Jo Malone Vanilla Anise : Fragrance Review


Fragrances that can truly go from morning to night are quite rare, especially if one would like a sheer, understated sillage. Either one is wrapped in a thick scent veil all day long, or else there is hardly anything left by the end of the workday. Jo Malone Vanilla Anise is a rare exception, a transparent fragrance with a decent tenacity. Moreover, in contrast to many other Jo Malone fragrances, it has a beautiful body and a memorable drydown, despite being gauzy and light.

The fragrance is sketched out as an oriental composition, with an effervescent top note and a cashmere soft body. The vanilla-anise accord which inspires the fragrance is rendered in pastel shades, with most of the coloring provided by the jasmine and woody notes. The contrast between the crisp citrus and the luscious sweetness of tonka bean and vanilla makes Vanilla Anise not jut memorable, but also alluring. It oscillates between a floral oriental and an abstract gourmand, another aspect that makes it interesting.

Above all, Vanilla Anise is a nice example of a modern linear fragrance that is able to combine a simple, uncluttered composition and an elegant effect. Perhaps, it will not take you on a dramatic ride of a classical grand parfum, but then again, that is not its intention. In short, Vanilla Anise is friendly, unpretentious and girly enough without being puerile.

Jo Malone Vanilla Anise includes notes of neroli, bergamot, wild fennel flower, star anise, oleander, tuberose, frangipani, purple vanilla orchid, clove, white amber, vetiver, vanilla bourbon absolute and tonka bean. It is available from Saks5thAvenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.



  • Linda: Dear Victoria,
    Thank you for this lovely review, which really makes the fragrance (Ihaven’t sniffed it yet!) come alive in my imagination. A fragrance which will linger throughout the day and into the evening is just what I’m searching for, and the vanilla you mention is particularly appealing. I hope to find this next time I’m in London, or online…
    Many thanks, once more! August 10, 2010 at 8:50am Reply

  • Carla: I read your review this morning and remembered that I actually had a sample in my stash. So, I dug it out and tried it. You know, it’s very nice, and I’m not a big Jo Malone fan. Then my SO walked in and commented that something smelled very good. He hardly ever notices what I wear, so this was a nice surprise. August 10, 2010 at 7:02pm Reply

  • Kate: V, you are back!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy to see all of these new reviews from you. Not familiar with Vanilla Anise, but I will add it to my to-try list.
    Kate August 11, 2010 at 8:33am Reply

  • k-scott: Victoria- Just wanted to let you know that it’s so nice to have you “back!” I’ve really been enjoying getting to read new posts from you regularly. 🙂

    I like the idea of of JM Vanilla & Anise more than I actually like the smell of it, mostly because my skin makes vanilla far too sweet. Have you had a chance to try any of the Jo Malone Colognes Intenses? I’m very intrigued by the descriptions of them but have not had the chance to sniff yet… August 11, 2010 at 10:57am Reply

  • Jenna: You are always able to pinpoint what exactly about the fragrance is interesting. I really missed your reviews. :)) August 11, 2010 at 1:56pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Linda, it is a lovely fragrance, delicate, yet with enough body. The drydown is more substantial, and this is what gives it a good tenacity. I have been enjoying it very much. August 11, 2010 at 2:40pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, compliments are always so pleasant, especially from our SOs! August 11, 2010 at 2:47pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Kate, thank you. Please let me know what you think of Vanilla Anise. August 11, 2010 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: k-scott,
    Thank you! I have so many notes from my smelling sessions over the past year, and it is fun to put them together.
    I have smelled Cologne Intense line very briefly, so I hesitate to give a final verdict, because I did not live with them enough. Oud & Bergamot was quite interesting, although I wished for a deeper woody note in it. August 11, 2010 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Jenna, thank you, nice to see you too! August 11, 2010 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Laura: Dear V!
    I bought this at the Jo Malone counter at Heathrow last December, en route to a coastal Norwegian voyage (we saw the Northern lights and many shooting stars above the Arctic Circle!), and it was the perfect scent for that great adventure. It is calming and, at the same time, warm and stimulating. I don’t think of it at all as belonging in the gourmand category. I’m not sure WHAT category I’d put it in, but then I don’t have to, do I ;D? I wore it through until spring. Can’t wait for cooler/cold weather to bring it out again. So glad you like it, too!
    L August 26, 2010 at 9:14pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Dear L, sounds so wonderful–the setting, the scent… I wear Vanilla Anise often when I travel, as I also find it calming and stimulating at the same time. Funny, but you know, when I first smelled it, I thought, “Laura might like it!” 🙂
    Hope that all is well!
    xoxoxo August 26, 2010 at 9:21pm Reply

  • Mileta: Victoria, I haven’t tried the cologne yet but I had the pleasure of smelling the candle – and it reminds me very much of Acqua di Parma’s Mandorlo di Sicilia. Did you get that sense? Both seem to have that nutty flavor and the anise brings just the right amount of spice. October 26, 2014 at 11:42am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t smelled Mandorlo di Sicilia for a while, but based on my memory, it makes sense. That anise note paired with milky sweetness might create the same impression. October 26, 2014 at 11:53am Reply

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