I agree with Houdini's statement on patchouli never being a favorite note but frequently being indispensable as a note, usually a base note, in many favorite fragrances. While I found the dirtiness of Le Labo's Oud 27 to be overwhelming, the dirtiness of Patchouli 24 is instead right about what works for me. The patchouli is present from the start, with a woody resinous character that lasts throughout the fragrance. The vanilla comes in later, and is slight. Usually this imbalance in favor of the earthy/spicy would problematic for me, but even the relative weakness of the vanilla in the dry down isn't prohibitive. The composition is, on the whole, elegant, and this might actually be another bottle that I consider buying from Le Labo, if it continues to work well after a few tries. Also, it's potent, as was Oud 27, strong on projection and longevity.
7 out of 10
This is a unique take for a patchouli fragrance, as the patchouli really doesn’t seem to surface until later in the wearing. This is smokey and birch tarry at the beginning, but within an hour settles into a very pleasing woody, patchouli and vanilla skin scent. Very nice! Thumbs up!
I’m reviewing two scents tonight at the same time. If you are reading the other review, you know the other scent is about as opposite as I could find from this (It’s Falling into the Sea by Imaginary Authors). This scent, however, is on my right hand and by golly this is SEXY. If my husband doesn’t like it on me, I’m buying it for him to wear so I can like it on HIM!
The initial application was a blast of Incense, and I was thinking I may have caught some cinnamon, but not in the brisk “let me garnish that rice pudding” but in the “DAMNIT I just spilled a tablespoon of cinnamon in my oatmeal and now my mouth hurts” sorta way…nobody? Just me? Ok…
I’m briefly reminded of one of my favorite compositions, Blackbird, by HOM. The smell of a campfire is somewhere in here…with some s’mores roasting because there is a hint of chocolate.
I almost catch a whiff of labdanum. Something resinous. It’s good…really good. Not overly sweet, not cloying. Dry and waiting for you to want more.
I don’t smell patchouli in either the headshop nor the essential oil purchased from Eden Botanicals. I don’t know if I’ve missed it, or if I’m not a well-enough trained nose, but no matter, this is going in the FBW category!
There’s a glimpse of patchouli at the point of application, but it’s buried within a smoky slathering of tar. Within about 15 minutes or so, the tar takes the wheel and you’re pretty much at its mercy for the rest of the ride. In typical Le Labo fashion, the name is a curveball: Patchouli 24 actually smells somewhere between road construction, an old leather jacket, and barbecue sauce. It’s an oppressive, chemical explosion that’s as intoxicating as it is toxic. The upshot, though, is that it has limited versatility.
Despite this, it’s still one of the best scents in the line. Think deep, smoldering, slightly rubbery goop and you’ll get the picture. Harsh at first, but with a soft vanilla undertone that cushions much of the brutality. It’s in the same general area as Tribute, Jeke, Bois d’Ascese etc. but with a more synthetic embrace. Good stuff, albeit spendy for what it is, and not for the faint of heart.
The opening of Patchouli 24 is rough, dry, dark, tar and smoky, an ultra-dry and sour birch woody accord, quite synthetic in a way (a good way: synthetically "post-industrial"), but at the same time rich, thick and realistic, with a nice and almost ghastly nuance of "smoked meat", like alfarom noted below. I also detect the patchouli note but it's quite understated and restrained, hiding behind this exhaust campfire of black woods, yet creating a nice and elegant contrast between its velvety, dusty, slightly cocoa-earthy feel (the patchouli, I mean) and the woody-ashy overall mood. On the very base, just a thin "rounding" layer of vanilla. Much refined and utterly pleasant with its austere and sophisticated look, just a tad artificial, but nice, a contemporary vision of "black" like Bois d'ascèse or CdG Black. After a while it starts to "warm" and open up, becoming softer and gentler, with a smooth and soft yet dark leather note arising - and at this point, while the similarity with the abovementioned scents becomes weaker, the closeness to La troisième heure by Cartier becomes quite evident. It's exactly the same structure: smoky, mellow, dark leather blended with dusty vanilla. Perhaps there's no leather and it's the birch wood, still that's the smell. Pure class and pleasure for sure, although nothing new. Plus, the patchouli (which was barely detectable at the opening) is completely vanished at this point, so bear this in mind in case you came here mostly for patchouli. Nonetheless, the scent is much good even if the main character is missing: it's pleasant, sophisticated, a bit overpriced and not that unique (the Cartier is not the only "reference", basically any other contemporary leather-vanilla scent would work), but "it works" quite well. I enjoyed wearing it and – for what it's worth – I'd wear it happily if I had a bottle. I wouldn't pay for this, but I'll do my best to have someone buy this for me (lucky me, Christmas is not that far).