Fabrice Penot and Simon Doonan in the Le Labo section of Barneys New York
A few days ago I stopped by Barneys New York for the launch of Le Labo‘s latest scent, Santal 33. I first heard about Le Labo about a year ago when Gwyneth Paltrow wrote about their candles in her GOOP Newsletter and immediately was drawn to the personalization element of the line. All of the fragrances are made to order, so you pick the one you want and they literally make it in front of you! The bottle is finished with a personalized label (up to 24 characters), and box. An expiration date is also printed on the label that corresponds to exactly one year after the fragrance was mixed. Fabrice Penot, the brand co-founder was on hand at the Barneys launch and it was awesome to get the chance to have a one-on-one chat with him.
Among the tidbits I picked up were:
-My favorite fragrance in the Le Labo line, Neroli 36, is also Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite.
-While most fragrances don’t note their expiration date like Le Labo does, all fragrances expire in about a year (so says Penot, but I’ve definitely kept scents for way longer without noticing a change).
-Despite there being no preservatives in Le Labo’s scents, this has no effect on the fragrances’ shelf life or on how long the scent lingers on skin. Again, this is according to Penot, and I was a bit surprised to hear this as most natural/organic fragrances I’ve tried don’t seem to last very long. I will say that I sprayed myself with Le Labo’s Neroli 36 at about 6pm and at about 10pm my boyfriend could still smell it on my skin.
-You know how when you spritz perfume on yourself you stop smelling it after a few minutes even though others coming into contact with you will be able to still smell it? Penot told me this ties into a primal instinct we all have. Basically back when we were more like monkeys than the humans we are today, scent was essential in warding off death (ie smelling predators). Humans smelled danger and acted upon it. If they didn’t act upon it, the brain interpreted the scent as not being a threat and you no longer smelled it. Therefore when you spray yourself with perfume, a scent that is not a threat, it won’t be long before you stop smelling it. A good way to extent the period where you do smell it, is to switch up your fragrances frequently.
-Keep your fragrances in the fridge and they’ll last longer (up to two years according to Penot).
-Santal 33 took about three years and 400 back and forth exchanges between Penot, his co-founder, and the perfumer, to perfect.
-Santal 33, is based on Le Labo’s Santal 26 candle and it’s the first addition to the collection since 2009.
The notes include cardamom, leather, iris, violet, ambrox, sandalwood, papyrus, and cedar and yes, it smells as good as it sounds!