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During the autumn, it’s easy to gravitate toward strong, memory-triggering fragrances. From pumpkin spice lattes to crackling bonfires and apple orchards, the fall is arguably the time of year when people are most focused on scents.
If you’re like me, then vanilla is one of your favorite smells, but you’ve never found a vanilla perfume that didn’t smell sickly sweet or like you just stepped out of a bakery. At least, that was the case — until I tried Ellis Brooklyn’s VANILLA MILK Eau De Parfum.
Described as “delicious yet sophisticated, faceted yet smooth,” this fragrance is definitely not what you’d expect. To get the scoop on the totally unique perfume and what makes the perfect fall fragrance, In The Know spoke with the founder of Ellis Brooklyn, Bee Shapiro.
When first considering a vanilla fragrance, Shapiro had two things she wanted to accomplish: “First, I wanted something that was like very straightforward vanilla. But I also wanted something that was really cozy and lovely to wear because I think, sometimes, with vanilla scents, it can turn into this very gourmand, very cakey, very sweet thing, and it goes so over the top with that that you sort of lose yourself. So I wanted to make sure that whoever was wearing it didn’t feel like the vanilla was wearing them.”
Shapiro worked closely with Irish perfumer Meabh McCurtin to create this shapeshifting scent that is very vanilla-forward before transforming into something new with touches of peony rose, bourbon and musk.
“Yes, we have the vanilla; yes, we have the creamy milk accord, but then you have these florals, and you have some woods in there.” The founder further explained, “I think with all of our Ellis Brooklyn scents, ours scents actually get better the more you wear it and the more your body heats up.”
Unlike traditional vanilla scents that might be associated with baking or vanilla beans, Shapiro found inspiration for VANILLA MILK in her bedroom. Self-described as a very cozy person who loves her silk pillowcases and ultra-soft couch, she wanted this new fragrance to be totally enveloping. She also wanted it to elicit those warm, comfortable and tactile vibes you don’t necessarily find in the kitchen.
“I think a lot of time with gourmands, you’re like, ‘I have to start in the kitchen because it needs to be delicious,’ right? I think vanilla is so obviously delicious that if you push the delicious part too far, it starts to get not sophisticated,” she said.
For Shapiro, the touch of woods in VANILLA MILK is a great transitional note from fall to winter, but as the weather cools off, she says you may want to reconsider your perfume. “When the weather gets really cold, cold air doesn’t disperse scent as well. So what that means is that you need a stronger scent if you want it to carry or to get that compliment. If you want people to smell it on you, you need a stronger scent for winter.”
The founder suggests Ellis Brooklyn’s APRÉS Eau De Parfum for the upcoming season. This genderless scent will quickly win over any cold-weather-lovers who tend to find themselves (or their imaginations) at ski lodges during the winter.
“[APRÉS] was my reconnection with the wintery outdoors. During COVID, I went to the mountains a lot, and it reminded me of the aprés-ski scene and the nostalgia of it. [The scent] sort of takes you on that journey of the dewy first snow in the morning to the woods as you’re skiing or snowboarding through them, and then, later on, there’s the bourbon and praline and vanilla of the aprés ski smell.”
Basically, if you’ve ever wished for a perfume that bottled up the smell of a waffle house, smokey cocktails and the undeniable scent in the air before it snows, APRÉS is for you.
But regardless of whichever perfume you find yourself reaching for during the year, Shapiro insists that you find a scent that feels like you. “I don’t think we should wear a scent to transform ourselves into someone who we don’t recognize. I think scent should be an accent to whatever your mood is and maybe whatever direction you’re feeling.”
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