Mancera Roses Vanille (2011) is a fragrance that feels like it was the base for the later Mancera Roses Greedy (2012), as it contains many of the pleasant aspects found in the dry down of that later scent, but none of the hangups. There is some of the same candy sweetness here but it isn’t delivered as fruit candy like in Roses Greedy, and overall I feel like this is a much better, more balanced perfume that was perhaps taken further in the 2012 follow-up, losing what little unisex appeal it had (marginal at best) along with its grace. The premise behind Roses Vanille is simple so I won’t draw this review out: it’s roses and vanilla, with some balancing players for depth and diffusion, easy peasy. So really, if you don’t think roses and vanilla combined will work for you, there really is no need to even try this perfume, as it pretty much single-mindedly drives home that theme. I’ve smelled a lot of Mancera and Montale rose thingamajiggers now, and I can tell you whatever is going on to make up the rose note is a sort of shared house note between the two brands too, so if you’ve not found other rose perfumes from either house to suit you, the same warning to avoid applies. Here is an example of another simple pleasure I am totally agreeable with smelling, but wouldn’t be much interested in buying, ergo I like this enough to give it thumbs up, but smelling it is like going through the motions for my nose-brain.
The opening is going to be that Montale/Mancera “megarose” synthetic rose note, like a smoother more finessed version of the rose most commonly had in a lot of big-name big-price niche these days featuring rose and oud, rose and patchouli, rose and musk, you name it, but fattened up per the vanilla theme here. Maybe Pierre Montale created this accord and sells it to other houses, because obviously these bottles sell for $180 new instead of $350 like some other brands that feature this type of semi-candied rose, but I digress. Rather than swaddle the rose in green notes and bergamot like you may be used to in chypre interpretations, or dirtied up with amber and leather like some other houses have been doing, Mancera just shoves citral, ethyl maltol, ethyl vanillin, and a white musk in here to call it a day. The creaminess of the vanilla makes the musk smell a bit more virile and fatty than it otherwise would, but there isn’t much development beyond settling down to that roses and musky vanilla, making a “poor man’s” Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (2000) with a bit of candy rose. There are trace woody aromachemicals here, and an almost almond-like nuttiness in the late dry down, but that’s well after you have to put nose to skin in order to keep smelling it, so we’re talking past 12 hours. Best use is romantic evening wear and although I’m going out on a limb to say this is unisex, I can see the conservative “think tank” guys clutching their bottles of “men’s cologne” sneering in the back.
Long lasting, dilligent in sillage for most of the time on skin, and fairly fundamental in what it provides, the only real fault I can find in Roses Vanille is how boring such a linear and consistent one-two punch of a fragrance can be. Lovers of this particular combination (and niche houses love making these rose one-two combo moves) have a literal glut of options with little variation in quality besides more exorbitant packaging the higher up the Veblen goods food chain you go. If cost effectiveness is a concern, Mancera Roses Vanille is a good option, and if the shopping mall rose on steroids genre that the later Roses Greedy inhabits is unappealing, Roses Vanille keeps the good bits while tossing the bad ones. What you see is what you get and there isn’t a whole lot more to say. A simple synthetic rose vanilla perfume with consistent performance may have once been the purview of a $15-per-bottle drugstore brand like Coty in the eighties, but thanks to the widening wealth gap in Western society caused by emerging corporate oligarchy (aka “late-stage capitalism” for the optimists), you can expect to pay nearly $200 for the same relative quality and performance you could once expect of something you picked up at a Walgreens. The alternative is the sugared geraniol water that passes for a rose perfume in the designer realm, at least until people get sick of bottled vapidity like they did after being force-fed it in the 90’s. If this sounds like an alright deal to you, check out Roses Vanille and buy from a discounter for about half-price. Thumbs up.