Le Labo’s City Exclusive fragrances will be available to buy worldwide for one month only. Stylist reviews the ones you need to try.
It’s safe to say that niche fragrance brand Le Lebo has racked up a cult following. Yes, the word ‘cult’ is used a lot when it comes to beauty, but this is one of the instances where it’s exceptionally well deserved. Every one of the New York-based brand’s creations has a community of devotees behind it, who believe it’s well worth the price tag and cherish it as a signature scent after watching it being blended by hand at one of its apothecary-like stores.
Although the famous vegan perfume Santal 33 and Stylist beauty editor’s beloved Another 13 have captured the senses of so many, there’s still a lot more to the story. Since 2006, the brand has created a fragrance for cities worldwide that capture their essence, but are strictly exclusive to that city – no online orders or special requests. Notes are selected based on the memory and essence of the place, from New York’s creamy orange blossom Tubereuse 40 to Tokyo’s Gaiac 10 with palo santo and musk.
Other than expensive sample bottles available to buy from dubious online retailers, the City Exclusives have been hard to track down without splashing on a plane ticket. And although convincing someone to smuggle one back from their Dallas road trip is tempting, the idea of spending over £100 on something you’ve never smelled before isn’t advisable.
But for the entire month of September only, all 11 scents will be available in every Le Labo boutique worldwide and online. Brand devotees can try on blends they’ve only read descriptions of and see how they blend with body chemistry. You can finally get your hands on that unforgettable fragrance that a stranger in the loo smugly told you they picked up in San Francisco (and only in San Francisco).
With the exclusives come two brand new city blends: Hong Kong’s Bigarade 18 and Miami’s Tabac 28. Tiny sample vials for £8 are available to buy right now if you can’t commit to just one, or there’s a mini discovery set of five for £40. Stylist visited the Soho shop ahead of the launch for a first look at the collection – these are our choices of the ones you have to try.
Bigarade 18 – Hong Kong
Bergamot, neroli, musk and synthetic ambergris make this an instant mood booster. The cedarwood base leaves a grand and warming hint behind, representing the city’s “tug-of-war” between old and new.
Musc 25 – Los Angeles
Compared to Le Labo’s stronger scents, this one might need a deeper inhale or two to catch all the top notes. With vetiver, musk, ambergris, and more musk, it’s sexy, subtle, and airy – like the city of light itself.
Gaiac 10 – Tokyo
With four different types of musk and a light woody layer of cedar and incense, this one is fresh, sacred, and green all at once.
Baie Rose 26 – Chicago
This is not your grandma’s rosy perfume. The city’s jazz scene is captured with spicy pink pepper, rose, clove and cedar.
Tubereuse 40 – New York
If you love the scent of the creamy white flower, then you’ll adore the additions of bergamot, tangerine and orange flower. It’s like springtime in the city.
Tabac 28 – Miami
Think plumes of cigar smoke in sultry rum bars – that’s this scent. Cuban tobacco, oud, gaiac wood, rum mingle together and become vibrant with green cardamom.
Main image: Le Labo