Skin & Fragrance Blog by Thom Watson

Home Fragrance, Home, Zara

Zara Home Black Vanilla

Returning to this beloved, almost 20 year old gormande, Zara Home classic

Zara Home Black Vanilla 1

If you buy something from the affiliate links, marked with an '*', I may earn a small commission. This does not bias product recommendations.

Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter and get my skincare and beauty insights straight to your inbox.

The Zara Home Black Vanilla review that originally sat on this page was published on 16th February 2012; so almost a decade later and people still reading it! So, I thought it deserved a huge update and with that in mind, I re-purchased the up-to-date best sellers of my beloved Zara home Black Vanilla collection.

Since the age of 11, I spent a very sizeable chunk of my time in the Valencia, Spain. I still go out there every chance I get today and it’s the one place I have where I can be totally isolated and peaceful. This is the scent that takes me there.

Zara Home launched in Spain only in 2003, about 2 years after I started being out there so often. It was a big deal and their range of furnishings, accessories and fragrance exploded. My mum would by baskets full of White Jasmine and Black Vanilla including the room sprays, incense, candles and any other bits they had (diffusers weren’t really a thing back then). Now Zara Home is in the UK and there’s Zara Home USA, I want to explore my favourite: Black Vanilla; that used to look like this and is how I’ll always remember it:

Zara Home Black Vanilla original packaging

Zara Home Black Vanilla: The Fragrance

The Black Vanilla fragrance comprises an original mix of notes led by vanilla and praline. Black Vanilla is a delicate floral scent and vibrant citrus touches pour life into this iconic fragrance, making it more addictive and intoxicating. It’s is why after 20 years I’m delighted to keep buying it.

Black Vanilla main aromatic notes are: praline, milk, musk, fruits, citrus fruits and vanilla.

It’s vanilla like no other; it’s not insipid of cloying like many vanillas can be – I’d describe this as luxury hotel lobby vanilla. It’s a big scent, it’s heady and wide and the notes outlined above really do dance around and don’t stop. There’s never really a ‘dry down’ as such and every spray and diffuser aroma continues to cyclically dance around, one note never quite overpowering the other.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Reed Diffuser

Zara Home room diffusers are not to be messed around with. I have spent a lot of time and money looking for diffusers that top this from the likes of Neom, Skandinavisk, Crabtree & Evelyn and others; with none of them hitting the furore and power of Zara Home.

Zara Home Black Vanilla

So despite its seemingly modest size, I would strongly advise against placing a Zara diffuser in a small room; you are going to find it overpowering and are going to end up with a headache (despite the magnificent scent). You have been warned. Hallways and communal rooms are a great placement option.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Diffuser Bottle

The box is entirely cardboard and apart from the collar and initial plug, it seems every part of the Black Vanilla reed diffuser is recyclable, which is nice to see. As I say, it looks quite dinky in person but don’t let the size fool you; it packs a punch.

I was told a long time ago that whenever you start a new reed diffuser, dip the sticks in first; flip them over and place them in again – ‘wetting’ the tops. Supposedly, this means it will perform better and fragrance will more quickly and effectively get all the way to the top for maximum fragrance throw.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Diffuser Dipping Reeds
Zara Home Black Vanilla Diffuser on Desk

Above you can see the diffuser on my desk but for aesthetic photography purposes only. No way on this earth I’d sit so close to it given its magnificent power. Instead, it sits on a window sill in the corner of the room where it fills the room with that delicious, warm, comforting and well-rounded Black Vanilla fragrance.

As a note with any diffuser, do put something underneath it before placing it. The oils they’re made with are very corrosive on painted and varnished surfaces and this is by no means only Zara. Pop a little, cheap cork mat or candle plate underneath and protect your surfaces.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Room Spray

I’ve never not had a bottle of this room spray in 20 years. In my room as a teenager; my student halls; my first apartment and my first house, there has always been a bottle of Zara Home Black Vanilla Home room spray knocking around somewhere.

The fragrance throw is instant and effective, it also covers up all the smells you might want it to cover up if you follow my meaning.,,

Zara Home Black Vanilla Room Spray Box

What’s funny is that I’ve very rarely come to the end of a whole bottle; they’re huge! I’ve either broken it and thrown it away; had it sun damaged and the fragrance turning; or lost it during a move.

You get a whopping 200ml bottle and Zara Home says this lasts 2 months which is nonsense. It lasts years. Just keep it out of direct sunlight (so not on a window sill) and you should be absolutely fine. Two sprays will fill a room and it travels quickly.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Room Spray

Zara Home Black Vanilla Candle

The candle isn’t my favourite but I’m not wild on Zara candles full stop and I’ll explain why. The reason I like Zara Home Black Vanilla is because it travels far and is a very powerfully delivered scent in all the Zara Home formulations – except this. None of the candles do particularly.

The Black Vanilla candle is comparably much milder and calmer. For this reason, on the occasions I’ve bought one, it sits nicely on my desk or at least very near to where I’m sat. Zara Home does a few different sizes of this candle from the single wick pictured, to a three wick and sometimes a ginormous one on special occasions, but at the time of writing this it wasn’t available online.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Candle

As all the Zara Home packaging has evolved over the years, the Black Vanilla candle has to be one of my favourites. The black glass is almost blue with its hefty weight and uniform smokiness. It’s a candle that looks gorgeous wherever you display it. Be sure to let it melt to the edge on first burn and if you look after it and keep the wick trimmed regularly, you should get 80 hours burn time.

Zara Home Black Vanilla Candle Glass

Zara Home Black Vanilla: The Range

The range has changed somewhat over the years with different products coming and going, but at the time of writing, the Black Vanilla range, available here on the Zara Home site, includes:

  • Reed Diffuser: 50ml, 100ml and 200ml
  • Scented Cards
  • Candle: 2 wick and 3 wick
  • Car Air Freshener (I’ve had one before, they’re great)
  • Room Spray
  • Hand Cream in Pump
  • Liquid Hand Soap: 250ml and 500ml
  • Mini Candle in the Zara Home Mini Candle Discovery Set

Zara also do/did a Black Vanilla linen fabric spray/fabric freshener spray, but it seems this is either temporarily or permanently discontinued, however Zara Home do bring things in and out of their lines quite often. When you can get them, Zara Home linen spray

Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter and get my skincare and beauty insights straight to your inbox.