Fragrance

By Kim Taylor

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New York is as close to Paris as an American city can be, and tucked away in Nolita is Le Labo, as authentic a Parisian fragrance boutique as they come. Founded by two previously corporate fragrance executives, Le Labo was designed to be an intimate, non commercial boutique. With a sister shop in Grasse — the epicenter of fragrance in France–Le Lebo is an ideal destination for the perfume purist.

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(Co-founders Fabrice Penot on the left and Edouard Roschi)

When you enter Le Labo, (which means The Lab in French), you do feel as though you’ve entered a laboratory or a high-end tea salon due to the boutique’s open, clean design and long counter with chairs. The counter and chairs underscore the fact that you’re encouraged to sit down and smell the roses and the other luscious scents. Experiment to your heart’s content in this olfactory lab, and you’ll have friendly lab assistants nearby to decipher fragrances and make suggestions. Le Labo is both a neighborhood boutique and world-class destination, which is just what the founding fragrance moguls, Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot, had in mind. “We want to start a fragrance revolution,” Fabrice explains, “A revolution in response to mass-produced commercial perfume. We want to show the world what is possible when fragrance is viewed as an art.”

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The ten fragrances offered at Le Labo are: Bergamote 22, Rose 31, Vetiver 46, Neroli 36, Fleur D’Oranger 27, Patchoulie 24, Jasmin 17, Iris 39, Labdanum 18 and our Fragrance Editor’s favorite, Ambrette 9 — a gentle, pear-scented fragrance (meant for babies, but grown-up “babes” love the scent too). Most of these fragrances are unisex, though some of the heady white florals are clearly feminine. A nice touch…the distinctive fragrance you purchase is housed in a personalized bottle with your name and the purchase date stamped on it.

Le Labo now stocks interior scents in candles and home sprays in the following scents: Anis 24, Calone 17, Cedre 11, Figue 15, Petit Grain 21, Pin 12 and Santal 26. If you have a romantic Valentine’s Day in mind, Le Labo also offers massage oil in its ten signature scents.

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If you always dreamt of developing your own scent, (and just won a $40,000 lottery), the experts at Le Labo will create your signature fragrance, for you and you alone. Tuberose 40 was created for actress Kirsten Dunst for the movie Marie Antoinette, but now it is a New York exclusive and can be bought on site at the New York boutique.

Not sure of the drydown, BN recommends buying Le Labo’s Discovery Set, the best way to discover the fragrance that works with your unique chemistry. Choose three purse-size sprays, perfectly packaged to sample at your leisure or to layer.

Go and see the perfumed possibilities yourself in this unique jewel of a fragrance lab that may spark a revolution in perfume circles. If you can’t visit Le Labo, then order online at www.lelabofragrances.com.

Le Labo
223 Elizabeth Street
212-219-2230

Originally published January 2008
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