General Question

davidk's avatar

I must admit to loving the "scent of a woman" as Al Pacino might say. The scent of vanilla will always turn my head. Are any other guys out there seemingly hardwired for vanilla-based fragrances? If so, why?

Asked by davidk (1414 points ) September 29th, 2009

Why do vanilla-based fragrances always turn my head?

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16 Answers

drdoombot's avatar

Women smell like vanilla? This is news to me.

marinelife's avatar

For my husband it is suntan lotion not vanilla.

Do you remember why you associate vanilla with women?

kruger_d's avatar

Studies have shown that many men associate vanilla and cinnamon with attraction. Women prefer licorice scents.

Harp's avatar

Oh, yes. If I catch a whiff of vanilla pipe tobacco, for instance, it gives me a rush.

The plant that makes Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract is about an hour north of me, and I took a tour of the plant once. They said that after the extraction process they pay to have the spent beans hauled away. I asked if I could fill my pickup truck with ‘em to put on my garden for mulch, and they agreed. I had vanilla three inches deep in my flower beds. Amazing scent after the rain!

As to why, Some of it may date back to my childhood memories of baking cookies with my mom. Part of the ritual for me was the waft of aroma from the mixer after the dash of vanilla had been added. I remember wondering why women didn’t just use that as perfume, since it smelled so much better than the “real” perfume.

davidk's avatar

Marina,
Suntan lotion. I understand the association.
Harp,
Interesting mulch for flower beds. Worth a try.

davidk's avatar

This past spring I was in France and went to the Fragonard Perfume Museum factory in Grasse. I know…I know…sounds very MS. I asked one of the perfume masters why vanilla was so popular as a base, and he said that many men prefer vanilla because it is a more “well-rounded” scent. In other words, it feels like it has more substance than floral scents, which women often prefer, but are actually “less approachable” from a man’s point of view.

mammal's avatar

Yeah right, me too, i think it is a homely, maternal cooking thing.

Zen's avatar

@davidk Welcome to fluther. If you want to address someone, click on the @ then the name. :-)

Sarcasm's avatar

Vanilla is definitely my single favorite scent on earth (Cinnamon and Strawberries follow quite a bit behind).

Not sure what those have to do with female scents.

charliecompany34's avatar

yup, when i’m baking that cake from scratch for my woman, i gits horny! what is it about vanilla? a sweet pheremone additive for sure!

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’ve heard the smell of pumpkin spice is an aphrodisiac. I don’t know if thats true but it is a nice smell.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I think the vanilla thing must be really love-hate. You’re not the first person I’ve seen say they love it, but my boyfriend and I both think it’s nasty.

evegrimm's avatar

I don’t have much to add, except to say a few “perfumey” things:
—There are many, many different varieties of vanilla, and the way it’s collected can also have an effect on the end scent. The different vanillas have different “tones” to them, and so many people will prefer one vanilla to another, even though both are “vanillas”. Vanilla can smell like chocolate, like flowers, like bourbon, like cake…etc. It can be collected in many ways, including with alcohol (more traditional glass-bottle type perfumes) and with water and with wood smoking.

—Vanilla may be popular because it’s similar to a skin musk. Although not identical, many better-made vanillas seem to heighten that delicious skin smell, without overpowering it the way other perfumes can.

—Vanilla may be popular with women because cooking vanilla is very widely available, and comparatively less expensive than traditional perfumes. (Just conjecture on my part, really.)

As a heterosexual female, I don’t feel a traditional vanilla would smell good on a man; however, a proper smoked vanilla with a base of ooh, say, aged oak, would be very enticing.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Not sure, but I to find a vanilla based fragrance on a woman to be a real turn on. I am amazed by how subtle the sense of smell is that it works so well on my emotions and libido.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I know that the men in Beverly Hills loved vanilla….or a vanilla-wearing diva, that is.

Lest we forget…the iconic character in television history who was to forever immortalize vanilla extract as an aphrodisiac…Granny Clampett of Beverly Hills formerly of Bugtussle, Tennesee. Her prowess with men, no doubt attributed to her fragrance, is legendary.

SeventhSense's avatar

I like musk.

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