Five delicious vanilla fragrances that smell good enough to eat

When it comes to perfume, vanilla has long been typecast as the sweet and comforting note associated with 90s childhood memories and sugary baked treats. However, much like denim maxi skirts and coloured mascara – it’s making a comeback in the biggest way.

In my late-twenties, gourmand fragrances have become my go-to for their dangerously delicious aromas which often have strangers showering me with compliments. I’ve always described my taste as ‘androgynous’, enjoying gender-neutral fragrance with spicy notes, but equally indulging in a hint of sweetness. Delving into the notes of some of my most-worn sprays, I discovered the common denominator to be vanilla, its ability to balance sophistication and sweetness making it a staple in my fragrance wardrobe.

In 2024, vanilla-based scents are well and truly on trend, with search up by 65 per cent at LookFantastic. Some of the most luxurious designer fragrances feature it as a standout note, from Tom Ford’s Vanilla Sex to Diptyque’s Eau Duelle, redefining the perception of the previously saccharine-soaked scent note, and elevating it to a higher status.

If you’re looking for a new bottle to become your must-have in 2024, here are some of my favourite creamy and comforting vanilla-based scents that are sure to leave you smelling good enough to eat:

YSL Libre Intense

Created by Anne Flipo and Carlos Benaim and released in 2020, Libre Intense launched as a refined variation of the original, creating an aromatic masterpiece that is both sophisticated and alluring. 

The first impression of YSL Libre Intense is a striking burst of aromatic lavender – traditionally used in male perfumery – enriched with warm and spicy undertones of Sambac jasmine and tuberose. Typically, I steer away from ‘floral’ fragrances, but the floral notes of Libre Intense, paired with the creamy base notes of vanilla, fresh feeling bergamot, and toasted tonka bean add a sweetness and warmth that makes for an irresistible and complex finish.

  • Top Notes: Tangerine, Bergamot, Lavender.
  • Heart Notes: Jasmine Sambac, Orange Blossom, Orchid Accord.
  • Base Notes: Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Amber Gris, Vetiver.

Read more: YSL Libre Intense – the warm, spicy fragrance I can’t stop wearing

Paco Rabanne Pure XS

Pure XS for Her by Paco Rabanne is a playful and seductive fragrance that celebrates the sensuality of vanilla. Launched in 2018, this amber floral fragrance opens with an unexpected but delightful burst of savoury popcorn and heady ylang-ylang. This scent evolves into a mouthwatering combination of hot vanilla, nutty sandalwood, and ambrette seeds – the result being a fragrance that is both gourmand and glamorous, making it the perfect choice for those who crave a hint of sweetness in their sultry, signature scent.

  • Top notes: Ylang-ylang
  • Heart notes: Hot vanilla, Salty-sweet Popcorn
  • Base notes: Sandalwood, Ambrette Seed

Sol de Janeiro Cheirosa 71

The Cheirosa 71 Perfume Mist is inspired by the body positivity and passion displayed by Brazilian actress Leila Diniz, the first pregnant model to complete a bikini shoot on a Rio beach in 1971. 

Warm, welcoming and wonderfully rich, this  gourmand fragrance takes Sol de Janeiro from summer scents to autumn aromas, while still transporting the senses to the sun-soaked beaches of Brazil. Caramelised vanilla, toasted macadamia, and tonka bean evoke a sense of indulgence that’s hard to resist, and it is great for layering to create more complex and unique blends. It really is a delectable offering that satisfies every craving.

  • Top notes: Caramelised Vanilla, Sea Salt
  • Heart notes: Toasted Macadamia Nut, White Chocolate
  • Base notes: Tonka Bean, Coconut Blossom

Read more: Sol de Janeiro’s viral Body Mists and Bum Bum Cream that smell incredible

Lush Super Milk

Following the success of Lush’s Super Milk Hair Conditioning Spray – which happens to be one of the very few hair products I use and love – the bath and body experts have launched a creamy, vanilla perfume in the addictive scent that made the award winning primer so popular. The vegan fragrance blends notes of citrus and caramel for a comforting and soothing fragrance that feels like a warm hug. Sweet, zesty and moreish, the vanilla notes in this scent are subtle yet present, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate a more understated gourmand fragrance.

  • Notes: Litsea Cubeba, Tonka, Vanilla

Shay and Blue Salt Caramel

Launched in 2014, Salt Caramel by Shay and Blue is responsible for my love of amber vanilla scents. This fragrance combines the richness of salted caramel with the warmth of vanilla, creating a scent that is as indulgent as it is irresistible. The balance of sweet and salty notes makes Salt Caramel a unique and deeply comforting fragrance, perfect for those who want to make a bold statement with their scent.

  • Top notes: Liquid Caramel, Sea Salt
  • Heart notes: Tonka Bean
  • Base notes: Bourbon Vanilla, Sandalwood

Read more: My Shay and Blue Collection – the fragrance brand I’m obsessed with

These five fragrances prove that vanilla can be much more than a simple sweet note in perfumery — it can be seductive and sultry in the bold and empowering notes of YSL Libre Intense or Paco Rabanne Pure XS for Her, or offer a more comforting allure in Sol de Janeiro, sugary sweetness in Lush’s Super Milk, or indulgent in Shay and Blue’s Salt Caramel. If you’re looking for a new signature scent that will get you tonnes of compliments, these vanilla options from my top five are certainly a good place to start.

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