I am a huge fan of vanilla fragrances. Most people love vanilla, whether in scent or edible form, so it's no shocker that many gravitate towards them. In the fragrance world, especially, there are so many types of vanilla fragrances that you can own almost all of them and none would smell alike, at least for the first few hours. Vanilla with spice, vanilla with smoke, vanilla with wood.....vanilla with fruit, musk or sugar, straight vanilla, dry vanilla, herbal vanilla, sweet vanilla......if you want it, you can find it.
That's not to say that all the vanillas are great. I definitely have my vanilla preferences, and some overly sweet vanillas over the years have filled me trepidation when ordering vanilla perfumes. I live in an area where I don't have access to any scents other than a rural Macy's that really has the slimmed-down version of the other stores, so many of my purchases are blind buys if I can't get a sample. For this reason, I totally ignored Tihota when it first appeared for purchase. When Tihota was released the first time around everyone pretty much went nuts. Touted on blogs as reviews as ethereal, amazing, true, the best, the most amazing cloud-like vanilla imaginable, I quickly became anxious every time someone mentioned it, thinking that I must be really missing out on something. It was almost a relief when the limited edition became unavailable....I could let go of it.
Then it showed up again in 2012.
Again I was tormented. It sat, mocking me, from my wishlist. Finally, in a fit of bravado and devil-may-care spending, I bought it. I hadn't even tried it, but obviously, with all the hype, it must be great!
Then I read some reviews that said it smelled like Vanilla Lace. Uh-oh. Vanilla Lace is a loathed vanilla in my book. Now I was full of anxiety again, and it seemed like forever to get the bottle. When I got my package, it smelled fragrantly of vanilla. Again, uh-oh. I opened it and the bottle had slightly leaked. Luckily it was negligable so it was still full, but I could already sense the flat vanilla. I had been looking forward to creamy and tempered so now I had a bad attitude. I sprayed it on and for the rest of the day walked around in a storm cloud. This was not the vanilla I had envisioned.
But wait, there's more.
After 4 months of it sitting in my closet, I gave it another shot.
The first spray: flat vanilla, again. Sweet with a hint of smoke, which honestly I don't love. But I decided to be patient. A few minutes later, it got even sweeter, but some of the 'flat' aspect started going away. It seemed like the vanilla was trying to figure out how to work with my skin and it started to have personality. 15 minutes in it felt more comfortable....a sweet vanilla with a hint of the blossom that created the pod. I was relieved that this was not Vanilla Lace on me, which I found to be a cheap musk bomb over a bit of vanilla (sorry to anyone who likes it, it may smell lovely on you, but that's what it did to me).
Over time the slight orchid element remained but only hovering in the background. The vanilla retained its sweetness but never crossed the line into too sweet. I don't really get a vanilla pod from this, or extract. I get dark vanilla, almost liquor-like in intensity, but if you're looking for creamy it's not here. If you're looking for a steady, dependable vanilla, this is it. And yes, you must be a huge vanilla fan to love it because it's going to stick to you for hours. Very smooth, lingering and beautiful.
I also noticed it's great for layering, if that's your thing. I like to layer this with Bruno Acampora Musc. The dirty, mushroom like opening is nicely tempered by Tihota and the animalic musc balanced by the vanilla is absolutely sexy.....and it doesn't turn into my nemesis Vanilla Lace (again, sorry Vanilla Lace lovers, but we all have our limitations).