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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Perfume Review: Le Labo Vetiver 46

Vetiver 46 was created for Le Labo by Mark Buxton, the author of several Comme des Garcons scents including Comme des Garcons and Comme des Garcons White. (Those who followed the blind fragrance testing experiment conducted by Patty, March and myself might recognize Vetiver 46 as Doctah, one of the samples sent to us by Patty. March and I loved Doctah, however Patty thought it was “just nasty… embalming fluid in a bottle”) Described by Le Labo as “the Rolls Royce of Vetivers”, Vetiver 46 has notes of vetiver, olibanum oil, cedre oil, labdanum absolute, amber, bergamot essence, vanilla, black pepper, gaiac wood, and clove. It is marketed by Le Labo as one of their masculine fragrances, in fact “as the most masculine of all Le Labo creations”. The description goes as far as to say that “among the 46 essences that make it up, all have the distinctive “male” scent: pepper, gaiac, labdanum, cedar”…That list pretty much covers my favorite notes. As a female, in answer to that I will quote my beloved Nero Wolf and say, Pfui!

As you may have garnered from the above outburst, I regard the feminine-masculine distiction in perfumery to be pretty much passé and unnecessary. In the name of fairness however, I must add that, compared to other recent releases with a prominent vetiver note, Terre d’Hermes and Sel de Vetiver, Vetiver 46 does strike me as a drier, harsher, more austere composition, and whereas I cannot imagine anyone not consider Terre d’Hermes or Sel de Vetiver to be “unisex”, I can understand why Vetiver 46 might be deemed “masculine”.

As for the scent itself, it is superb. Vetiver 46 starts with incence, citrus and vetiver, a dry, bright, bracing accord with a slight salty undertone. As the fragrance developes, the harshness of the top notes subsides and while the fragrance never becomes soft and fluffy, it does acquire a certain smooth, warm(-er) quality, undoubtedly due to the presence of vanilla and amber. All stages of Vetiver 46 are wonderful, but I absolutely adore the drydown. Spicy with pepper and cloves, dark and resinous thanks to the gaiac wood note, it has a sligh smoky feel to it that I find irresistible.

I have not given all Le Labo scents a try on my skin yet, but of the ones I have sampled so far, Vetiver 46 had the most interesting, unusual composition. Vetiver 46 is available at Le Labo boutique, $45.00-$180.00.

The image is from
Tomorrow, Vetiver Bourbon by Miller Harris.


Blogger tmp00 said...

oh dear. I am in deep here. I get to New york at least twice a year and I fear that this is a place that I may drop some cash.

Did I really need tires anyway? Gas is 3 bucks a gallon and there's a bus stop on the corner....

2:54 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

This and the orange are delicious, I think based on the sample I might even like this one better. This is not in my usual Yes pile; it's dangerously close to the edge of the armpit. I find it tres sexy, actually. :-)

7:37 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh dear! And I didn't even smell when I was there. I'm not sure why I didn't just smell everything--but I was very frazzled. I sense another discovery pack looming. I have Ciste, Patchouli, and Iris (love them all)--and now I think I should try this, Rose, and--um, probably Bergamot, maybe Neroli--although I am not usually an orange girl. And I am TRYING not to buy anything:)

8:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wrote down Adolpho Dominguez, thank you very much! Yesterday you commented about Vetyver by Parfums de Nicolai and that same day Now Smell This reviewed it. Apparently it has cumin...Now I am really interested :-)

9:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Good thing about Le Labo is that they offer smaller, 15ml bottles of all their scents (which by the way every perfume line should do!) This way one could afford both a couple of Le Labo scents and new tires :-)

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I thought orange was lovely but nothing more than lovely. This one you said, a tres sexy thing :-) Doctah Doctah :-)

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

When I received this one from Patty in a blind test, I immediately thought that you might like it too. Just sayin' :-)

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! ♥
The drydown is wonderful! I can't figure out if I think you will like the rest of the scent...I am really not sure, but it is worth trying anyway!

10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

LOL, it was bound to happen eventually that we would do the same fragrance on the same day. So is it silly if I say nice choice?

12:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Same fragrance today and I think we are both focusing on the vetiver this week. :-) I think for me it's the spring that makes me crave that note (although vetiver is perfect in any season really!)

12:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think your "embalming fluid" comment is one of my favorite perfume descriptions ever :-)

12:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

OK, I guess I have to give these Labos a try, in spite of my skepticism.

1:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think you'll have to give them a try. Some of them are nice and some are very nice. :-)

2:05 PM EDT  

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