Vanille Botanique by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

I was delighted to receive a small bottle of a body wash from Indie perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently. As big a fan as I am of her perfumes, I have never tried any of her body products, so I was kind of fan-girl excited. Truthfully: I geeked out a bit.

The bottle is labeled "Vanille Botanique" and carries Dawn's Essence Studios label, but that may just have been out of convenience. The product name is hand-written on the label. Sadly, I can't find this body wash on DSH's website anywhere, and I haven't heard back from her when I asked her about it.

Anyway, what I have sussed out is that this is probably related to her all-botanical scent by the same name. You can buy Vanille Botanique, the edp, on IndieScents, where it is exclusively sold.

Here's what IndieScents says about the perfume:

Subtle citrus in the top, warm, sensuous florals mixed with rich gourmand notes in the heart and luxurious base of balsams, resins and of course vanilla.

IndieScents also says the product won't ship until October and is available for pre-order only, which is strange. It's February.

At any rate, the description of this scent matches well with what I'm smelling when I use the bath gel.

If you hear "vanilla" and think of the horrid early 90's, when every girl walked around drowning in synthetic vanilla-ish body products and perfumes, well, think again. I know that's what I thought of, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

This vanilla is light and slightly-floral. It's nuanced. It's not a lumbering creature that smothers you in its embrace. It gentle and wispy, but substantial enough to still smell. This is a grown-up vanilla. It's not sweet, really. It's gourmand, for sure.

Vanilla Botanique bath gel has some nuance, but honestly there's not tons of time to appreciate it all. I don't have the luxury of standing in the shower thinking a lot. Usually there's a kid peeking in the shower curtain and another screaming from the other side of the door.

I wish I could smell it longer than I can - it's only really noticeable to me while I'm using it. It doesn't last on the skin for long. More's the pity.

As a bath gel, it works well. I think it gets me clean. I don't look dirty after using it, so I assume it's working! It's low-lather and silky, though I still moisturize after using it.

I also used this once on "a scrubber". It removed the offensive scent nearly completely, which as we all know is a miracle. After all, scrubber scents are the strongest clingers there are!

Basically, I can sum up my experience with this body wash in this way: it works, and it smells pretty much like a really high-quality vanilla bean ice cream. There is not a thing wrong with that, in my book.

From all accounts, there's a bit more going on in the perfume, which I can not wait to get my hands on! Read this review by Victoria on EauMG and this one by Trish on The Perfume Magazine and this one by Monica on Perfume Pharmer.

So tell me: do you wear vanilla scents? Which are your favorites? 


  1. Hi Jen,

    The DSH "Vanille Botanique" body wash sounds pretty darned good. You made me laugh describing your kids interrupting your testing time!

    I'll mention a couple of vanillas that I have and like: Lush's Vanillary and an ancient, darkened Vanilla Oil from The Body Shop.

    You've prompted me to look out the Vanillary ingredients (Perfume, Vanilla Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Tonka Absolute), and dab some on - much more than just "cookie jars" when you dab it on! Soft, sweet and somehow smoky too.

    Now, I don't need to eat vanilla ice-cream, I don't need to eat vanilla ice-cream, ...

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  2. Anna, I should pull out my Vanilliary and put it on. I remember liking it, and then it got tossed in with the masses and forgotten. I have also been digging Vanilla Insensee. Have you tried it?
    I'm fighting off the ice cream urge myself...


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