The newest in a line of city exclusives is Le Labo Vanille 44, created by perfumer Alberto Morillas, has taken up residence at Colette in Paris. My very favorite of the city exclusives up to this point, Aldehyde 44, is at Barney’s in Dallas. And the NYC Tuberose 44 is at Le Labo and Barney’s in NYC, I believe.
Notes of bergamot, incense, gaiac wood, mandarin, vanilla, muscenone, pipol and hedione compose Le Labo Vanille 44. I’ve lived with this one for a couple of days, and my nose is finally at work again, or enough so I can trust what it is smelling. This goes on woody with underlying amber and incense. Not deep, dark churchy incense, but a softer, more woody incense, and it is shot through with vanilla. Absolutely not sweet, just soft and snuggly, slightly buttery? The underlying musk, amber and incense stay with the scent as it develops, never overpowering any other notes, perfectly blended. The description from le Labo seems to suggest that Le Labo Vanille 44 not a vanilla fragrance, but my nose thinks it most definitely is, but not in a
“beat me over the head with a Watkins bottle until I bleed vanilla“ kind of way, no.
On me, Le Labo Vanille 44 has good lasting power, though it softens through the day into a beautiful whisper. The vanilla is perfect, like the wispy smell of vanilla you get from a fresh-baked cookie. Comparing it to the recent Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille, it doesn’t have the boozy notes, nor is it as smoky or dark, leaning more to the woodsy side. SDV jumps up in your face with a fairly butch vanilla, while Vanille 44 meanders in and out of your consciousness throughout the day, but I find them both warm and enchanting.
I’m not a big vanilla fan – standard disclaimer on this blog – but both this and the Guerlain SDV have suited me perfectly, and I find them with different vanilla approaches, but both staying out of the put on 15 pounds just sniffing zone. Vanille 44 is a great fit in the existing Le Labo line and stays true to the type of scents they have done so far, though it or nothing will replace Patchoul 24 as my all-time favorite Le Labo scent. ever… bar none, no exceptions.
I’m not even going to comment on the price tag of about $500 U.S. for 100 ml, nor about the exclusivity of it. It is what it is, kids.
You can get a Le Labo Vanille 44 sample at Surrender to chance, as well as a decant.