I'm surprised at how much I enjoy these vanilla fragrances. Two general categories of notes I tend to shy away from are vanilla and citrus. So then, perhaps, it's not a surprise that in a scent that mixes the two together, I may not find happiness. The notes in Vanille Tonka are vanilla, frankincense, tonka bean, tangerine, and lime.
Instead of the heady sweet incense of my beloved Loukhoum, I instead get a sharp, dry, resinous incense. I would have thought the tonka bean would sweeten it somewhat, and perhaps it does, but the citrus notes, especially the lime, bring out an edge that seems hard to soften. This must play up the resinous quality of the frankincense.
This fragrance is sharp and smoky without being either refreshing or sensual. It makes me think of a rental cabin in the woods. I've just arrived in the freshly cleaned room, with it's polished wood paneling and red plaid bedspreads. Lamps from the 1950s with their original parchment shades adorn the bedside tables; oil paintings of the surrounding landscape by local artists decorate the walls. A wood-burning stone fireplace occupies the wall opposite the bed. An older black-and-white television, topped with rabbit ears, stares blankly out from the top of the bureau.
I suppose it's something that I get such a vivid picture from this scent. The vanilla that comes through here feels like a compromise (even as a main note). Funny, but as a harsh incense scents go, I think I prefer Etro's Messe de Minuit. I like the damp dirt that exists in that scent, as opposed to this sort of PineSol and vanilla candle thing I smell happening here. Sorry, to those who love this scent; I'm afraid it's not for me. Perhaps I am not worthy.
*photo from luckyscent