Post by TinaG
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) by Le Labo 2008
Poivre 23 (London) by Nathalie Lorson
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.
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.
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,