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  1. #1

    Default My Paris experience: a review of Le Labo Vanilla 44; meeting Pierre Montale

    Unfortunately my Parisian trip didn't turn out to be very spectacular for many different reasons, but I had the opportunity to really quickly (and I mean really quickly) check out the boutiques/stores of Guerlain, Serge Lutens, Colette, Annick Goutal, and Montale.

    Some observations:
    - Guerlain's Rose Barbare is absolutely amazing and now find itself in the top 5 rose scents that I've ever smelled.
    - MMK is nice, complex, dirty, weird, and undeniably sexy.

    I had the most fun at the Le Labo booth, talking to the saleslady (Joanna?). I learned that the number after the name is the number of ingredients used in the formulation (I guess I missed the newsfeed on that one!). Vanille 44 - I wish I had more time to explore it and it wasn't near the end of my olfactory exhausting tour. Based on my memory, it started off with a burst of citrus (bergamot/mandarine) but it's fleeting. Then it's just this really constant incensy, woody, and ambery drydown (I just read the description and it's basically that) but the core of the scent is the vanilla. I need to emphasize that this scent is soft and not as sickenly sweet as one would think it to be. But it's really a vanilla that just never dies. Joanna told me that 26% of the formula is vanilla bourbon, and I'm not surprised. The end state of the scent is ambery but the vanilla is more prominent... it's something reminiscent, something that is familiar maybe late, late, stage of Musk Ravageur but I'm still wrapping my brain around this one.

    I found this to be a rather linear scent and not a head turner (Le Labo Rose 31). But I admit that it is unique in the sense that it's a nice vanilla based scent that is neither too feminine or too masculine. Maybe I'm biased in this review because I haven't experienced many vanilla scents and when I do experience them, I never try to appreciate them. I need more time with this. Too bad they don't make or offer samples .

    -----

    I had the opportunity to go to Montale's boutique. I missed the whole Montale train, so my nose was a Montale virgin going in but I had a whole lot of head knowledge thanks to the basenoters. I was welcomed by a lovely lady who showed me a good chunk of the collection. My first impression was that Montale's work is truly artistic. Many of the scents are just weird upon the initial sniff and I would believe that people who just sniff and buy would be turned off to many of Montale's scents. Anyway, at one point in the conversation, she called upstairs using French and I heard her mention the name "Pierre". I asked her if she was addressing the perfumer, "Pierre Montale", and she said yes and that his lab is upstairs. I kindly asked whether or not I could speak to him for several minutes, and down he came. Pierre Montale came down with his dark navy blazer and stylish squarish glasses. He's the first "nose" that I had ever met, and I was kindly reminded that perfumers are normal humans too. Exuding warmth and conviviality, we had a brief exchange about perfumery. He told me that his family was in the perfume business (and thus he got sucked into it) and he never received formal perfumery education. He said that travelling offers him some good inspiration. Leaving me back to the saleslady, I continued to explore several scents, including the two pure aouds that they offered. I was mesmerized by the shared doughy note of Red Aoud and Chocolate Greedy and it turns out that the core of it is vanilla. I found to love Roses Musk as well.

    Despite the ups and downs, my little personal fragrance experience saved my sanity.
    Last edited by scentophile; 2nd January 2008 at 09:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: My Paris experience: a review of Le Labo Vanilla 44; meeting Pierre Montale

    Thanks scentophile - I'm extremely jealous of your trip and your luck at being in the right place at the right time.

    I always wondered why more men don't talk about Rose Barbare by Guerlain? I have yet to smell it myself, but I love rose and I truly admire many of Kurkdjian's creations (the nose behing RB).

  3. #3

    Default Re: My Paris experience: a review of Le Labo Vanilla 44; meeting Pierre Montale

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Thanks scentophile - I'm extremely jealous of your trip and your luck at being in the right place at the right time.

    I always wondered why more men don't talk about Rose Barbare by Guerlain? I have yet to smell it myself, but I love rose and I truly admire many of Kurkdjian's creations (the nose behing RB).
    I think Rose Barbare isn't talked about that much because of its exclusivity, but it is a truly a gem to seek after. I'm a fan of the rose note myself and this I mean all shapes and sizes. As much as I love the dirty, almost unnatural but then natural (that's to say that pure rose oil is rather dirty smelling in itself) rose fragrances Voleur de Rose, Black Aoud, and Rose 31, I still search for the pure rose smell that you get from the headspace of a flower like in Sa Majesté La Rose. Rose Barbare is a sister or cousin or well, simply a better version. It's softer, purer, and more beautiful. Honestly, I don't remember the drydown and its level of complexity but again, it's just beautiful. My sister went through the entire L'art et la matière collection and she instantly fell in love with this scent. She loathes rose scents, and she said that she finally found her rose fragrance. Unfortunately our family situation forced us to leave rather abruptly, but I would consider picking up a bottle as a birthday present for her or for my future girlfriend .
    Last edited by scentophile; 2nd January 2008 at 09:36 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My Paris experience: a review of Le Labo Vanilla 44; meeting Pierre Montale

    That's a great report scentophile. Lucky you to be introduce to the Montales range in such a way.

    Francis Kurkdjian is the nose behind these three frags from Parfums MDCI in Paris:

    Promesse de L’Aube (FK No 1)
    Rose de Siwa (FK No 2)
    Enlevement Au Serail (FK No 3)

    I love each one of them. The full bottles are very expensive and the samples are not cheap either, but the sample bottles are generous sizes. They include two other really superb frags, Invasion Barbare by Stephanie Bakouche, and Ambre Topkapi by Pierre Bourdon. This is a sample set of exceptional quality.

    See the MDCI website here http://parfumsmdci.free.fr/introductionen.htm
    You can find the samples page by clicking the Catalogue section at the bottom of the page.
    Last edited by Sestra; 2nd January 2008 at 10:11 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: My Paris experience: a review of Le Labo Vanilla 44; meeting Pierre Montale

    I hope everything is alright with you and your family.
    Great report, all things considered.
    Take care.

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