Like it was meant to be smelled

Bah, power outage!  I had most of this post written, and then the power went out, and I lost it.

Many of you who have read here for a while know that there is a note or two that my nose won’t read, it just translates to me as alcohol.  I believe it’s a musk note. It doesn’t read as nothing, which most people get when musk is a complete miss, but instead I just smell the alcohol in the perfume instead.  It’s weird, irritating, and I always know when I smell that that I can’t really tell what the perfume smells like.

Le Labo Rose 31 was one of those that smelled of mostly alcohol.  When I first put it on, I got some of the notes – Rose 31 has notes of Grasse rose, cumin, pepper, clove, nutmeg, olibanum, cedar, amber, gaà¯ac wood, oudh wood, cistus, vetiver and animalic notes – and just about the time I was thinking, oh, yes, this is amazing, woods, earth, spice, resin.  Then plop, alcohol got sprayed all over my nose and just took over everything.

Because of all the rave reviews for this scent, I’ve kept trying every few months on it, hoping – foolishly, I realize – that something will change and I’ll smell it properly and can fall in love with it like the rest of the world.


Some time back I had heard The Laundress put Le Labo Rose 31 in her laundry soap, and it occurred to me that that might work for me to smell it.  Then I saw the price tag of $45 for 16 ounces and quickly closed out that idea.  $45 for laundry detergent?

Now, sometimes my life meanders along and a once discarded as too expensive idea somehow works its way back into my frontal lobe, and as I was browsing through Luckyscent getting something else I just clicked on that overpriced detergent and went on through checkout trying not to think about it too much.

When you get an overpriced detergent, what is the first thing you should use it on?  Sheets of course.  So one load of sheets later, I pulled these out of the dryer to see what Le Labo Rose 31 smelled like. Not alcohol, yes!  Just resin, spice, woods,  a slight rose, a little animalic and musky. It is gorgeous, and I have the sexiest smelling sheets in Denver.  My sister was visiting me this weekend and experienced the freshly laundered sheets, and we both just buried our noses in it for like 30 minutes with happy little sighs.  The sheets have been on my bed for like two days now, and they still smell wonderful.

Worth $45?  I don’t know.  Nobody can answer that question for someone else. As a luxury that doesn’t cost a ton, and if I just use it for lingerie, delicates and sheets, it should last me a long time, I’ll absolutely buy it again. I love that smell in my sheets. It’s just smutty enough to make me feel feminine, but beautiful enough so I don’t feel like a total slut while I’m sleeping.

Which leads me to ask, what smell do you want in your sheets?  Pick a perfume you’d put in a laundry detergent.  And do you think $45 for this is a ridiculous indulgence or one that can be justified as a small luxury?

  • maidenbliss says:

    Thank you, Minette. I do appreciate line dryed sheets since I moved to the country. I remember running through my mom’s sheets and that clean fresh smell, nothing like it.

  • maidenbliss says:

    Just brought my sheets in, oh, heaven is here. Guess I’ll have to go read a review on
    L’Animatiere unless there was some facetiousness going on:-?
    I haven’t heard of it, but that doesn’t mean anything…

    • minette says:

      regarding l’antimatiere, there is a note (or several)in it that many are anosmic to… so some think it smells like nothing at all. i can smell it though, and it’s really nice, so i get why someone would want to spritz it on sheets.

      i remember the sheets from my childhood, when my mom would still hang them out to dry. wish i could do that nowadays. enjoy! it’s a wonderful smell.

      • Shelley says:

        Oh, Maidenbliss, I am sorry…yes, there is a backstory to my comments. March once issued a challenge to see who could actually smell L’Animatiere…Minette, you would be one of the chosen, as far as that goes. I smelled something, once, out of five tries. And that was a phantom.

        Minette has put her finger on the situation…this is one scent that seems to cut a wide swath as far as bumping into anosmic responses.

  • minette says:

    unscented or “free” detergents, no matter the brand, leave behind a stale smell. but i hate the heavily scented detergents, so i wind up mixing a lightly scented detergent with some “free” detergent along with some borax. the result is a fresh, but not heavily perfumed, smell.

    francis kurkdjian also makes a laundry product, and i would love to use it, but so far i haven’t been able to bring myself to spend for it. i really, really love his lumiere noire – it’s like he made it for me. i wouldn’t spritz it on sheets though, because it’s too precious to me.

    what i do use on sheets is caron’s pour un homme. the mix of rich lavender and vanilla is heavenly and fresh. and i find that i sleep better around vanilla-esque scents (hypnotic poison, km loukhoum).

  • Kim says:

    $45 for the 1/3 of your life that you spend sleeping?
    Sounds like a bargain to me!
    But love the idea of experimenting with perfume in the rinse cycle of my front loader – a good way to use up samples/scents that I like in the air but not on me. For example Ormande Jayne Tolu. It just smells so much better spritzed in the air than on me so I wonder now how it will be on my sheets.

  • cathleen56 says:

    Whoops — spoke too soon. I see now that the LeLabo version is a special edition. $45 is really steep. If you like it that much it might be cheaper just to buy a bottle of the perfume and add a tiny bit to your rinsewater.

  • cathleen56 says:

    Hi there! I use The Laundress detergent myself, love it, but it has never cost me nearly that much. I even went and looked it up on the web and the only thing that costs $48 is a travel kit with a lot of different items in it. Detergent can be had for much less — hope that helps you decide!

  • CynthiaW says:

    Hmm… what I spray my sheets with depends on the time of the year. In the winter, it’s usually Kenzo Amour or Shalimar and in the summer – CKOne Summer or anything else suitably summery that strikes my fancy.

    I think that Rose 31 laundry detergent sounds fabulous and I’m glad that you finally got to experience the greatness that is Rose 31. I did briefly think about whether or not my husband would like sheets that smelled like Rose 31 – but he mostly likes the scent on me and would probably like anything that put me in a good mood at bedtime.

    As for the cost – my philosophy is: if you can afford it and it makes you happy, why not?

  • mary says:

    Sounds like fun! I have been thinking of just diluting some perfume in unscented soap, to give it a try in the laundry. I indulge in this lavender scented laundry stuff, which my kids really love. But I think I can find some unscented, and do my own custom scenting –thanks for inspring me.

  • carter says:

    Yes and yes. It smells like line-dried sheets.

  • carter says:

    1000 thread Egyptian Cotton and L’Animatiere:d|-)

  • Tara C says:

    I just use plain powdered laundry detergent (the liquid detergents make the clothes and towels smell musty if you have a front-loader here in the US, for some reason, not sure if it’s the same in the EU). I prefer a plain soapy smell on my sheets.

  • AnnieA says:

    As I’d want something to make me fall asleep I’d say ditto with Guerlain’s AA Ylang and Vanille, or Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather.

  • Madea says:

    For the sheets, I’m debating making my own with borax and some essential oils from our local Whole Lot of Hipsters. Maybe lavender rosemary, or else rose geranium?
    I’ve always used Florida Water in the past. BF liked it a lot.
    If it makes you happy, I say do it.

  • Wendi says:

    Great question! I too use All Free and Clear for the sensitive-skinned members of my family, but for sheets/delicates I would be tempted by either Osmanthe Yunnan or L’Eau d’Hiver detergents. To me, they both have *just* enough clean, *just* enough comfort, and *just* enough femininity to suit most any activity on the sheets…. :”>

  • Musette says:

    I use 20 Mule Team Borax and a little soap. For my sheets I line-dry in the summer (when I have time) hit ’em with an iron whilst watching NCIS reruns (guilty pleasure, both the ironing and the show). The fresh air-scented sheets (and that weird, wonderful just-ironed smell) is yummy.

    Of course, it’s raining nonstop here, so I’m looking at dryerland now but the iron still gives that lovely, crisp smell (what IS that smell?).

    Glad you found @};- love, Patty!

    xoxo >-)

  • monkeytoe says:

    I would love sheets scented with PG Ilang Ivohibe–that is one sweet dreams scent to me.

  • marko says:

    Hold on to your seats folks – this may sicken some of you, but the fragrance that I ALWAYS spray on my sheets is the loathsome, ultra-sweet Pink Sugar. I know, I know….but for some reason, it just works for me. I never wear the fragrance, but there is something about the candy sweetness that takes me to a “happy” place as I’m drifting off to la la land….and after a night’s sleep, the “cotton candy-ness” wears off and the room smells of orange-blossom and vanilla.

    As far as $45 for laundry detergent…..I agree with most – everything is relative – if it makes you happy then enjoy it while you can.

  • maidenbliss says:

    What an interesting post. I have sprayed my sheets with various perfumes, and have thrown
    powder merrily through the air as I stand over the bed. OTOH, I’m doing my wash this morning
    and hanging it out in the glorious sunshine as I do all summer. This is as fresh as it gets
    for me, but since you prompted me I might add something to the rinse:x
    I’ve got several floral Creed samples I don’t much care for, but this might be a fun experiment.
    Unless of course, anyone is interested in free Creed samples.

    • Madea says:

      i’d be interested. I’m a college student, and any kind of samples are welcome :d

      • maidenbliss says:

        Madea, I sent my contact info to PP and they’ll get in touch w you. I’m happy to send samples to anyone interested.


        • Madea says:

          Excellent. I’m excited to share these with someone else, since there seems to be very little English language information out there.

  • ScentRed says:

    I too have kids with sensitive skin so Tide Unscented is all I use. If I could use a perfume scented detergent I’d love to have sheets that smell of Shaal Nur. Small aside, my little son asked me the other day if I could spritz his pillow with Narciso for Her because my mom (who also wears NR) had been sleeping in his room during a recent visit and his pillows smelled of her until I washed them on the weekend. He missed her and wanted the scent back…

  • Haunani says:

    Gosh, great question. In the spring, I’d get rich fast and spray my sheets with En Passant. In the summer, good vetiver or lavender. Winter? Perhaps Ambre Precieux.

  • maggiecat says:

    The hard part for me would be finding something to perfume my sheets with that my husband would like as well (and I have a feeling the Le Labo wouldn’t be it, alas). I use the Costco fabric softener as well – it has a light, fresh lavender scent and works well on our front loader. It seems you almost have to use fabric softener with American front loaders, and so far this is the best one I’ve found. I sometime use a lavender spray on sheets as I’m making the bed, and have been known to drizzle a few drops of something on my pillow – lately, Guerlain’s AA Ylang and Vanille, or some lavender oil blend.

  • Ari says:

    But…. but… why would you NOT want to feel like a total slut when you’re sleeping??? 😕
    I tried many of the Le Labos recently and thought that the Rose was one of the most distinctive. The vast majority of them don’t seem to be worth the money.

  • Style Spy says:

    I have always loved the smell of Downy fabric softener, so my sheets smell just fine to me already. But I might choose Ambra del Nepal, which is my yummy comfort scent I often apply masses of before I head for bed. That would be wonderfully coccoon-y.

  • mals86 says:

    My kids all have sensitive skin, and I notice that if I use a regular scented laundry detergent, they get rashes. So I stick with Purex Free & Clear or All Free Clear, which are purportedly hypoallergenic. Scented dryer sheets don’t seem to cause a problem, and neither does fabric softener, so I do use those. My laundry smells like, well, laundry.

    April through October or so, we hang the laundry out on the clothesline, and nothing smells more simply lovely than sheets dried in the sunshine. That said, I love to spritz my pillowcase with a little Mariella Burani or AG Eau du Ciel (which smells like line-dried sheets!) from time to time. They smell quietly good without interfering with whatever fragrance I’m wearing to bed.

    • Ann N. says:

      Hi Mals, thanks for bringing a smile with your mention of Eau du Ciel. Such a lovely, almost innocent scent, and it all too often gets overlooked, IMHO. Will definitely have to dig up my little spray and give it a whirl on the sheets tonight …

  • DinaC says:

    I use unscented laundry detergent from Costco, and their fabric softener, which is mildly scented with lavender. I don’t really notice any scent at all on the clean, dry clothes though, which is fine with me. I’m just grateful to have completed some laundry! 8-|

  • Pimpinett says:

    I enjoy my bottle of CBIHP’s Cedarwood Tea wardrobe perfume very much (which seems to be discontinued, by the way? Can’t find the wardrobe perfumes on the website anymore, although I suppose the regular water perfume would work just as well). I use that on woollens and furs rather than sheets, though, but it scents the entire house for a couple of days after I’ve treated my garments or blankets to it.

  • March says:

    I don’t know if it’s our water, our low-water-usage front-loader (we do a ton of laundry) or what, but the green/”nonscented” detergents — and I’ve tried several brands — just leave the laundry smelling terrible. Kind of a sour smell.

    So your laundry scenting sounds perfectly reasonable to me, although I tend to spray the sheets or the bedroom with perfume if I’m in the mood for it.

  • Shelley says:

    Laundry specific:

    Since the basic formula for “stuff that cleans your clothes” is borax + soap shavings, you can make your own, and then add fragrance (essential oil, I’m thinking, but I suppose you could play with perfume…I had this conversation once). Or not. (Which would solve Denyse’s problem.) In my earth mother phase, I would have made my own. In a later iteration, I found a company that makes it. Plain, or lavender or balsam.

    My perfect sheet is rinsed with lavender water (Fiordiligi, I have a front loader, but just add the water in the rinse compartment) and dried in the sun. Maybe ironed, if I’m really sybaritic. But I have no staff. 😉

    Now, if you’re asking me to pick a perfume I’d want my laundry to smell like, I’d protest. In two directions. There’s the part of me saying “I don’t want my laundry to smell like perfume” and the other part saying “agh! another question asking me to pick just one!” /:) :”> If I were to be honest, I might say that the idea of Gap Grass is intriguing. Or a sweater with a Byzance rinse.

    But then I shake it off. b-) Glad you found something that works for you!

  • Louise says:

    Unscented all the way-but $45 is the new $15 if you like it :d/

    I wear varying scents to bed-and surely won’t want interference.

    Oh-and I found some older Rose 31 on sale in a French Sephora-and it growls loudly, unlike the current iteration 😮

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Sounds wonderful! I loathe commercial detergents so I use an organic one that smells very pretty and delicate (ecover) but I’d be up for the one you tried! I don’t like the ones that smell of absolutely nothing as the ingredients are chemically masked (as in the dreaded Clinique makeup).

    As an alternative I have heard of People Like Us putting a few drops of scent in the rinse cycle; not sure how we Europeans would achieve that with our front-loading machines but the Americans with top-loaders could certainly do this.

    • I use a dispenser to put what I want into the rinse. It’s round, about the size of a tennis ball with a stopper on top. Sure, you can put fabric softener in it, but I fill it with sparkling water and a spritz of perfume–Terre D’Hermes when my husband is at home, 31 Rue de Cambon when he is not. The spinning of the machine–vertical or horizontal–pops the top off and scents the sheets. Lovely!

      • Brooke Alexandra says:

        you mean like the downy ball? and how many spritzes? and seltzer water?

        we are through the looking glass here!

    • zeezee says:

      Ecover *does* smell nice. I put a Nesti Dante myrtle-scented soap in between my sheets rather than adding scent tot the wash cycle itself. Very ncie indeed.

  • Tamara says:

    I feel exactly the same way,it’s silly and extravagant and yes perhaps even wasteful but if you are enjoying it and it brings you happiness then by all means. I don’t have the life to afford every perfume and candle and cream that I want but when I do get my hands on it and I inhale what I’ve gotten I am grateful that something so sensual, if not essential can be had.

    I just perfume my bed with whatever I’m wearing that night, but if I could have a choice of detergent that smelled like my favorite perfume I would choose Velvet and Sweet Peas Puurfumery Jasmine Orange Blossom, it’s perfect. Laurie makes creme perfume of it too and I rub it on my nose so I can fall asleep smelling it.

    Ok that sounded weird.

  • bryan says:

    Life is short. This made you very happy. Therefore, it’s worth it. Period.

    I’m going to go get some now. Thanks.

    I’d love some carnal flower in my sheets, but I spray ’em with it and until I drift off, I’m in heaven. I usually have forgotten about it in the morning, but when I get home that evening, it smells like paradise.

  • I was just thinking yesterday that for me, luxury in a detergent would be one that added *no* smell whatsoever to my laundry. I’m just so tired of it interfering with my perfumes. I’ve even considered emailing Jean-Claude Ellena to ask him what brand he uses, bless his soul. I hear he’s very particular about it…

    • Lee says:

      Enquiring minds need to know!

    • Gretchen says:

      I’d like to know, too– even though importing that detergent from France would probably make it more expensive per ml than most perfumes. . .

    • Linda says:

      You could always try “Rockin’ Green.” It’s a diaper detergent that has a scent, but the laundry comes out with no scent at all.