Tom Ford's Viral Vanilla Sex Perfume Is Anything But, Well, You Know

Tom Ford's Vanilla Sex perfume is sure to grab attention with its cheeky name, but there's more to the fragrance than meets the eye. Read our honest review below.

By Alyssa Morin Feb 14, 2024 4:00 PMTags
Watch: Celebrity Beauty Brands: Rihanna, Selena Gomez & More

For the first time ever, vanilla might be NSFW.

Oftentimes, the classic gourmand scent is associated with being a boring choice. After all, that's why the phrase "plain vanilla" is usually reserved for people who are deemed basic AF.

But Tom Ford just changed the narrative.

The legendary designer recently released the provocative-sounding fragrance, Vanilla Sex ($395 for 50 ml). And it's no surprise the cheeky fragrance has taken over TikTok with a plethora of influencers clamoring to smell it in stores and take it on a joy ride.

"It's very sexy, it's very good," TikToker Caroline Stern explained in her Dec. 14 review. "I think this is going to be a real compliment getter."

With a climactic first impression like that, we couldn't help but wonder if Vanilla Sex lived up to its name. Would it blend sugar and spice or be deliciously sweet and mimic an aphrodisiac like chocolate?

Don't worry, we won't keep teasing you. Below, read our honest review.

photos
Perfumes Celebrities Wear

Vanilla Sex's perfume notes

The fragrance lures you in with its sweet aroma of vanilla CO2 extract and vanilla tincture India (a secret scent specifically crafted for this product, per the brand).

The addition of bitter almond essence and a mysterious bouquet of florals wrap around you like a soft weighted blanket, while the bold warmth of sandalwood and tonka bean illicit excitement—and dare we say a little bit of scandal.

Courtesy of Tom Ford

First impression of the Vanilla Sex perfume

As someone who is heaux for gourmand scents—and has a drawer full of sweet, dessert-inspired fragrances—I was eager to try Vanilla Sex. Plus, its clever name and popularity on TikTok enticed me. However, I was skeptical at first because the risqué name combined with the marketing seemed too good to be true. 

After the first spritz on my wrist, it exceeded my expectations. For one, the decadent blend of various vanilla notes pulls you in like an affectionate hug from a lover. It's comforting and welcoming in its familiarity. Yet, the mix of sandalwood, almonds and florals add an unexpected twist, making this hug feel a bit titillating and unexpected.

Overall, the scent resembles a vanilla cream bar or a vanilla milkshake with cookie dough toppings. It's sweet but not overpowering, and it somehow transforms into a powdery scent that creates a softness to your skin's natural aroma.

Vanilla Sex is like the older sister to Fenty Beauty's Eau de Parfum and the ingénue cousin to Maison Margiela's Whispers in the Library.

How long does Vanilla Sex last for?

This is where it gets a little anti-climactic. Although Vanilla Sex is impossible to ignore—and I've gotten a lot of compliments when I wear it out to events—the scent does fade within a couple of hours compared to other perfumes.

The good thing is that the scent isn't potent, so it's less likely to give you a headache. However, if you're hoping for lasting power, you may have to carry it with you to do touch-ups throughout the day.

Courtesy of Tom Ford

The takeaways of Vanilla Sex

Tom Ford is known for pushing the boundaries with his fragrances—with products named Lost Cherry, F--king Fabulous and Bitter Peach—and Vanilla Sex doesn't disappoint. It commands attention in the same way a little black dress does. Yes, it's timeless but there's also a sultriness to it.

All in all, I like to think of it like this: It's a little more than third base but it doesn't go beyond missionary. Vanilla Sex pushes just enough boundaries to be edgy while still remaining a classic.

Sign up for E! Insider! Unlock exclusive content, custom alerts & more!