Italian perfumer Hilde Soliani has a knack for making exquisite gourmand fragrances. She's the woman who made a melon perfume I didn't hate, and several of her creations celebrate dessert in a way that will annihilate your best intentions to go on a juice cleanse. Vani Choc, Soliani's newest fragrance is another such treat. It looks so simple: the notes are citrus accord, vanilla, almond, and sandalwood. Yet somehow it's as sophisticated as some of the best pieces of torta della nonna I ate in Italy (and no one, not even Mario Batali, managed to recreate). I miss Italy.
Vani Choc opens as a citrusy vanilla. It's bright and joyous and at first you might think that this is just a smoother, better blended version of many things you've smelled before. But there's something there that's just different enough: it's neither the lemon meringue pie of Shalimar Light nor is it the orange creamsicle of Tocca's Stella. And somehow the citrus accord is far longer lasting than one would expect, traces remain as the vanilla custard thickens and develops, showing hints of almonds and chocolate. This part reminds me of Lea St. Bart, the first straightforward unapologetic Eat Me perfumes I ever bought. I love Lea to this day, but have to admit that Hilde Soliani refined this concept in her Vani Choc. Not only that, but she's added a hint of sunshine and some sense of humor to the yummy game, and for that I am grateful.
Hilde Soliani- Vani Choc ($160, 100ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent.
Photo: Coco Rocha by Arthur Elgort for Vogue Nipon, August 2008.