As somebody who’s never had a signature scent, beauty editor Lucy Partington, didn’t realise the power of a perfume compliment until now.
For some reason being on the receiving end of a comment about the way I smell does wonders for my confidence.
It’s probably because there is literally nothing better than smelling good, but also because it’s so truly personal: if somebody says your hair/clothes/lipstick look nice, then sure, it likely does (should I admit that I may have dished out compliments just to fill an awkward silence? Probably not but here we are). But since fragrance isn’t a visual thing, any comments are much more likely to be genuine, and in my humble opinion it just means more.
I should probably also point out that I’ve never really had a signature scent. I’ve never found a perfume that I liked enough to single out or that has smelt like enough like ‘me’ to want to wear it every day, but I recently found myself mindlessly reaching for Le Labo’s Another 13 more often than any other bottle in my extensive collection.
It’s one of those fragrances that’s is quite subtle and it’s one that I couldn’t smell on myself after a while, so I assumed nobody else could smell it, either. That didn’t stop me though: I loved it so I wore it regardless. Then I started realising that friends and colleagues commented whenever I wore it and so I made a conscious effort to spray it every day in an effort to - finally - have a signature scent.
Most people know Le Labo thanks to Santal 33, the brand’s cult woody aromatic scent, but as far as I’m concerned Another 13 is on a completely different level.
It first launched in 2010 as a limited edition collaboration between Le Labo and AnOther magazine with the inspiration being the smell of fresh magazine paper. It has 13 ingredients in total - hence the name - and the main note is ambroxan, a synthetic musk with a woody, creamy smell that’s seriously long-lasting. That’s combined with jasmine, moss and ambrette - which is slightly vanillery, slightly sweet.
In the three months that I’ve been wearing it I’ve had more compliments than ever. From people I know, but also from strangers: people on the bus during rush hour, the receptionist and another patient on a recent (unfortunate) trip to A&E, shop assistants when I’m doing yet another refund, barmaids and estate agents have commented, too. One friend even said she knew I was on the same tube platform as her because she could smell me before she saw me.
What I love most about Another 13, though, is that it’s intriguing. It’s interesting. It leaves a trail and it really clings onto clothes, scarves - it makes a mark, a lasting impression. It’s a talking point, the most unique fragrance that I’ve ever come across yet somehow entirely familiar. It’s clean but also a bit dirty, it’s sexy but understated. It’s a series of contradictions. It’s light but it’s overpowering in the best possible way.
It’s also made me appreciate the complexity of fragrance, it’s made me realise that it’s difficult to describe using words - and so, I’ll take this opportunity to urge you to go and sniff out a sample.
Spray it on your skin, let it settle and smell it throughout the day. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it the same way I have. And don’t be shy with fragrance compliments: if somebody in your vicinity smells good, seek them out and tell them.
I promise it will make their day.
Main image: courtesy of brand