But then I tried Le Labos Labdanum 18. My first thought was, "I can't believe I'm smelling like this. It's like 8 o'clock in the morning. On a weekday. I have to do lots of errands and meet people I barely know. And I smell so ... [eyes rolling] .... obvious."
I went on, thinking, who'd wear this? At first I pictured a young girl going out on the town, spraying on some Labdanum 18 in order to seem older and more "experienced". But a while later I thought, no, that's not it, there is just way too much skank in it. This is a middle aged mama going out and after a few drinks she thinks it's a good idea to rip open that leopard print blouse, tie it around under generous boobs, baring her midriff and dance like Britney in One More Time. When even this does not get her enough attention she starts rubbing herself up against everyone on the premises.
So what does it smell like? All the way through there are two sides of Labdanum 18. There is a soft and clean side, featuring lots of baby powder, chocolate, resins and creamy vanilla. That side does not change very much as the scents wears. Then there is another, utterly dirty, side. At first the dirtyness manifests itself as a small bitter harshness, a harshness that smells like unwashed hair. It's faint compared to the powder but it gives that eyebrow lifting "Did I just smell what I think I was smelling..." thing.
A while later civet enters the stage. Now Labdanum 18 smells like someone who has had a big workout but is to lazy to shower and tries to conceal this fact by caking herself in vanilla baby powder. It's almost working. (And, I can see how this question might be arising at this point: I do take daily showers that include a hair wash, just so everybody knows...)
During the drydown there is that musk note that is somewhere between piss and pipe tobacco, the same one you get in Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Kahn or Bois et Musc. I'm intrigued about the fact that it feels so intensely perverse but I can't put my finger on exactly why.
So, what is my final verdict of Labdanum 18? After all, I do like it. But keeping some around the house worries me. Because I can very well imagine the following scenario. At some time me and my girlfriends manage to get babysitters on the same night and decide to have a grand night out. First we have some drinks at my place and when it's time to leave I just make that last trip to the bathroom and start thinking, oh, I really need some more perfume. Wasn't there this scent I reviewed that was such a smashing party scent, Labdööööch.... something? Oh yes, here it is, lets put some on, and then things are just going downhill in a straight like towards that bare midriff Britney scenario....