He Who Smelt It – Episode 6: Vanilla H2Ewww
I tried Greek yogurt for the first time recently. It’s an abomination. So as not to appear insensitive toward foreign cultures, I sampled Icelandic yogurt as well. Guess what? It’s every bit as repugnant. I have wondered if what I’ve attempted to choke down is a bastardized Americanization or an authentic import, but considering its popularity, does it even matter? Every grocer’s cooler is packed with the stuff. People can’t seem to get enough of it. I can’t seem to get it at all. If the international yogurt community prefers it this way, shame on them. If America has created this glop and passed it off as an exotic delicacy, then shame on us.
It’s not like I ask a lot from my yogurt either. Two things matter: taste and texture. This stuff egregiously offends on both accounts. It’s the consistency of spackle and tastes like it’s already begun the trek south toward sour. After you swallow, it somehow gets worse and pulls a sort of sadistic magic trick. A barf-like aftertaste hits that’s beyond anything we should be expected to endure for the sake of digestive health. Few substances can claim to taste like vomit on the way in. This is one of them. Each bite caused me to break out in a cold sweat and had me smacking my lips to rid my gills of the taste. I even let loose a few of those wispy after-vomit spits that always seem necessary after you’ve retched.
This brief diatribe is a pretty good metaphor for my feelings about M. Micallef Vanilla Marine.
It all starts innocently enough – sweet, flowery, but with a touch of spice. It’s very much the twin of M. Micallef Vanilla Flower – maybe not identical, but with the only difference being the subtle hint of fruit the Vanilla Flower gives off, at least fraternal. Thirty minutes in, though, whatever resemblance they shared quickly vanishes. The spice disappears and its sweet flowery elements grow stronger. As if that wasn’t frou frou enough, it then whips out its own magic wand. It waves it through the air and a powdery scent permeates your world and whisks your mind away to some far off, frilly land of unicorns and rainbows.
Funny thing is, I had actually been hastened to this place before.
My grandmother used to take two hours to get ready every morning. The days when we planned a breakfast out, the rest of the family would wait patiently, hoping maybe that would be the day she shifted things into turbo. That day never came. We’d eventually begin to huff and roll our eyes at one another, but we never made a fuss about things. She was just too sweet. When she’d finally rise from her cushy pillow-covered throne and emerge, those of us who hadn’t passed out from hunger were hit full on by a scented powder cloud that was so thick and pungent it took the rest of the day to dissipate. I’m not sure which combo of soaps, perfumes, antiperspirant/deodorants, powders, or other chemicals made up the low-hanging nimbus that enveloped us, but I think most of them ended up in M. Micallef Vanilla Marine.
This scent, like Greek yogurt, takes a faulty step right from the beginning and quickly sprints off in a direction I’m unwilling to follow. But, as is always the case, what do I know? I’m the foremost authority on neither… but for the bad taste they’ve left in my mouth, I give each an emphatic thumb down.