Easter came early to Hermès this year with the heady Madonna Lilies that bloom from a bottle titled “Vanille Galante”.
Unlike most of the other Hermessences, which quite clearly answer to their title (except, perhaps, Osmanthe Yunnan) - the vanilla here will not fulfill the craving of the vanillophiles who patiently awaited their dessert after clearing their plate from fresh peppers and a side of lavender.
Vanille Galante burst into the air like a flower rushing to display its colours from fear of loosing the attention of butterflies. Heady ylang ylang only but supports the main theme here - the infamous Madonna Lily, a symbol of purity and the Virgin Mary. Sliced cantaloupe sprinkled with salt brings to mind a giant Easter egg decorated by calone. Whether or not there is calone in Vanille Galante I cannot tell, but I’d like to think that this molecule found its way to the perfume to complete the picture of an Easter picnic under the sky. It’s the same cantaloupe from Un Jardin Apres la Mousson, just in a lesser dosage.
And when the vanilla finally makes an appearance it is more woody than dessert like, and perhaps will bring to mind a flavoured liquor rather than vanilla-dotted crème brûlée.
There is vanilla absolute in the base alright, but overall I would not describe Vanille Galante as a vanilla scent, but as a floral or a floriental at best. The dry down reminds me of Chanel’s Allured - a contrast of computer generated florals against a backdrop of woody vanilla. But Vanille Galante does not feel as artificial, and as with most Jean-Claude Ellena’s scents, this gown has such lightness and airiness about it that it’s easy to wear if it is not exactly your style or preferred colour.