Move over Tihota, I’ve found something else. Van-ile is almost as good, but costs much less. Imagine airy vanilla, wrapped up with ribbons of lemon, tangy orange, orchid floralcy, and clean musk in a silky cloud that soon turns into the delicious coziness of silky, cake batter-style vanilla made from expensive Tahitian beans. That’s the essence of Van-ile (officially spelt as “Van-île”), an extremely simple, unpretentious eau de parfum that bears a strong resemblance to Indult‘s famous Tihota for almost all of its life, only for a third of the price. It’s a soft, easy-to-wear scent that is so appealing, I bought a bottle for myself. It helps that Van-ile is very reasonably priced, especially for the quality in question, and I’m a sucker for a good deal. More than that, though, it’s been extremely difficult for me to find a vanilla that is neither so sweet it would trigger a diabetic coma nor too heavily imbued with the ghastly white musk that I loathe. Van-ile fits the bill.
Let’s start at the beginning, though, since Jacques Zolty is probably not a name with which you’re familiar. I certainly wasn’t. According to Fragrantica, he was a French supermodel in the 1970s and then, in 2007, founded a perfume house whose creations celebrated the smell, culture, and vibe of the island of St. Bart’s in the West Indies. In 2014, the brand was bought by Roberto Drago, the owner of Laboratorio Olfattivo. He asked Cecile Zakorian (creator of Masque’s Tango, Majda Bekkali’s Mon Nom Est Rouge, Jovoy’s Private Label, and other fragrances) to make two new scents for the line, and one of them was Van-ile.
Van-ile is an eau de parfum that was released in late 2014. According to First in Fragrance, its name is a play on “vanille (vanilla) and île (island)… in French, the native language of Saint-Barthélemy. This fragrance is a passionate homage to vanilla planifolia, the sugar orchid that grows up symbiotically with the sun in the Caribbean and makes life sweeter on the most beautiful and glamourous island in the Antilles.” The perfume’s notes are:
Top Note: Bergamot, Orange, Almond
Heart Note: Vanilla, Heliotrope, Frangipani, Jasmine, Patchouly, Powdery Notes
Base Note: Vanilla Bean, Leather, Animalic Notes, Oakmoss, Musk