Tokyo, Japan – Review: Le Labo Gaiac 10

If somebody told me what I am smelling on me right now, was a Jean-Claude Ellena creation, I would not doubt it for one minute.

Le Labo’s city exclusive for Tokyo, available throughout the month of November at Luckyscent and the Le Labo webstores, Gaiac 10 is a sheer, transparent creation of wood, very much in the manner of many Hermès perfumes.

Gaiac 10 was created by Annick Menardo and includes notes of olibanum, gaiac wood, cedar absolute and musc.

Upon application, I am instantly reminded of Voyage d’Hermès. That is not a bad thing at all, since I love Voyage, it is very much my thing, but on the other hand the questions that arise just as fast are: how is it different, is it different enough, does it warrant attention on its own, or is it just another Voyage that is a lot harder to come by.

Gaiac 10 is serenity in a bottle. Cool, smooth, soft, close-wearing, translucent and meditative, Gaiac 10 is clearly well placed in the Asian market.

It smells like cedarwood with a whiff of white incense on a musky base. There is something slightly citrus-y and peppery in the air, but just a hint. The wood is most prominent and it has a smooth, polished feel. It is clean and very much zen. I like it.

So how about its similarity to Voyage d’Hermès? Voyage has more spices, the cool cardamom is, what the incense is to Gaiac 10. But in general, they do smell very similar, and what is more, they evoke the same feelings in me. Therefore I like Gaiac 10, because I also like Voyage, but Le Labo won’t see me on a plane to Tokyo. When I crave something meditative and cool, I will just go for my bottle of Voyage.

My thoughts about the amount of money saved, have their own zen-like qualities.

Image source:,

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28 Responses to Tokyo, Japan – Review: Le Labo Gaiac 10

  1. Undina says:

    I love this picture. I love this review. I will sleep very relaxed after reading it. Thank you, B!

    I will test it in a couple of weeks. And I will probably like it… I’ll tell you more! If I happen to go to Tokyo one day and stumble upon Le Labo boutique I will probably buy it. But until then, most likely, I’ll be Zen with Voyage d’Hermes.

  2. andrea says:

    Your post inspired me to re try voyage which I am sure was not your intention, since I do not have any plans to go to Tokyo in the near future I thought this would be the far more sensible option.
    I wonder how well the marketing campaign works making city exclusives? It’s hard enough finding some niche perfumes without throwing limited editions and city exclusives into the mix.;)

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is always good to try Voyage d’Hermes, so I’m happy you will!
      I think it works fine for Le Labo, at least at those times when the offer all the perfumes, (they have done that twice now, as far as I remember) I think people go crazy in that one month. Making things hard to get is always a good strategy, whether we like it or not.

      • andrea says:

        LOL. Telling me that I can only purchase this up until 30/11 actually does make me want it even more, it seems their marketing strategy does work after all. I also want / have still to acquire PG Tonkamande as it is supposed to be limited edition, I am still waiting for stock to come back in to Les Senteurs.:-)

  3. Sandra says:

    It sounds so comforting. I must admit that I have not tried anything from Le Labo, but your reviews sure make me want to. If I win a round the world ticket I would enjoy trying many exclusives. Tokyo is at least somewhere I would travel to compared with Dallas! 😉

  4. Tara says:

    Your comparison with Voyage is really interesting B, because I had heard there was a similarity between Gaiac 10 and CdG Kyoto. You could have easily substituted Voyage d’ Hermes for Kyoto in your review and it still would have made perfect sense. I’ve never tried Gaiac 10 and I’m not very familiar with Voyage d’Harmes, so what do you think? As much as I love Annick Menardo, it would sure save me a lot of money to stick with Kyoto!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Sorry, Tara, but I can’t tell you what you’d like to hear in this case. Gaiac 10 may be similar to Kyoto in the sense that they are both calming and centering, but in smell, they differ a lot. Kyoto is truly incense based after all, and in Gaiac 10 the accent is on the woody notes. I like them both, but they are not “dupes” at all.
      Whereas Voyage…. 🙂

  5. vanessa says:

    Your zen-like state induced by money-saving had me chuckling! This sounds lovely, however, I neither like Voyage (lime note is too shrill) or Kyoto (too church incensey). Is there any hope for me with this one, not that I was thinking of leaping on a plane either – well not to Japan, anyway!?

  6. Suzanne says:

    You’re so right, Birgit. I have really enjoyed my samples of Gaiac 10–I’ve gone through two of them–but I wouldn’t be willing to shell out the money for a bottle (whether in Tokyo or thru LuckyScent in November) because it’s not extraordinary enough to merit that price tag. Although I quite like the wood note in Gaiac 10 and the fragrance is a little softer than Voyage, I agree with you: the two are similar enough that Voyage seems the better choice (especially considering its unique bottle).

  7. Julie says:

    I have a decant of Gaiac 10 – yet another unsniffed split! I got it mostly because at the time it was a benefit for the Japan earthquake and I had never tried a Le Labo. Only worn it once or twice and wasn’t terribly impressed, certainly not worth the price! And I have a mini of Voyage, so I’m set with that anyway!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Unsniffed purchases are always a risk, but tactics like Le Labo’s with those exclusives foster them of course. One feels the need to get in on a split or else miss something unattainable. That makes me cranky!

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  11. Aaron says:

    I’m glad this isn’t FBW. Voyage d’Hermes is one of a few fragrances that literally smell like nothing on me and my Gaiac needs are taken care of by the incredible M. Micallef – Gaiac and even Gaiacwood by Zara.

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