouds in the line. There are, though, several friendly gourmands (Chocolate Greedy, Sweet Oriental Dream) and vanilla fragrances that can change the way one views Montale.

Boise Vanille opens with a dramatic Beethovenesque allegro accord. The official notes allude to a tame citrus, but what I smell is rather dense and vintagy in appearance, giving the impression that this is going to be a big animalic fragrance. It doesn't quite live up to that, but it's still a fabulous adult unsweetened woody vanilla with enough patchouli and friends to make it dirty and interesting. Perhaps it's the dry iris note that gives Boise Vanille a lot of its character. Iris can be very dark and sinister (see Iris Silver Mist), and here it elevates this Montale perfume into a very adult territory.

It's tempting to try and compare Boise Vanille to Guerlain SDV, but I actually think it's more closely related to  older Guerlain perfumes in their most vintage form; Shalimar and Jicky come to mind. Smoky and animalic, laden with civet, the classic perfumes had a similar sensuality and none of that cookie comfort thing often associated with vanilla. Out of the modern players in this category, I'd say that the new7 Billion Hearts by CB I Hate Perfume is in the same category. As much as I love this Montale, I have to admit that CB's creation wins. But why choose?

Notes: lemon, geranium, bergamot, lavender, cedar leaves from Canada, Jamaican pepper, iris, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean

For more reviews see Eiderdown Press, Beauty On The Outside, and The Alembicated Genie.

Montale Boisé Vanillé ($110, 50ml) is available from Min NY and Luckyscent.

Art: Illustration from The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg.


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I have been buying samples from LuckyScent to dip my toe in the fragrance world and the one I tried a few days ago was Chypre Vanille. It was a total no-go on my skin. I smelled like a drunken sailor in the worst way. It's hard for me to try again with a brand when there are so MANY brands out there, and something I would expect to love (with vanilla, amber, and sandalwood) doesn't work out. This is precisely why I read your posts: for a little direction through the forest.

    1. Correction to my earlier comment^^. Parfumerie Generale Aomassi made me smell like a drunken sailor. Montale Chypre Vanille had a lot of baby powder in what I think you knowledgeable-folks call the dry down. I tried them both on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Neither was to my taste, but these are important differences.

    2. An important distinction, indeed :)

      Aomassi is a weird one. I have yet to decide if I really like it as a perfume or just because of its strangeness. As for sampling and getting a good advice, I'd suggest calling MiN NY and taking advantage of their concierge service.

  2. Oh Gaia, I'm thrilled by your review since I love this scent so much. Your description and the artwork you chose for it is perfect. Thank you for the link.

    I'll have to try the CB I Hate Perfume 7 Billion Hearts. The only time I tried any scents from that line was when I was in Sweden; was suprised that Cow Parfymeri carried the line. Must explore it further at some point; I remember being enchanted by Memory of Kindness with its tomato vine smell.

    1. It is exciting to know that CB is available in Sweden. There are so many exciting surprises in the line, even if some are more conceptual than wearable.

  3. Marvellous image with this post!

    The vanilla in Habanita is for me so dark and sinister, I'm not tempted to stray from it - love it! But it's good to know there is an alternative to explore one day.

    1. Can't blame you for staying loyal to Habanita. It's gorgeous :)

  4. Hi Gaia!

    Thank you for the link... however, you accidently linked twice to the Alembicated Genie, and missed my post. OOps! :)

    I really like Boise Vanielle, and find generally underrated!

  5. So sorry I messed up the links. Fixed now :)


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