Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka released in 1997 holds the prize for being one of the most sophisticated vanilla scents. Even though I do not care for heavy doses of vanilla in fragrances, Patricia Nicolaï’s creation was a pleasant surprise. On these days, when the autumnal chills are felt in the morning breeze, its sensual and warm embrace is wonderfully comforting.
The fragrance starts out with a soft smoky note of cinnamon ornamented by sweet tangerine and tart dry lime, which give a sensation similar to eating cinnamon flavored candies that simultaneously burn and chill your mouth. Tonka bean softens the cinnamon with its powdery softness. The scent melds into the skin beautifully, and when vanilla appears, it has an understated, soft, and slightly smoky quality that endows the final result with a hint of delicious sweetness. The elegant drydown touched by smooth balsamic frankincense is what elevates Vanille Tonka out of the gourmand vanilla realm.
The house has several boutiques, the locations of which can be discovered directly from Parfums de Nicolaï. Fragrances and ancillary products are available online at Beautyhabit, First-in-Frangrance, New London Pharmacy, Senteurs d’Ailleurs.