Why Vanilla Perfume Is So Adored By Consumers And Perfumers, According To Our Fragrance Expert

Whether you love it or hate it, vanilla is ever-present. While some may find the scent sensual and indulgent, others describe it as bland and boring. Still, vanilla remains one of the most coveted fragrances in the world of perfumes, from high-end to affordable brands, and we've spoken to a fragrance expert to find out why.

Lynette Reed, the founder of Illume Candles, a candle and fragrance company, is one of many scent artisans who can't get enough of sultry vanilla. "I used to instruct the fragrance labs to add a bit of vanilla to almost all of the fragrances in my collections," Reed exclusively told us, explaining that the sweet scent complements nearly every other scent. "It didn't matter if it was a floral, fruit, citrus, ozonic ... I felt that vanilla had a way of rounding out a fragrance, adding a touch of warmth, and making it inviting."

Beyond its ability to blend well with a wide array of notes, vanilla is a staple kitchen ingredient. The fruits of the vanilla plant are frequently used in both cooking and baking, which might evoke fond memories for many. Reed shared, "For me, my mom baking in the kitchen and the feeling of being taken care of and that everything was going to be okay is what comes up when I smell vanilla." Interestingly, there's more to vanilla's allure that keeps us coming back for more.

Vanilla is nature's sultry stimulant

Throughout history, vanilla-infused foods and drinks were often enjoyed by royalty, who largely believed it was a divine gift. However, despite its esteemed heritage, the term "vanilla" somehow became synonymous with anything bland (take the vanilla dating trend, for example). Granted, while vanilla ice cream might not be the most adventurous flavor one can go for, vanilla itself is a natural aphrodisiac.

Notably, a study published by Pharmacognosy Journal in 2012 found that a daily dose of 200 mg of vanillin, a key component of vanilla, had an enhancing effect on the sexual performance and behavior of male Wistar rats. What's more, the scent of vanilla has a similar effect on humans, boosting sexual desire and even adrenaline.

So, next time you visit the fragrance shop, put the aphrodisiac theory to the test and opt for a perfume with warm vanilla tones as its base. Interestingly, according to TikTok, men love vanilla-infused perfumes, making it likely that your vanilla experiment will have a favorable outcome.

Vanilla's iconic sophistication is timeless

Moreover, as Lynette Reed exclusively pointed out to us, vanilla is universally adored because it's easily appreciated even by those who aren't perfume enthusiasts. The versatility of the vanilla bean allows its scent to range from overwhelmingly sweet to sultry and mysterious, depending on its chemical composition.

While some may discredit the sweeter vanilla as tacky, vanilla fragrances remain a popular choice for good reason. The perfume market offers countless variations of the beloved scent, including more sophisticated takes, ensuring there's a version of vanilla for every nose. For instance, vanilla can have deep notes that are woodsy in nature rather than only sweet — it is a plant, after all! You can even find vanillas that smell like they've been gently kissed by fire, boasting a smoke-tinged smell. Clearly, a high-quality vanilla perfume is a far cry from the overly sweet (and often artificial, might we add) vanillas found in popular body mists and lotions, so don't let that fool you.

Another key reason vanilla fragrances can't seem to be dethroned is their longevity. Vanilla is frequently used as a base note in many perfumes, and base notes last longer than middle and top ones. "Vanilla will always be vanilla and have its place, but there will always be other notes that have their 10 minutes of fame as well," Reed shared, singling out green notes as a current trend. However, leafy scents are typically middle notes, making them shorter-lived. So, when choosing your next signature fragrance, don't underestimate the iconic vanilla.