Saturday, October 29, 2011

The easy choice - Labdanum 18 by Le Labo

I'm calling this an easy choice because each time I have to go someplace and don't know what to wear, I reach for this. :)
My relatively large decant came through a split and the speed I'm going through it, makes me think I will have to start looking for another one soon.

Notes: Labdanum, tonka beans, vanilla, castoreum, patchouli.

If I were to describe this perfume in one word, I'd say it smells ambery. :)

Lately, I realized I write down my notes on a perfume, then I go see what are the notes listed and then I go investigate which parts combined to get me the smells I was getting.
One of the good things about Labdanum 18 is that I believe I know what castoreum smells like. The process of elimination brought me there. :)
So, the vanilla, labdanum and tonka beans are responsible for the ambery feel but all very nicely tempered so no note overpowers the other. I also detect light whiffs of some herbal sharpness and I thought that came from patchouli but cannot really say for sure.

The problem with this perfume is that it is better smelled around you than on you. I mean, for reviewing purposes, I get less when I smell it on my wrist than when I smell it around me when I wear it. Then it sort of jumps out at me at all times. Not that this perfume jumps, it's more like it suddenly stealthily overpowers you and you are left wondering how you didn't know it was there a second ago.
It's an aural perfume to me (you know, it has the amount of sillage like an aura - just right).

Which brings me to the last note and castoreum. I have a problem detecting that particular tinge to this perfume on my writs, but when I catch a whiff of my "aura" there is a light sexy, possibly dirty or animalic to some, tinge to this perfume. But when you want to take a better look, it's gone. And then when you're not watching, it hovers around the edge of your vision, only to disappear when you take a better look.

There doesn't seem to be much development to this perfume (at least not to me) but I don't mind that because I really love the way it starts and those "sleight of hand" changes it does so it remains smelling the same with some minor changes for the  duration.

P.S. I just checked the Le Labo site and they list more notes than Luckyscent.
The ones missing up there are: cista, civet, musk aubepine, birch tar, cinnamon, gurjaum balsam.
Can't say I got any cinnamon but the first 3 could be all responsible for what I thought was solely castoreum's part. Oh well, I guess I still need to learn how it smells then. :)


  1. Ines I've got a sample of this and must say that I haven't quite grown to appreciate it yet. It sort of reminds me of a toned-down Musc Ravageur. It's interesting how this might wear on different skins. On me the sweet, fluffy notes seem to amplify. I wish I got more skank. Interesting that birch tar is listed because I don't detect any of that at all. I must try this one again.

  2. Michael, I am lucky in that regard, I don't amplify the sweetness but unfortunately, I do amplify the synthetic musks (awful).
    I was wondering about birch tar - I didn't smell it either, but then again, neither did I smell the cinnamon.
    I think I have a sample of Musc Ravageur someplace - now I'm interested in comparing the two. :)

  3. I think Labdanum 18, Musc Ravageur and Shalimar are all siblings. I like all three, and I can see how it is your "don't need to think about it" perfume.

  4. This sounds like an incredible perfume. I bet I would love it.

    I think you and I might be scent twins, Ines. The perfumes you sent, the ones I have tried so far, I absolutely adore!

  5. Wow, B. gets Shalimar-sibling...That's funny since to me Labdanum is a very safe choice-wonderful-comfy fragrance, just perfect for this time of year, whereas Shalimar, let's say I'm working on it;-) So far all the flankers seem to work though, so I'll get there eventually:-)
    Thanks for the beautiful post, Ines.

  6. What Asali said :)

    Ines, I enjoy your attempts at decontructing the scent even though I almost never have that type of curiosity.

  7. Olfactoria, now I need to add Shalimar when sniffing this side by side with Musc. I wonder what will come out of it...

  8. Well, what can I say JoanElaine, you obviously have great taste. ;)

    And to boot you're an Aquarian if I remembered correctly?
    I think you might love this one too.

  9. Thank you Asali. :)
    As Shalimar smells like coming home into my own person, I can understand B. putting it on par with the other two. Now I just need to smell them side by side to see what happens (beside me becoming very comfortable and mellow). ;)

  10. Thanks Undina. :)
    So, you're still working towards Shalimar or you gave up? Or decided to give it another try in a few years?

  11. Ines, I just ordered some samples from LuckyScent of a couple of the Le Labo frags, but not this one. You make it sound good ... by your description I wonder if it is a bit similar to SL Muscs Koublai Khan?

  12. Suzanne, it's been quite long since I tried MKK so I can't say for sure.
    I wouldn't say this one is as musky as MKK but then again, my tolerance is rather higher than that of most people. :)
    But warmy muskiness isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Labdanum 18.

  13. I can't say I have much curiosity about many Le Labos, but if this is an easy go-to and a Shalimar sibling I may have to try it.

  14. anotherperfumeblog, until recently, Le Labos weren't very interesting to me. Now it seems I'm quickly gaining several new favorites among my collection. :)
    Do try them when you get the chance.

  15. This is the only Le Labo of which I own a bottle, and I love Labdanum 18 despite its ballsy barnyard quality. Care is needed with application, but it is cosy in winter in similar vein to L'Ombre Fauve and Dzing!

  16. Ines, with Shalimar I'm giving it a rest for now and trying to find any Guerlain I want to wear. I think I'm getting there :)

  17. I love to hear what people think about this fragrance. On me it's very skanky, but a lot of others find it just warm and comforting. Actually, this is the only scent I've reviewed that I've had people have openly say that they are not reading my blog anymore because of my opinion of it :/

    Suzanne, I do get the same type of musc as you get in MKK, especially at the extreme drydown. It's the last note that leaves.

  18. Sigrun, I can certainly imagine some people getting more skank out of this (I'm lucky in that regard with many perfumes being much nicer on me) but people not reading your blog because you posted your honest opinion?!

    What is wrong with people?!

  19. Vanessa, that Dzing! keeps popping up in conversations lately and I have no idea what it smells like. :)
    But if it's similar to Labdanum 18, I'll try and find some fast. :)