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Hot Vanilla


07th January, 2000

This fragrance is an expression of a simple image that made a strong impression on me this winter. On a bitterly cold day in New York, I looked up at the metal skeleton of a new building under construction and saw the silhouette of a welder at work. His entire workspace was surrounded by a heavy white sheet to block the wind, but the ultra-bright, vaguely pink light from the torch cast a vivid glow throughout the makeshift booth and presented the welder’s outline, like a kind of reversed shadow play.

“Hot Vanilla” is modeled on that arrangement, structured as a cool, pale sheet lit from behind by a burning hot core. For the outer element, I see a soft but substantial layer of vanilla, stiffened up a bit by a bitter almond note. I see this layer draped around a powerful heart of cayenne pepper with accents of bittersweet galangal and a faintly metallic accord. In the base, I imagine a mix of vetiver and myrrh, and a hint of burnt incense.

The fragrance (to be worn by both genders) would be characterized by a fluctuating balance of coolness and heat that results from the arrangement of these notes. Clearly I also intend for the scent to have a certain gourmand quality, but one that is distanced and hyper-real, like a meal made to be photographed but not eaten.

Submitted by kb2003

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      • Asha | 11th January 2010 02:29

        This reminds me a bit of Vosges chocolates--you'd think that savory things like pepper and sweet things like chocolate wouldn't work well together. In fact, sweet and savory ingredients complement each other, showing us aspects of each that we never imagined before. With Hot Vanilla, I imagine something actually quite dry and green, the hot being so hot that it is almost cold.

      • kb2003 | 11th January 2010 22:23

        Thanks for the comments, Asha, on this and my other submission. And by the way, "So hot that is is almost cold" hits the nail on the head!

      • StylinLA | 18th January 2010 04:08

        I read this and was immediately reminded of a gourmet chocolate bar that contains a bit of spicy pepper. Also a type of Mexican chocolate heavily spiced with a very biting cinnamon.

        Could be an interesting gourmand.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 18th January 2010 07:47

        Yes, I've been interested in various vanilla gourmands (and vanilla-containing non-gourmands) lately, but nothing I've tried or even heard about was quite like this. It could be very interesting. And I agree - a "non-foody" gourmand is ideal, and what I would like to see, too. The initial image that inspired the fragrance is very good for the perfumers to work with as well - it's stuck rather permanently in my mind, and in a good way.

      • Strat | 20th January 2010 00:44

        Speaking as a man, one of the reasons I took so much to Frank #1 was that it embodied ginger and other gourmandesque notes without being sickly sweet and "foody."

        I can't speak to the broader market for this, but I for one believe there's a crying need for fragrances that pay homage to vanillas without being sugary or so floral as to be exclusively feminine. The galangal is a brilliant idea - for me that immediately conjures one of the favorite things about tom ka gai when I am in a Thai restaurant, but it strikes me as something that could be used in moderation to provide a crispness that might otherwise be lacking.

        As for the "heat" - having made espresso with the addition of dried cayennes, as well as mango & scotch bonnet (habañero) ice cream, I think a pepper note (of that sort) could be stellar. If there's a way to capture the tang of cayennes to offset sweetness (as works in flavors), it would be brilliant.

      • Kevin Guyer | 21st January 2010 04:46

        Being a vanilla lover who also loves to stare into the welder's arc, I say bring this one on!

      • JDBIII | 4th February 2010 11:53

        I find this brief intriguing. i am not typically a vanilla lover unless it is carefully mixed with other elements, the Guerlinade base for example. However, the starkness of your composition sounds louder and dryer than a typical vanilla mix, and that gives me hope. I would hope that the final concoction would tend away from gourmand and more towards the modern building construction that you allude to in the brief.