Look, I'll be the first to admit that Le Labo's iconic Santal 33 scent smells really good. In addition to owning a bottle myself, the scent has become so wildly popular over the years that's it's basically a calling card for in-the-know Millennials. Basically, if you know, you know. But the Brooklyn-based perfume brand has so much more to offer in the way of its oil-based unisex scents beyond just its best-seller—and I'm here to walk you through where to even begin.
It's easy to see why the brand has become so popular; each of the fragrances are layered with an intoxicating medley of notes and since they're oil-based, one spritz can last you all day. I know they can be pricey, but in my opinion, the cost-per-wear makes it well worth the spend. For my own fragrance mission (and yours too), I asked Le Labo to send me samples of their best-selling scents, and they kindly shared their Discovery Kit filled with 17 sample-sized spritzes. Over the past few weeks, I've been switching up my scent on a daily basis, mostly because I like putting on perfume even if I don't leave the house just to feel something, but also because I wanted to give you my honest reviews of the best Le Labo perfumes.
Since fragrance reviews tend to be hard to decipher with their technical descriptions of all the layered notes in a scent, I approached each of these with what I think is a more user-friendly description of perfumes. Here's my opinion on how wearing each of these fragrances made me feel, what mood they put me in, and what occasion I would wear them for. Keep scrolling if you're intrigued and be sure to head all the way to the bottom for what I think is the best Le Labo fragrance.
My first impression of Neroli 36 was how utterly sophisticated it made me feel. This is the kind of soft and delicate floral fragrance I can imagine myself wearing as the ultimate put-together older version of myself, you know? It's a lovely floral that's clean, light, and a bit sweet, but certainly not overpowering.
I'm not normally drawn to floral scents as they don't feel very "me" but that being said, I was instantly drawn to Jasmin 17. It offers something more complex than your basic floral scent thanks to notes like sandalwood and musk while still being really light and lovely—overall a well-balanced scent. This would be a perfect spring fragrance and it makes me want to throw on my favorite puff-sleeve dress and sandals for a walk.
Okay, I know I said florals weren't typically my thing (I'm more drawn to musk scents) but wow does Fleur d'Oranger 27 delight. It's a true orange blossom scent that's rich and creamy and, to my surprise, was one of the longest-lasting of the florals I tested. It only began to fade after about eight hours of wear which definitely impressed me.
It's hard to describe this fragrance since it's such a light, delicate scent but it really pulls you in. The best way I can describe it is this: think of someone you know who just always smells really good, not like they're wearing a fragrance, but they naturally smell good—that's Ambrette 9 in a nutshell. It's sort of like that fresh, clean feeling you get when you step out of the shower. It's an immediate yes from me.
I may be biased because this is actually a scent I've been wearing for a few years now, but I will say it's not for everyone. It's the brainchild of Le Labo and AnOther Mag but unlike the brand's city exclusive scents, this one was adopted into its permanent line, making it widely available throughout the year.
My mom sniffed it once and told me she thought it smelled bad although maybe that's on purpose as others have classified the fragrance's simplistic scent profile as "industrial". It's one of those unisex fragrances that will surely earn you compliments if you can pull it off.
A deep, earthy rose, I was surprised to like Rose 31 so much. It's a departure from the overly sweet and girly perfumes of my teenage years. It's the type of fragrance you want to keep sniffing every five seconds, it's just that good.
Key Notes: Bergamot, fig, bay leaf, cedar, vetiver, hay, tobacco
I first caught a whiff of this scent on my friend Sam who is one of those people who is cool without trying and I think it describes the scent perfectly. It has this deep intensity to it that's a bit intoxicating in the same way that Santal 33 is. It's distinctive and sophisticated, so I would say this reads like a really alluring scent to wear on a date or out to dinner as it strikes me as being perfect for going out at night.