Laboratorio Olfattivo Vanhera Cristian Marianciuc©
Vanilla as a perfumery material is as ubiquitous as it is polarizing. Depending on the characteristic(s) of vanilla that the perfumer decides to highlight in a fragrance, perfume lovers will most likely be divided into groups that are quite distinct when it comes to their affinity for this increasingly prized ingredient. From a deliciously gourmand headliner to a solid supporting act in the background, vanilla is a quasi-omnipresent raw material.
Luca Maffei, photo courtesy of the perfumer
In the case of Laboratorio Olfattivo Vanhera, composed by 2x Art and Olfaction Award Winning Luca Maffei in 2017, the vanilla appears to be playing a dual role: hero and villain at the same time: something that needs to be highlighted and celebrated as well as something that needs to be obscured or even conquered. It is the actor that steps in and out of the spotlight, enjoying the dark and the light equally.
“Vanhera: a dark Vanilla, an unexpected fragrance that recalls intriguing and unclear sensations. A journey around one of the most iconic perfumery’s notes. A Vanilla perfume, not the usual Vanilla fragrance where just sweet notes are emphasized. A battle, a conflict among ingredients.” -notes from the brand
Vanhera opens with a spicy citrus rush: sparkling bergamot, aromatic cardamom and fiery pink and Sichuan pepper. Alternate waves of cool vanilla and comforting woodiness are felt shortly after the notes in the opening quiet down. The intensity of these notes is short lived, but they don’t disappear completely. Rather, they step aside from the spotlight and support the other notes in their rise and subsequent “fall”.
visualization of the materials in Vanhera Cristian Marianciuc©
There is something decidedly cold about this fragrance. A cool tension between the heart and base notes creates an intriguing polarity, a fluctuating magnetism. An almost palpable love-hate relationship which switches focus between similarities and differences between the facets of Vanhera. This is an olfactive “survival of the fittest” struggle, a carefully calculated campaign of offense and defense. But this battle has no victors nor vanquished. Laboratorio Olfattivo Vanhera is a choreographed conflict, one in which the notes are meant to be at odds with each other but never dissonant.
Laboratorio Olfattivo expand on this idea: “In Vanhera, a Madagascar Vanilla absolute tries to find a place in a universe of ingredients that want to suppress it. Vanhera is surrounded, almost besieged, by spicy notes of Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon; it is embraced by warm notes of Sandalwood and Cashmeran and it is stained by Karmawood, Timbersilk and ambery notes. Nevertheless, the Vanilla absolute arises and makes its presence felt, conquering heart and soul of whoever smells it.”
Laboratorio Olfattivo Vanhera is an atypical vanilla-centric fragrance. It relies on the raw materials themselves but also on the friction and tension between them to tell its story. With unexpected “plot twists” and surprises, Vanhera is epic in a literary way. It will delight the unsuspecting wearer and it will excite those who pay close attention to the tales it wants to tell.
Notes: Bergamot, Cardamom, Sichuan Pepper, Pink Pepper, Sandalwood, Cashmere Wood, Cinnamon, Vanilla absolute, Karmawood, Timbersilk, Amber, Musk.
Disclaimer: A bottle of Vanhera was sent to me by Laboratorio Olfattivo for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Cristian Marianciuc, Senior Contributor
visualization of Vanhera Cristian Marianciuc©
Thanks to the generosity of Laboratorio Olfattivo, we have a draw for one bottle of Vanhera for one registered reader in the EU and the US. You must register or your entry will not count. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what sparks your interest based on Cristian’s review of Laboratorio Olfattivo Vanhera and where you live. Draw closes 9/22/2021
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