Le Labo, until recently, was a brand I didn’t have much of an opinion about. I knew of it, I was rather indifferent about the branding and positioning of the line and most importantly I hadn’t smelled any of their fragrances. Le Labo is not easy to get here, especially if you want to actually smell it first.
Knowing that I was on a quest for the ultimate Iris, Dee thought I could use a decant of Iris 39 and sent it my way. Thank you again! 🙂
Iris 39 was created by Frank Voelkl in 2006, and as Le Labo fans know, the name of all of their perfumes consists of the dominant ingredient and the number of ingredients in the formula.
The perfume is made up freshly for you at the counter or upon ordering when buying online, the bottle can be customized. I find this whole hoopla to be exactly that – hoopla – that doesn’t serve a purpose other than being a marketing stunt.
Le Labo’s website lists Iris 39’s notes as iris, lime, patchouli, rose, ylang ylang, musk, violet, ginger, cardamom, and civet.
In the beginning Iris 39 smells strangely soapy on me, or maybe aldehydic, in any case there is an artificial touch to it I do not much care for. On some days to the point of really bothering me, on other days I barely register it.
What comes next is a rooty earthiness, a vegetal spiciness, probably the combination of patchouli and cardamom along with the iris. As the scent develops I smell the smooth muskiness of the base and although it is not listed oakmoss is definitely in there according to my nose. (Which doesn’t have any authority whatsoever, it only means that I believe in the existence of oakmoss or what passes for it these days, in the formula ;))
I start to love the fragrance about half an hour into wearing, the harsh top notes are history, smoothness takes its place. Iris 39 balances warm and cool aspects of the iris perfectly, the powdery earthiness of iris and patchouli are warmed by the addition of spices and floral notes. I like the drydown especially, the musk is not too clean, not too bland without being wildly animalic, it strikes the right chord in the middle of my dirtiness scale. (For your orientation: Muscs Kublai Khan is one the one end, Clair de Musc on the other.)
What interests me is that Le Labo offers an alcohol free version of the perfume called Balm, which is a silicone based lotion. Since I sometimes have issues with very dry skin, that is exacerbated by applying perfume, this sounds like an interesting option.
Iris 39 wears well and for a long time, the concentration according to the website for all their scents is a strength ranging from 12-30%. It is available in 15, 50, 100 and 500ml eau de parfum as well as balm, lotion and oil.
Another one off the list, money saved. 🙂
The search continues…