“Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum.” Drenched in vanilla. If Captain Jack Sparrow and the pirates of the Caribbean ever wore a vanilla fragrance, I suspect it might be Provanilla from Providence Perfume Co., a boozy, quietly smoky, dark, but surprisingly tropical scent. It is actually what I had hoped Maria Candida Gentile‘s Noir Tropical to be, but wasn’t.
Providence Perfume Co. is an American artisanal brand founded by Charna Ethier around 2009. According to her website, she had spent several years “working for large beauty and fragrance companies” before deciding to create a natural line of perfumes that “embrace the finest natural botanical ingredients from around the world.” Everything is hand-done in small batches.
In early 2015, she released Provanilla, an eau de parfum and her very first vanilla fragrance. A detailed blog entry on her site demonstrates the surprising challenges in handling vanilla, the complicated creative process behind Provanilla in specific, and the background to the scent. Apparently, clients asked Ms. Ethier for a vanilla scent, and the queries came every single day. However, she was initially quite reluctant and unenthused. She had thought vanilla to be a simplistic, “ho-hum-yawn” genre and potentially linear in nature, but she “learned very quickly that creating a natural vanilla scent is very, very, very challenging.”