Bath and Body – Vanilla Bean Noel

Vanilla Bean Noel

  “It was the November before December and all through the house,

Not a creature was slurring except for myself.

As I shopped at the mall for something to review,

A fragrant green bottle said “how do you do?”

Thank God for the sale or else I’d be sad,

I’m on a cosmetics “no buy” now so I feel slightly bad.

With some wine by my side I’ll attempt to convey,

How kick ass this stuff is…you should buy some today.”

<ahem>  End pathetic prelude.


Mmmmm.  Vanilla.  Probably my all time favorite scent.    Have you noticed that I only review gourmand fragrances on my blog?   If it doesn’t smell slightly edible I tend to pass it by.  I don’t purchase perfume or scented lotions unless they have a dreamy vanilla base.  There is something warm and sexy about vanilla on my skin that I can’t get enough of.  I especially like it during the fall and winter months as it’s so cozy feeling when the temperature drops.

Vanilla Bean Noel 2010
Slightly worn looking 2010 version

I received a tiny bottle of Vanilla Bean Noel lotion last year from my boyfriend.   He scored it at a random gift exchange with friends.  I can only imagine the joy on his face as he opened his festive gift and realized it was a lame girly body lotion.    Bad for him, sweet awesomeness for me.

The moment I opened the bottle I was in love.   I  realized that this made for skin scent was only sold over Christmas too late though.  When I went back to Bath & Body Works to stock up later on that year Vanilla Bean Noel was nowhere to be seen, so I rationed what was left in my precious 59ml bottle wearing a drop a day.

Bath and Body 2011 - Vanilla Bean Noel
Bath and Body Works - Vanilla Bean Noel Collection

Yesterday I wandered into Bath & Body Works, lured in by their yummy Christmas candles and stumbled across a wall of slightly juvenile looking Christmas body products.  Lo and behold, there sat a plethora of incongruously colored green bottles (I would have opted for off white and brown – green makes me think of pears and apples) which turned out to be my coveted wonder product.  Vanilla Bean Noel resurrected again for the holidays.  Yes!

I practically shoved the bubbly sales associate aside as I grabbed two body lotions and a body spray.   She was exclaiming over the other sub par Christmas scents (berry something and apple something), which I sniffed just to be kind, but I had eyes only for the “buy me now you fool” vanilla bean products.

Vanilla Bean Noel 2011
Moisture Cream

Vanilla Bean Noel is a vanilla scent with personality.  It’s not really simple vanilla, but rather a medley of sweet treats.  When I sniff it I get whiffs of caramel, marshmallow and a hint of milk or yogurt?  There is definitely something with lactose lurking under the surface, reminding me of a delectable ice cream Popsicle on a stick.

The longevity of the scent is  impressive.  On my skin it lasts all day.   I put it on after my shower and by the next morning it smelled just as lovely and fragrant as the night before.   It’s great to layer under other gourmand scented perfumes or you can wear it by itself as the scent has great projection for a lotion.

Vanilla Bean Noel Lotion

I bought three versions of this product:  The Vanilla Bean Noel fragrant mist, the body lotion and the triple moisture body cream.  The stand out for me is the body lotion.  It feels like it sinks into my skin more compared to the thick special moisture cream, probably because of the jojoba oil and Shea butter in the ingredients.   The moisture cream leaves your skin with a more slippery silicone like feel to it, but that’s about it.  The lotion is more runny compared to the cream,  but is slightly more moisturizing.   If my skin was REALLY parched I doubt I’d turn to either of these products though.  They’re mainly vehicles for the fragrance.

Vanilla Bean Noel - Bath and Body
Fragrant Mist - Thumbs down

Bath and Body Vanilla Bean Noel

The fragrant mist is an okay option if your skin isn’t dry and you don’t need the moisturizers. I find the scent doesn’t translate well as a mist though.  It smells cheaper in my opinion and I will probably be returning it.

I did a little reading online before starting this review and the word on the street is that Bath and Body Works like to tweak the Vanilla Bean Noel scent from time to time and the results aren’t always so great.   A few years ago they changed their jaw dropping product to something that reeked of burnt plastic, resulting in many negative reviews online.  So sad Bath and Body!

I have last years 2010 version and this years 2011 products.  Let me sniff both and see how they compare…

I get what people were saying about the plastic like  scent, especially when it comes to the fragrance mist.   Both bottles of lotion smell similar.  I would not describe the scented lotion as plastic, but it’s  a colder drier vanilla, more like vanilla frozen yogurt in a tub than buttery vanilla cake.  It does smell slightly milky  in the bottle but once on the skin this improves and it warms up slightly, but it still has that whole white chocolate thing going on.

Now I’m curious to see how the 2011 scent compared to what Bath & Body first started with.  I am enjoying what I have right now, but if it was even better in the past then I’m sad they felt the need to make changes.

My favorite (expensive) pure vanilla perfume

Vanilla Bean Noel is no  Indult Tihota (a heady vanilla essence like perfume), but it’s much more affordable and appropriate  for everyday wear.  It’s what I would expect from a fun little lotion designed to appeal to the masses.  The last time I wore this out someone in the room started asking if someone had been eating cake – it garners a lot of favorable comments.

Bottom line is that this is still a lovely scented product for winter.  If you are into vanilla, or know of someone who is, then this is a great option for budget conscious Christmas shoppers.  I got mine at a discounted rate (3 for $25 dollars) but I think if you wait for a better sale you’ll find something cheaper (maybe after Christmas?)   I didn’t want to risk not replenishing my stock and missing out, so I got while the getting was good.

Vanilla Cream Christmas

So tell me gourmand fragrance fans, have you tried Vanilla Bean Noel lotion yet?  Do you love the 2011 version or do you miss the old concoction?  If Bath and Body works has  other food scented body products that you adore I’d love to hear recommendations.  I’m waiting for twisted peppermint to hit the shelves next.


P.S.  All products featured were purchased with my own money.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the interesting read 🙂

    1. You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. Michelle says:

    Okay, I am racking my brain trying to figure this out. Bath and Body Works changed the name to Vanilla Bean Noel..but years ago it was a different name…do you remember what it was????

    1. I wish I could help you out. I am new to Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel so I don’t know what the original labeling was. If you go to and ask the people in the perfume or cosmetics forums they’d probably be able to help you out.

      1. Michelle says:

        Okay..Thank you so much for replying back!!

  3. miz eloise says:

    i love vanilla! hope we have dat here in d philippines!

    i currently have vs vanilla merry twirl lotion bt d scrnt is too light. i want a really geady smell!

    1. I would not describe this as a heavy scent. It’s strong enough that people next to you can smell the vanilla, but it’s not on par with wearing a perfume. I have got to try out some of the VS scents!

  4. Amy Lynn says:

    Hello, fellow vanilla lovers! I too enjoy smelling like cake, and figure hey, i’m 44, i can if i want to 🙂

    I am really new to Bath and Body Works – i spent 20 years of my life allergic to anything with scent, which really stunk (sorry for the hideous pun) because i am a “i need to smell yummy, my house needs to smell yummy” etc etc kind of girl. But i used another vanilla – “warm vanilla sugar”- at a friend’s home and wow, was not allergic to it. Yay! I stocked up & after Christmas, bought a 5-pack of the on-sale holiday -only things, and like you, forgot all of them but VBN. Love!!

    I love that you smelled dairy it in! Earlier today i was trying to explain it and said “it’s like vanilla ice cream, but with warmth…” and just was looked at funny. You explained it better 🙂

    SO the reason i am here… Meghan, have you found anything at Bath and Body Works that is close to VBN? They really should keep it year ’round, it is so popular. I googled and ended up here so I haven’t had any luck so far and hope maybe someone here has. I have a bathroom full of warm vanilla sugar, which i love, but it lacks the warmth and sort of yogurty/ice creamy that vanilla bean noel has.

    Thanks in advance, i don’t know if anyone will check back, but hey, might as well try.

  5. Susan says:

    Vanilla be an is my favorite but Christmas sorry I can’t get some now

  6. Sierra Sugar says:

    It does have a warm scent that wafts throughout a room, but it’s not too strong or over powering. It’s like the scent of fresh baked warm sugar cookies that tickles your nose. I love the Noel! It’s my favorite scent they make. As someone who is very sensitive to perfumes, as it doesn’t take much to give me a headache, the Noel is just perfect. I always get compliments when I wear the lotion or body spray and it blends well with the coconut oil I use on my skin a lot of the time. Every Christmas holiday I stock up on it to make sure I have enough to last me throughout the year.

  7. Dana Edwards says:

    It is summertime and vanilla bean Noel is selling like crazy for me. I make roller ball perfumes and body butters that duplicate popular brand name fragrances. I was shocked that I had so many requests for that fragrance in the summer time. Bobbi Brown beach, aquolina pink sugar and Viktor and Rolf flowerbomb are very popular right now and I can understand that, but vanilla bean Noel? It does smell delicious though.

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