Le Labo is a line that I’ve not paid much attention to, possibly because I’ve heard mixed things about the fragrances but also because the whole idea seems a little ‘gimmicky’ to me.

For those of you not familiar with the line, the basic idea is that each fragrance takes it’s name from its main component and its number from the number of ingredients used; so we can assume that Rose 31’s main component is rose (duh) and it contains a total of 31 ingredients. All Le Labo Fragrances are mixed to order at the Le Labo counter and the labels are personalised to include details such as the customer’s name and the store it was mixed in.

Rose 31 is marketed as a masculine and seems to be one of the most popular Le Labo fragrances, now that I have my hands on a bottle It seems a good opportunity to see what all of the fuss is about.

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Oud/Aoud/Oodh/Agarwood is a ‘dark, resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilara and Gyrinops trees when they become infected with a type of mold.’ [1] The smell of Oud really varies and from my experience it can smell medicinal, animalic and funky like a barnyard or intensely peppery and spiky.

Over the last couple of years there has been a plethora of fragrances released based around oud, a note which has been used in middle eastern perfumery for thousands of years. Oud has very much become the note du jour and it seems that almost every fragrance house has done ‘an oud’.

One house that kicked off the trend is Montale, created by perfumer Pierre Montale and tucked away in a corner of the very upmarket and glamourous Place Vendôme in Paris, Montale focuses on rich oriental fragrances and exotic blends using the famous oud.

This review is of two of Montale’s most well known scents, Black Aoud and White Aoud. These two scents strike an interesting contrast with each other and show the versatility of the oud note.