Le Labo Poivre 23

I´m a country bumpkin. It´s official. I´m used to beautiful landscapes, but I´m struck dumb nowadays, whenever I head into London, by the beautiful people who surround me. It is a such contrast to where I live, I´m sure (except for Matt, of course!). I really feel it. I had to wait for 15 minutes or so for a colleague of mine at the Angel Islington. And I was staring. A lot.

 The radiant glory of the woman in a head scarf, sat by me, on the bench. The long limbs and perfect skin of the black man, protein drink in hand, who leant on another bench, sighed and finally smiled at the arrival of a woman – his gym partner? A client? – who turned up, flustered and slightly late, no doubt. And the passers by. So many of them. Skin glowing, in suits, in low slung jeans, cardigans, 80s dresses, vivid sweaters. All moving fast, but seemingly in delight at the bright autumn sunlight.

 You could´ve stuck a wheat sheaf in my mouth and caught my drool, I tell ya.

 Though I looked sharp too – navy Dior suit from the 60s, finely checked green and white shirt, bottle green V neck, and an old school preppy blue and green striped tie to unite the ensemble. But I felt like there was a black line around me – like I´d been plonked in this tableau from the wrong painting. But I enjoyed being there for a while, reminding myself that hey, I used to live there too. And having recently turned 40, I’ve still got the moves, baby.

 And so, to Liberty, and scented discovery. My first stop wasn´t le Labo, but the Cire Trudon candles, stored under bell jars. Like an idiot, I lifted the bell jar up, set it to the side, and then bent down to sniff the candle. A sales assistant did eventually help me out – they must´ve been laughing for a while before rescuing me. I hate my dyspraxia showing. The bell jars did smell marvellously rich – much more so than the wax itself.

 Now, these candles are superpricy – and chic in their packaging and presentation – and range from the delightful (La Marquise – a wonderful verbena candle, immensely potent in its apparent throw) to the bizarrely pleasurable (Dada – a startling mishmash of mint tea and lord knows what else – total sensory assault –  that actually works fantastically well as a room scent and might also as a marvellous summer fragrance) to the faintly repulsive (Odeur de Lune, supposed to smell like the surface of the moon so I guess the ‘cheese’ link makes it smell of sweaty gym feet. But why the burnt out fuse top note I´ve no idea). The last one made me laugh out loud, and one of the beautiful people I mentioned earlier came over, sniffed it and said You could´ve warned me!´ and then we flirted for a bit. I do like a bit of flirtation with an attractive woman.

No chance to sniff the new Malle Dans tes Bras, which’ll launch in Liberty this weekend. Nor Eau d’Italie’s Baume du Doge, which that hadn’t yet heard of. But I did get a chance to catch up on a stack of things I’ve missed – though I didn’t feel like I’d missed much. Magnolia Romana, Fleur de Liane and so on, I felt swamped by aquatic florals.  Not my thing, but it might be yours. They’re selling well, apparently. And three other fragrances I wanted to try – the testers were MIA. Must’ve pleased someone, I guess.

I as tempted by an export bottle of Borneo 1834, my latest fave (and Dzongkha it turns out – who knew? More on this another day) but it’ll be cheaper to pick up a bottle in Paris – those limited editions have hiked up prices.


And speaking of hiked up prices, it was time for le Labo. They seemed to have stolen one of the bell jars from the Cire Trudon display, as that’s where all the Poivre 23 was stored. ‘For protection’, Anna, the lovely SA laughingly told me. And she sprayed my hand.

Now, Poivre 23 is by Annick Menardo, and there’s a distinct quality to all of her fragrances. Many are sweet (Hypnotic Poison, Lolita Lempicka, Bois d’Argent) and there are several with smoky aspects (Bois d’Armenie, Bulgari Black). I love Patchouli 24, her other wonder for le Labo, though sometimes I find it tough to wear – too thick perhaps in the drydown. Someone on Perfume of Life once equated it to standing in the shell of a recently burnt out house and breathing deeply in. I kind of get that, but love that potent birch tar kick. But not always. Best in very cold weather.

I suppose I was expecting sweetness and richness and smokiness from Poivre 23, with a similar surprise in the opening to the operating theatre oddity of the patchouli number. But what you get, in the top notes, is exactly what the label says. Pepper. Not fine white powder that irritates the throat and tickles the nose. Not black heaviness to remind you of the oversized phallic grinders of old fashioned Italian trattorias. Nor the ubiquitous pseudo pink pepper of all-and-sundry scents. But a pepper of wonder; the sort of pepper the first traders must’ve sniffed and felt the wingstrokes of angels in the rhythm of their fast-beating hearts. It shocks, it makes the familiar strange. Fruity, alcoholic, nuanced with rounded spicy accents, I did a little gasp (truly, I did) when I smelled it.

Of course, the magically fruity aspects don’t last, but if anything it gets better – the patchouli and cistus kick in and come close to a smell I’ve dreamed of wearing – that of Diptyque’s magnificent room scent, Maquis. Dirty, open-aired, woody, spicy, ungendered. Wonderful. It sweetens in the Menardo way as it dries down, but really smells like nothing else I know, and for me, recovering from my out-of-love-with-perfume condition, that is nigh on miraculous. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – the official note list (which may or may not bear relation to the actual ingredients) read like a made-for-me recipe: cistus, patchouli, bourbon pepper, sandalwood, gaiac wood, incense, vanilla, styrax.

It’s late, and I’m out of words. It’s a perfume that isn’t worth the $$$ it costs. But. But. But. It might be a masterpiece. I just have to straighten out whether my adulation of Annick Menardo + its uber-exclusivity+ my current mood = myopia or truth. Now I need to find a friend in Tokyo so I can get a sample of Gaiac 10, Menardo’s other city exclusive. That must be wondrous too, eh?

If you’d like to win the chance of a sample, leave a message and I’ll announce the lucky recipient(s) on my next visit.


Addendum: interestingly, Le Labo have today changed the name of the perfumer attached to Poivre 23. It’s apparently Nathalie Lorson, not Annick Menardo. I guess this SNAFU is everywhere – the SAs had Menardo’s name next to the product. I’ll leave it up to you whether my review now holds any weight, or whether you agree with the charmer who commented below. I did tell you I was a bumpkin.

  • tasha says:

    As a fellow country bumpkin who sometimes gets all dressed up in her finery to make the trip into the ‘Big City’, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one gawking and drooling at all the beautiful people. Oh, you weren’t actually drooling, where you? Just me then! I’ve had a sniff of this Poivre and I think I’m in love. But for me, I somehow manage to smell a note of cedar which I don’t think is even listed. Hmm. For me, the opening note was definitely pepper and then it dried down to warm dry sauna smell. Which is meant as a good thing. I knew I had to have it. Then I asked the price I knew I never would!

    Please may I be entered in the contest for a sampler?

  • Solander says:

    On my last trip to London before moving back to Sweden I bought the Cire Trudon Carmelite candle. I’d read on a blog that you were supposed to smell the bell jar – ha! – otherwise I’d have done just like you. Unfortunately, though, most of the candles made me nauseous. Almost all of them, really. The cheap plasticky generic buttery-sweet “freshly baked bread” smell of Revolution especially! I wanted to like Odeur de Lune but there was something about that sour/tangy/burnt smell… nope… The musty mouldy mossy stone walls of Carmelite turned out to be the most refreshing one, especially when I light it at home – it seems the candles smell worse (more sickening) in the bell jars. Hmmm, perhaps those bell jars aren’t such a good idea… Though I admit they preserve the scent very well, compared to tester candles that just sit around evaporating.
    I also bought Gomma and After my own heart, though I sort of regret the latter – it seems much sharper and more generically floral when I spray it at home and I now think En Passant is worth the extra money as the only lilac scent I need. While I was there sniffing and thinking a woman of Middle Eastern origin bought 6 bottles each of every Ineke scent plus lots of other stuff!
    And I just have to add, your going-to-town outfit sounds absolutely lovely!

  • Tania says:

    Sounds gorgeous – please put me in the draw, thanks! I think pepper, used well, is a really nice note.

    I love Dzongkha, too. In fact I think I scared the sales assistant when I first tried it, with all the sniffing and exclaiming. She looked as though she were mentally measuring me for a canvas jacket! But that was a certain sour-faced SA in A.N Other Big London Store, who has no business working with gorgeous ‘fumes, as she clearly hates her job. She makes me feel silly and frivolous to have opinions on perfume at all – that’s why I mostly go to Liberty, instead. I’m such a coward….:”>

    I’d go try the new Le Labo myself, but I have no dosh to spare, so it would simply be torture. I am incapable of trawling Liberty without buying something. Maybe I should move out of town – I’d probably save a lot of money!

    • Lee says:

      You’re a heroine on the frontline of sniffage, is what you are! Keep it up… Dzongkha is a marvellous iris incense… and I love iris.

      I struggle withn sniffage in S______s most of all, though the main perfume floor of H______s is pretty horrendous too – unlike the fifth.

      You’re in.

      • Tania says:

        Thanks, Lee!

        I agree about S______s (I like the Bronte-esque touch, there..) They employ the SA I’m talking about. And wouldn’t you know it, she hovers over the ‘good’ stuff! I still go there sometimes, but I back off if she’s alone. It’s certainly not a haven for the perfumistas, that’s for sure.
        As for H______s, I haven’t been there for years, but I do recall that sniffing was not made easy. I didn’t know there was more on the fifth floor, so thanks for the tip.

  • Mikael says:

    Sounds wonderful, although the city specific thing really bugs me. Still… I would like to try my luck in the drawing!

  • Zoe says:

    Your wonderful description forced me to delurk. How could anyone not want to try something prompting such amazingly florid language?
    If I’m not too late, I’d love to be entered in the drawing, as well. If not, I shall pursue the sniffage in December, as I have my trip to London booked already…

    • Lee says:

      Oh, thank you. I hope it’s florid-good, not florid-bad… Of course you’re not too late!

      And welcome to the daft little world of the perfume posse commenters. I hope you’ll be vewwy happy here.:d

  • zeram1 says:

    I almost got a hold of the Tokyo exclusive. Perhaps in a bit of time.
    So Borneo is already a SL “export” in the UK? That’s fantastic news for the rest of us (well, at least for a hopeful future!). Please enter me n the drawing as well.

    • Lee says:

      Fingers crossed on the Gaiac!

      Yeah, Borneo is definitely everywhere you’d expect it to be over here (all three places…!)

  • carmencanada says:

    Lee, I guess I may be too late for the draw – smells like Maquis? you got me there… Include if it isn’t the case.
    But, more importantly, did you just mention you were going to pick perfumes in Paris, which means you and Matt will actually be coming here at last? If so, drop me a line, pretty please. Worth much more than all the samples in the world…

    • Lee says:

      Yeah – we might be in Paris in December (or the end of November). Will keep you informed…

      I should’ve prefaced my review with a ‘first testing and adulatory’ warning – there’s only 5 minutes of Maquis.

      Interesting to spot all these Maquis fans – I thought I was alone on that score… @};-

  • mikeperez23 says:

    I always look forward to your reviews here on PP Lee. People watching and perfume sniffing in London sounds like fun.

    So, how much is the price of Poivre 23? As much as the Vanille 44? Ack!

    I want to smell this badly – whether Menardo did it, or not. If it’s not too late.

  • Lee says:

    Like you, I much prefer :)>- to:-l, even if that makes me a ~:>l-)|-)

    You’re in.

  • Vasily says:

    I ride the train into Chicago for work each day, and am always struck by the frenetic and pointless energy of people jostling each other in the station to get to the streetcorner 30 seconds ahead of everyone else. There’s a certain value in bumpkinocity. Always a pleasure reading your reviews … Poivre23 sounds fantastic, please do add me to the drawing if it’s not too late!

  • Olfacta says:

    ….well when you get right down to it, aren’t we all bumpkins somewhere?

    Could I be in the drawing? (Late to the party as usual) Thanks!

  • Monica says:

    Oh I missed london… I visited once a couple years back and caught the worse case of the flu ever =P Some Poivre 23 would have clear that right up !

    • Lee says:

      What a shame to get ill on a trip (I did once – amoebic dysentery – twas supernasty).

      Is pepper good for flu?

  • Ben says:

    Sounds interesting…please enter me in the drawing!

  • Robin says:

    Very late to this party, but would love to know if you think any perfume is worth that much money? Just curious. And not even sure of my own answer.

    • Lee says:

      I’d say no, in any sense of worth. Perfume is frivolous, and generally an affordable luxury. These high end niche products open the door to a world of absurdities. There’s that lovely capitalist phrase that ‘something’s worth whatever someone’s willing to pay for it’, but personally I feel the mark-up on these exclusives is likely to be an egregious profit. I’m also sucker enough to fall for it nonetheless. I have an uncomfortable relationship with luxury vs. utility…:-?

  • Kim says:

    I had the same feeling when I was in London this past summer – people were so smartly dressed. And so many men were wearing pale pink shirts with their suits – must be the new white? It looked wonderful and gave them all a touch of colour.
    Isn’t Liberty wonderful? They have a women’s ‘vintage’ section with stunning vintage Dior, YSL, etc. Sigh.
    would love to be in the drawing. Looking forward to your comments on Dzongkha

    • Lee says:

      That pink shirt thing has lasted a long time – I much prefer colour in my shirt to white, which drains we totally.

      And Kim, you’re in!

  • elve says:

    Well, these notes make me tremble, so I’d love to be entered in the drawing. And your review, Lee – a great pleasure to read, as always.

  • Lora says:

    Would love to try a sample – please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  • maitreyi1978 says:

    I like your reviews. Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Tara says:

    Oh dear, it sounds fabulous! I would love to be entered in the drawing. 🙂

  • Devon says:

    Great review – very well written. I would like to be entered in the drawing please. Many thanks!

  • Natalie says:

    What a lovely, enticing review… You reminded me of a period in my life a few years ago when I was living and working in the absolute back of beyond but would spend weekends in NYC; it was the happiest time of my life, but it was such culture shock every Friday evening to arrive in Grand Central in my work clothes — jeans, work boots, general grime — amid all the bustle and gorgeousness. Heck, even the little kids were more put-together than I was!

    Anyway, I’m sure you looked the part, and even if not, I’m sure you smelled it! Thanks for the review, and I would love to be entered in the drawing.

    • Lee says:

      It’s funny, that juxtaposition. Matt and I spent three years where I lived in the centre of things, and he lived out in a village – the contrast we both felt was intense at times…

      You’re in.

  • sylvia says:

    while the exclusivity of le labo’s scents annoys me (esp all the vanille 44 temporarily at the colette/gap store in NYC talk) but i have to admit that i am fascinated by their scents and their gimmickry. i’d love to be entered to win a sample

  • tmp00 says:

    I would love to be in the drawing- though it bugs me soooo much to even look at that bottle “Compounded in SoHo by Bo-Jade”, yet sold only in London. Grrrr… :((

  • Mariekel says:

    Lee, i would KILL for a 60s Dior suit! and i know just what you mean about Islington. I lived for a long time in a dull backwater of Holborn and used to hike up to Angel and it surrounds to dream of what it would be like to be rich and posh and live by the canal in a Georgian brick manse.

    Islington has some of the most gorgeous squares in London and one of my fav pubs — the Albion (lovely big garden in the back and little snugs for drunken snogging).

    Yes, please enter my in the Poivre 23 sample freebie. I love pepper in all its maifestations, so count me in!

    • Lee says:

      Yeah – I still dream of a rich and posh life. But then I do some work in an inner city school and once again am made aware of the different lives lived in all areas of London…

      You’re in…

  • Janet says:

    I’ve been waiting to read your review and it didn’t disappoint 🙂 I’d love a sample 🙂

  • Kristy Victoria says:

    Amazing review. Despite having just acquired a vintage bottle of Flor de Blason from 1926 I am now totally lemming this Le Labo.
    Stick my name in the drawing too, please!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    My ‘little niece’ was just in London for the first time–on business!( Damn, that makes me feel old) and world traveler that she is, loved it as I have loved it every time I’ve been there. Great review on the poivre 23. Sign me up for the draw.

  • March the Maleficent says:

    Le Labo themselves have been advertising this as by Annick Menardo, Now Smell This had said by Annick Menardo, and her source was Le Labo. So I can’t see you’re to blame for the change. Wonder why this happened on their end? 😕 Curious thing, isn’t it?

    I didn’t think it *sounded* like Menardo only because, you know, it should be something that smothers us under its viscous sweetness. :)>- But then I thought: Given that LL scents like Rose don’t bear much relation to their smell anyway, then it made sense to me! 😉

    Those candles sound divine.

    • Lee says:

      Copy and paste, I reckon.

      I thought the vanilla with the pepper and the gaiac/cistus combo did sound like her, but colour me stoopid…. Now, the more I smell it the more it changes. But what do you expect from a first day gush review?

      The candles are awesome!

      Love you Marchie.

      • Lee says:

        And don’t you hapen to love Hypnotic Poison, sweetness or no???

        • March says:

          Love you too. Miss you. I bet you looked hot. And as I think you know, I ADORE Hypnotic Poison, and many (most?) of Menardo’s other scents.

  • Kathryn says:

    What a lovely tableau of the streets of London–sort of like a scene from a latter day Mrs. Dalloway. You do sound pretty sharp in your 60’s Dior navy suit! Please enter me in the draw, too.

  • aelily says:

    Oh, Lee! I’m already obsessed with Le Labo Vanille and now your telling me there is another wonderful Le Labo “exclusive.” I just managed to restrain myself from having a friend purchase a bottle of the Vanille when she was in Paris, how will I managed to control myself knowing that she is heading to London! I guess I’ll have to keep reminding myself of all the TPC samples and decants I can buy with that money instead! Love hearing your “voice” again.:)

    • Lee says:

      But too much for a blind purchase and if you fall in love with a sample from TPC, I’m sure there are ways and means to obtain a bottle;)

  • Lee says:

    You’re in Judith!

  • Judith says:

    Just dropping by when I got a minute–and I noticed this fabulous review! Please put me in the draw!

  • violetnoir says:

    Lee, it is always so good to “see” you! I know you looked quite handsome yesterday. Gosh I love London!

    And please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

    Hugs to you!

    P.S.–So how much is P23 anyway? 😮

    • Lee says:

      Thank you! And you’re in.

      You’ll need a hug back to hear the prices. In pounds (I don’t have the sign on my keyboard, even though I’m in the UK – crazy) – 160 for the 50ml ($300ish) and 240 for the 100ml ($450ish). Ouch.

      Not quite times of austerity at the luxury end (which is where I park my perfume head though I tend to have beer rather than champagne money for everything else in life!)

      • violetnoir says:

        Ooh, squeeze me, Lee. Squeeze tightly!

        Frankly, I am not surprised by the prices. The others, like Vanille 44, have been even more expensivo!

        Wonder how much the Los Angeles exclusive will be? Stay tuned…

        • Lee says:

          Probably v v pricey, given the disposable income of the LA set (does anyone ever use that phrase any more? Am I hopelessly old-fashioned?). Never mind us poor hoi polloi!

  • helenviolette says:

    Mmmm…this sounds as delicious as it is ellusive. Thanks for a great read and count me in as a hopeful for a lucky sample.

  • Disteza says:

    Ah the vintage Dior–you can’t get clothes constructed like that anymore. Those babies were made to last–I’ve got a lovely jacket from the early 50’s (sadly the skirt is waaaay to small for me to consider wearing) that I break out occasionally: you could probably run a tank over it and it’d be OK. The perfume sounds divine–please enter me in the draw.

    • Lee says:

      You’re in

      Nothing like vintage is there? (Though we call it second-hand over here, which sounds a lot less glamorous, unfortunately!)

  • ahsu says:

    Sounds wonderful, Lee! Nice to see your posts again. Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Lindsey910 7 says:

    Thanks for the review! You make London sound pretty nice, with the super attractive people and all.

    Don’t worry, I made that same mistake with the jars and candles once before.

    Please enter me in the drawing. :d

    • Lee says:

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

      But I make those sort of mistakes repeatedly!

      You’re in.

  • Linda says:

    Oh, that sounds magnificent. I would love to be added to the drawing.

    What a glittering description of your trip, Lee. You always bring me a smile and dreams of faraway places not remotely resemblant to my office.

  • sweetlife says:

    Throwing my greedy hat in the ring. I love pepper.

    And I love your descriptions of being overwhelmed by the beautiful people around you. I feel that way every time I go to the Big City. It’s a lovely feeling, mostly, and I try not to overschedule myself with lunches and dinners and visits and so on because I always need some alone time with the city and its lovelies…

  • Billy D says:

    Well la di da Mr. vintage Dior! You make P23 sound so lovely, I’ll have to ask to be entered in the drawing.

    PS: the whole “femme” designation is so arbitrary and stupid. Meh.

    • Lee says:

      It’s a secondhand suit Billy. Bought cheap. Just happens to be Dior.



      You’re in the draw – and I don’t know why it says Femme in that pic – the drydown is not superbutch, but it’s quite easily as much testicular as it is ovarian…:-?

  • Juno says:

    Would adore a sample, please include me in the drawing. Need to know if I need to beg my cousin to swing round Liberty before she moves home in December…..

  • Musette says:

    Is it possible to love you more o, Bumpkin Twin??? Unwilling to fan a flame on such a lovely day I’ll just ;)) and bask in your delightful turn of phrase…

    ….and beg for an entry into the drawing!


    ps. can’t wait to hear what you have to say about Dzongkha! It it one of my ‘special friends’

    • Lee says:

      It’s funny. I’ve worked my way thru a decant of Dzongkha, and over time it’s crept up on me more and more. Then I forgot about it for a while, the almost empty decant languishing in the third of my sample boxes. Yesterday, I sprayed it as a reminder. Incense and iris. Oh my.

      It’s love. Probably now at the top of my ‘favourites by Bertrand’ list.

      I’ll go off and find out that it was actually created by Laudamiel now, won’t I? ;))

      You’re in – and ta very much for the compliment.

  • Christine says:

    I don’t imagine you as a country bumpkin at all, but I’m from New Jersey. 🙂

    The LL Poivre sounds marvelous, and lord knows that I’ll never be able to justify the price of a full bottle, so please do enter me in the drawing!

    How’s the pup by the way?

  • trizydlux says:

    Beautiful reviews! What caught my eye most was your mention of Maquis in relation to LL Poivre. I am so crazy for Maquis my feelings defy description. I asked at Diptyque about a wearable version of this scent, and of course they didn’t promise me anything, but still… I hope my request might have reached the ears of someone who could make it happen! In the meantime, I have contented myself with DK Labdanum EDT. This is as close to Maquis as I have found and it is extraordinarily lovely – if perhaps the tiniest bit thin by comparison (and lacks real tenacity). COULD LL Poivre possibly be better? I am just dying to smell and see for myself! Please enter me in the drawing – I’ll keep my fingers crossed til then. 😀

    • Lee says:

      Aaah, it doesn’t stay there for long. As it is for you, Maquis to me is perfection. And Poivre is not like DK Labdanum – it doesn’t have that simplicity and sits somewhere between old school perfumery and the newer, clearer style. But you’d love it for at least some of the time!

  • Meggie says:

    I made the move to country bumpkin 4 years years ago and have never looked back or been more happy. Your review of Poivre 23 has me yearning for a ticket to London and trip to the airport. Please do enter me in the drawing to sample this masterpiece!

    • Lee says:

      The countryside makes me happy in ways the city never could, though there are things I miss.

      You’re in!

  • jtc says:

    OH my, a wearable version of Diptyque Maquis, you say? Yes, yes! Please enter me in the drawing.

    Your outfit sounded very nice too…

    • Lee says:

      Well, it only holds that Maquis moment for about 10 minutes – seems to be some kind of blurring between the pepper and the softness of the drydown. It’s definitely there, but the dirty edge isn’t really maintained.

  • Marsha Smith says:

    Lee, What a lovely day you had and what lovely sounding perfume! I’d love to be in the draw. But, do you know what I’d love even more? A picture of Gracie! How’s she coming along?

  • Elle says:

    Damn. This confirms it. Must start thinking of elaborate reasons why I *need* to spend money I don’t have on 23. A noble attempt to bolster the international economy in these bleak times? Keep consumer spending going? I’ll continue mulling over this till I come up w/ the perfect rationalization.
    A wonderful friend gave me the CT Dada. It truly is divine.
    Oh, and a 60s Dior suit?! You may have been watching some lovely creatures, but I’m sure you were the focus of a more than considerable number of admiring looks yourself.

    • Lee says:

      It’s extrait, someone pointed out at MUA. Maybe that’s good enough…!

      The CT Dada is terrific isn’t it? A new smell really, in its effective mishmash of flavours (and I mean mishmash really positively here!).

      And thanks for the compliment. I think I looked like a daft French bloke trying to look American college preppy!

  • Maura says:

    Oooo…LOVED this post Lee! I’ve been waiting for your review since you mentioned you’d be testing it over on MUA!! How’s the lasting power? Another 24 hours like Patchouli 24? I know this was listed as an extrait which makes it even more interesting! Would love to sample!


    • Lee says:

      Well, it was still there this morning after sleeping with it and though not achieving the thickness of Patch24, it certainly has some strong similarities. Of course, you’ve seen my addendum pointing out my birthday suit error, haven’t you?

  • Shelley says:

    What a nice way to find the perfume description…embedded within a lovely day. 🙂 I wish you another in the not-too-distant future…one which includes a pleasant interlude with perfume.

    I’d love an opportunity to have a sample of Poivre 23. It would be fun to benchmark it against L’Artisan Poivre Piquant, too; that one also opens with nothing but pepper, and then has a warm, sweet, milky drydown. This one sounds like that classic soap opera twist…you thought you recognized me, but NO!, I am Clarissilda’s spicy, dry twin, in from outside! Clarissilda is still in the kitchen–mwa-ha-ha!!

    (Sorry, getting away with things…must be procrastinating starting this last day of the week.)

    • Lee says:

      It is a Clarissilda indeed! Love it.

      Quite different to Poivre Piquant, which morphs from one straight-up smell into another. This is all merging and shape-shifting and softening, certainly becoming fuller and perhaps creamier, but not in that milky way.

  • kathleen says:

    Such a timely review for me, as Don is headed to London for the rest of the month. Would luv to be entered in the draw, please, Lee. As I doubt he will be willing to drop that much dosh on a ‘fume! It’s really nice to read your posts again, and to see you on MUA, no less.

    • Lee says:

      I wasn’t willing either, but i’m a heart rule the head kinda guy I guess. More fool me!

      You’re in – and might see you at MUA once in a while (I’m an occasional lurker really).

  • Wendy says:

    Lee – I regularly feel that out of synch – even though I work in DC every day (near the lobbyists – which may skew my view of the town). Wandering to lunch – I watch a fashion show of extremes. Stunning designer daywear and mismashed tourist madras. Glad I’m not the only one.

    The Le Labo Poivre 23 is the only new thing that’s had me really excited to try in awhile. Glad you found it – and found it so breathtaking. I would love to be entered in the sample draw.

    • Lee says:

      And I imagine those in the designer daywear are in capital city efficiency mode ( the FU buddy manoeuvre) and the mismatched folks just get in their EFFING way, goddamit.

      That’s a clash I don’t miss in the sedate pace of country life!

    • Lee says:

      And of course you’re in the drawer!

  • Melissa says:

    I love fragrances based on pepper in theory, but I am still looking for one that takes my breath away in a good way. Please enter me in the sample draw.

  • karin says:

    I’d love a sample! Thanks, Lee!

  • Patty says:

    I can’t wait to sniff this. I love pepper, and it sounds like this is refreshing and different and beautiful. *practices deep breathing* so I can can wait for it!

    • Lee says:

      If you love pepper, you’ll be all over it.

      And it’s got a softness to the drydown like cashmere. One of those scents that disappears, then reappears to haunt and bewitch.

  • Lee says:

    I see charm is your intimate friend. :)>-

    Le Labo have changed their website since yesterday. And they’re going to have to change their SA guidance too, cuz Menardo’s name was very much down on that against Poivre 23…

    Still it is Menardo style, through and through, especially the drydown.

    Pass me the tippex. I think you’ll find it’s Gaiac 10, unless they’ve tinkered with that too…/:)

    • Lee says:

      Actually, I’ll correct myself. The final drydown is like Menardo. The rest – who knows. I’m not a nose.

  • bullshitradar says:

    Poivre 23 is in fact by Natalie Lorson and only Guaiac 13 is by Annick Menardo. Please check http://www.lelabofragrances.com/

  • Laura Vale says:

    Lovely description. I was there with you. I love all the colors and vibrancy of the City. I love all the different ethnicities, wardrobes, personalities Ah, the glory of it. The rhythm. Nothing beats the City. So… I, too, would love to be entered for the sample. Thank you for making it available!

    • Lee says:

      Except the country… Kidding! Kidding!

      I love both. For different reasons. But I don’t think I’d want to live in London again. I like my country walks too much.

      You’re in!

  • Carol Sasich says:

    Menardo has created some of my favorites , and I would love to smell this one…!!
    Enjoyed your observations all around.

    • Lee says:

      Though, as it turns out, and if their alteration is correct, AM didn’t create this one, but the nose behind Lalique’s Encre Noire (and many humdrum designer jobs too)…

  • Anne says:

    A scent that caused you to gasp? Would love to be in the draw for that baby! As always, love your post. The sample draw is just icing on an always magical cake. :)>-

    • Lee says:

      It was the finesse of the pepper I think! And the fact that it punctured my jaded carapace.

      You’re in.

  • Louise says:

    I bet you looked fetching in the autumnal London light, especially with that black line drawn ’round. I get that kid-outta-Oregon feeling at times in NYC, because, lord knows, DC remains a backwater in comparison.

    Sounds like a lovely time all around…the sights, weather, sniffage. Those Cire Trudon candles sound just amazing. And I bet you do manage quite a talented flirt with an attractive woman /:).

    Poivre sounds fascinating. You’ve inspired me to pull out my mini of Bulgari Black for a cool Friday here.

    Happy Weekend to all 🙂

  • dinazad says:

    Can’t imagine you as anythine else but dashing, Lee. But then, I’m a country bumpkin by birth…..
    I’d love to be in the draw – you make the Poivre sound so seductive!

  • Kem says:

    This sounds very me, thanks for the review. It would be terribly silly of me, as a big fan of BB, Patchouli 24 and Bois d’armenie to not add myself to the drawing. So please add me!

    • Lee says:

      Unfortunately, I guess you’ve discovered my ‘error’ by now. It does have the lingering tenacity of Patch24 though – I guess from the styrax and vanilla.

  • hvs says:

    lovely post! so visual… Some days one just really notices the wonder of one’s fellow man (and woman). please enter me in the drawing! thanks…

  • jawhara says:

    Thanks for that review, Lee! Makes me want to book a trip to London RIGHT NOW.
    Of course, I’d love to get that sample!

  • Flora says:

    Lovely post, Lee, and what a great description of the Poivre 23! Of course I want to be in the drawing. This is the style of scent that I used to think I did not like and/or could not wear, but now that I have become so adventurous in trying new types of scent, I love it.

    • Lee says:

      Well, a scent always changes after you spend a day with it, and these were very much my first impressions. But it’s actually lovelier today, if anything…

  • smy says:

    I always love it when you return with a post. And please enter me in the draw for a sample.

  • desesseintes says:

    Alas, I too have come to the a-fragrance dark place. Your review of Poivre freshened me. I would adore a sample.

  • Francesca says:

    I aspire to country-bumpkinhood, too, and I often wonder, when I make the final, permanent move to my mountaintop in Connecticut, what will it be like when I visit New York?

    Your review of Poivre was so poetic. I’d love to be entered to win a sample.

  • Janet in California says:

    I wish I was there. I guess the closest I can come is the sample. It sounds as if you had a lovely day.

    • Lee says:

      I did – well, I was working for most of it on training materials in an inner city school. But that was quite lovely too.