Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Le Labo - Neroli 36

Not as the other Nerolis

Once upon the time there was a big white house where all the Nerolis lived together. They were such a happy bunch, everywhere you looked there were sparkling smiles, cheerily bouncing corkscrew locks and dresses all the colors of the rainbow. Laughter chimed everywhere as the Nerolis played games as "Hide and seek" or "Catch" out in the sun.

And then there was little Labo. He was not as the others. Some even sayed that he wasn't a Neroli at all but no one would dare say that to his face as he had this way to glare at you that made your toes curl in discomfort. There were many rumors about him, that he liked to get earthworms to crawl up his nose so far that he could spit them out through his mouth again or that he liked to eat slugs. I don't know if any of that is true but what I do know is that most of the time Little Labo kept to himself. He liked to go to the beach and watch the sea. Especially on cold days when the sea looked all gray and there wasn't a speck of blue anywhere. He used to sit there and dream about how he would one day sail away to a better place. HIS kind of place. A place where  people would see him, and hopefully love him, for what he was and not just obsess over what was missing compared to the other Nerolis.

Le Labo Neroli 36 starts with lots of oceanic notes and fruit. For me, this was most unexpected, as I was expecting neroli (duh!). I was thinking, what, have they bottled some mainstream leftover from the 90-ies and hope I wouldn't notice??? But then I sniffed some more and realised, yes, there are oceanic notes and fruit but this is very far from any "attempt to be a crowd pleaser during the 90-ies frag" I know of.

At first I got salty sea, musc melon, bitter astringent orange peel and pink pepper. After a while there was mostly bitter orange zest, sweet, slightly cloying florals (jasmine, I think) and a hint of something medical. On Fragrantica there is one review mentioning a resemblance to the infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques. As I have the questionable luck to have recent experience of that one I must say that this is not entierly untrue. Yes, when you think about it you can detect bandages and bile in the background, but don't worry, it's just a fraction of what you get from SM.

So, what do I think of Neroli 36? First time I wore it was a disaster. I was throwing a birthday party for my son and managing sugar crazed kids, making sure everyone is having a good time and no one is left out is one of the most physically and mentally challenging things you can do. Really! I had hopes that Neroli 36 would help me maintain that cheery (if not entirely genuine) hostess-mom smile all day, no matter what. And I can tell you, Neroli 36 did not help.

Since then, I have tried it in other circumstances and Neroli 36 and me are slowly becoming friends. It's a great scent for days when you feel introvert and broody, when the rain is pouring down outside and you'd rather just stay at home, reading books and listening to music, not having to talk to anyone. On those kind of days I don't want to be cheered up. I want a scent that mirrors my mood for a while, acknowledging that "Ok, this is the way you feel right now". I want something that stays with me, holding my hand so I can experience whatever it is I'm experiencing so I can then be done with it and move on to whatever greater glories there are waiting down the road.

Picture disclaimer: This picture seems to be all over the net. I'm using it solely to visualize my perceptions of a scent, I do not know that person or mean that he is anything like the Little Labo I write about. If anyone is getting offended by me using it, please let me know and I'll remove the picture at once.


  1. OK, this review really makes me want to try this! Me and the little happy bunch over at the Neroli house have never been good friends. I remember reading on basenotes the funniest review ever. Hoos wrote about Villoresi Dilmun. It is a story not unlike yours, only longer and more elaborate. I tried Dilmun because of this review and I couldn't run fast enough to the sink.

    To me neroli is one of the most challenging notes. All I smell is piss. No musk is pissy-er than neroli to me.

    Great reading! Thanks.

  2. I checked up that Villoresi Dilmun review and it is hilarious!!! On me those orange blossoms are hit and miss, some work but some are horrid. I can really relate from feeling miserable for a whole day due to that pissiness. That got to be ultimate test of humor and self distance :)

  3. Loved that review, I'll certainly approach my Neroli 36 sample with caution now. Thank you!

  4. Thank YOU! It's not THAT bad, but it's not your average neroli... :)

  5. This sounds like a very unusual scent..I've never tried any Le Labos (maybe Rose 31 at some point- that is all). Every time I get myself to a Barney's (which is about an hour from where I live)- I am just all over the Malles and Lutens and never get to the Le Labos. I will, next time.

    Neroli is usually such a happy scent- no wonder you wore it to the party..lol

    I love your picture choices and your unusual associations- very refreshing- Thank you!

  6. Thanks! I haven't tried any Labos before either, but now I ordered 7 samples from their web store and I've been trying them this week. I must say, they are not instant loves, seriously, for every one of them I've at some point been thinking of scrubbing, but then I've changed my mind. They are interesting and I can recommend getting samples but they are not scents to buy unsniffed!