Last month, four friends were in Paris — almost at the same time. All I wanted from one of them was a bottle of Serge Lutens Rahät Loukoum from the Jardins du Palais Royal shop. These days you can buy a bell jar of Rahät Loukoum for $300 at Barneys New York, but the same bottle can be had in Paris for around $160 (and honestly, that’s all Rahät Loukoum is worth to me). Well, my first set of friends left Paris Rahät Loukoum-less, and by the time I was aware of their failure, the second pair of friends were on their way to Nice and other points south. (Note to self: “I’d love to see the Serge Lutens shop and buy your perfume!” trumps “Well…I’ll try….”) So, now it’s back to monitoring all my friends’ travel plans (since my next trips are nowhere near Paris).
Without Rahät Loukoum, I’m currently searching for a candy scent (I can’t believe I’m writing that, but it’s true). I used to hate food-y perfumes, especially sweet ones full of sugar and vanilla. Now, I have a craving…but I only need one such perfume in my collection. I’m in the process of auditioning some candy-shop fragrances and that search brings me to Agonist Vanilla Marble.
Before reviewing Vanilla Marble, let me thank Agonist for FINALLY making their perfumes (all well-done) available in bottles other than the exorbitantly priced “glass art” containers. The new “simple” sprays are priced at 125€ (about $160 US) — still not inexpensive, but priced much better than the 880€/$1,145 you’ll pay for the “art” bottle (shown at top…refills sold separately).
Vanilla Marble starts off with a deep, rich, almost “chocolaty” vanilla aroma (imagine smelling a box full of chocolate-covered vanilla creams). Pungent/liquor-y almond appears next. As the perfume develops, a variety of vanillic notes are noticeable: tonka bean, benzoin (but without its ‘incense’ vibe), and white fig (an under-ripe fig dipped in sugar syrup). Vanilla Marble is vanilla on a zoom setting, but it never becomes “too much” for me and it doesn’t dominate a room — it stays close to skin. Near the end of Vanilla Marble’s development all its notes seem to create an aroma I’ll call “vanilla leather” (this scent makes me hungry one minute, and think about buying a new wallet the next).
I thoroughly enjoy Vanilla Marble and if it were, say, $80, I might buy it; at $160 though…all I can think of is Rahät Loukoum.
Agonist Vanilla Marble is a unisex fragrance and has good lasting power; it includes fragrance notes of vanilla infusion, almond, tiare flower, orchid, white fig, amber, Australian sandalwood, patchouli, benzoin, tonka bean and Madagascar vanilla. Vanilla Marble is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum (see bottle at right, 125€) or in the art glass bottle shown at top (880€). For buying information, see the listing for Agonist under Perfume Houses.