le labo: 11 posts

Sandalwood Scented Dreams

India and sandalwood. Long before I became interested in perfume as vocation, I knew of this connection. More than a stereotype, it reflects the significance of this wood in India’s traditions, from birth to death, from a wedding to a funeral. Sandalwood makes one’s skin more beautiful and gods more pleased. It smells divine. In my new FT column The Scent of Sandalwood, I explore how Indian and modern European perfumery were inspired by this precious material. Also, I touch upon an issue that rarely clouds the romantic accounts of Mysore sandalwood groves–their overharvesting and near complete devastation.

puja

“My mother-in-law rubbed a piece of pink-coloured wood on a rough stone until it turned to paste. My husband and I were about to travel back to Europe and in the Hindu custom my mother-in-law performed a puja, an act of worship, to ensure our safe journey. She lit joss sticks around the deities and dabbed some of the paste on the figurines of gods arranged on her small altar and then on our foreheads – the fragrance of sandalwood rose in the warm air. Many hours later as I sat in the plane, the creamy, floral perfume lingered around me, carrying with it the memory of a caring touch.” To continue, please click here.

One of my favorite sandalwood perfumes today–it uses a mixture of Australian and synthetic sandalwood–is 10 Corso Como. A niche classic. Do you enjoy sandalwood?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved

Smoke and Ashes

Please give a warm welcome to Elisa Gabbert, a new Bois de Jasmin contributor. Elisa’s first brush with perfume greatness came in the form of a bottle of White Linen lotion from her grandmother. About 20 years later, she fell down the rabbit hole after reading “Perfumes: The A to Z Guide” cover to cover on a flight. Currently she lives in Denver and is the content marketing manager at a small software company based in Boston. She also writes poetry (with collections including “The French Exit” and “The Self Unstable”) and is a founding member of Denver Poets’ Theater. You can discover her poetry and reflections on other things at her blog, The French Exit.

If we were wired properly, the smell of smoke would read as a warning sign. Yet I don’t associate smoke with Colorado wildfires or the carcinogenic properties of cigarettes and burnt toast. Instead, smoke conjures all things cozy and delicious: passing whiskey around a campfire, worn leather gloves, blown-out candles, the whiff of vanilla pipe tobacco when you pass a dapper old fellow on the street. I love smoke in my food (lox, bacon, barbecue,  smoked paprika, chipotle chiles) and I love smoke in my perfumes.

incense-smoke

Because smoke comes from fire, it’s an inherently warming scent, so as the air gets crisp and I pull out my scarves and fall jackets, I start craving my smoky perfumes. There’s a bit of magic in them – it makes sense that crushed rose petals would smell something like rose, but it’s somehow less obvious that you can bottle the effect of gray wisps rising in curls from ash.

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Le Labo Ylang 49 : Perfume Review

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Andy takes Ylang 49 from Le Labo to task.  

I sprayed on Le Labo’s new Ylang 49 with many expectations. As my first introduction to the Le Labo line, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate. But surely, with a brand name that evokes scientific paraphernalia and sterile-looking packaging to match, I reasoned, this “floral chypre” had to be some kind of cleaned-up, angularly modern twist on the classic genre. As it would turn out, I was pleasantly surprised—instead of whisking me through a laboratory, Ylang 49 took me on a nostalgic walk through a shady, rain-drenched garden on a spring morning.

ylang-le-labo

True to its name, Ylang 49 opens with a glimpse of its namesake note, pairing the spicy floral with a touch of rose and some cool earthiness. I am reminded of the damp scent of a garden after a rainstorm, but as the fragrance warms up on skin, the rose takes center stage, and the damp earth transforms into a hint of warm, slightly mossy patchouli.

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Le Labo Lys 41, Ylang 49, and Limette 37 : New Perfumes

Le Labo is introducing two new fragrances as part of their Classic Collection, Lys 41 and Ylang 49, and a new San Francisco city exclusive, Limette 37Lys 41 was created by Daphné Bugey, the same perfumer who worked on Neroli 36, Bergamote 22, and Rose 31 for Le Labo.  Lys 41 features notes of lily, jasmine, tuberose absolute, woods, vanilla, tiare, “sunny notes”, and musk.

Ylang49-and-Lys41

Ylang 49 is classified as a floral chypre. Its author is Frank Voekl, who worked previously on Baie Rose 26, Santal 33, Iris 39, and Musc 25. It lists notes of ylang-ylang, gardenia, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, benzoin, and sandalwood.

Both fragrances will be available at Le Labo stores, counters and directly at their website starting of June 2013. 50ml/$145; 100ml/$220, other sizes and body products are also offered.

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Le Labo Vanille 44 : Perfume Review

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It’s vanilla! It’s expensive! Strike that; it’s very expensive! And it’s very, very good.  Bad news: It’s only occasionally sold in America.  Occasionally means three times in five years*. It’s Le Labo Vanille 44, an ultra-smooth vanilla pod with woody kick from the trendy Le Labo line whose price ($290 for 50 ml; $440 for 100 ml) jumps out because, well, I can’t afford it and neither can any of my friends.  On second thought, maybe one friend can, but he’s a movie producer and can also afford a five-bedroom home in the Malibu Colony.

Le Labo is the dual-citizenship Grasse-New York house that in addition its regular line of perfumes has a set of City Exclusives whose number supposedly mirrors the number of ingredients that enter into the composition and whose fragrances are only available in the cities that bear their name.  These cost more than the regular line. First-class travel always does. To that end, they issued Tubéreuse 40 (New York); Aldehyde 44 (Dallas); Poivre 23 (London); Gaiac 10 (Tokyo); Musc 25 (Los Angeles); Baie Rose 26 (Chicago); and Vanille 44 (Paris).  To celebrate the recent opening of their Paris boutique, Le Labo made Vanille 44 available in the US for one month via their website and Luckyscent, which gave me a chance to sample this perfume.

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  • Gabriela in 5 Things That Inspire Me: Oh things that inspire me… my children playing, books on my shelves, pictures on my wall, little boxes and a sculpture that was from my grandmother. September 14, 2019 at 4:55pm

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