Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Hermèssence Vanille Galante by Hermès

Total Reviews: 23
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The vanilla in the opening is unusual in that it is not a heavy intrusively sweet note, but a bright, light crystalline and. restrained vanilla. Interesting.

The rest is a triad of spices - very gentle, hints of white smoke, and a woodsy undertone.

I get soft sillage, weak projection and four hours of longevity on my skin.

The actual vanilla in the ancient for warmer autumn days shows just enough presence to be counted. The rest is so weak that one wonders why someone diluted it to such a weak level. A shortage of laboratory supplies? Minimalism as an excuse for the lack of quality and olfactory presence? 2.5/5
06th August, 2020
Sunflowers F454 by Vincent van Gogh 1888
05th August, 2017
People into longevity and sillage look away now.

I blame my dislike of vanilla to the plethora of cheap vanilla fragrances overpopulating the market since forever. Most people generally not into perfume, whenever they decide it's about time to buy a fragrance, they go 90% of the times for something vanilla-centered. The problem is that of this 90%, another 90% of the time their choice go towards cheap-goumrnadic and overly sweet vanillas.The result is that we're surrounded by cheap vanilla. As a matter of fact, I very rarely can stand vanilla fragrances (exception made for a bunch of older Guerlains, some ambers and very few others).

With that said, Vanille Galante is completely another thing. I'm generally not a big fan of Ellena's *light touch* but in this case it definitely played in the fragrance favor. To me, VG reads mainly as a watery-floral with vanillic facets. There's a banana peel vibe going on (probably provided by the ylang-ylang) and a bitter, kind of smoky, presence contrasting the overall sweetness. The result is beyond sophistication in my opinion. Light but noticeable, extremely elegant and, in the end, quite an unique take on the main theme.

Now, two more considerations:

1) As most of the Hermessence, I find this overpriced. It's good and I thoroughly like it but it's not better than most of the *regular* Hermes if you like their general style. Both quality-wise and artistically-wise.

2) For the most part, my theory is that there aren't good ingredients and bad ones. Yes, there are better and worst quality vanillas, there are materials that depending on one's tastes are more appealing than others but, the big difference is made by how perfumers use them.

Downline: Vanille Galante is probably not a masterpiece but it's a thoroughly enjoyable fragrance in my book.
27th October, 2014
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I really like this one! Sheer, sweet and subtle.

I get a lot of ylang-ylang in here (along with that characteristic faint, yet creamy hint of a banana like note). But what I especially like here is Jean-Claude Ellena's transparent use of vanilla. Forget the heavy, boozy, almost animalic vanilla of Guerlain, etc. Here the Vanilla is wrapped in very light spices and cognac. It's still quite light, but by no means fleeting. I would best describe it as "transparent". Neither too light, nor too heavy and cloying.

His inspiration was the origin of Vanilla as a trading spice, being brought across oceans in long voyages on sailing ships; along with other spices such as cloves and cinnamon, all tightly packed next to wooden barrels of cognac etc. All these ingredients can be detected in this fragrance, and they are all balanced beautifully.

I think Vanille Gallante is actually a really beautiful one. I know other people get rotten banana out of this, and that's a shame. But to me it's smells like hints of spices, Indian chai tea, and a creamy vanilla extract. I find it quite intoxicating. I think this is my favourite use of vanilla outside of a Guerlain perfume. Very different though, but I appreciate his take on it. Not bad Ellena!
29th June, 2014
Genre: Oriental

Sweet nothing, this one. I’m losing patience with Jean-Claude Elléna and his Hermèssence scents. The minimalist dogma behind them has already produced pointless art in other media, and the vapid, gutless fragrances that Hermès charges so much for are starting to smell like an insult to my intelligence. Granted, there’s a halfway interesting smoky vanilla-based floral oriental hiding somewhere in here, but I have to look very, very hard to find it. Wear this if you like Shalimar, but are afraid someone might actually smell it on you.
15th June, 2014 (last edited: 09th October, 2014)
An interesting perfume, but ultimately not for me.

There's a variety of pink jasmine that grows like a weed here in the San Francisco area. It smells beautiful, not like the jasmine we know from perfume, but more like an artificial banana smell. I know that doesn't sound very appealing, but when you encounter it walking down the street, it really is a fantastic aroma. Vanille Galante uses a banana smell that reminds me of that San Francisco pink jasmine, played against some waxy ylang and a particularly milky lily. There's an almond/marzipan heliotrope in there for depth as well, which is also nice. The vanilla isn't really that edible vanilla smell I'd expect, but instead just a sort of a creamy sweet richness that makes the florals feel thick and candied.

It's an interesting effect, but even when you focus on the flowers, it's hard to ignore that this smells like some sort of sweet artificial banana candy. Or, to be even more specific, it reminds me a little too much of the smell of powdered cake mix mixed with fake banana and milk. So, as much as I enjoy Vanille Galante in theory, I don't really like it in practice.
30th April, 2013
What I get from this is vanilla and dead fish. Quite disappointing since I like vanilla and I like Hermes. Usually.
18th April, 2013 (last edited: 03rd May, 2013)
Vanille Galante is not about vanilla as the name suggests, its all about ylang. JCE managed to create a beautiful floriental that is almost a lilly soliflore. The scent is very light, transparent and refreshing at the same time, something very Ellena and reminiscent of his Un Jardin line.

Its very linear, all I get is Ylang and a very refined vanilla base. Muscs give a slight velvety texture to the fragrance and there's a greenish aquatic vibe that I suspect could be jasmine. What also comes to my mind is orchids, not as dark as the ones you find in Tom Ford creations like Nu edp, but a white orchid, a vanilla flower. I get a similar orchid effect here as on Nu edp but without the chocolate note and incense.

A lot of people say that this is the most feminine creation of the Hermessence line but I disagree I find it very unisex, specially if you like lily. And its also very easy to wear, cause its light and stays close to the skin, its a personal scent. I usually spray it in the interior of my shirt so I keep smelling it trough the hole day.

The composition is so etherial that it reminds me modern aldehydic florals like Nº5 Eau Premier and Iris Poudre, not that they re similar but they share lightness and elegance, they are very bright and clean, just incredibly sophisticated. My favorite from this whole line!

rate 4 ou of 5
12th February, 2013
The core of this fragrance is a balance between a banana-peel ylang-ylang, and a deep, hollow-smelling lily, both very streamlined and meditative. However, what makes this fragrance startling is a very distinct umami quality: a salty-savory note that does the unthinkable and puts fish in perfume. ( Imagine dabbing on some Three Crabs fish sauce, and you're there. ) To my nose this is much more tangible than the "caviar" note that's supposed to be in Womanity; both more subtle, and more true to the source.

The aquatic-floriental contrast is a distant cousin to Black Orchid; the lily is a kissing-cousin of the rather more austere ones from Donna Karan's Gold. Yet, it is pretty much an island to itself: glassy-smooth, fleshy-tropical, darkly transparent. And much to my own surprise, my favorite of the Hermessence line.

The one thing I still don't smell is vanilla. It may be there, but either it's too abstract a construction for my nose to smell the bean, or it's too well hidden under ylang, lilies, and the bathypelagic bouquet. Either way, don't come here seeking a rival to other niche vanillas...

03rd September, 2012
Hermessence Vanille Galante by Hermes - One is initially treated to a fruity accord of melons and bananas coupled with some leafy and dried grass nuances. Sea water from calone sprinkles this gardeny melange with saltiness, and flows to the awaiting middle. Here, in the heart, the smooth sweetness of lily and the flowery fruitiness of ylang ylang, enhanced by sunny salicylates, infuse the opening brew with their exhilarating facets, while a faint, nascent vanilla makes its presence known. Transitioning to the waiting base, a barely sweet vanilla blooms and commingles with a milky and pleasant sandalwood, while faintly floral, cherry-vanilla heliotrope floats about. An airy and soothing drydown ensures. Definitely leaning to the feminine side, this well-done composition is reflective of its high quality. This is a skin scent with average longevity.
29th January, 2012
Well, I'm one of those people who hates vanilla -- and I gave this a try.
Verdict: well done for its type. My antipathy to vanilla keeps me from endorsing it but I won't slag it.
It starts with a green, slightly sweet floral note. Vanilla provides a counterpoint, here a creamy-woody vanilla. The scent gets a bit gourmand -- like a cookie or pastry. In style this is more rich than sweet, and certainly not cloying.
If you like vanilla, then do check it out.
But this isn't the one to move me off my position.
20th January, 2012
Put the name aside, and come with an open mind. Vanilla doesn't only describe a scent, but can be a colour, and expression of something plain or unadulterated. So, if you are of a literal mind, yes, you will be disappointed if you think vanilla means only a note in perfumery and that this is what you are chasing. The vanilla is there, but it isn't centre stage, more woven through, and doesnt smell like pudding!
This comes out of the bottle like silk. It's as smooth and delicately luxurious. This scent immediately conjours up a 'felt' experience, not just olfactory. Silk settles on skin. Sweet - lilies? Yang ylang? Jasmine? Suddenly I don't care what it is. I've never liked white flower notes- too piercingly sweet. I don't want to deconstruct this into components I 'don't like' and therefore ruin the experience. And this is beautiful. I have a soft spot for M.Ellena- even though he frustrates at times with awful longevity, or deconstructs something so it becomes more holes than scent. But when he brings his delicate art together just right, it sings. This is one of those times, for me. Big thumbs up for a lily,
white flower whatever it is that I can actually wear ( and more importantly enjoy!)
And-joy of joy- I get a good 8 hours from it!
03rd November, 2011 (last edited: 06th November, 2011)
I find the name misleading. You would expect a vanilla fragrance, and Vanille Galante doesn`t seem to be about vanilla. Instead, it`s white flower confection that smell like a cross of jasmine, ylang-ylang and lily, with a bare swetness of the vanilla. I think that, if you are a perfumer that doen`t like the vanille note and want to do a vanilla fragrance, at least you can do like this, constructing a decent abstract flower aroma, and not destroying the vanilla aroma with some strange ambers and wood, as Annick Goutal did with Vanille Exquise. Vanille Galante smell like a variation of a spring frargrance. It`s good, but something on the abstract floral gives me a brown impression that i don`t like. I still prefer the much better Osmanthe Yunnan as a floral fragrance to this one.
27th January, 2011
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First time I tried this, I liked it, but it wasn't too special to me. Second time I wore it, I hated it! Afterwards I wrote it off, yet still had this 15 ml decant in my possession. Eventually I mustered up the courage to give it another try, and this time I enjoyed it much more, and every time thereafter. Although, I don't see myself buying this again in the future.

What Vanille Galante does that no other vanilla fragrance does is it extracts the sweetness from the vanilla, and really makes it earthy, with that Hermes touch. But, then the earthy like smells are less earthy than others made by JCE, because of some added synthetic and chemical notes. I pick up a strong rubber/latex note that stays in the fragrance for a while. I think this is what initially turned me off the most, but it's like, the more you smell it, the more you like it. I think rubber notes are actually quite nice in many fragrances, if done right they give a certain ruggedness to them.

Vanille Galante is an unsweetened vanilla (though naturally sweet), slightly herbal, rubbery, cooling, and medicinal fragrance, very unique but doesn't jump off the wall, because it's quite subtle. A must try though for those looking for a different type of vanilla. JCE proves that there can be vanilla fragrances that aren't syrupy, overly sweet, or cloying. Even if you hate vanilla, ya may wanna give this one a try.
28th August, 2010 (last edited: 09th April, 2011)
Floral vanilla ,quite densely long lasting on me. I much prefer the spciey scents of Parika brasil and Poivre Samarcande.
27th August, 2010
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
The greatest flaw of Vanille Galante is its unfortunate name. When it was announced I eagerly awaited its release, my mind hoping for something along the lines of Ambre Narguille but vanilla-based and intended to compete with Guerlain's SDV. As we all now know, VG couldn't possibly be more different from this expectation, and it seems that many people initially shared my disappointment. I put my 15ml bottle away, to be explored later - and I reserved judgment until 'later'.

Make no mistake, this is a floral - and quite a pretty one at that. Ylang-ylang intertwines with lily in a delicate and ethereal manner, creating the feeling that a sheer veil of fragrance is on your skin. VG doesn't perfume your skin, it melds into it. There's no question that vanilla is dusted into the composition, and after about 2-3 hours the composition arrives at a slightly custard-ey vanilla base that lingers for another couple hours.

I have to wonder if Vanille Galante would have been better received had it been given a name that presented it as a floral. There's a lot in a name as it creates expectations - expectations that were apparently not met with this perfume. The sillage is particularly discrete. This is skin scent and when I wear it I cannot smell it on myself (a fact that will turn most people off from this scent), but longevity is respectable. If you're looking for a heavy vanilla you have many other options - avoid Vanille Galante. Thumbs up.
10th May, 2010
I love this stuff. Even if it's an aquatic floral, even if it's got nothing to do with its namesake, even if it's yet another transparent Ellena. In short: even if it has all the hallmarks of being boring and superfluous, it's not. It's utterly gorgeous and unique. There, declaration of affection over.

What I smell in this, is the exact aroma of powdery flower stamen. I'm not horticulturally literate enough to tell you which kind of flower, but it's that delicate, powdery aroma that you get from freshly picked narcissus or tulips, for example. Add to that the mildest salty edge and a faintly fresh vanilla, and tada - an olfactory watercolour sketch in spring-like pastels is the result.

Look elsewhere if you wish to bombard your environs with sillage, but I do not understand the complaints of longevity. I found it surprisingly tenacious for a creation so delicate and elfin, and easily get a full day's wear from it.
15th December, 2009
I love the remarks of Vibert! Although this really is a pretty little vanilla/floral scent, it is not particularly unusual or inspiring or long lasting. I prefer Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, a similiar scent but one with a little more backbone. I wish that I could detect the lily in this fragrance, but all I perceive is a vague floral. (I think that part of my indifference to the Hermes fragrances is the aloof staff at Hermes stores!) Definately a fragrance for those who do not like fragrance!
30th August, 2009
nthny Show all reviews
United States
Consider me taken aback by how beautifully Ellena has captured the sensation of breathing in the fragrance of a fresh lily. The purity, the innocence, the slight tang, the soft outer edge -- it's all there behind a breath of soft vanilla. The slight fresh sourness (there are moments when it reminds me of the fragrance of a giant white magnolia) in Vanille Gallante brings another Ellena creation instantly to mind: Un Jardin Apres La Mousson yet their relationship is extremely distant. While UJALM is initially overwhelming, sour, aquatic, and melony, Vanille Gallante is a kiss of freshness, of dewy lily petals on a crisp spring morning. In a word, lovely.
29th July, 2009
Easter came early to Hermès this year with the heady Madonna Lilies that bloom from a bottle titled “Vanille Galante”.

Unlike most of the other Hermessences, which quite clearly answer to their title (except, perhaps, Osmanthe Yunnan) - the vanilla here will not fulfill the craving of the vanillophiles who patiently awaited their dessert after clearing their plate from fresh peppers and a side of lavender.

Vanille Galante burst into the air like a flower rushing to display its colours from fear of loosing the attention of butterflies. Heady ylang ylang only but supports the main theme here - the infamous Madonna Lily, a symbol of purity and the Virgin Mary. Sliced cantaloupe sprinkled with salt brings to mind a giant Easter egg decorated by calone. Whether or not there is calone in Vanille Galante I cannot tell, but I’d like to think that this molecule found its way to the perfume to complete the picture of an Easter picnic under the sky. It’s the same cantaloupe from Un Jardin Apres la Mousson, just in a lesser dosage.
And when the vanilla finally makes an appearance it is more woody than dessert like, and perhaps will bring to mind a flavoured liquor rather than vanilla-dotted crème brûlée.
There is vanilla absolute in the base alright, but overall I would not describe Vanille Galante as a vanilla scent, but as a floral or a floriental at best. The dry down reminds me of Chanel’s Allured - a contrast of computer generated florals against a backdrop of woody vanilla. But Vanille Galante does not feel as artificial, and as with most Jean-Claude Ellena’s scents, this gown has such lightness and airiness about it that it’s easy to wear if it is not exactly your style or preferred colour.
27th May, 2009
Hermes Hermessence Vanille Galante

Jean-Claude Ellena became the house perfumer for Hermes in 2004, since that time he has been on a creative and popular run rivaled by few perfumers. Upon arriving at Hermes he created the Hermessence line in which he applied his minamilist esthetic to “single note” scents. The earliest entries like Ambre Narguile and Vetiver Tonka are some of the best loved scents out there by both perfumistas and colognossieurs. As the Hermessence line has evolved the scents have grown to be more that just Ellena’s musing on the titular note and more about what can be discovered by making that note part of an ensemble and letting it show a different side. This is just what is realized in Vanille Galante, the 2009 addition to the Hermessences. The top of this is a lily in spring. It is a very tightly coiled scent surrounded by a green accord. Very faintly as the transition to the heart happens, almost like shouting from across the street, vanilla is noted as present. In the heart there is spiciness to go with the hint of vanilla. The spices are rounded off by something that according to the notes is ylang ylang but it seems different to my nose from other ylang ylang I've encountered before as it seems to be more synthetic and less natural. The vanilla finally makes a more prominent appearance in the base, as combined with sandalwood, it completes this scent. This is another great example of Ellena's style of perfumery as the whole scent develops in sheer and light stages which combine in unique ways to create a complete experience. Vanille Galante wears very lightly and close to the skin and it sometimes seems like its gone only to get a whiff to remind you that it is there. Vanille Galante is a worthy addition to the Hermessence line and Ellena's body of work.
14th March, 2009
This is just alright. It reminds me so much of Stephanie de Sainte-Aignan's l'Eau Nirique minus the hints of jasmine. It is nice enough, lots of melons and bananas, but certainly not worth the price.
13th March, 2009
I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out the motivation behind the name 'Vanille Galante' and I'm completely stumped! Why? Because I don't smell any vanilla in this mix! I do, however, associate it directly with Fleur des Comores by MPG. It's the ylang-ylang ~ featured in this and FdC ~ beautifully done. Ylang-ylang is one floral note that many times smells just plain stinky to me. In Vanille Galante the presentation of this flower is extremely delicate, sheer, and surrounded by diffused greens. Spices and sandalwood balance this blend, like an opaque veil just barely connecting and softening each note. If I compare the two, Vanille Galante showcases green notes and ylang-ylang whereas FdC comes off less green and more 'mouthwatering', almost gourmand-ish. I adore Mr. Ellena's interpretation.
09th March, 2009 (last edited: 17th June, 2009)