The big surprise about Patchouli 24 is that, contrary to normal Le Labo policy, the headline note actually appears in the composition. I’m sure somebody lost their job over this, but in the event Patchouli 24 is still not a straightforward patchouli composition in the manner of say, Etro, Mazzolari, or Montale’s Patchouli Leaves.
Instead it starts out all smoky birch tar, biker’s leather, and tobacco, somewhere along the lines of Tauer’s Lonestar Memories. Animalic labdanum and a sweet patchouli emerge in counterpoint to the campfire accord, and once they do Patchouli 24 runs a linear course for a couple of solid hours.
Unfortunately the drydown, when it arrives, lacks the dark, animalic menace that makes the scent’s heart so compelling. Once the smoke, leather, and patchouli recede, what remains is a very sweet dried fruit and wood accord apparently inspired by (that’s tactful for “lifted directly from”) Arabie, Chaos, or Feminité du Bois. A good idea, but anticlimactic in its execution.
Patchouli 24 opens with smoke and patchouli, and although the smoke seems dominant up close, the sillage is full of patchouli. This is my favorite part of the fragrance, as the patchouli reminds me of the kind in TM's Pure Coffee. Unfortunately,this patchouli slowly fades away leaving behind a mildly pleasant smoke. And doubly unfortunately, I'm mildly allergic to this smoke as it seems to be derived from birch tar. Most peculiarly, I don't start showing symptoms of the allergy until the patchouli is gone and the only thing left is the smoke.
This might be great for someone in a metal band because of the smoke smell, but seriously, the patchouli just isn't pulling it's weight and that makes me a sad panda.
What happens when you soak a dirty leather jacket in a vat of Lapsang Souchong tea? Well, I think that the result would be similar to the opening of the perhaps misleadingly named Le Labo PATCHOULI 24. I suppose that it's because patchouli frags have flooded the market and most of them are totally (in some cases overwhelmingly) patchouli-centric that I was so very surprised to find such a heavy leather scent in a vial labeled PATCHOULI 24. I do think that there is a bit of patchouli here, but it is hidden within a zipped pocket of the Lapsang Souchong-soaked leather jacket. There is also a brief appearance of an ever-so-slight touch of booziness initially, but it smooths out rather swiftly, producing only a slight tempering of the leather by the drydown.
I gather that the leather-Lapsang Souchong effect (what many are describing as "campfire"--and perhaps that's more apt, or at least more consistent with the dirty leather jacket...) is somehow alchemically produced out of birch tar and styrax. Whatever the case may be, this composition is at least unisex, if not fully masculine. Well, unless the woman in question happens to be a biker, in which case PATCHOULI 24 would work quite nicely, I think. I should add, though, that the drydown is quite a bit softer, as though the leather has been rendered more supple by the tea infusion--or was it just the quickly slammed shot of whiskey finally kicking in?
Yet again I am impressed by the power and longevity of a Le Labo creation, but this one's not for me, although I did enjoy the Harley test ride to view the dying embers of a California wild fire at dusk.
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I'm not really the patchouli expert, but let me first make the judgement that this is a unisex fragrance, or maybe even masculine. What you get to begin with is no Nicolai Patchouli; it is smoother, softer, sweeter and more floral, with none of the grating sharpness you sometimes find, but unfortunately just a dash of Windex. It gets less floral and more musty as the topnotes pass, with (at least the illusion of) some very heavy tobacco; this leaves it with quite a prominent incense or cigarette aspect, or even a dry post-wildfire scent. After a while, the smoke to me most resembles that from burning chaparral, the ominous smell of approaching disaster for us Californians. I'm impressed that this fragrance goes through such a sharp transition, but as far as the woodsmoke genre goes, I still need to revisit the CdG Incense Series to set the benchmark. It reminds me of Avignon, but that's based on a rather vague memory.
Good: Great silage, great longevity
Bad: No patchouli as far as I can tell. I get a cinnamon/clove vibe against a background of leather, glove leather. Nicely crafted. It seemed that it warmed on the skin after 30 minutes, and then stayed linear. I get the smoke, not as smokey as Fumerie Turque but smokey nonetheless. However, it leaves me wanting more. If I had never smelled Fumerie Turque, I might have said this is a great smokey scent.
Birch tar & leather opening vaguely remiscent of Lonestar Memories, then settles down into the most umm…unique barbecue & bubblegum(Dubble Bubble, precisely) accord. I’ve never smelled anything quite like it and it lasts forever. It’s oddly compelling though not in a pleasant way. I would never want to smell of it.
Salty and smokey leather patchouli buring in a fireplace alongside some vanilla and animalic qualities. Too bizarre though.