You might have noticed the annual onslaught of rose-themed articles and posts in your social media feeds in the lead-up to Valentine's Day. Well, I wear rose perfumes all year 'round, and I'm a bit of a cynic where Valentine's Day is concerned, so this post is really business-as-usual for me! Les Parfums de Rosine was one of the first niche fragrance lines that I "studied" in the early 2000s and I still enjoy wearing my longtime Rosine favorites and exploring the house's recent releases.
Rosine's latest launch is a quartet called Les Extravagants that's billed as a more "extreme" interpretation of rose's many nuances. Vanille Paradoxe is the first "Extravagant" that I've tried. It was reportedly inspired by the Bourbon roses and vanilla plantations of Réunion and was developed for Les Parfums de Rosine by Delphine Lebeau. Its composition includes notes of juniper, rosemary, grapefruit, rose, angelica, cardamom, cedar, vanilla, musk and ambroxan.
The "paradox" of this fragrance seems to be its pairing of warm and cool facets — we often think of vanilla as a warmer note, but as I recently discussed with a frag-acquaintance in person, cool vanilla perfumes are really intriguing and fit more easily into our own everyday lives than cuddly, gourmand vanilla scents. What do I mean by "cool"? In this case, Vanille Paradoxe starts off as an herbal vanilla, as odd as that may sound, with its juniper and rosemary sounding out as aromatic green top notes.
As Vanille Paradoxe evolves and melds with my skin, it becomes more of a citrus-and-spice vanilla. I particularly love its cardamom note. (Tangent: why doesn't cardamom show up in more perfumes? I like House of Cherry Bomb Rose Cardamom and was disappointed in Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom...otherwise, I can't think of many other examples.) Vanille Paradoxe gradually turns warmer, once its herbal introduction and citrus highlights have burned off. The rose note is very subtle: vanilla definitely plays a larger role, especially in the musky and sweet (but not too sugary) dry down.
Vanille Paradoxe has above-average staying power on my skin and left some delectable traces of scent on my coat cuffs. After its initial application, it had moderate sillage and fit smoothly into my day. If you like other spicy-sweet contemporary vanilla scents like Atelier Cologne Vanille Incensée or Diptyque Eau Duelle, then you should give Vanille Paradoxe a try; it may be your way into the Rosine garden.
Les Parfums de Rosine Vanille Paradoxe is available as 100 ml ($170) Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Les Parfums de Rosine under Perfume Houses.
Extra: I have a bottle of Vanille Paradoxe to give away, look for that post next week!