Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Blog Science: We Try 16 Different Le Labo Scents in One Night.

Months ago I got an email from a really lovely reader who told me she'd bought a 16-sample Le Labo Discovery Set and would I like to be it's next recipient? Why yes, yes I would. (Thanks again, Betsey!) I tried out several but I am very sensitive to scents and there's nothing so off-putting as going through the day wearing a fragrance that's Not For You. I held onto the set until my recent visit with Marianne so we could test them all together. For Science. Blog Science.

In our very (un)scientific approach we decided to spray each one on a strip of paper and record our thoughts. (I know this isn't the optimal way to test a fragrance because body chemistry but we needed to get it done.) Because we're not animals, we also grabbed some coffee beans to rest our poor noses between takes. We destroyed Marianne's cozy TV room in the process, just FYI.

Our voting system:  

Liked it: ✓ 
Neutral or undecided: − 
NOPE: ✖️

Ambrette 9 (Notes: ambrette seeds, white musk, pear)

A: ✓ M: −

M: I don't dislike it, I just don't know what it is
A: I'm not sure if it's me but it's soft and nice (Note: I tried this on a few days ago and it's definitely an inoffensive, subtle fragrance)

Another 13 (Notes: ambroxan, jasmine petals, musk, moss, woody ambery notes)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: Oh, I don't like that
A: It smells like a dude

Bergamote 22  (Notes: bergamot, grapefruit, petitgrain, orange blossom, cedarwood, vetiver, musk)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: I like that smell but I don't want to smell like that
A: It's sharp and green

Fleur d’Oranger 27  (Notes: bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, orange blossom, jasmine, vetiver, musk)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: Old lady candy
A: Old fashioned for sure

Iris 39  (Notes: lime, iris, rose, ginger, patchouli, civet, musk)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: Oh no, oh no I got in on my fingers

Jasmin 17  (Notes: bitter orange, jasmine sambac, neroli, orange blossom, sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla)

A: ✓  M: ✓ 

M: This is nice and summery
A: Oh, I really like this one

Labdanum 18  (Notes: cistus labdanum, patchouli, castoreum, tonka bean, vanilla)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: That smells like Cinnabar
A: What is this??

Lys 41  (Notes:- Top: tiare flower.- Middle: jasmine, lily, tuberose.- Base: woody, musks, vanilla )

A: − M: −

M: Soapy, could be nice one
A: Fresh, not sure it's for me

Neroli 36  (Notes:- Top: mandarin, calone, orange blossom, salt crystal, watermelon.- Middle: jasmine, neroli.- Base: woody, musk, tonka bean, vanilla)

A: ? M: ✖️

M: Slightly powdery?
A: I literally can't smell anything. Now my nose is itchy

Oud 27  (Notes: black pepper, cedarwood, guaiac wood, oud, patchouli, saffron, incense)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: Smells like fancy cleaning solution
A: *silent grimace*

Patchouli 24 (Notes: leather, patchouli, birch, tar, vanilla)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: Oh my God, I hate that
A: Hard no from me

Rose 31 (Notes: rose absolute, cumin, vetiver, musks, cedar, agarwood, olibanium, amber, guaiacwood, cistus)

A: ✓  M: − 

M: Not my jam, but nice
A: It actually smells like real roses, which is nice

Santal 33 (Notes:- Top: violet accord, cardamom.- Middle: iris, papyrus, ambrox.- Base: cedarwood, leather, sandalwood)

A: ✓  M: 

M: Smells different on paper but I love it (of course)
A: On paper I definitely get the dill note. I love it but it smells like you, not me

Thé Noir 29 (Notes: bergamot, fig, bay leaves, cedar wood, vetiver, musk, black tea leaves)

A: −   M: 

M: I like that, it's spicy
A: I want to try it on me before judgement (Note: I did! It's really interesting and spicy but not warm enough for me. I prefer Jo Malone Nutmeg and Ginger.)

Vetiver 46 (Notes: sandalwood, vetiver, clove, black pepper, amber, incense)

A: ✓  M: 

M: Spicy but sharper, old school cologne
A: Smells like incense -mysterious

Ylang 49 (Notes:- Top: citrus accord.- Middle: gardenia, ylang-ylang.- Base: patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver oakmoss, benzoin)

A: ✖️ M: ✖️

M: Ugh gross no
A: Licorice but soapy, no

That was a lot! There are a few more I intend on trying on myself and then I'll send the box to Marianne for similar purposes. After that, who knows? Perhaps one of you wants it? 

PS. The Aftermath

M: Chris had to take the trash out early FYI

A: Hahahhaaa

M: The perfume did... bad things in the trash

A: Sorry for ruining your house.

M: That was so intense

A: You're selling it anyway?

M: hahaha. Realtors notes: strong odor

M: But expensive smelling

A: FANCY strong odor

M: Sold


  1. This was entertaining! It's always so interesting to me how individual scent is. I love Bergamote 22 and hate Santal 33!

    1. Well, and I think fragrance is different when mixed with body chemistry so really, we're mostly doing it wrong. It was fun, though!

  2. I would love to try it, if there's any left after M is through!

  3. I got a little $6 sample of the Santal 33 on your recommendation, and LURVE it! Peppery and citrusy.

  4. I got a sample of the Santal 33 from a recent Nordstrom purchase. I tried it on and my husband LOVED the way it smelled. I, however, did not really care for it...it's not really my style. But I was so curious to try the fragrance that I've been hearing about everywhere! My wallet is glad that I didn't really like it, though! :) Thank you for the blog science experiment!

  5. On your recommendation, I went in search of Le Labo and found the store around the corner from my house here in Toronto. So I tried 3 samples last summer (Bergamote 22, Lys 41 & Santal 33) and while I wanted to love Santal 33 it was too strong for me. I now wear Bergamote 22 every day and love it (one spray only!) . I very much appreciate your blog science!

  6. My husband asked me for birthday present ideas, and the Le Labo Santal was the only idea I gave him. Here's hoping!


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