Anyone that knows me knows that when I’m on a hunt for a fragrance, I will leap tall buildings in a single bound and that’s sort of what happened one recent afternoon. I was directed to Barney’s New York for another fragrance (which I will talk about next) by a respected colleague of mine. Once at the display counter, I was like a kid in candy store…all sorts of bottles and scents I never smelled. It was the clean, no bones packaging that attracted me to Le Labo’s Rose 31…or was it the well dressed gentlemen that came in looking for something else and commented about how much he loved this particular fragrance….there’s nothing like the power of word of mouth. Anyhow, as I letting the scent of the fragrance I came to buy settle in, I decided to smell Rose 31 and instantly there was something about this one that stopped me in my tracks, not that it blew me away but there was this ying and yang thing going on. Anyhow, I couldn’t figure it out so I made my purchase and left the store smelling my hand. I tried to do it discreetly but I’m sure someone saw me on the subway and thought something was up. While I couldn’t put my finger on it, I kept thinking I was smelling something a bit sweat while there was a sweatiness underneath, almost musty. But that couldn’t be…who would combine such a thing, package it and sell it…THE FRENCH.
Le Labo is a French perfume house neatly tucked in the Nolita section of Manhattan. Translated into English it means “the lab” which makes sense when you go to the store, the no bones packaging, the lab coats, the starkness…I must admit, as I’m writing this, its all coming together for me. I remember going to the store for the first time and thinking something is reminding me of Kiehl’s sans the crowd. There’s a no frill approach to the packaging so maybe they’re saving that money for the investment in the ingredients. The number after the name indicates the number of ingredients used to make up that fragrance, i.e., Rose 31 uses 31 different ingredients. What I love about the Le Labo experience is when you find one of their fragrances that suits your taste, they mix it right there for you. And get this, they give it a one year shelf live…that’s right, its so freshly made that it has an expiration date. When I asked could you really tell a difference after a year, they said the average nose wouldn’t be able to smell the difference. Well I don’t expect mine to last that long…there’s something primal about Rose 31. It lasts on the skin for quite a while and settles in nicely..but there’s something about that hint of sweat that’s intriguing…dare I say erotic. Gentlemen smell it for yourself and you be the judge. Its receiving regular rotation in my arsenal.