|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.