One of the nicest Le Labo fragrances I have ever tried. And basically the first pepper fragrance I’ve ever liked. Rich but simple, realistic, straightforward, clean but dark, bold and unique despite featuring some really common notes ( “the devil is in the details”...).Basically, as the name suggests, it is a peppery fragrance, but an extremely clever, balanced and pleasant one. Pepper is quite tricky in fragrances; some tend to be really loud (Villoresi’s Piper Nigrum), some cheap or screechy, some are just boringly, artificially “woody-peppery”, or sometimes they’re just a monotone pepper litany. Well, Poivre 23 isn’t any of that. It brilliantly manages to keep pepper as the central note, yet with some really pleasant and enjoyable nuances that give some colour, some evolution and some vibrancy to the scent – both “bright” and “dark” nuances (or better say, warm-sweet and cold-balsamic). The palette of “colours” of Poivre 23 is quite nondescript actually, it’s just a really vibrant and shimmering fragrance which doesn’t smell like pretty much anything else. I get a lot of “curry” smell, especially initially; some subtle vanillic amber, maybe even something greenish-floral and slightly resinous.
The evolution gets eventually drier, a bit muskier, earthier, still with a perfectly detectable warm-ambery labdanum note, at the same time slightly more balsamic and green (in a dark, “fougère-like” meaning). And with a really pleasant whiff of crisp laundry musk. It feels like a “pepper soliflore” with distant, light echoes of other fragrances – from Etro Ambra to Le Labo Labdanum to many musk-vanilla scents, to (obviously) pepper fragrances like the abovementioned, and inferior, Piper Nigrum, finally almost reaching some really classic green-floral Chanel or Laroche scents – not sure why but I thought of both vintage Laroche’s Fidji and Chanel’s Cristalle at some point. I am not saying I smell them here, rather that their faint green-musky chypresque ghosts lightly “float” around on the background thanks to some really well-put subtle nuances that seem to recall them. Probably one of the most “dynamic” scents I’ve smelled recently, brilliantly keeping it consistent around pepper and cumin. I can’t explain myself better – it’s just a really catchy, fascinating and refined pepper-resinous-green scent, unique and vibrant, extremely enjoyable to wear. And that’s it. Bravi!
28th July, 2015 (last edited: 29th July, 2015)
It’s mainly sweet benzoin with salty guaiac which, to me, equates to vanilla and bacon. There is some pepper, but I actually find more pepper in scents that don’t actually advertise themselves as pepper, so don’t expect it to be a pepper bomb. It’s more of a balsamic oriental than anything . . . with bacon bits. Although I do like a few Le Labo scents, I generally don’t view the line as particularly accomplished, and Poivre 23 is a good example of why: to me, this is a cut-rate sketch of a scent sold at an extortionate price with manufactured exclusivity. There’s very little to Poivre 23, and I find it to be a charmless exercise in ambroxan. From the city exclusives, Gaiac 10 and Cuir 28 are probably the best, but none of them is worth even a fraction of what the brand is charging. It’s mediocre at best.
That opening is on my skin pepper, a smooth, creamy, aromatic, wonderful pepper. Later labdanum is added. And a soft incense note. And patchouli - but the pepper rules. Later in the drydown a sandal impression with some styrax are evident in the base. And still the pepper, of course. No qualms with the name in this case. The quality is very high, the blending superb. Excellent silage and projection for the first three hours, then very close to my skin. Total longevity is six hours. The spice of life....
amazing take on "gourmond"
Most Le Labo fragrances are ok but in general not all that astounding. This one parts the sea and can be polorizing at first sniff. The top note of pepper can be off putting if this is not an aroma you appreciate...but I love pepper. Both the smell and the taste. (I blacken my food much to the surprise of others around me.) But fear not.
The jolt of pepper during he first half hour soon subsides and gives way to resins, incense and vanilla. Vanilla and pepper turns out to a delicious combination. Also present is a nice touch of guaiac wood, sandalwood and patchouli.
Starts out decidedly masculine and softens as time passes to become softer and a bit more feminine but very wearable by anyone. An unique oriental with a shocking blast of wonderful pepper at the start. Longevity borders on incredible lasting well over 12 hours, almost 24 hours.
Twice a year Le Labo offers their city exclusives at their retail locations. This is one of the very few times I have purchassed a small bottle. The $440 price for 100ml is stupidly rediculous! $290 for 50ml is even worse (per ml) but my bank account appreciates the extra $150. But even at this price this is a scent I needed in my collection. At least I have the bottle and can get refills later if I run out. The fact that I sprayed liberally in the store and got 3 nice sized samples before I left makes the high price a little easier to take.
Not a blind buy! Sample first. If you visit or live in London make sure to sample. If not then get it while you can or wait 2 years...
Pros: pepper lovers rejoice!
Cons: stupidly expensive and exclusive to London almost all the time."
Awesome and somewhat unique frag -- one of my favorite among the house of Le Labo.
Spicy, ambery, warm, woody and creamy and soft on the drydown.
The opening is very strong and masculine while the drydown is very soft and feminine -- the best of both worlds imho.
Reminds me a lot of TF's amber absolute or SL Ambre Sultan.
Ok, I should probably resign to the fact that Le Labo will never be among my favorite houses. I had great expectations form Poivre 23 but when I finally got to test it, thanks to a great perfumisto, I got somewhat disappointed.
The fragrance smells actually pretty fine, but it's pervaded by a strong deja-vu vibe throughout. It opens with a hint of black pepper immediately joined by incense and a sweet, sort of balsamic quality that I suspect being due to the labdanum and the styrax. In this phase Poivre 23 clearly remarks its presence with a bold but not overpowering sweetish-woody aroma. Well rounded, nice but not incredibly interesting. It then dries down to a woody-patch-vanilla base that's not so far from the latest phases of Patchouli 24 but nowhere close being as grand.
Bottom line: Mild thumbs up!