Here’s What Makes Burberry’s Latest Vanilla-Forward Fragrance So Unique
4 mins read

Here’s What Makes Burberry’s Latest Vanilla-Forward Fragrance So Unique

Emily Turner
Photography courtesy of Burberry

Goddess Eau de Parfum proves that some wheels can still be reinvented.

“Fragrance affects everyone,” says Emma Mackey. “It’s a chemical thing.” The Sex Education and Barbie actor is the face of Goddess, the latest addition to Burberry’s fragrance family. Twenty-seven-year-old Mackey is a natural, easygoing conversationalist; her dry humour makes itself instantly apparent as we chat in one of the many buildings that make up The Newt in Somerset, a 320-hectare estate turned luxury hotel in England where chickens, deer and cows roam the property. “It’s a good sign when you can’t smell a perfume on yourself too much; it means it’s melding with your pheromones,” says Mackey. “I mean, I’m no connoisseur — maybe that’s completely wrong,” she laughs.

Later that night, Mackey hosts a candlelit dinner toasting the launch of Goddess. The intimate affair takes place in the middle of a clearing in the forest, overlooking the English countryside, and features a mysterious vapour wafting through the air that turns out to be the new fragrance being sprayed out from among the trees. The result is a dreamy, foggy setting that smells sweet and woody — enchanted fairy-tale-core at its finest.

Photography courtesy of Burberry

Goddess is a vanilla-forward eau de parfum featuring an unheard-of trio of vanilla notes: vanilla-infusion top notes, vanilla-caviar heart notes (created with a patented and sustainable new extraction process that doesn’t use water or other solvents, thus producing a powerful and undiluted form of vanilla) and vanilla-absolute base notes. Lavender, ginger and cocoa round out the fragrance profile. “Vanilla is usually only found in base notes,” says Amandine Clerc-Marie, the nose behind the fragrance, adding that formulating Goddess was a revolutionary process for her as a perfumer — one that changed her mind about how vanilla could be used. “I got to really play with vanilla and feature it throughout the entire perfume.”

Clerc-Marie’s starting point for formulating Goddess was the idea of “powerful kindness.” She says that aside from vanilla’s nostalgic warmth, the pod itself provided plenty of inspiration. “Visualize a vanilla bean; it protects its wonderful black pearls like they’re treasures. There’s something very kind about it, like a woman protecting her kids or a lioness protecting her cubs.”

It’s a nod to the Burberry Goddess campaign, which shows Mackey running with lionesses — a simple-yet-stunning commercial that the actor describes as “epic.” Mackey says she was drawn to Goddess’s vanilla-soaked formula because she was reminded of her mom’s baking. “My family has a very specific secret cookie recipe that we’re all crazy about,” she says. “And I’ve always loved the action of scraping vanilla seeds out of the pods. It’s very satisfying.”

With this latest launch, Burberry ushers in a new era of vanilla — one that’s less sticky-sweet and more complex than the icing-scented sprays we doused ourselves in as teens perusing fragrance counters at the mall. Instead, Goddess is mature, radiant, bold, nuanced and, yes, nostalgic. After all, “vanilla is a universal addiction,” says Clerc-Marie.

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This article first appeared in FASHION’s Winter 2024 issue. Find out more here.

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