Le Labo Baie Rose 26 : Fragrance Review


Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Like any fragrance house with a large and diverse range, Le Labo has a number of hits and misses in its collection. The generic blandness of fragrances like  Fleur d’Oranger 27 and Neroli 36 exists side by side with the striking renditions of Patchouli 24 and Oud 27. In fact, when Le Labo offers something successful, it is truly memorable and dramatic. Would one have expected Rose 31 to be a dark, moody composition where roses completely melt into the smoky woods? Would one have anticipated Aldehyde 44 to be a vision of edgy glamour? Likewise, Baie Rose 26 is a fragrance I find fascinating, and in a word, addictive.

The play on words—baie rose means pink pepper in French—allows perfumer Frank Voekl to explore the affinity between pepper and roses, a truly marvelous pairing that has often served as an inspiration for perfumers (from Estée Lauder Pleasures to The Different Company Rose Poivrée). Yet, in Baie Rose 26, the pairing is presented in a rather unusual manner, which fuses classical and modern.

The prominent clove-like eugenol note gives rose a character that recalls the retro glamour of Caron fragrances, where the floral accord oscillates between a red carnation and a dark rose. At the same time, a crisp, fruity overtone reminiscent of the cranberry roses in 100% Love lends it a decidedly modern quality. This surprising juxtaposition is what keeps my interest throughout the development of the composition. Moreover, the spicy facets are deliciously accented with the heat of allspice/pimento berry, while aldehydes lend their characteristic fizzy, metallic shimmer. The drydown of dry amber, incense and cedar is very enjoyable. It has a crisp, transparent, and subtly smoky character, which makes for a great foil to the warm spices and luscious roses.

Baie Rose 26 includes notes of allspice (pimento) berries, pink pepper, aldehydes, ambrox, clove, pepper, rose, musk, cedar. It is exclusive to the Le Labo counter at Barney’s in Chicago. Considering that I did live in Chicago for some time, I am pleased that Le Labo has chosen Baie Rose 26 to represent the city. Still, I am not so enamored with this city-exclusive trend, and I hope that like other city-exclusive fragrances, it will be available more widely.



  • Carla: Yes, this city-exclusive thing from Le Labo is a turn-off. October 25, 2010 at 11:49pm Reply

  • Ines: You are completely right – it is really annoying not being able to get your hands on some of the more exclusive fragrances. There’s more of us out there who appreciate good perfumes and would love to be able to reach them relatively normally. 🙂
    Btw, it really sounds good. October 26, 2010 at 4:55am Reply

  • sweetlife: Oh, yum! I am annoyed by Le Labo in general, not just for their city-exclusive nonsense, but I will graciously set aside my pique if this happens to come my way… 😉 October 26, 2010 at 6:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Carla, I do not agree with the founders on this topic, but hey, their line has been doing well and the city-exclusive scents have been successful, so who knows… October 26, 2010 at 8:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ines, yes, you are right, it is difficult enough to find something truly good among the hundreds of boring launches each year. October 26, 2010 at 8:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: A, I do recommend it highly! It really has that retro Caron elegance that I have not encountered elsewhere recently. October 26, 2010 at 8:32pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Le Labo’s LA exclusive, Musc 25 is deliciously subversive (don’t ask; don’t tell) and really does capture something about the city that is elusive and compelling. One issue, though- if a woman is wearing it presumably to attract men, doesn’t it create the sublimial impression that she is already taken? (Pun very much intended).

    I am a big fan of Le Labo, and I like their orange blossom scents: very light, fresh and charming, but it is the darker more complex scents I really admire. I will have to visit Chiago again to see what the city smells like, and then have a whiff of the perfume and see how the impressions vary. My fragrance associations with Chicago are deep-dish pizza, and excellent steaks, and while both are mouth-watering, I don’t think they’d make very good perfumes. Or maybe they would, considering the audience I usually play to. Perhaps if you add a subtle accord of single mat scotch to that blend? LOL. October 27, 2010 at 7:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Lynn, I have lived in Chicago for 6 years, but I have never had a deep-dish pizza. Can you imagine? I must rectify this when I visit next time. October 29, 2010 at 2:06pm Reply

  • SarahK: At last, Chicago gets something too! We have a good perfume selection, but nothing like NYC or Paris. :)) October 29, 2010 at 6:34pm Reply

  • SarahK: V, deep-dish pizza is a Chicago classic. You really must try it! I would be glad to take you to my favorite place downtown. October 29, 2010 at 6:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sarah, Chicago is a great city, I miss it very much. October 30, 2010 at 1:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sarah, I will let you know the next time I will travel there. October 30, 2010 at 1:05pm Reply

  • Jcparodi: I’m starting a revolt AGAINST LE LABO
    , perfumistas unite !, let’s start swamping their email boxes and phone lines in revolt to this anti globalization crap, it really pisses me off, not only that you have to go to the specific city to get it, or buy it from barneys on the phone, for 390 a bottle unsniffed , it’s a lose, lose for Le Labo, and US, I’m not refilling my Neroli or oud, not one more cent, you get it??
    sorry Eddie and Fabrice (Im the first client in your store on Elizabeth that you said, understood perfume) I’m abandoning you. till you make these exclusives available in ALL your shops , and it wouldn’t hurt to bring the prices down to earth too. you might make a profit!!! October 31, 2010 at 2:17am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Jcparodi, what annoys me is not so much the city-exclusive aspect of it (after all, I have to admit to myself that there are many fragrances which I cannot get here or even over the phone, and I still happily plan my trips in order to buy them or ask friends to buy them for me.) It is the anti-globalization explanation of the concept that makes no sense to me. For a luxury perfume company, it is actually downright oxymoronic. October 31, 2010 at 8:09am Reply

  • Ubar: The city exclusive thing sucks, but, every November all the counters will have all the scents, limited time and quantity, , Later you can get the bottles refilled for a 20% discount at all the counters,
    The unfortunate aspect of the city exclusives, is the price. I’ve yet to have loved a city exclusive enough to part with that sort of $$$$$. However, if the 1.7 is under 300, I might have to have this one. September 25, 2011 at 2:17am Reply

  • Surbhi: A SA created a sample of this perfume for me in a by killian bottle. I got the sample months ago and forgot about it. It was not labelled. I tried it on me today and loved it so much that I went back to the store to try all the killian perfumes confused all day. In evening it clicked it smells like le labo perfume. I was thinking if its their peppery rose or am I not smelling sandalwood properly and no killian was smelling even 1 bit like it.

    Had to come and your read your blog to figure out if I can find out which one was it. Such nice description that finally the mind is in peace. 😀 September 8, 2016 at 12:30am Reply

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