There are 24 reviews of Raw Vanilla.
I was not a big fragrance-enthusiast back in the mid-90s. Like most college-aged kids, I pretty much stuck to one scent--partly because I couldn't afford a lot of colognes and partly because I didn't care to diversify. Polo Sport was "my scent"; it was what I would schpritz on after a shower whether it be summer, winter, spring, fall, day, night...everything was less complicated then.
One Sunday while shopping for weekly necessities I came across a Raw Vanilla tester at my local Rite-Aid drug store (it was probably a Genovese drug store back them) and gave myself a squirt or two; "who doesn't like vanilla?" I thought to myself. Back then I wasn't thinking about the sillage or longevity or all the snobberificness that fragrance has become today. I just wanted to see if I liked it--and if others liked it.
I loved it! It wasn't at all like my citrusy, slap-me-awake Polo Sport. It was soft but in a woodsy way, not a powdery way. It smelled like vanilla--and not in a birthday cake way--at the time I applied it and long after my nose stopped smelling it on my body (today I can use the terms topnotes and basenotes). It was very comforting. This was a cheap drug store fragrance (like Fire and Ice or Stetson or Jovan or Old Spice) so I bought it on the spot and without all the thought I would have put into shelling out a lot of bucks for a department store frag.
...I forgot to mention that back then I slept during the day, went to school at night and worked during the graveyard shift at a call center with mostly women in their 40s. This tidbit of information will be important in a second...
Wore it to school the next day, got TONS of comments from girls in my classes who had never given me the time of day before. Refreshed it for work that night and got LOTS of attention from the old broads I worked with. Let me say this, I was no stud back then. I was a good-looking kid, smart too, but I had less game than Tony Romo trailing by 6 points with 2:00 minutes to go (I'm a Cowboys fan so I can say that). Needless to say, I was enjoying the attention.
Very next day, I wore it at school again, same effect. One girl--whose name I can't remember--even changed her usual location to sit next to me in Political Science. I remember it VERY CLEARLY: she said in her thick Puerto Rican accent, "I'm gonna' sit here from now on cause you smell so good." Not a problem. We hung out once but she dropped the class shortly after and I never got to explore that relationship fully (I told you I had no game back then--had it been today I would close the deal on night one), but it didn't matter because...
That same night--the second night of my "Raw Vanilla" experiment, I went to work and one of the women, we'll just call her "Ms. V." went nuts over the scent. She was not working the first night so she didn't smell me until night two. And smell me she did! She sat next to me, kept sticking her nose in my neck, kept telling me I smelled delicious. I should mention here that she had flirted with me before. We all flirted--the guys (who, for whatever reason, were all around my age) and the women (who, for probably the same unknown reason were all 40+) used to flirt non-stop with each other. It's how we passed the time, I guess. But no one ever took it further. The flirting this time was of a different...proximity. Ms. V. literally was almost sitting right up against me. She kept sticking her nose in my neck. I loved it and kept inviting her to get another whif. The other broads were laughing.
At some point during the night I was on break in the kitchen catching a half-conscious nap and she walked in. She leaned in for another sniff, whispered some words which I won't repeat on these boards, and, come 8am when we got off of work, I walked her home and we humped like rabbits till about noon. Good GOD!! It's almost 20 years later and I still get goosebumps thinking of the many days, nights and afternoons that we, er...spent together all thanks to this scent.
So enough reminiscing--I tell this story to make a point. After graduating, I left the job, and Ms. V. soon transitioned from my reality to my memory. And Raw Vanilla became a memory as well--pushed out of my rotation by all the dozens of scents that money would buy and boredom would tolerate.
I could never forget Ms. V. but at some point over the last 15 years the part of our story I forgot was that it was Raw Vanilla which was the catalyst that set off our fling. Until last week, that is...I was in a department store looking for something for fall. Once again chasing something new, something exciting, something to take me where I had never been...or had I? A cute clerk at Neiman Marcus handed me some Vanille Tobacco by Tom Ford. As I let the smell envelop me it INSTANTLY set off a series of synapses long unused in my brain. The memory of the scent came first, then of all the passion (mind you, I still didn't remember what scent or with whom I had had sex--I was just getting a wave of..."vanilla and sex memory" from the vanilla in the scent. Weird, I know!) I put the $200+ bottle down as the memory hit me. My mind said, "fuck this," and my lips said, "no thanks," to the store clerk.
I pretty much RAN home to hit the internet and try and research what the name of the fragrance attached to this memory was. It took me two days (I didn't remember all the details of haveing bought it in a drug store until later--maybe my mind was clouded by returned memories of Ms. V. or else I would have found it sooner) but I finally found it...Raw Vanilla.
It's out of production but I rush-ordered a sprayer from ebay and...wow. Just...wow.
If I was rating it based on personal experience and on the sex I got from it (not only from Ms. V. but from many other women and girls who would fall victim to its spell), I would give it a 6. But as a fair, unbiased rating to basenotes.com readers it's a solid 3.5-4. And this rating is coming from the frame-of-reference of someone who's owned dozens of scents ranging from cheapo to the $100-an-ounce variety.
This cheapo deparment store brand was ahead of its time. If the longevity and projection were better, and if they threw in 1 more note for complexity's sake, it would be all the rage. Let me rephrase that: even though it's got green leaves and bergamot and musk and sandalwood and a lot of other notes and (I think) it's perfect, others would call it too "simple" to rate five stars in today's fragrance world--and I agree. While something like Encre Noir can be a 5-star masterpiece with very few notes just because Nathalie Lorson hit upon the perfect combination of notes, Raw vanilla settles into "woody vanilla" mode after some rather quick green top notes and just rides it out. This, by the way, is intentional as vanilla is in the topnotes and basenotes. Back in the 90s there wasn't a whole lot of, "what do you want to smell like now? What do you want to smell like later? What would you like to smell like inbetween?" Actually, I think the 90s is when things started to get a bit over-the-top--do we blame Acqua di Gio?. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeag--not complex enough. But if you throw some coffee in there and call it New Haarlem, people would line up to pay hundreds. Or throw some tobacco in and call it Evasion Digo de Havane and they'll do the same. Leather, spice...whatever, it's...missing...something to be a modern masterpiece but it can, I think, (along with Vanilla Fields on the female side) be called a classic.
Still, by itself, it's a great comfort scent that will make you feel good and will perk up the attention of women. Very enjoyable and very doable today--if anything, it was out of place back then and a better fit for today's sensibilities. If you ever see it in a bargain bin and decide not to sell it on ebay for 5x the price, wear it. You won't regret it. Probably (as others have suggested) would be awesome sitting under or above another of your frags.
Pros: Soft but masculine, great vanilla scent, gets lots of attention surprisingly
Cons: Too soft for some, longevity"
all those notes for an ok scent. never thought of layering a scent but why not. strictly by itself it is an ok skin scent.
Pros: better for layering
Cons: short lived and weak"
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