A few years ago, I had the fortune of visiting Paris for the first time. When I begun planning my to-do list, I knew a trip to the hip boutique Colette was a must. At that time, it was the only place anyone could get their hands on Le Labo’s Vanille 44. After Labo’s Rose 31 made me a fan for life, the thought of snagging something I couldn’t get in NYC was thrilling. I don’t collect sneakers or much else, so this is my participation in the collector’s fanaticism thing. Continue reading
Back in 2009, I happily found myself in Paris and one of the many things I had to do was visit Colette in search of Le Labo’s Vanille 44. Back then, it was the only way I could get my hands on this creation and I’m happy I did. I’m still rocking it and it remains one of my go-to rainy day scents. (Never mind that date on the bottle. Mine is still going strong.) Continue reading
One of my favorite fragrance manufactures, Le Labo, has launched a new scent, Oud 27. It’s their first in three years. When I got wind of the launch, I will admit, I was quite excited. I do not possess a favorite scent but when asked, Rose 31 remains at the top of the list. I’m such a fan that when I visited Paris in April of 2008, the top of my agenda (after watching my lovely lady cross the finish line of the Paris Marathon) was to make my way over to Collette to purchase, Vanille 44. It can only be bought there and that type of exclusivity sweetened the deal. To put it in perspective, some of my peers might liken that desire to getting their hands on the new Air Yeezy’s. I’ll take a fragrance over kicks any day, but that’s my obsession.
I stopped by Le Labo on Saturday and my heart was literally fluttering in anticipation. Upon first spritz of the tester, I was wowed, but not in a “this is the best thing I have ever smelt” kind of way. A strong but slightly sweet urine top note unexpectedly greeted me. It in fact made me take a seat. Could this be what they wanted me to take away, why? I do like untraditional scents like Serge Lutens Santal Blanc which some have said smelt pissy and Carolina Herrera’s 212 Sexy Man but this was even more offbeat. I then sprayed it on the back of my hand and allowed time to do its thing. I smelled it every so often and the urine stayed with me but then it got slightly smoky and as more time passed, slightly sweet. As I chatted with one of the customers, she asked if I was testing Oud and we agreed to smell it on one another. On her, it smelt soft. It wasn’t as pungent. When she smelt it on me, she loved it and actually thought it smelt better on me. Her reaction is probably why I ended up purchasing the .5 oz travel size, which costs $52, and I’m glad I did.
That urine smell that initially hit me, is a characteristic of Oud, which is an exotic oil that also has animalic, smoky, and musky notes. Oud is an aromatic resin that is a result of Aquilaria trees that become infected with a mold and over time produce a resin in response to the attack. When I learned this, after doing some research, it was like dejavu hit me all over again. When I first smelt, Rose 31, I questioned that “B.O.” note that initially confused me. So to answer my earlier question, yes, Le Labo meant to do this.
My findings and time allowed me to appreciate Oud 27. As with any fragrance, how it adapts to your skin is part of the decision equation. But in this instance, more so than in any other I’ve experienced, I believe one REALLY has to get past that initial smell to allow oneself to test it. In 1993 the rap group Brand Nubians had a song called “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone” and that is exactly what Oud 27 says to me. You’ll either get it or you won’t. My suggestion is to give it a try. Let time and your body manipulate the scent. It continually changes and nestles into your skin. I love it, but will you?
Today was one of those days – you open your eyes, the rain is beating on the window and you say to yourself, “why must I get out of bed today.” Then you pull the covers off and reality kicks in.
After taking a shower and figuring out what to wear on this most dreary day I thought to myself as I was looking for a fragrance, “warm and inviting.” As I reflect, I’d say that was an interesting choice of words but I guess it was spurred by the weather. As I thought about what to spray on, it came to me Vanille 44 by Le Labo.
I bought Vanille 44 while I was in Paris. Le Labo had the clever idea to release exclusive fragrances in a few cities and Paris was one of them. Prior to purchasing it, I thought to myself, I’m going to buy this thing no matter what it smells like…I mean why not, you can only get it in Paris. So off my lady and I trekked to Colette from the Champs-Elysees with our map in hand and the happiness of child on their way to Toys R Us. Man…when I got there I was busting with excitement, but I was quickly let down by the rudeness of one of the sales people. The only thing that stopped me from slapping this young lady was my up bringing and the thought of the French police screaming at me while in handcuffs…not a good look. Anyhow, after spraying a bit on myself and letting it settle, I wasn’t immediately overwhelmed by it. Was I expecting more, was it to simple…I’m not quite sure. So with the attitude, realizing just how much I was about to spend because of the weak American dollar and the lackluster first impression, I abruptly left. Man was I disappointed. My day came crashing down. I came all this way and didn’t get the one thing I wanted to leave with. FCUK. As the day wore on, I could not stop smelling my wrists. The more I smelled them the more intrigued I became. Sweet, woody, tasty, sweet but woody…unusual but interesting. Long story short, 3 days later I went back to Colette and bought it.
This post took a while to come to me but warm and inviting is just what Vanille 44 is to me. While some perfumers can be obsessed with duplicating what an actual flower is supposed to smell like, Vanille 44 is far from being a purely vanilla scent. It smells familiar and that’s because notes include bergamot, incense and bunch of other goodies. That combination of the sweet and woody scents really play a number on you…as a young lady in the shop said, “hmmm, that’s nice.”