Perhaps due to the insane amounts of celeb and tween-focused fragrances centered around the note, vanilla can sometimes get a bad rap in the fragrance world. We get it—when paired with possibly made-up elements like cupcake accord, the ingredient can get a little too sickly-sweet, but it can actually be a really sophisticated note when mixed correctly. When complemented by notes that enhance and balance the vanilla, the finished effect is unexpectedly classy, and sometimes even sexy.
We put together a list of the best vanilla perfumes that are a far cry from that body mist you used to carry in your high school gym bag. Scroll down to see (and shop!) 6 of our favorite grown-up vanilla scents.
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1. Krigler Subtle Orchid
Funny enough, no orchid elements were used in the making of this fragrance. Its moniker is actually a nod to a Parisian bakery founder Albert Krigler used to frequent, which was located next to a charming flower shop that sold orchids in abundance. The heady blend of vanilla, cinnamon, and almond is almost good enough to eat.
Available at Krigler | $255
2. Lush Vanillary Perfume
The only way you'll get a purer vanilla scent is by actually rubbing the extract reserved for your baked goods on, and the hero note is further amplified by additions of tonka bean, sandalwood, and burnt caramel.
Lush | $43
3. Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée
Just like Baby Spice, this scent toes the line between sweet and spicy, even tipping toward the naughty end of the spectrum with sensual oak wood and amber notes.
Atelier Cologne | $130
5. Pacifica Island Vanilla
You know that refreshing vanilla scent that hits you when you walk past the open door of an ice cream shop? Pacifica basically bottled that in their Island Vanilla fragrance, though the addition of tea and jasmine notes prevent the fragrance from being too cloying.
Pacifica | $22