I was ready for a (likely boring) blast of pure vanilla, but Nicolai’s Vanille Intense does contain way more than simple vanilla. Actually, if it wasn’t for the name, I would not have called this a “vanilla” scent at all. This seems to me more a sort of really pleasant, albeit sadly slightly cheap sort of neroli-bergamot-musky fragrance with some pepper-cumin, a whiff of herbal aniseed and quite a bold presence of orange-fruity notes, with also a really graceful smell of orange flowers. Not overly sweet overall – actually, barely sweet. There’s some sweetness but it is dry, austere, dusty, elegantly floral. Vanilla is there just to soften and sweeten the base notes, and it even almost disappears after a while. The drydown seems in fact mostly peppery-ambery still with a balsamic whiff of orange and herbs (with a persistent nuance of aniseed for me, which may be an aldehyde though). Kind of similar to the same concept of Fendi Theorema for women, just a bit louder and cheaper here, less heavy on cinnamon and heavier on both pepper, amber and orange-herbal notes.
Quite pleasant overall: a tart, refined, really aromatic fragrance, and for once it’s aromatic in a slightly unusual way – not many fragrances use orange notes this way. Vanille Intense kind of explores orange in some of its nuances – you get the leaves, the blossoms, the fruit. The rest – spices, amber, vanilla, some musk – just acts as a background enhancing the main notes. Sadly the quality doesn’t seem that high as regards of the materials (thus affecting the richness and the vibrancy of the notes), and despite you get a nice evolution and some really nice nuances, overall I find Vanille Intense a bit cheap – in the “flat/synthetic” meaning. You feel it could be way more sparkling and charming than this. I wished they had a bit more budget for it, as Vanille Intense had all the potential to be a really good fragrance. Anyway as-is it is still undoubtedly pleasant, warm, comforting and easy to wear, also with excellent projection and persistence... just a little overpriced for the quality for me.
Well, they got the “intense” right. This stuff has Klieg light projection. And yes, it’s vanilla, too.
Vanille Intense doesn’t spend much time on traditional citrus top notes and instead jumps right onto a very sweet vanilla liqueur accord with just a dab of orange blossom and sweet spice. Nicolaï’s is an unabashedly gourmand vanilla, and without relief from the smoke and animalic civet accents of, say, Shalimar of Bal à Versailles, some noses may find its clear, candied flavor too one-dimensionally sweet. Patchouli and a clean musk add depth and substance to the central cinnamon, vanilla, and orange blossom accord as the scent plays out, but the overall shape doesn’t alter much over time. The scent pyramid includes immortelle, and Vanille Intense is one of those rare compositions where this bully of a note does not overwhelm its neighbors. Instead, it adds a welcome sense of dark mystery to what might otherwise have been a bland powdery vanilla-amber drydown.
Boozy vanilla oriental fragrances are all the rage among the high-end perfume houses, a trend begun with Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille and continued recently in L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Havana Vanille. Guerlain’s offering grates on me, with a jarring acidic middle note and a crude angularity to its structure, while Havana Vanille just disappears after an interesting start. Nicolaï, by comparison, seems to get it right, and though this particular type of scent doesn’t hold much appeal for me, I can’t find much to fault in Vanille Intense.
This one opens with a HUGE head-clearing blast of camphorish spice that reminds me of men's aftershave. On me it has a little soapiness in the heart. It quickly moves into a very complex dry down that is both intensely incensey and spicy and also sweet, warm, dark, musky vanilla. It's like patchouli cinnamon bun incense. I've sampled this a few times now and did not get anything 'pissy' or stinky when I wore it as some of the other reviewers experienced - thank goodness :) But I do have to say that this fragrance definitely took some getting used to! I was not expecting it to be so assertive, but I really appreciate it's intensity, I love the way the fragrance notes are layered, how it evolves and changes, and I also like it's sillage. It's wonderfully invigorating, bracing even. It definitely woke me up! It would be a good unisex fragrance.
All in all, I don't love it, but I like it a lot and I think it has it's place as being unique, interesting, and NOT boring. Something to wear when I need to clear the cob-webs.
Off scenter's thoughts are bang on with this one. The orange and vanilla custard are so edible I wanted to lick them.Yet there is something else, compelling, I still can't name, which makes this a genuine scent not an accident in a patisserie. However I refrained from purchasing it and went with Odalisque, because something about VI told me it would just go on... and on... and on, without noticeable change.
I do want to eat it though!
There really isn't too much to say about this one. It opens with a brilliant vanilla liqueur scent that I just can't get enough of, and unfortunately I mean that in a literal sense because it's over within two hours. After that the lavender starts to dominate the sillage and I completely lose interest. Lavender just isn't a good enough smell to hold court and dominate the way it does here. Such behavior would typically tilt a fragrance into the "negative" category, however, due to the fantastic opening I'll just lay an obnoxious neutral onto this fragrance with a rolled up newspaper. "No, bad Vanille Intense, look what you've done to the carpet!"