What I Do In Vienna Is Obvious – Review: A Lab On Fire What We do In Paris Is Secret

The title of this perfume alone is already half a blog post…

A Lab On Fire has created a bit of a stir in the perfume community and while the utilitarian bottles are not drawing me in at all, perfumes by Dominique Ropion and Thierry Wasser are.

So let’s take a look at the newest one with the intriguing, funny, apt and looong title of What We Do In Paris Is Secret.

What We Do In Paris Is Secret was created by Dominique Ropion and includes notes of bergamot, honey, lychee, Turkish rose essence, tonka bean, vanilla, heliotrope, tolu, sandalwood, ambergris and musks.

The descriptor that comes to me again and again when I wear What We Do In Paris Is Secret (further known here as WWD), is “intelligent gourmand”. WWD is yummy, no doubt about it, it smells of pastry and macaroons, loukhoum and almond paste – rose scented delicacies of Parisian origin that make your mouth water and your heart ache, because they unite the sweet and the beautiful and become therefore irresistible.

But WWD is more than that. It has multiple layers and hidden crevices, shadowy corners and obscured depths that no run of the mill gourmand ever displays. WWD is beauty and brains, sugar high and rapier wit in one (sadly unsightly) package.

Deceptively simple, deceptively quiet, WWD displays strength and power in both sillage and longevity. This is a perfume that is easily underestimated at first sniff, simply dismissed as nice gourmand, but wear it and be immediately drawn into a beguiling and wonderful world you never thought could hide behind something so “cute”.

What they did in Paris to disguise this extraordinary perfume as a simple and easy one, is indeed secret. What I do in Vienna when I smell it on the other hand, is quite obvious: my nose stays attached to my wrist and I smile an enigmatic smile that is only enigmatic until you smell it too.

Then you’ll understand.

Image source: fragrantica.com, vintageadbrowser.com
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I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Vanilla and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to What I Do In Vienna Is Obvious – Review: A Lab On Fire What We do In Paris Is Secret

  1. Sandra says:

    I love this perfume! Yes, the bottle is utilitarian, but the juice is magical to me. Thank you for your review. It is indeed a “intelligent gourmand”.

  2. Undina says:

    What a brilliant title! :)
    I will try the perfume eventually, but from now on every time I read that name I’ll remember your review.

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    The notes sound appealing and easy. Do I reallly need another almondy crave ? (I have enough troubles with Heeley already !)

  4. andreawilko says:

    I bought a small decant and hold my hands up in shame as I tested it and dismissed it as a nice gourmand, I have plenty in this category so I have not been back to it, I will now revisit it again tonight. :-)

  5. Tara says:

    This sounds wonderfully intriguing. I love the description “Intelligent gourmand” – those are definitely my favourite kind.

  6. I’m with Undina, I will now go find. The notes left me cold but your story makes it sound irresistible.
    Thanks,
    Portia xx

  7. Suzanne says:

    Wow, you make this sound so good! And I love Dominique Ropion’s perfumes, so I can believe every word you write about this — and must seek out a sample now.

    Also, your review is like a bit of synchronicity for me: my husband has been practicing making macarons (last night was his second batch). We had the most delicious rose-flavored ones in Paris.

  8. Thank you so much for your review! Now this sounds like something I should try :) I “fell down the rabbit hole” into perfume world a few years ago when I realized I had outgrown the perfume I used to wear in my 20s, and wanted to find a replacement. I used to wear Hanae Mori EDP when I was more girlish (it came out in ’95, the same year I graduated from college! So I wore it for several years after that.) HM EDP is definitely a gourmandish woody oriental. Lots and lots of berries and almonds create an almost pastry shop effect. It’s almost a cookie perfume. Now it is just TOO SWEET and girly for me, with not enough brains. And yet, I miss the sensual sweetness of it just the same – I just haven’t been able to find something smart and elegant enough as well to replace it. Maybe “WWD” is the ticket :) Is it so wrong to want to smell just a bit like dessert, while remaining smart and elegant at the same time? Most creations in the perfume world have left me thinking so…

  9. anitathepianist says:

    Hi, that one will go on my Wish List along with many others from your delightful reviews. I was wondering if you have a suggestion for a fragrance for someone who loves “Dune” but would like to have something similar but more subtle, maybe a little more dry. Thanks, anitathepianist

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Anita,
      I’m not sure if you are the same person who asked about Dune recently… (your email address suggests so), I think it was early this week.
      I mentioned Hermes Eau de Merveilles for you to try, also Heeley Sel Marin.
      I think someone else chipped in too with suggestions, so if you hop over to that post you’ll find them. :)

      I’m glad you enjoy my reviews!

  10. czahltine says:

    Ooh, I’ve wanted to try this one for a while! Thanks for the review! Also, the bottle doesn’t seem nearly as ugly as the Balmains with their golf ball tops. Maybe I’m just a sucker for minimalist design :).

  11. Tatiana says:

    This sounds so wonderful. I love the way your reviews help me to conjure up a multi-sensory image of each perfume. I love many of Dominique Ropion’s creations. Trying this one will have to wait, as the CFO/CTO said we need to cut way back and save more.

  12. Meg says:

    Great review, but EVEN GREATER post title. Tonic water came out through my nose, no lie.

  13. I really didn’t enjoy this. Whilst it is undoubtably “pleasant”, I described it as almost a cheap-trick – throwing every typical niche gourmand ingredient (turkish rose, almond, loukhoum, play-doh) into one fragrance. Only here it is unnecessarily watered down by that “lychee” accord. I found it dull – but compared to Sweet Dreams 2003, it is a symphony! Sweet Dreams is without a doubt the poorest release by a niche house in a longggg time.
    I can thoroughly see the appeal with this though, I just think there are far better scents out there doing what this is trying to achieve.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I couldn’t agree more about Sweet Dreams (review upcoming), but WWD has more to it than meets the nose at first, in my opinion.

      • I’m sure your right, but as with all fragrances you have to be captivated enough by the first try. Not an inkling for me but that’s fair enough :) I can see the appeal though, I do love play-doh notes.
        But yes, Sweet Dreams – oh man! What a trainwreck haha, well, a near invisible one. I look forward to reading your thoughts on it!

  14. Safran says:

    Sorry to say that, but being a big Dominique Ropion fan (especially of his masterpiece Carnal Flower) I was so keen on trying this and it turned out to be my disappointement of the year. It so strongly reminds me of an old Joop scent, Le Bain said my friend Uli, must be the one. And even in the eighties, Le Bain felt too offensive and cloying for me, so I couldn’t give “What we do in Paris is secret” a second chance.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I don’t know Le Bain, so I can’t comment on any similarity.
      Too bad you have been so disappointed, but as they say: one woman’s trash is another’s treasure. ;)

  15. Yep. This sounds good!

    I felt very hungry after reading this…

  16. Civava says:

    I’m so hungry now that I’ve read that. Lovely. I’m otherwise not a huge fan of gourmands unless it is about coffee or chocolate in perfume and as food ;-).

  17. flittersniffer says:

    You’ve sold me on the “nice” with “hidden strengths”. And I am often quite satisfied with nice, as you know! ; – ) (With slight reservations about the almond, obviously…)

  18. Pingback: Hospitals And Holidays – Review: A Lab On Fire L’Anonyme And Sweet Dreams 2003 | Olfactoria's Travels

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