June 7, 2018

Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean is a Study in Fragrances of the Past

5 stars out of 5

I picked up the “new” Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Fragrance Mist and Body Lotion on Tuesday when I ventured out to see what the Semi-Annual Sale had to offer. I actually walked out of the store with a lot more than I thought I’d buy even though the sale pretty much sucked.

Gosh, remember Semi-Annual Sales back in the day? It was such a freaking array of wonderful things! Nowadays it’s sort of limited to body washes, body lotions, mists, and a few select candles. But back in the day the entire store was on sale with tons of back stock from the Holidays. You’d find Halloween accessories, candle holders from Christmas, many, many seasonal body care and fragrance items. It was REALLY a good sale.

Now it seems like most of the sale item are really recent items and the “retired” fragrances they bring back seem like they are ALWAYS the same.

But I admit to coming out of the store with a lot more than I thought I’d buy. I think I got about four candles one of which was Paris Cafe that’s really quite a strong coffee sent and Italy which is a nice chocolate-y scent as well as the newest Summer scents like Root Beer Float and Banana Split. I also grabbed a few body mists and lotions one of which was Vanilla Bean.

When I noticed that Bath & Body Works launched Vanilla Bean I assumed it would be much like Victoria’s Secret Bare Vanilla because the two companies are sister brands after all and I just thought,”Hmm these probably smell the same!” I picked up Bare Vanilla recently during my semi-annual haul and I loved it. It’s really quite a nice vanilla. And it’s something that’s long overdue as Victoria’s Secret deals in a lot of fruity florals. Nice to see them venturing away from that.

I should know with Bath & Body Works you never truly get what the name implies. But sometimes, I still take the names at face value. I saw Vanilla Bean and visions of a soft creamy vanilla entered my mind. But of course, it isn’t that. But it’s still gorgeous however, it’s a study in how much Bath & Body Works loves to bring back fragrances and name them something else because Vanilla Bean is in fact Beach Nights which I loved so, hey, I’m glad to have it back! But I must express some disappointment.

Beach Nights had notes of toasted marshmallow, sea salt breeze & s’mores where as Vanilla Bean has notes of fluffy vanilla, white orchid, toasted tonka and whipped cream. To me these pretty much smell spot on the same aside from the fact that Beach Nights seemed to linger a little longer and didn’t have the initial alcohol note on first spray.

To me this smells like a creamy, toasted vanilla that’s warm and cozy. There’s a little bit of the twang on the back end which might be the white orchid but it’s subtle so all in all you’re getting a nice, warm, comforting gourmand.

I’m glad they brought this back but I do wish they’d be more upfront about returning fragrances. This is pretty irritating in particular candles which are pretty much the same rotation of scents over and over and over again with new labels. I know for a fact they can do better than this so why deceive your fans?

None the less, those who missed out on Beach Nights or those who loved it as much as I did you’ll be happy to know it returns in Vanilla Bean.

I loved this scent before and I love it now. It’s a nice vanilla blend worth checking out.

Smelled it already?

Do share!

I purchased this item.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Maria

    I really love At the Beach and Waikiki Beach Coconut fragrance which last a long time. You should test it in store.

  • Sarah

    I mean, I might check it out if it’s similar to Vanilla Bean Noel, the scent I stock up on every single winter. How similar would you say that scent is to Vanilla Bean? I’ve not sniffed it or Beach Nights. 🙁

    • Isabella Muse

      nothing at all like Vanilla Bean Noel. Completely different! 🙂

  • kimkats

    the only thing I get at BBW anymore is the hand soap, and only the kind that has the scrubbies in it, which is apparently either being discontinued, or there are a few called exfoliating soaps that may be the replacement for it. Everything else has been a big old MEH for me for years, since they quit making the 3 in 1s, that put philosophy’s to shame…. I’m half surprised that BBW isn’t shuttering stores like sears and jcp is – I just don’t see many people in them any more, which you would *think* would be a clue that the product lineup needs to be revamped, but apparently that’s escaping the notice of the higher-ups at BBW… I used to love going into that store, now I almost have to force myself to go. Sad…..

    • Carrie

      To me, everything smells the same collection after collection. I feel they started going wrong when you couldn’t tell any longer what a lotion was supposed to smell like. When I saw ‘Sun Ripened Raspberry’ I knew what that should smell like. But now they just throw ten different scents into one lotion and they don’t last. Don’t get me started on their Fine Fragrance Mists.

      I buy tons of soap from there, but that is about it. If lotion or shower gel is super cheap – I may pick some up. Their candles aren’t worth it either in my opinion.

      Er, sorry for being so negative

      • Isabella Muse

        I agree with most of what you said! They always confuse me when they put out scents like “Pumpkin Cupcake” and it smells nothing like pumpkin or cupcakes. WTF? The candles have gone downhill considerably in the last five years and the mists do NOT last. VS’s fragrance mists last a bit better but the BBW ones have no staying power on me!

    • sarah

      Is it the type of soap with the micro beads? If so they are probably discontinuing it because those micro beads are terrible on the enrollment. If not, then who knows.

    • Maritza

      I agree the packaging used to be bomb and they had a few perfumes that were really good. Now even the desings are super boring
      I really detest the foamy soaps cause in reality is almost noting of soap and mostly water ..you can do that at your house with a big bottle of soafsoap (grapefuit or Vanilla/almond scent) reusing your bbw container..i have done it and its the same 10 times cheaper and you would have many manyyy refills… p_0

  • Carrie

    I was wishing it was the Vanilla Bean of the 90s. That was the best vanilla scent ever… before they replaced it with Warm Vanilla Sugar, or Vanilla Bean Noel. I just want the original Vanilla Bean. **I can still see that pretty yellow color in the bottle**

    • Isabella Muse

      I never smelled the original sadly but hear about it all the time!

  • KimMWC03

    I heard it was Beach Nights so I picked it up today. I prefer the packaging on Beach Nights though.

    I didn’t do too badly on my haul. I got all four candles I wanted and about 5-6 other things. I’ll post my haul on Instagram later.

    • Isabella Muse

      I was really low key with my haul! I was worried I’d go candle crazy but it was so easy to skip all the candles. There was nothing I needed. I might get a backup of Paris Cafe but that’s about all. Burned Soda Pop last night, it was sort of weak!

  • Maritza

    I picked up a few things mostly for my family that live in another country were bbw doesnt exist. I do not buy the body lotions just the creams and I only buy at bbw during the semi sas never the rest of the year ; i only buy the soapy or exfoliating soaps but only cause i got a pretty hand soap holder at christmas so I bought a few to put in there in my bathroom..with the neighbor kids coming to play I would be crazy to put such and expensive soap in the dowstairs bathroom; I also bought Chrismas stockings ( i buy chirstmas gifts during clearances cause you know twin babies and a 5 year old =$$) I like the men shower gel in Mahogany and I stocked up in wallflowers (used 3 coupons). Out of curioisty got the dry shampoo and got 3 mists cause i use them for bathroom freshner lol. The only thing I truly LOVED was the bee line got 2 handsoaps and 2 handlotions cause they smelled like ginger and pumkin. I expected to see more perfumes or Chrismas scents but everything was moreless meh and the packaging didnt excite me. I feel buying twice a year from them is more than enough for me

  • Cynthia

    Speaking of old-time scents, let me tell you what happened at VS last night. I randomly picked up a PINK scent called VACAY ALL DAY and once I sprayed it on my wrist I was taken back 20 years ago to BBW Rice Flower & Shea. It smells EXACTLY like it!! Sadly, the scent wasn’t on sale, so I will wait it out until it’s a little cheaper.

    • Isabella Muse

      lol they are recycling scents from bbw to vs now ;-D

    • Kish

      Rice Flower & Shea is my absolute favorite!!!!!!!! I only have two body sprays left lol. I was always so mad when they dc’ed it. You just made me day. 😀

      • Cynthia

        Sample VACAY ALL DAY from VS Pink and let me know what you think!

  • Kish

    I bought Beach Nights at the outlet last year, I thought Vanilla Bean smelled familiar. I did have my eye on the Blackberry and Sage. Or was it Sage and Blackberry? And I agree with everyone else, BBW has gone downhill. Such a shame. I did buy one body cream, Pearberry. That’s like my college throwback haha. I picked up two of the sheet masks also. Used one that night but I felt like I needed to moisturize as soon as I took it off. So I’m guessing it was useless. Bring back the days of more than one 75% off bin. And more than the “retired” fragrances that are available all the time on the website.

    • Isabella Muse

      I didn’t smell that one but was curious! They have a lot though may go back for a sniff! I agree on the masks, they aren’t quite as hydrating as the ones I normally use!

  • Christina

    Their semi-annual sales have sucked the past several years IMO. All I buy now are the foam hand soaps and even then, not very often.

      • Christina

        One of my friends mentioned not too long ago that their Black Friday sales have been crappy for the past few years too!

  • Anne

    We’d make good shopping buddies as I always buy the same things you do! I was able to get my candles (including Paris Cafe / Root Beer / Soda / Banana Split) the weekend before SAS when candles were on sale + coupon, so….cheaper than SAS prices. Every year I hold out hope that SAS will return to its former glory with treasures but every year it disappoints. I got some 4oz tester candles in fall / winter scents, some Country Apple body care (craving fall already) and a Vanilla Bean set. It’s my mind playing tricks on me but I feel VB doesn’t quite capture Beach Nights. I think I miss the sparkly holographic packaging. This new packaging does nothing for me! Hoping some Beach Nights will resurface before SAS is over.

    • Isabella Muse

      ha twins! ;-D I got the same ones! I also got Italy! Really nice foody chocolate scent ;-D gosh I wish but about five years or so now the sale is just a bust! Last year, I didn’t even buy anything! Maybe like one candle!? I think that Vanilla Bean is a little more subtle and also has alcohol note at first! gosh I wish I’d stock up!

  • Cassie

    I bought “Banana Split Milkshake” and “Root Beer Float” at my first (and MAYBE only) Semi-Annual shopping spree this time around, too–“Banana” was the one of the newest scents that looked like people were buying the most of at that particular store, and for good reason, but it’s AMAZING. 🙂

      • Cassie

        Totally unrelated, but just came to me—I read something somewhere about brands like Loreal and MAC not being entirely cruelty free, since they test some/all of their make-up overseas, where the rules sound more lax. What IS the deal…because MAC releasing the Oh Sweetie Pie gloss (Review—? Ha!) is peaking my interest…but I obviously will not support a company that isn’t completely on the up and up. And the things I’ve read online thus far aren’t consistent. Thank you! ☺️

        • Isabella Muse

          Hey there! MAC is owned by EL and EL does not test on animals unless required by law. In the USA it is not required by law however, MAC sells in China which means testing on animals is involved. I hope I didn’t disappoint you 🙁

  • Monica

    Great minds think alike 😉 I’m burning the Café Rose (Paris) scent right now and my husband thinks the house smells heavenly. This is one of the most incredible scents they’ve released in a long time! Of course, that’s not going to stop from smelling every freaking other candle they’ve put in that store…

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Erin

    I love your blog and I love you! We like the same stuff so it’s always a pleasure seeing your likes! That said, I was hoping beyond hope that you were going to say it was the old 90s Vanilla Bean! Discontinued in 2000 to make way for Warm Vanilla Sugar. I like Beach Nighter s okay, but I did destash it in 2017 when I moved. The salt air bit kinda bugged me. Oh well. The search for vanilla continues…

    • Isabella Muse

      aw thank you dear 😀 I’m sorry! I wish it was the 90s version as I’m curious how it smelled! Try the new Victoria’s Secret Bare Vanilla! It’s a keeper!

    • Isabella Muse

      It was available during the Summer’s semi-annual sale maybe it’ll be brought back for the winter semi-annual!

  • Kathryn

    I used to ask my brother for a $100 gift card to Bath & Body Works for my birthday. No more. Everything smells pretty much the same, with a few exceptions. They all have the same DNA. i was hoping that Vanilla Bean would be a departure, but after half an hour or so, it could be a number of their scents. I think Vanilla Bean Noel is much nicer. And, YES, the sales used to be incredible and now they’re ordinary. The only things that I buy from this store now are the plug-in air fresheners. B&BW has gone downhill.

    • Isabella Muse

      It’s rather sad 🙁 I don’t get what happened with BBW! They lost their way!

  • Clarisse

    This also smells exactly like the tutti dolci white mocha kiss. Vanilla bean, beach nights and white mocha kiss all smell the same. B&BW just keeps on recycling/repackaging scents into different names.

    • Meghan Weatherford

      YES! I was scrolling through the comments waiting for someone to say it was Tutti Dolci White Mocha Kiss. I fell in love with that scent but they only had the collection for a short time. I am going to stock up on beach nights during the next SAS. I bought Vanilla Bean at the last SAS and I’m kicking myself for not stocking up more (I only bought the initial set in store but went home and immediately ordered two more lotions and two more shower gels). I actually emailed the company and asked if Vanilla Bean-specifically not the holiday one-was going to be continued, and they said yes. Sadly, I haven’t seen it since. Anyone know the odds of them bringing back Beach Nights and/or Vanilla Bean for the next SAS?