Given Le Labo’s propensity for misleading labeling (well-documented by perfume critic Luca Turin), you can imagine my surprise upon discovering that Ylang 49 actually smells strongly of ylang-ylang. Somebody call Le Labo right away – whoever let this one slip by needs to be fired!
Potent, sensuous ylang-ylang leaps right out in the top notes, and remains dominant for much of the development. As Ylang 49 ages the headline note attaches itself to an earthy, animalic patchouli, in an accord that is equally noteworthy for its effectiveness and its structural clarity. A subtle, yet convincing gardenia reconstruction softens the central ylang-ylang/patchouli accord, while deft touches of moss and amber add depth to the background. The benzoin, patchouli, and vetiver drydown feels rich and sumptuous. This is among the most enjoyable fragrances I’ve smelled from this sometimes frustrating house, and certainly one of the few, alongside the delightful Iris 39, (also by nose Frank Voelkl,) that seem worth the money. Truly lovely, but for consistency’s sake they should have called it Muguet 49.
Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay Ylang 49 is that it smells as if it were created more than 40 years ago – it has nothing to do with the fruity floral dreck that has cheapened perfumery, nor does it go all aggressive in trying to claim its space. No, this is showing how it should really be done.
This nectar-like creation (it is supremely sweet but never overbalances) is like being in the soft-bosomed clasp of some kind and beautiful creature – one feels safe and treasured. The gardenia-ylang pairing (with the softest patchouli imaginable) rises like a cloud of abstracted loveliness, like the best aldehydic offerings of yesteryear. It is substantial no doubt but it is also sprinkled with sparkles and is light on its feet. The drier chypric elements are restrained – this does not have the severity and ramrod straight backbone of classic chypres, opting for a much more supple and tender effect. I can’t get enough of this magical haze.
The opening is a gorgeous paradigmatic ylang-ylang that on my skin dominates way into the drydown. A flowery component emanates, with gardenia and a smidgen of an oleander-type bright note. After three hours of good silage and projection it retreats to being very close to my skin, with a base of a patchouli, white musk, faint sandalwood and such a minimal moss note that I need an electron microscope to detect it - this is as much of a chypre as Macbeth was a pleasant man. Total longevity on me is six hours. A good spring day scent, and based on the first three hours a positive rating - just.
An Outstanding Unisex Floral Composition...
Ylang 49 opens immediately with the fragrance's primary accord consisting of a very strong, somewhat banana-like ylang-ylang yellow floral note balanced with gardenia white floral support. The early heart adds a soapy undertone to the balanced florals with the ylang-ylang growing in intensity as the fragrance progression remains quite linear. During the late dry-down the balanced florals remain though slightly diminished, as a touch of green oakmoss sharpened by woody vetiver from the base adds late support. Projection is excellent to outstanding and longevity is excellent at over 12 hours on skin.
Ylang 49 is billed by some as a floral chypre, and I guess one could stick with that classification if they so desire. That said, I think it a more floral driven soapy composition with some chypre aspects. Even though I may not feel it is a floral chypre in the strictest sense, there is no doubt in my mind that the composition is a major success and smells absolutely fabulous. The first thing I noticed is just how successfully balanced the yellow and white florals are. Normally white florals are difficult for me to wear, but the gardenia is kept well enough in check by the stronger ylang-ylang yellow florals to make the composition more unisex and easy to wear. Also worthy of mention is the soapy undertone is very high quality, deftly avoiding the "cheap shampoo" effect found in so many unsuccessful compositions of price points high and low while adding additional balance to the florals. Finally late in the dry-down the oakmoss and woody vetiver are revealed, gently grounding the composition while providing the mild chypre-like effect. The bottom line is the $240 per 100ml bottle Ylang 49 may develop in a rather minimalist linear way and is not a true floral chypre in my opinion, but it much more importantly succeeds big time in smelling exceptional with outstanding performance, earning a very strong 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5 rating. Ylang 49 is very highly recommended to all and is one of the best new releases I have sniffed this year.
Pros: Gorgeous smelling with perfect balance between the yellow ylang-ylang and white gardenia florals; outstanding performance.
Cons: The oakmoss in the base is not as strong as one would like to see in a true floral chypre (probably limited by IFRA restrictions).
17th September, 2013 (last edited: 13th December, 2013)
Fantastic Ylang + Gardenia classical
Ylang 49 is an absolute beauty .
I guess most of this is personal taste . If you were brought up in the era of the 1950s ( and before ... ) all the way through to the 1990s before the aquatic and fruity floral ,sugar candy floss massive take over began ...then you will definitely see the beauty in this.
it is classically and vintage *inspired*
Inspired is apt because it does not smell old fashioned but a modern take on a classical perfume idea.
The opening of this is like angels singing -singing in notes of creamy ylang and then in comes that gardenia - it is not a pronounced gardenia but it is there blended superbly with the ylang . It is a very very agreeable aroma . The oakmoss is minute . Tenacity is very decent - pretty long lasting. This is not a transparent scent but it is not heavy as in Hedonist by Viktoria Minya.
As I smell this glorious perfume. I am reminded of vintage Chantilly, Chanel No 5 in EDT - those types of scents . This is not a chypre though- even though it has been described as such - more oriental .
I am thinking Chanel No 5 EDT with gardenia . It is wonderful . I love love love Ylang 49 .
5 stars !!
Cons: Price but otherwise nothing"