Musc 25 Los Angeles by Frank Voelkl for Le Labo: City Exclusives 2008





I’m off travelling again soon! Yay for holidays!

Last year I reviewed Le Labo – City Exclusives Poivre 23 London just before I visited that majestic city. Just in case, you know, I fell in love and needed a bottle. These things can happen! So I thought I’d give the City Exclusives, Musc 25 Los Angeles a run through before my trip in April. Which, I’ve got to say, I’m really really looking forward to.

Musc 25 Los Angeles by Le Labo: City Exclusives 2008

Musc 25 Los Angeles by Frank Voelkl


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, patchouli, musk, vetiver, lily-of-the-valley, cedar, rose and ambergris

The weirdest thing happened on first sniff. I instantly thought of Kingston, Ontario, Canada where my family spent a year. I don’t know what it was that triggered the reminder. Musc 25 opens with a heavy white musk, so maybe there was something environmental? A washing powder? House hold detergents? No idea. At any rate it was a one off, but interesting.

So, yes. Bam! White musk and quite a light, green-grey ozonic aldehyde which turns soapy in around 10 minutes. The white musk, to me, is cold and austere, a light grey colour. It’s one of my least favourite scents, I must admit. So soapy aldehydes and white musk aren’t really doing it for me however there are hints of concrete, plants and roses layered nearly imperceptably behind this, which makes me think it does needs a bit more skin time.


At around 2 hours I’m still sniffing my arm closely trying to get more than white musk out of this as it’s swamping it for me. There’s a hint of funky animalic saltiness. I notice ambergris listed in the notes but it’s missing the waxiness that I associate with that smell. I’m seeing in my mind’s eye perhaps a reflection of my Airbnb searches – up above the city of Los Angeles, a residential area on the Hollywood Hills. Once formal gardens have been left to go wild so there’s a bit of shrubbery and strangely some pink azaleas. Huh. That is a weirdly specific image……

At about 4 hours as a skin scent the florals die back but the pinkness increases as I start to pick up another softer musk which has the effect of drawing your attention inwards rather than looking out over the horizon of the city. As I know I’m anosmic to a lot of musks it makes me wonder if there’s more in there I can’t smell.


Further reading: Perfume Smelling Things and Perfume Posse
Le Labo in Venice (1138 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, USA) or a couple of other spots in LA
Surrender To Chance has samples from $6/0,5ml

I’ve worn Los Angeles Musc 25 a few times now and I’m a bit conflicted. It’s really not my kind of thing but it’s still been interesting to wear, if that makes sense? It is really the heavy white musk which is my issue but otherwise the mix of concrete, ozone, saltiness, shrubbery, roses, and the softer musk in the dry down leaves me intrigued. Will I buy a bottle? Perhaps not but I’d like to wear the fragrance in the town it was created for to see whether there is an enhanced sense of place.

Do you have any memories of a place having a particular smell?

Till next time,
Tina G

7 thoughts on “Musc 25 Los Angeles by Frank Voelkl for Le Labo: City Exclusives 2008

  1. Great description! Having lived in LA area almost all my life, the fragrance must have been formulated experiencing typical “June gloom” in Long Beach, walking along Ocean Ave.


    • Hi Marion,
      I’m super excited to be visiting! I’ve been through LA but just as a kid + stayed in the Hotel Californian & went to Disneyland. As you do. This time there will be a bit more travelling as we’ll have a car, which I understand is a must. ‘June gloom’ – huh. Sea mists? I can’t believe we’re going over at the same time as Spring Break AND Coachella…. might be a bit busy… hehe
      Tina G xx


  2. Hey Tina!

    I’m so excited for your upcoming LA trip and I love that you are researching perfume as well as Airbnbs 🙂

    I know you’re not a fan of white musk but totally agree that a fragrance can be fun to test even if you don’t love or even like it. It’s just interesting and so cool you got that scent memory of the time you spent in Canada.

    I can’t recall that ever happening to me.


    • Hi Tara!
      The Canada link was weird, but like I said, a one-off. Yea I did think of you while testing, because of the white musk. I know you’re not a fan! All up it was an interesting fragrance and I will wear it in its home city to see if there’s some ‘terroir’ that it links with.
      Can’t wait! Soon!
      xx Tina G


  3. Hey Tina,
    I have tried this one too and though it was nice I really couldn’t see the price/value at the time. That was a couple of years ago though before the cost of luxury fragrance had gone through the roof. I wonder if I would be kinder now.
    Portia xx


    • Hey Portia!
      At least you can get smaller bottles of Le Labo, which helps a bit with price points. I’ll visit the LA store, I think it’s not too far from Lucky Scent.
      You’re welcome to try some of my sample, anytime. xx

      Tina G xx


      • Yes, that’s true, the 15ml are a great size. Hopefully we will get a catch up before you go adventuring.
        Portia xx


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