First, I'd like to say that I thought the Cologne Absolue and the Soap smell different enough to warrant reviewing both of them. Vanille Insensee Cologne Absolue is so dry, you really can't help but conjure up images of incense smoke curling into the air. The vanilla is not overly sweet, and the fragrance overall is pretty linear. This is one of those perfumes you actually want to be linear; such is the nature of incense. I stopped burning incense once I started getting migraines several years ago (not because of the incense, but it didn't help), and I miss it a lot. Vanille Insensee fills a need for me not previously met: I now have an incense-based personal fragrance to use during the summer. It's soft and thin enough that it never becomes cloying, but it has enough body to it that my incense cravings are truly and completely satisfied. The hint of lime at the outset is so subtle and doesn't really smell citrusy, it offers more of a high-pitched accent to the blend, lightening it up considerably. It is delicious without being overly gourmand, and so refreshing to wear. Based on the quality of the fragrance, excellent price point and uniqueness, this is a must-have full bottle for me.
notes: Lime, coriander, jasmine, vanilla, oak moss, woods
Now, on to the accoutrement. The Vanille Insensee soap is the first bar of soap I've bought in over a decade. That's right, I'm a liquid body wash kind of girl. This, however, is no ordinary soap. It is finely milled, the bar is very large and highly scented (enough to fill the entire bathroom with fragrance), and the lather is satiny soft. The scent of the bar has a more prevalent lime note in it that makes it great for use as a soap. The coriander is also more noticeable and gives it a stronger herbal impression than the Cologne Absolue. The scent doesn't last on the skin for too long, but that's okay with me, since it won't interfere with my daily perfume testing that way.
The packaging is marvelous. As you can see, it's wrapped in cream-colored, slightly textured paper and has a leather mahogany colored band with the Atelier Cologne logo on it with a metal snap surrounding it. I wanted to wear it as a bracelet, but it's too big on me. Therefore, my cat Troutie has happily inherited it as a new plaything.
I plan on buying the soap in Orange Sanguine as well (the Cologne Absolue is absolutely stunning), and I am also very hot to try several of Atelier's candles.
Vanille Insensee is available in 30ml bottles ($60), 200ml bottles ($170), bar soap ($15) and candles ($45) at Ateliercologne.com, and also at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
[bar of soap was purchased by me for my personal use, perfume sample was obtained for free via the Atelier Cologne Facebook page]