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Sephora Favorites: Best of Vanilla Perfume Sampler Set Review

Jessica Hapak
ByJessica HapakJan 28, 2022 | 9 comments

Sephora Favorites
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Everyone knows Sephora is a beauty store where you can find almost anything and everything related to makeup, skincare, body care, hair care, and self-care, but did you know they also frequently release curated limited edition sets? They recently released a curated perfume set that comes with thirteen perfume samples and a voucher to redeem for a full-size bottle in your favorite scent. The Sephora Favorites: Bestellers Perfume Sampler Set is available for $68 and promises a value of $114.

FYI – this kit is still available for purchase (while stock lasts)! 

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First Impressions

 

This set comes packaged in a pink box with the full-size perfume bottles depicted on the front. When you open the box you see a big info sheet with instructions on how to have your at-home fragrance experience with tips on comparing the scents, and on the other side of that sheet is a list of the perfumes, their scent notes, the category they fall in, and space to write down your thoughts as you try them out. The perfume vials themselves came in individual branded paper cards. That voucher redeems for the full-size bottle of your choice out of the scents in this set. Read on to see which perfume I chose!

Don't forget that with every Sephora purchase you can choose two free samples, and all purchases over $25 qualify for various gifts with purchase- since I purchased this set at the same time I ordered the Plump and Hydrate Lip Set, I was able to qualify for a bigger GWP.  I appreciate that Sephora has been pretty reliable lately with the foil samples that I pick actually being the samples that I get, too.

The Breakdown – What’s Inside This Limited Edition Box From Sephora

Atelier Cologne Vanille Incensee Cologne Absolue, 0.07 oz - Estimated Value $5.60

 

Certificate redeems for the 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $80

If you fall in love with this fragrance I wish you the best of luck in actually redeeming your scent voucher for it- prior to releasing this sampler set Sephora actually marked down all of their Atelier Cologne products, so this perfume in every single size is sold out online (if it's the one you gotta have, definitely check in-store). If, when you think of vanilla fragrance, you think Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar, you're going to find that Vanille Insensee is about as opposite of that as possible while still smelling a little bit like vanilla. I found it to be a very light and fresh fragrance thanks to the note of lime, coriander, and amber that the vanilla is paired with, and I wouldn't call this a sweet smell at all.  I did really like it though- Atelier Cologne knows their stuff.

Floral Street Wild Vanilla Orchid, 0.05 oz - Estimated Value $2.29

 

Certificate redeems for the 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $78

Wild Vanilla Orchid has scent notes of vanilla bean, cashmeran, ambroxan, and together that makes for a slightly woody vanilla fragrance that I overall found to be very pleasant. This is also made with sandalwood and jasmine, and I would definitely say this was in my top three fragrances from the entire set. I gotta give Floral Street props for their packaging design, too- something about the floral glass packaging just really appeals to me.

Juliette Has a Gun Vanilla Vibes, 0.06 oz - Estimated Value $2.38

 

Certificate redeems for the 3.4 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $135

So the Sephora listing for this fragrance on the perfume sampler set is actually wrong- the website says the voucher will redeem for the 1.7 oz perfume that retails for $100, but when I had the scent certificate in hand I noticed that it said it would redeem for the 3.4 oz bottle, and the product ID on the voucher was for the 3.4 oz bottle and not the 1.7 oz bottle. Maybe Sephora realized too many people were buying these sets just to get a discount on Juliette Has a Gun perfume (they frequently appear in these sets)? I truly did not expect to enjoy this perfume as much as I did. Every other JHAG perfume I have ever tried I have either downright hated or only tolerated- I haven't liked a single one before meeting Vanilla Vibes. Vanilla Vibes, though, is lovely. The gorgeous full-size bottle is reminiscent of a beach the way the bottle goes from deep blue to yellow sand, and the scent itself has notes of sea salt, natural vanilla, and sandalwood. This is a very fresh-smelling perfume that does smell slightly beachy but in a light and refreshing way. I can pick up the notes of vanilla, and while there is a whiff of sweetness to this perfume the sea salt makes it uniquely elegant.

 Maison Margiela ‘REPLICA’ By the Fireplace, 0.04 oz - Estimated Value $2.88

 

Certificate redeems for the 1 oz Eau de Toilette Spray that retails for $72

I actually already own the mini travel spray of this perfume and adore it, so I knew no matter what if I hated all of the other perfumes in this set I could get a small bottle of this lovely scent. And truly, I find it lovely. It's a very specific fragrance though- it has notes of clove, chestnut accord, and vanilla, and it has a smokiness to it that really makes you feel like you're near a fireplace when you smell it. Replica perfumes want to invoke memories, and when I smell this I think of the hotel my family stayed at when I was a kid when we would take trips to go skiing. The hotel had a big wood fireplace in the center of the lobby that was always burning, and this perfume smells just like that fireplace. I adore it, but not everyone will like the slight smokiness to this. I think the other drawback of this fragrance is that it's very specific- this isn't a "wear everyday" type of fragrance for me, rather it is one I would reach for on specific occasions or specific moods. I would also very much classify this as a winter scent, so to me, as much as I love this, I don't consider this to be an "easy to wear" fragrance.

NEST Madagascar Vanilla Perfume Oil, 0.06 oz - Estimated Value $5.88

 

Certificate redeems for the 1 oz Perfume Oil that retails for $98

I actually own the full-size NEST sandalwood perfume oil and love their rose perfume oil, so I knew I wasn't going to be surprised if this vanilla perfume oil won my heart. If you're new to perfume oils they have great lasting power, and they're also lovely for layering if you wanted to apply this vanilla perfume oil to your pulse points and then spritz on a different perfume on top. This has scent notes of Madagascar vanilla bean, vanilla orchid, and coconut, but to my nose, it was a very dessert-like vanilla that I didn't love. I know vanilla is going to be a sweeter scent, but there are plenty of vanilla perfumes that smell lovely without making me smell like a human cake. This made me feel like I was trying to be a human cake.

The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods, 0.06 oz - Estimated Value $3

 

Certificate redeems for the 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $85

This is one of the fragrances I was most excited to try- something about the scent notes of pear, rose, and vanilla sounded so lovely and alluring in my head. In reality, I didn't hate this perfume, but it didn't smell like I was expecting. I thought the pear and rose would create a perfume that was more fresh, but this is definitely a gourmand perfume that gives me frosted cake vibes but fancier. If you're a fan of the Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream and wanted a more sophisticated version of that scent, I think this perfume would be a good match for you.

Valentino Donna Born in Roma, 0.04 oz - Estimated Value $3

 

Certificate redeems for the 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $75

Based on the full-size packaging alone, I would not have been mad if this was my favorite scent in the set- the studded glass bottle is so pretty! Alas, I was genuinely shocked when I smelled this and realized it smelled like a laundry detergent rather than a vanilla perfume. I guess it makes sense that the notes of blackcurrant and jasmine would create a clean floral fragrance, but I couldn't find any vanilla in this scent at all. If you're looking for a clean-smelling perfume that almost smells soapy packaged in a beautiful bottle, this may be the perfume for you (it is not the perfume for me).

Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum, 0.04 oz - Estimated Value $3.40

 

Certificate redeems for the 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $85

This perfume has been around for a while, so this isn’t the first time I’ve smelled it (Sephora really seems to love including this in their fragrance sampler sets). Described as a warm gourmand scent, this features key notes of jasmine, orange blossom, and patchouli. I definitely would describe this as more of a floral than gourmand – my nose picks up the flowery notes of jasmine and rose the most (and maybe even slight soapiness?), and those notes are rounded out by a warmth that comes from the patchouli and vanilla bean. When I asked my boyfriend what he thought about this fragrance, he said he could pick up on the flowery vibes but other than that it was a standard floral-scented women's perfume. I hope Sephora starts to include other perfumes from the Flowerbomb family in future perfume sampler sets- the newly released Flowerbomb Ruby Orchid is intoxicating, and I ended up asking for it to be a Christmas gift after trying it in-store at Sephora once because I couldn't get it out of my head.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum, 0.04 oz - Estimated Value $3.60

 

Certificate redeems for the 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray that retails for $78

This is a highly recommended perfume. A lot of the people I interact with on Instagram said this was a ~sexy~ perfume, and I believe that's definitely the vibe that YSL was going for but honestly, I don't get it. Allegedly this has scent notes of black coffee, vanilla, and white flowers, but I don't really pick up any coffee notes- both me and my boyfriend agreed that this was a floral-forward fragrance (the exact words he used were "sweet flowers"). This definitely has a spice to it, but I don't know if that translates to sexy. After a while, the floral notes fade away to a pleasant vanilla, but overall this wasn't the perfume for me.

Value – Was This Box Worth It?

The Cost: $68

Cost Breakdown: This kit costs $68 + free shipping, and I received $32.03 worth of perfume samples and a voucher to redeem for a bottle of full-size perfume of my choice that ranges in price from $72-$135. No matter what, you save at least $4 off the perfume you choose (and can save up to $67, not including the additional value of all of the perfume samples). 

Sephora promised a value of $118 for this set, and by my math, the lowest possible value for this set is $104.03 and the highest is $167.03.

Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

Key Takeaways

I learned something unexpected from reviewing this perfume sampler set: I don't actually like most vanilla-based perfumes. I thought I did, but then as I was exploring the sampler set I found myself having more negative things to say about the scents I was trying than I thought I would. Luckily, Sephora did a good job curating a perfume sampler set that features a wide array of scent profiles. There were a solid three perfumes in this set I could have picked and been happy with, but truly I surprised myself when I realized Juliette Has a Gun Vanilla Vibes was my favorite of the bunch. It has such a freshness to it (and it also smells similar to another perfume I love but don't own, Replica Beach Walk) that I knew I could wear it every day without issue, while By the Fireplace is a perfume I would only wear on specific occasions (and, that also ended up being the full-size perfume with the lowest value in the entire set). If you're looking to build a perfume collection or find a new signature scent, these perfume sampler sets are a great way to try out fragrances and purchase a full-size bottle at a discount. I love these sets, and I look forward to the next one they release.

 

When I redeemed my voucher, the perfume qualifies you for free shipping and you can also pick out your two free samples. Somehow the mail moved at warp speed, and my full-size bottle was on my doorstep less than 48 hours after I ordered it. Isn't she beautiful?

Other Things You Should Know

Can you still get this box if you order today? Yes, this set is still available for purchase while stocks last!

Can the voucher be redeemed online? Yes! Sephora recently changed its voucher program to allow for in-store or online redemption. You can't redeem this at a Sephora inside JCPenney store, Kohl’s store, or Sephora Canada store, so the ability to redeem online is a great option for people who don't have a local Sephora but still want to take advantage of it (and when you do you get to add your two free samples to your order, even if you're not buying anything else).

Is it hard to redeem the voucher? No, but sometimes you have to enter the code a few times when there are letters that could be mistaken for numbers and vice versa. Your voucher has two barcodes at the bottom- you want to use the "certificate promo barcode" number and enter it in the space to enter coupons. Also, if you're not sure if a character is an uppercase 'i"  or lowercase "L" or the number 1, in my experience it's usually the number 1.

Is shipping free? Shipping is free on all orders over $50 and costs $6.50 for orders under $50 (though since the pandemic started you can usually find a free shipping coupon for smaller orders that will stack with other coupon codes)

What do you think of the Sephora Favorites: Best of Vanilla Perfume Sampler Set? What bottle of perfume would you like to add to your vanity?

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Sephora Favorites are exclusive, limited edition sets filled with Sephora's top-selling and highly coveted beauty and skincare products. Sephora Favorites kits are released several times a year and the curated collections sell out quickly.
Jessica Hapak
Jessica Hapak
I am a staunch believer that pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza and when I’m not working as a family law attorney I enjoy hiking the Louisiana trails (alligator sightings are a favorite!) or relaxing with Duchess, my cat. I’m a sucker for anything labeled a mystery box and I’ve never met a bath bomb I didn’t like.

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9 comments

Laurie

Great review, Jessica. Love the idea of try before you buy. I only wish the mini’s were in cute little bottles instead of vials. I snatch them up in the rewards bazaar.

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Nancy

I live in Canada, and Shopper’s Drug Mart has a set they release every year at Christmas, and I always snap it up. There were 12 sample vials this year, but the concept is the same. You get to redeem a voucher for the full size. I find it a great way to sample perfumes without having to commit to a full size unless you know you are going to love it. I went with the full bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy Love this year. Last year, it was the Carolina Herrera Good Girl. I think these sets are a great value, especially if you are a fragrance lover.

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JuJu

I can’t imagine why I would pay for this, let alone a substantial amount like $68. I received so many multiples of some of these for free, and I am definitely not a fan of Black Opium, Flowerbomb, or that Valentino perfume.
I feel like I am missing something with these boxes.

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Jessica Hapak

Hi Juju!
The big draw isn’t the samples themselves, but the full-size bottle you get to redeem with the included voucher. All of the full-size bottles retail for more than the cost of the box, some of them significantly so. Of course, if you don’t like any of the scents in the box then you probably wouldn’t want a full-size bottle and then this isn’t the set for you.
Hope this helps!

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JuJu

I see, thank you Jessica!

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Sonya

The 7 virtues vanilla I received in this set didn’t smell like the actual bottle that I already own. I love the bottle, but never would have liked the sample that was in this set! The sample smelled more chemical and artificial.

I picked Juliette as my favorite, and I do not like any of her other fragrances.

I actually did not like most of the samples. The vanilla in some of these really takes a backseat to the point you can’t even smell it sometimes!

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Jessica Hapak

Hi Sonya!
That’s so strange that the sample doesn’t smell like the full-size. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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Kate K.

I bought the vanilla sampler pack that Sephora put out about 6 months ago (?) that offered a rollerball instead of the full size, and that was a lot of fun.
This kit looks great, if you are a person who can use up a whole bottle of perfume, haha! In any case, always love your thorough reviews, Jessica.

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Melissa

The top of the post says that there are 13 samples, but there are only 9.

I ordered the set and am still working my way through trying all the scents. I try one a day. Like you, I was surprised that I didn’t find more scents that I love because I generally love vanilla scented items. I don’t know that I would say that I don’t like vanilla scented perfumes in general, because in general I think I do. I think that it is this particular set of perfumes that were not all right for me. Looking at other vanilla based perfumes on the market, there are a lot that I would love to try.

I was so interested to read your comment about the Juliette Has a Gun perfumes! I could say the exact same thing! I haven’t liked a single one I have ever tried until this Vanilla one.

I was not crazy about Wild Vanilla Orchid. I was also looking forward to The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods but ended up not being that enthused about it, although it certainly wasn’t bad. I already have a small bottle or two of the Flowerbomb perfume thanks to Allure. I like it ok, but I know that I would not choose it as my full size perfume. It is a bit overwhelming. I also have a beautiful mini bottle of the Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum thanks to some sub or another, so I won’t really need a full size of it, either. I thought it was kind of sexy when I tried the mini bottle, but I guess it’s been a while, and maybe I should revisit that notion. Maybe the bottle makes it seem sexier than just the vial. Lol! Finally, I went into this knowing that I love Replica: By the Fireplace, and there is a good chance that I will choose it as my full size perfume since the other haven’t exactly “lit my fire” so far. LOL! But I’ll work my way through the whole set before I decide.

As always, thank you for your review!

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