Scent Sample Sunday: JD Vanille Farfelue

Jeffrey Dame is well known to perfumistas, as the founder of Jeffrey Dame Perfumery and creator of indie classics like Dark Horse and Black Flower Mexican Vanilla. He and perfumer Hugh Spencer have created a line of what he calls “post-modern perfumes”, one of which is a major favorite of mine (Duality). But today, I’m trying out another in the line: Vanille Farfelue. The name translates to “crazy vanilla”, as Mr. Dame explained:

“It’s hard to make a great vanilla perfume, but it’s so very easy to make a good vanilla scent. Basically, you can put on a dab of vanilla food extract from your kitchen pantry and someone is bound to tell you how wonderful you smell. So vanilla is easy then. Using aldehydic notes in perfumery is also so very easy, but using aldehydes well or in an interesting manner is exceedingly difficult. A decent slug of aldehydes blended with say a classic rose note will transport you immediately to….a fusty and dry old-fashioned perfume from eighty years ago which is somehow one-dimensional and overwhelming at the same time. Aldehydic perfumes are often nose-wrinklers. But in a perfume workbench eureka moment, using aldehydic notes as a lift to slice through a sticky vanilla note and seeing the composition elevate up into the air to a place perfume normally doesn’t go to — now that’s crazy, a crazy vanilla….JD VANILLE FARFELUE. Sprinkle a touch of this and that into this aldehydic vanilla blend and you have a short concise perfume formula from JD JEFFREY DAME which turns heads every which way you go.”

The opening of Vanille Farfelue is indeed strongly aldehydic, and I love it. One immediately smells the kinship to Chanel No. 5 and Chanel No. 22. The heart notes are all floral: rose, violet, lily of the valley, ylang ylang. Base notes include vanilla, sandalwood, and vetiver. This combination really is clever; Vanille Farfelue starts off like a vintage floral, albeit with a lighter touch, and evolves into something like a modern gourmand, without being sweet or cloying. It got an enthusiastic response from my husband, who is drawn to vanilla scents (as are so many people).

Real vanilla is a very complex compound, and in recent years, the cost of vanilla beans has skyrocketed, due to major storm damage in Madagascar, an important producer of vanilla. Chemists have known how to create synthetic vanillin since the 19th century, so we’re not in danger of losing our beloved vanilla. And believe it or not, there is actually an ice cream flavor called “Crazy Vanilla”!

Ice cream cone with crazy vanilla, Newport Creamery

Crazy Vanilla ice cream, from Newport Creamery

Vanille Farfelue is a delightful, happy fragrance. It is friendly and comforting, without being sticky or gooey. I like it very much, though I think my heart still belongs to JD’s Duality, of that line. There are so many outstanding fragrances with strong vanilla notes, like Shalimar and its flankers, that I can’t say Vanille Farfelue will displace any of those classics. But it is charming, it lasts a good while, and it does have that aldehydic opening and a floral surprise at its heart. I will enjoy wearing it!

Here is the recipe for the beautiful vanilla/citrus cake pictured above and below, from the blog My French Country Home.

Citrus cake with vanilla icing and flowers, by Molly Wilkinson

Molly Wilkinson’s Citrus Cake, My French Country Home

What is your favorite fragrance with vanilla notes?

5 thoughts on “Scent Sample Sunday: JD Vanille Farfelue

  1. Like you OH, I love, love love Duality. It is my favorite modern perfume and could almost be my signature scent if I were a signature scent kind of person. It makes me so incredibly happy to wear it and suits me perfectly. I’ve already purchased a back-up bottle. I also have a bottle of Vanille Farfelue and Labdanum Doux, both of which are excellent as well. Your review is spot on!. I enjoyed a sample of Mimosa Mixte but didn’t love it enough for a full bottle.
    JD perfumes are incredibly qualitive and he keeps his prices so reasonable which is really unbelievable.
    Singularity is coming out in Dec/Jan! I received a sample and it is fabulous as well. Eagerly waiting to purchase a full bottle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We must be JD twins, as I too just got a backup bottle of Duality and have one each of Labdanum Doux and Vanille Farfelue! Duality was out of stock for a while and I was worried, but it’s now available again, at least on Amazon. Have you tried the reissue of Anne Klein II? It’s not quite the original, but it’s very close and very cheap!


      • We are definitely JD twins! I tend to enjoy similar perfumes to you. I worried when Duality was out of stock and emailed JD. I was told it was coming back the next week, and that I’d be notified when Singularity is released.
        I’ve not tried Anne Klein II and recall your post about it. I will seek it out! Sounds like a safe blind buy for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Scent Sample Sunday: JD Mimosa Mixte – Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities

  3. Pingback: May Melange Marathon: Mimosa Mixte – Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities

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