Category Archives: Le Labo

Iris 39 – Le Labo

Iris 39 has a really beautiful opening. The iris flies out pretty quickly and I get a real sudden blast of apple. The iris is warm (weirdly), powdery with that gorgeous doughy – wheat like note that all us iris lovers craveeeee. The apple squeezes some juice over the bread, and the pairing is wonderful, rich and mouth-watering. The apple note turns a little sour and more citrus’ until a familiar lime not comes forward – I’ve said numerous times how much I love lime as a replacement for bergamot and other generic citrus fruit top notes…

Within five minutes or so, once the juicy citrus has calmed down and the iris has tamed into somethings delicate and warm, I get some clean tea rose, and a lightly candied violet – with the rose slightly dominant over the iris. After noticing these, I smell a patchouli becoming more and more present until Iris 39 brings to mind a more potent, floral Voleur Des Roses – a clean rose, patchouli made slightly metallic by the crisp iris, with a light violet on top. I’m not saying these are extremely similar, but it is the first fragrance that comes to mind when I sniff the heart of Iris 39. It’s at this point when the fragrance becomes to me, more of a rose/patchouli than an iris – but the iris still has an important role.

The rose and patchouli are both CLEAN. The earthy iris and violet (as usual) are CLEAN. Iris 39 is perfumey, and scrubbed up until it squeaks. It literally gleams a shiny scent that I’m surprised isn’t overloaded with aldehydes on the opening. I really enjoy it though :)
I smell something green which I don’t think is the patchouli, it’s more the scent of distant cut grass – a dewy freshness of leaves that is faint, but really puts a translucent shade of green over the entire composition – like a “bamboo accord” or something.

In the later drydown, there’s an introduction of musk (which obviously works harmoniously with the still carroty-doughy iris), I find the musk to be relatively clean as well – but I think could be perceived as dirty considering it is the only thing that has the merest hint of skank in Iris 39. The rose/patchouli duo do begin to separate so that their accord isn’t quite so familiar and traditional. The violet evaporated long ago, and instead the merest hint of ylang creeps in.

The drydown (and most of the fragrance actually) feels very handsome and polite – whilst it isn’t something I would choose to wear, I really enjoy the smell of it and would love smelling it on someone else. I think it may just be a little mature for me…
All in all, a lovely iris *cough*rosepatchouli*cough* which reinforces the fact I have to explore more of Le Labo… and iris’ in general.

Iris 39 50ml Le Labo – £95 Liberty

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Patchouli 24 – Le Labo

Well, sorry it’s been so long guys – my updates have been extremely spaced out. But no more! I have returned with bunches of samples so lots more writing ahead.

I’ve tried Patchouli 24 a few times – never on my skin though. So was thrilled when a lovely Basenoter sent me a bunch of samples including this one. I LOVE smoky fragrances – Lonestar Memories has possibly the sexiest opening of any fragrance I know.
You’d think I’d adore Patchouli 24, but it is VERY different from the Tauer.

Patchouli 24 opens with a desperately sweet , almost floral smoke. The sweetness and the rose-y floral subside and the billowing smoke of lapsang souchong tea overwhelms the top notes into a thick, powdery and intense haze. The smoky tea is reminiscent of bonfires, barbeques, tar – a photo-realistic smoke, more literal than the more complicated menthol/smoke of Lonestar Memories.

Underneath this black smoke, is a slightly powdery, bitter vanilla. Although the vanilla has been burnt and stained by the tea, there is still a sweetness to it that I personally find a little cloying and overly diffusive on the skin.

The patchouli is practically non-existent until the late drydown. The two notes of smoke and vanilla play over each other for pretty much the entire duration of the fragrance, each taking it’s turn to dominate in a similar style to the honey/cedar wood play on skin with Miel De Bois.
Overwhelming at first, the vanilla manages to tame the radiant heat of Patchouli 24’s smoke and pull it downwards into a sticky, black smear of tar spiked vanilla. The patchouli adds an earthy, stuffiness that drags the overwhelming power of the opening into a similar density in the base.

Whilst Patchouli 24 never gets thin, it does soften into an unexpected powder, it shape-shifts from a modern powerhouse into a quite dated base, with a classical-but-rough feel in the style of Bandit (but very different). At this stage, the fragrance brings to mind even more mental images – stuffy old blankets, oily garages, worn leather gloves – all kinds of smoky/leathery/stuffy smells – I’m sure I’ve painted a good enough image for you!

I do love smoke in fragrance, but this is more photographic and less perfumey, and a little too much for me (which is weird considering my usual taste). I think the pairing with vanilla is far too much, and the patchouli almost seems unnecessary. I say pump the top with some sharp lavender, amp up the rose that makes a ghostly appearance in the opening, and hit hard with the tea smoke in the heart, giving in to an amber/labdanum/civet drydown and maybe keep the patchouli a little – beauty!

All in all, an unusual and one-of-a-kind fragrance, and a definite stand out in the Le Labo lineup. I much prefer Comme Des Garcons’ lapsang souchoung offering, the aptly named: Tea.

Le Labo Patchouli 24 100ml – £138 Liberty

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Le Labo – Oud 27

This sample was part of my minor oud exploration, I will do a much more in depth one shortly, I need an oud!
This is also the first Le Labo sample I’ve ordered, I took a brief sniff over at the counter in Liberty on my last visit to London, relatively impressed, but Le Labo wasn’t my mission for the day then :P

I’ve heard very mixed things about Le Labo, I don’t personally see the appeal in the labels printed when you go and buy your juice, and it filled infront of you, not really even a novelty for me unfortunately.
I do however quite like the bottles, very formal, like science equiptment, that’s more novel.

Oud 27 opens with a sour, medicinal oud and a bunch of lovely animalic notes. I say lovely becuase they are filthy and grubby, not really because they smell lovely. It is musty, dirty and intense, with some beautiful saffron glowing upfront. I love this opening becuase I love oud, animalics – and saffron is an awesomely under used spice in perfumery.
These notes slop around each other messily for a short while before settling into a neat order. The oud is still barnyard-y and some dark woods creep in from underneath. It smells somewhat familiar, and kind of reminds me of a dirtier/oud-y version of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Dzing – without the vanilla.

I find it a really easy wear, even though it is described by pretty much everyone as challenging. I’ve heard “unwashed hair” and “fecal” just as some of the descriptions – to be honest, they’re kind of true, but not as unpleasant as the literal smell. Also Turin describes Oud 27 as “inky” which I kind of understand, but there’s some much else going on, ink is the last thing I think of.

Once the sour aspects die down significantly, what’s left is a very pleasant, dirty oud wood (not that designer band-aid style) along with a group of other murky woods, still the faintest whisp of saffron or at least the feel of it from the start, and some much more subtle animalics. It retains the original shocking skank of the beginning but now more wearable and woodsy. It’s a fun fragrance, and I would like to try out some more Le Labo’s. There’s just something about the brand that I don’t find appealing, then again, I made that mistake with Parfum D’Empire, and now have discovered some utterly wonderful fragrances and some of my favourites.

All in all, worth a sniff! A really “cool” take on an oud fragrance in a time where a standout is much needed within it’s category – not “my” oud though unfortunately. The hunt continues…

Le Labo Oud 27 – 50 ml – £90 RRP available from lelabofragrances.com

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