Poivre 23 (London) by Nathalie Lorson for Le Labo 2008

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Post by TinaG

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Hi APJ,

Each of Le Labo’s City Exclusives line is sold in a single dedicated city, although they do seem to have become more accessible over time. I have a decant of Poivre 23 which is the London City Exclusive. I thought I’d give it a run through before I headed overseas, just in case I fell in love and desperately needed a full bottle.

Poivre 23 London Le Labo London Tube Publ;ic domain

Poivre 23 (London) by Le Labo 2008

Poivre 23 (London) by Nathalie Lorson

Poivre 23 London Le Labo FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Labdanum, sandalwood, patchouli, pepper, vanilla, guaiac wood, styrax, incense

Le Labo’s fragrance name is the note which is in the highest concentration in the fragrance, and the number the count of ingredients it contains. In this case, we have Poivre (pepper) and 23 notes.

One of the challenges I find with Poivre 23 is that it gives me olfactory fatigue very easily. The effect of this is that it appears to chop and change on each wearing, sometimes non-existent, other times nuanced and gorgeous, and occasionally the base of incense and amber is all I can smell. So it makes it difficult to write up but I’ll focus on one of the days where I didn’t get fatigue so badly and picked up some of the more fun aspects of the fragrance.

On opening, there’s a burst of pepper – I’m sure that I can smell both black pepper and a softer more fragrant version such as Szechuan or pink pepper. After the first pepper zing I get a chocolate note which may be patchouli-related as it does settle into a green headspace. There is a bitter dry white wood and an oddly buttery sweetness over the top. It is strange to smell something which is both dry and oily at the same time, like deadwood which has been seasoned & polished with fatty animal oils.

Poivre 23 London Le Labo pepper WikipediaWikipedia

At three hours on my skin the dry woodiness has taken on a subtle rubbery note which I suspect is imparted from guaiac wood, with a resinous birch underneath it. The whole thing has a sticky slippery leathery feel about it which I really enjoy.

At 5 hours this settles in to one of those skin scents which is like “my skin, but enhanced”. It is dry, woody, musky and subtle – very cuddly and comforting. There is light grey incense in the background and the styrax is a warm welcoming resinous amber with a touch of well blended vanilla in the package. This combination lasts well past the 8 hour mark.

Poivre 23 London Le Labo Loz Pycock Follow Driftwood Pavilion Bedford Square FlickrFlickr

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Perfume Posse
Le Labo has 3 venues in London. Two stand alone stores and a Harrods desk.
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $6/0.5ml

This fragrance is definitely not safe for enclosed spaces. My co-workers can smell it at least 5 metres away commented on the fragrance (complimented each time, thankfully). Will I pick up a full bottle when I’m in London? I don’t think so. I enjoy wearing it very much but it’s hard on my sense of smell – a wearing once every so often will be enough.

Have you tried Poivre 23, or any of the Le Labo City Exclusives?

Till next time,
Tina G

12 comments on “Poivre 23 (London) by Nathalie Lorson for Le Labo 2008

  1. Vanessa says:

    I have a decant of this and I have to be in a mega peppery mood for it, to be honest. I agree with your comment about its not being safe for enclosed spaces, hehe. So I guess I like it – a lot even, on cold winter days – but yet I only reach for it occasionally.
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    • Tina G says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      Ticks on all the above, the sillage is a monster in the first 2 hours! And that was my thought, it would be an occasional perfume, although I did enjoy wearing it. Cold winter days would suit it beautifully.

      xx Tina G

  2. AnnieA says:

    It was a mix of black and pink pepper and then red pepper on me. Interesting but gaspingly expensive even for a Le Labo.

    • Tina G says:

      Hi Anne,

      Oh you picked up three peppers? I was wondering, I did definitely find two in there but had a question mark over pink vs Sechuan (more spicey) peppers – but you know, I blew my nose out (total olfactory fatigue) by trying to sniff close to my arm to work it out. It killed my nose for 2 hours, so I’ve had to be more careful when sniffing!

      xx Tina G

  3. Tara C says:

    I have it and really enjoy it. Even though it is rather similar to Labdanum 18, I prefer Poivre to that one and it works well on me. 50mls is a multiple-lifetime supply.

    • Tina G says:

      Hi Tara C,

      I have a decant of Labdanum 18 and I’m just waiting until the colder months to give that more of a run through. I’ll keep it in mind to compare the two. Thanks! Yes, 50mls is *plenty*.

      Tina G xx

  4. Tara says:

    Thanks for writing about this one Tina, even though it was a challenge. It’s the Le Labo I think I like the most although I don’t know the line at all well. I had no idea they now have a counter in Harrod’s.

    Wow, that’s a lot of sillage for a pepper perfume!
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    • Tina G says:

      Hi Tara!

      The sillage was huge on this one. I don’t know the line very well either so am starting to make inroads. We have a well-stocked counter at Mecca in Sydney City so I’ve got access to them, and I’ve managed to pick up a few decants which allows for slower testing at home.

      Harrods wasn’t on my list but we can always swing past if we’ve got time? 🙂

      xx Tina G

  5. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Heya Tina,
    Lovely review as always.
    While loving quite a few of the Le Labo scents and having some of their travel sizes the whole mix on site thing makes me a bit grumpy.
    You smell the tester, love it, buy it. Then you have to wait while it all blends itself. That first spritz can be quite different from what you have paid to get.
    Their bottles are very nice though and I’ve never met a Le Labo SA that was less than 100% fabulous. The whole experience is really nice.
    Portia xx

    • Tina G says:

      Hi Portia,

      Wow – I know they blend it for you but it didn’t occur to me that there could be substantial compositional differences – makes sense I suppose, but that is frustrating especially considering the $$. Glad the rest of the experience was positive enough to help balance it out…

      xx Tina G

  6. cookie queen says:

    Hi TinaG. ? I have not tried any of the LL line because it quite simply does not blow my skirt. Perhaps I am missing something but it dorsn’t matter. ❤️

    • Tina G says:

      Hi Val, if I ever come across one and thing “wow Val *must* try this!!” I’ll let you know. 🙂

      xx Tina G

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