perfumed, part II

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After close to five years, I'm close to finishing my bottle of Vintage Gardenia by Jo Malone. The bottle looks a little forlorn on my dresser. The scent brings always a rush of memories and a number of other things, all of them pleasant - balmy nights, rich damp earth, a flutter of ivory silk, the sweet scent of flowers crushed on the pavement.

But I've also moved on, sort of. Last year, for a change of scenery, I bought Le Labo's Rose 31*. Vintage Gardenia - which really smells more like something else, closer to a Tuberose scent - was always a little sweet for me on some days, and it's also disappointing how quickly the scent wears off.

I smelt Rose 31 ages ago and loved it, but was reluctant to buy a new perfume when I was barely halfway through another. I take ages to get through perfume - I bought Vintage Gardenia in 2010, and it's a mere 30ml - and limit myself to one bottle at any given time. But last year, looking at the Le Labo counter and figuring I had nothing better to spend a 10% voucher on, I decided to get it. At least I was down less than 1/4 of Vintage Gardenia left, I reasoned.

Rose 31 is immensely popular and I won't go on at length about the technical points except one thing: it doesn't smell like a classic rose fragrance, despite the name. This was the thing I learnt about Le Labo perfumes - they don't always smell like their names, because what's named for is just one of many ingredients used. The eponymous ingredient is the one used in the highest concentration, but it isn't necessarily what dominates your nose when you take a whiff.

Like Vintage Gardenia, there's a floral headiness about Rose 31, but there's also an incense-like quality. There also a sharpness that cuts right through, and an earthiness I always look for in my perfumes. I can't identify any of the ingredients by smelling it, but I can tell you it makes me think of black velvet, red wine, grass after rain, my mother. It also lasts - I like that moment when I pull off my shirt at the end of the day and catch a whiff of its last, dying notes.

*It was only recently that I discovered that Le Labo was purchased by Estee Lauder in November. Estee Lauder has also purchased Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and Rodin olio lusso. What I hate about niche brands being bought by conglomerates is that they're not longer quite free of the animal-testing taint even if they continue not to test on animals (because Estee Lauder does). I love this perfume, but I certainly will think twice about a repurchase when my current bottle runs low.

Comments

Alison said…
The package design for both of these is great! And I hear you on the slow perfume usage ... someone bought me an Issey Miyake scent 3 years ago that I fell in love with and it's still got about a third left.

I've heard lots of good things about Jo Malone though - worth checking out?
lin said…
I've only had this one one Jo Malone perfume so I can't give a very comprehensive review but I wish they lasted longer! Apart from that I like the interesting combinations they come up with every season but have never found a second one that made me go YES. Perfume is personal like that!
Kali said…
Oh I didn't know le labo had been purchased by a conglomerate, I agree this is disappointing. I have never bought anything from them but I browsed their store dreamily at St Michel several times, it is true their scents are deep and subtle.

I tend to have 2 to 3 bottles of perfume at once because I'm not attracted to the same scents in winter and summer, but I guess that point is irrelevant in Singapore :) My current one is Jo Malone's Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and I love it, deep and spicy, yet more subtle than most perfumes of that type. On the fact that the scent tends to wear off, maybe it's also because you've been wearing it for so long? I heard that our nose gets used to a scent after a while and we can't smell it anymore even when it's still here...
Ammu said…
Gorgeous bottles! I am finishing my stash of Black Orchid at the moment, desperate to start using the Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan I picked up in Singapore. I used to have a signature scent - Frederic Malle Carnal Flower - but one day, it just disappeared on my skin and since then, I have struggled to find another signature scent. Black Orchid was great for a while as was Chanel No. 19, but I am excited about Ambre Sultan. I used to love Luten's A La Nuit (green jasmine) back in the day.
lin said…
Kali: I didn't know that about perfumes, but you could be right. I still go by Jo Malone though, they always come up with combinations you want to check out.

Ammu: I'm deeply interested in Serge Luten's Cedre..but i think i should give myself time to use more of Le Labo. My nose is pretty sensitive and some days I can't use anything at all.
eizhowa said…
Itfeels so great when you finally own the Kiehls cedarwood and vanilla arometic blend I love. It is a unisex blend. To me it smells of warm wood saunas, with a vanilla undertone. I have gone through 70 ml in a year...

A relative of mine (who shops a lot in my wardrobe) tried on my perfume and said "Oh, this is what all of your clothes smell like!". I was very flattered to know I have a scent people can recognize as mine. Dior can't give you that:P

Have you tried to layer your perfumes? I am very often attracted to similar perfumes, and I have been able to layer them quite successfully before. You might be able to reinvent you old favourite;)
lin said…
eizhowa: I've actually layered Vintage Gardenia with some other Jo Malone scents (borrowed my from sister) and it's nice but I haven't found anything that moved my world, haha.
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