L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille : Perfume Review


The combination of salt and vanilla is not common in perfumery, despite the ubiquity of these ingredients in modern patisserie. For one thing, salt is a fantasy impression created by certain marine and dry woody notes in fragrances, and its effect is cancelled out by the sweetness of vanilla. Also, when a perfume promises vanilla, we expect warm, creamy and cuddly–a bowl of custard, if you will. L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille, however, dares to be different.

While retaining the creaminess and dark sweetness of vanilla, perfumer Aliénor Massenet, who worked with L’Artisan Parfumeur on this launch, blended fresh floral and salty notes to balance out the richness. The sweet and salt facets give Couleur Vanille its personality, right from the top notes.

With time, the saltiness recedes to the background, letting the warm woods and musk take its place. The bittersweet immortelle continues the salty-savory theme of the composition. Vanilla, however, doesn’t leave center stage, and as the perfume dries down, it becomes darker and spicier. Plain vanilla it is certainly not.

Couleur Vanille has an enveloping character, with a lingering sillage. I like the opening chords, but the drydown with its melange of woods, balsams and vanilla is the best part. I’ve taken to spraying my scarves with the fragrance to enjoy the effect even a day later.

Expecting a high-calorie sugary blend, I was surprised, pleasantly, by the relative lightness of Couleur Vanille. This is a gourmand fragrance for those who dislike gourmands. On other hand, the perfume won’t please those who are lukewarm about marine notes. While the impression is subtle enough and is essential to the composition, the iodine saltiness and sea breeze freshness are clearly present.

Couleur Vanille is lighter on caramel than either Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille or Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise. It’s sweeter than the marvelous Hermès Eau des Merveilles, but the salty notes are as equally pronounced.

Extra Reading: Salty and Briny Notes in Perfumery

L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille includes notes of bergamot, fleur de sel, freesia, immortelle, vanilla, cashmere wood, tolu balsam, musk.  Available at L’Artisan boutiques.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Jessica: You’ve made me want to try it. I’m not a huge gourmand fan, but this one sounds nice and not too sweet. February 3, 2020 at 9:49am Reply

    • Victoria: I have my vanilla cravings, but generally I prefer abstract gourmands. This is the right level of sweetness for me. February 3, 2020 at 10:14am Reply

  • Bastet: I love Havana Vanille; this sounds very different but interesting as well. February 3, 2020 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s very different. Vanilla is such a chameleon. February 3, 2020 at 10:14am Reply

  • Celeste A. Church: I can’t wait to try it! I’ve never met a vanilla I didn’t like, and this one sounds unique and interesting. Thanks for the review!! February 3, 2020 at 11:00am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s also sheer, but longlasting. February 3, 2020 at 11:24am Reply

  • Patricia Devine: Mmn, this sounds very nice, with a combination of ingredients that I love, such as immortelle. I love Lutens but I can’t bear Un Bois Vanille, which smells like burnt crème brulée to me. I will be trying this one. February 3, 2020 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: This one doesn’t have that burned note. I also find a bit of that singed smell in Goutal’s vanilla. February 3, 2020 at 11:24am Reply

  • Terry Futrelle: Victoria, about a month ago, I purchased, Sylvaine Delacourte’s, “Valkyrie”. It has a lovely vanilla heart, wrapped in powdery freshness. Her line of vanilla based scents are quite beautiful and sparkling. Now, you are tempting me to purchase, “Couleur Vanille”…It sounds fantastic! I adore vanilla based scents, as long as they are not too sweet. Thank you for the review. You always give an accurate description, and it is most appreciated! February 3, 2020 at 12:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also tried Valkyrie not long ago, and I liked it very much. There is a beautiful floral facet to it. February 11, 2020 at 9:12am Reply

  • Terry Futrelle: I must add, I adore, “Bois D’ Orient” candles, by L’ Artisan Parfumeur…Wonderful fragrance! February 3, 2020 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Christine Funt: Can’t wait to try this fragrance. Thanks. February 3, 2020 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please let me know what you think! February 11, 2020 at 9:12am Reply

      • Luca: I’m so curious. I adore Havana VANILLE . I know it’s different but I really really want to try it. April 13, 2020 at 7:38pm Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you for this review, Victoria. It was odd that l’AP no longer had a real vanilla in production. Somehow, the description you give makes me think more of the kind of fragrances made by Comptoir Sud Pacifique. February 3, 2020 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it needed one, and this perfume fits the profile. February 11, 2020 at 9:13am Reply

  • matty1649: Thank you for your review. I enjoy vanilla in perfumes February 3, 2020 at 3:16pm Reply

  • Nila Mata: I was hoping The Different Company would reissue Vanilia. I lost my bottle in some mysterious way. February 3, 2020 at 3:53pm Reply

    • Nila Mata: Sorry, I meant L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Vanilia February 3, 2020 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was nice, wasn’t it? February 11, 2020 at 9:14am Reply

  • Neva: Generally, I’m not a fan of vanilla in perfumes. I’ve realized that it tends to be too sweet for my taste. I’m also no fan of gourmands…well, Couleur Vanille sounds just right!
    Thank you for reviewing it. February 4, 2020 at 4:05am Reply

    • Karen A: Sounds beautiful! A sheer vanilla is quite tempting…… February 5, 2020 at 6:21am Reply

      • Victoria: It really is. A vanilla bean on the beach. February 11, 2020 at 9:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I also prefer vanilla mixed well with other things, but this perfume is not too sweet. It’s unusual. February 11, 2020 at 9:15am Reply

  • Angela: Your description made me think of my old favourite, the original Aqua Motu, by Comptoire Sud Pacific. If you are familiar with/recall it, would you say that there are any similarities between the two? February 5, 2020 at 11:45am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s not as marine as Aqua Motu and there is a stronger woody note. February 11, 2020 at 9:17am Reply

  • Shirley Soer: I’d love to try this -but it’s not on the Artisan Parfumeur website…..has it been launched yet? February 5, 2020 at 6:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: It must be launching on their site at the end of the month. February 11, 2020 at 9:17am Reply

  • Robert: Thanks for the review. Any similarity to Vanilla Vibes by Juliette Has a Gun? February 12, 2020 at 5:40am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t know that one. I need to try it. February 13, 2020 at 8:31am Reply

  • Michelle: I purchased Fou d’Absinthe from L’Artisan Parfumeur, the scent was complex and intriguing but fleeting, so I returned it, still waiting on my refund. Maybe I was aiming too high? August 9, 2021 at 11:23pm Reply

What do you think?

From the Archives

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2024 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy