Perfume Directory

Vanderbilt (1982)
by Gloria Vanderbilt


Vanderbilt information

Year of Launch1982
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 103 votes)

People and companies

HouseGloria Vanderbilt
PerfumerSophia Grojsman
PackagingBen Kotyuk
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > Parfumeurs Createurs
Parent Company at launchWarner Communications > Warner Cosmetics

About Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is a feminine perfume by Gloria Vanderbilt. The scent was launched in 1982 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Sophia Grojsman. The bottle was designed by Ben Kotyuk

Reviews of Vanderbilt

Found a bottle cheap, at the local flea market. Age, unknown... Light aldehydes. Sweet and green at the same time. Slightly bitter in the background. Orange blossom smells almost candied. This is a very "dated" fragrance, from the old days. I forgot I enjoyed it. I believe the pineapple is what is creating the sweet aspects.

It begins to have a slight powdery edge as the middle notes reveal. Iris hovers above the rest of the notes. The other flower notes come and go in subtle movements. Iris, is the star in the middle, and this definitely becomes even more powdery and dry as h*ll. I don't remember Vanderbilt being so pretty.

Vanilla and opoponax are the first base notes to appear. A lipstick accord begins to arise as musk rises up from beneath. Iris still lingers. It slowly begins to merge with the remaining base notes. The bottom end of this perfume is a light, creamy amber-ish scent. Not overly sweet - just enough. There is a bit of vetiver and animalic civet right on the skin hours later. Nice, for an oldie and a cheapie!
14th June, 2019 (last edited: 13th June, 2019)
I saw it at the supermarket so I didn’t think much of it. It’s actually good, with a lot of tuberose and a vintage feel. Some powdery cleanness. A bargain.
21st June, 2018
Orange blossom and tuberose ride in on a gentle wave of aldehydes where they meet fresh green and citrus with a pineapple accent. A praline accord fills the space underneath with a quite neutral and slightly oily hazelnut paste, and this sits opposite a dry lightly spiced tobacco leaf. There is a vague hairspray ambience, as though someone has done their hair ready for an evening out before spraying on the Vanderbilt.

Being a floriental its a night time scent, more at home in a cosy cuddle than daily routines. Its soft, very feminine, and may be a bit cloying when the drier and spicy sides demur to its pink sweetness.

As the intro unfurls towards the more stable body accords it feels a bit uneven from time to time. Then, when it does become fully established, the profile boils down to a sweet pink light rosy floral with strong orange flower and tuberose accents over a layer of tobacco, set on a great dry woody tinged oriental base that lasts and lasts.

Vanderbilt takes a lead from one of the biggest phenomena of seventies perfumery. A construction similar to Charlie's aldehydic head of hyacinth / cyclamen / muguet is used, but in Vanderbilt its pushed into the background. The melon and plasticky leather heart which dominates Charlie is replaced by a heavier praline note, and Charlie's almost indiscernible spice is boosted up. The same high pitched riff is played by both, but in Vanderbilt its almost hidden by the backing band. It's instructive to compare the Vanderbilt note pyramid on another perfume review site with the pyramid for Charlie on Wikipedia. Given the similarities in head and base notes, you could be forgiven for being surprised by how different they actually smell.

Vanderbilt also differs in its level of sophistication; its technically way ahead of the rather cheap pragmatism of Charlie, at least in the samples I am comparing where Charlie may be a reformulation.

Being an oriental, the bottom half of Vanderbilt's profile can be interpreted as a reference to another game changing seventies smash, one that couldn't be ignored. Vanderbilt uses the spices and opoponax oriental base of Opium but tones them right down. What we have is a structure that takes the rather functional blasé notes of Charlie, and an Opium-Lite style of oriental base and employs them in a characteristically Sophia Grojsman type soft rose-centred floral.

Perfume is a sign of the times like any cultural product and this one reflects the eclectic flux of fashions that were around in the early eighties. Trainers (sneakers) appeared for the first time, headbands and sports gear, unisex clothes for women; big jumpers, trench coats, and Gloria Vanderbilt's pioneering brand of figure hugging jeans of course. All of this ran in parallel with a continuing seventies legacy of flowing, more traditionally feminine clothes made in natural fibres and muted colours.

Vanderbilt the perfume reflects this fashion milieu with its elements of the conservative oriental form that represent traditional seventies currents, and it also quotes the new paradigm of Charlie's cool aldehydic floral, co-opted as a symbol of the modern styles emerging in the eighties.

This L'Oreal product is pretty, well crafted and the makers were canny enough to give it the right moves. It was a big hit in its day, but its character is now at odds with current taste. By the standards of today's market (ie. what is sold on the high street,) Vanderbilt is heavy and over mature; its style rather passé. Even so, it remains stubbornly popular. French supermarkets still sell it in box sets at Christmas, and that's proof of lasting appeal if ever there was one.

30th January, 2016 (last edited: 01st February, 2016)
Genre: Floral Oriental

As I see it, Vanderbilt lies at the juncture of two paths Sophia Grojsman pursued for decades: the antiseptic green soapy florals of White Linen, and the sweet fruity chypre style of Yvresse, Trésor, and Calyx. After a brief flash of sweet bergamot, Vanderbilt fires off a barrage of bitter green notes, crisp white flowers and intense aldehydes, which together smell a bit like Ivory soap – only much, much louder. Alongside these arise an array of spices and sweet resins, plus some vanilla and a hint of Grojsman’s signature fruity lactones. Though the aldehydes subside somewhat after fifteen or twenty minutes of wear, the green floral accord retains a starched, soapy quality that stands in stark contrast to the sweetness of cinnamon, opoponax and vanilla.

The construct is floral oriental, but in this case the “floral” and the “oriental” are not so much melded together as set side-by-side. The internal tension between its two unreconciled and contrasting olfactory masses invests Vanderbilt with an enlivening interest, but I can’t help feeling that the clever idea is let down in the execution. The floral accord grows disturbingly chemical over time, eventually approaching solid air freshener in quality, while the sterile white musk, vanilla, and soapy rose drydown offers none of the warmth promised by the civet in the pyramid. The composition winds up smelling cheap, threadbare and more unfriendly than elegant.
07th July, 2014
Easy to wear for work, lasts all day not overbearing, smells like an expensive deodorant
31st January, 2014
Wore this in the 1980s when I first joined the work force and didn't have any money, but didn't want to smell like it. I loved it then, love it still, and keep a small bottle among my more expensive fragrances. Still get plenty of compliments on it, too. Clean, slightly soapy, good for year-round wear.
02nd September, 2012

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