Seductive Vanilla

By Molly Schiff

Do you have a memory of your mum baking a creamy, delicious English custard? The vanilla is bursting from the seams of this treat, enveloping you in sweetness and warmth. In America, the chilly but equally divine equivalent to this is a heaping bowl of vanilla ice cream. Travelling to Portugal, this comfort comes in the form of Pasteis de Nata, which is a delectable custard tart. They use a puff pastry base and top the vanilla custard with cinnamon. Vanilla is most commonly associated with deserts that open the door to your warmest memories. Eventually, it expanded to being included in scents that we all love today. But there is another side to it with a history worth exploring. A time-consuming process that is well worth the wait. Jovoy created a new perfume that highlights all sides of vanilla. The sweet, the seductive, the happy times. ‘Fire at Will’ captivates anyone lucky enough to smell it. Read more about it in Seductive Vanilla

What most would not expect due to the sweet taste and warm smells that vanilla is usually known to have, it is actually a fruit. It grows on a plant called vanilla planifolia that only flowers for a few hours. Because of this, pollination is near impossible. And if you get this far in the process, achieving the iconic flavour is nothing short of difficult. One has to extract a compound called vanillin, and this is only possible by boiling the vanilla beans from the plant and drying them until they are dark. It is something you want but have to work for. A spice that creates desire for more. 

Initially, the conquistadors in Spain had a monopoly on vanilla because nobody knew how to grow it outside of Mexico (one of their territories at the time). It blossomed naturally there due to the climate. And thus, it stayed within the confines of the European elite. Vanilla was combined with sugar from sugarcane plants to make desserts that only the extremely wealthy could afford.

If one day you happen to make a journey to an island called Réunion (off the coast of Madagascar), you will see the place where everything changed. Believe it or not, it was a twelve-year-old who cracked the code that stumped people for centuries. Edmond Albius discovered how to manipulate the vanilla plant. Thus, giving it the ability to reproduce anywhere. As a result of this, Vanilla exports from Madagascar began to soar.

Vanilla has evolved into a scent and taste evoking comfort around the world. From the decadent flans of South America to a traditional Egyptian basbousa cake immersed in vanilla extract and syrup, the spice has cloaked the world under its spell. It is difficult not to notice this flavour any time it is present, just as it would be hard to go unnoticed wearing the Jovoy scent. The subtle vanilla contrasts the explosion of sweetness that vanilla usually hits you with. You may well be left curious.

‘Fire at Will’ combines vanilla, mimosa, amber, brown sugar, musk, and vetiver. The base of amber, musk, and vetiver set the tone for the combination of tones that make this scent so seductive. Amber is both light and warm, and funny enough has hints of vanilla in it. Vetiver and musk add elements of woods, earth, and dryness to the blend. Musk specifically is an absolutely intoxicating scent. Vetiver could remind one of uncut grass on a fresh summer day. The heart note highlights vanilla and brown sugar, which provides the sugar and warmth that is so familiar to us. At the head layer, Jovoy includes the mimosa flower, giving something saccharine a dry and dusty touch. How each and every one of these elements works together in the blend leaves the perfume mysterious and alluring. Seductive vanilla indeed.

The brand Jovoy came to life in Paris, originally created by perfumer Blanche Arvoy. She created perfumes for her contemporaries, with bottles that had images of a dalmatian dog, cat, rider on top of a camel, and a parrot. It was super popular in its early days, but as times passed and trends changed, it faded away. However, in 2006, it was resurrected by François Hénin. Hénin breathed life back into Jovoy, and picked up the company by doing it exactly as she would: making perfumes for his contemporaries. And now, one and a half decades later, Jovoy has once again taken off. 

The special edition of Fire at Will comes to you in a passionate red, snakeskin print box. You open the box and see the bottle, the sleek rectangular shape with smooth edges that hold the fragrance. Tinted red, Jovoy is highlighting the seductive side of vanilla through and through. The words “Fire at Will” in gold are on the front of the bottle, and the lid colour resembles the same shiny gold. 

From a worldly history to a lucrative and luscious spice, Vanilla takes on many forms. The world has become its oyster, and it has captured the attention of most. It is a scent smelling like home, bringing about the comfort and warmth of fond memories. Jovoy has taken all these elements and blended them in the aroma that is ‘Fire at Will’.

If you enjoyed Seductive Vanilla, why not check out Stop and Smell the Roses