Thwarted: Le Labo Lys 41 and Ylang 49

le labo 3rdFirst off, let me reveal the winners of the samples of Bulls Blood, chosen at

Commenter #17 BridgetC
Commenter #36 Beth
Commenter #47 Beth

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Now, onto our regularly scheduled program.

I stopped at Barney’s on Saturday at their premiere of these two new fragrances by Le Labo, and chatted with the ever-charming and handsome Fabrice Penot about the scents. I can see why they did both of them- they’re like a yin and yang of white flowers: Lys 41 is all bright sunniness while Ylang 49 is all dark sultry looks. Unfortunately I didn’t think to ask for samples (the usual result of chatting with tall handsome French guys with the gallic habit of standing just a smidge closer to one than Americans are used to except in amorous situations) so I went to the Le Labo store on 3rd to ask for some. They were out, so I can’t do a really in-depth review until I get them.

We can talk about the ones that I really love from this house. Vetiver 46 is a great vetiver with hints of peppery woods. Patchouli 24 is almost a misnomer: the patchouli is in there but this is smoky birch, leather and just a hint of Vanilla. I love this especially on a crisp day. Oud 27 is a great perfume and one of the most interesting Ouds out there- the oud is more of a theme unifying the scent, like a bass line in a song. It’s a minor tragedy that Aldehydes 44 went down with the Titanic that was Barney’s Dallas, because I loved its ride from champagne-fizzy opening to sad, slightly desperate dry down. (I initially thought it should be the LA Scent- it was Faye Dunaway doing a sitcom in a bottle.)

But my favorite by far is the LA exclusive, Musc 25. I’ve written about it several times but it’s a truly great scent that really I think captures something of LA. I am also proud to write that in a way I had a (tiny) hand in it’s direction: Fabrice emailed me that my suggestions of experiencing LA led him to a drive along Mulholland that led to some minor adjustments to the scent. The bottle I have was actually a thank-you from him, which was lovely of him. Especially since I’d have to cancel cable and internet for the year to afford it.

Ah well such is life. Have any of you tried any of Le Labo’s scents? Which did you like? Which didn’t work? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Fabrice Penot

  • HemlockSillage says:

    I enjoy Le Labo’s fragrances. I love Aldehyde 44, long may she waft! I love Musc 25, too. Hmmm, and Vanille 44, Poivre 23. . . . wait, there’s a theme: it’s the city exclusives! Yep, I love Tubereuse 40 (which is NOT tuberose to my nose, but orange blossom) and Guaic 10. Acutally, my only loves from the regular line are Rose 31 and maybe the Labdanum 18. The Labdanum 18 wears me, though, and reminds me very much of Musc Ravageur (same perfumer, no?) but with less clove. I wish the city exclusive thing would just stop, or be exclusive for a year and then available at LL stockists worldwide. I’ll have to retry the Vetiver. Thanks for mentioning it.

    I tried the Ylang 49 this week and it was HUGE. In the heat here, it was nearly poisonous. I’ll try it again in another, cooler season. It was so much more than ylang-ylang, with moss, patchouli, vetiver, and more. I’d like to give it a fair trial, but it *was* a trial in 90+F heat. The Lys 41 was pretty, but Frederic Malle’s Lys Mediterranee or SL’s Un Lys fill that niche for me in a more well rounded way. Your mileage may vary 😀 Happy sniffing! Be well.

  • Tara says:

    I have and love the Oud, Vetiver, Labdanum, Poivre, Vanille, Gaiac and now Ylang. I like the musc but not enough to spend that much $$ on it. I hear there will be a Cuir leather one for the Harvey Nicks in Dubai that a Basenoter has smelled and says is divine, but have no idea how I would obtain it. Maybe someday!

  • Kandice says:

    Of the Le Labo fragrances, my favorite so far has been the Neroli 36. I know it didn’t receive much praise when it was released. But I like it because It’s such a bright, clean scent. My next favorite would be the Rose 31. Most roses give me a headache and are way too sweet for me. But that one is just perfect. I’m anxious to try both of the new ones. They both sound wonderful. Hopefully they won’t disappoint.

  • EileenS says:

    I’ve gotten samples of a few Le Labos but have only been excited about one — Rose 31. Iris 39, Oud 27, and Poivre 23 have been ok — very wearable but didn’t ding my bells. A sample of Baie Rose (the Chicago exclusive) should be on it’s way to me.. not sure if I want to like it or not, given the cost!

  • I haven’t tried much from Le Labo yet. I have samples of Gaiac 10 and a Musc 25 and I liked those. I’ve sniffed the neroli one at Saks, and I remember liking it, but I don’t really remember much specific about it. I really expected to like Labdanum 18 because labdanum is one of my favorite notes/materials, but I didn’t like it at all. It was weirdly baby-powder-ish on me. I haven’t been to Saks in a while, but next time I’m at the Galleria I’ll have to remember to stop by and try the new ones.

  • Beth says:

    I don’t have easy access to LeLabo so I haven’t really dipped my toe in that pond. But from the way people are passionate about this line (love and hate both) I’m very interested in it. I hear almost sonnets written about Aldehyde 44 or Iris 39 and then I hear someone say that Aldehyde 44 is absolute rubbish. I love a perfume that doesn’t inspire “meh”. It makes me very curious, but I think my pocketbook would appreciate me staying completely away 😉

  • Amy Bella says:

    I can’t wait to try the new Le Labos, especially the Musc. I adore Labdanum and Oud. I wear the Patchouli from time to time when I feel dangerous. (It scares me a little… it’s so charred and tarred!) I still haven’t tried the Santal or Vetiver for some reason. I liked the Paris Vanilla exclusive… and their Rose 31. And Iris! I am a big fan even though I can never remember the numbers in the fragrance names!

  • Portia says:

    Hey tom,
    I’ve still not opened my l Le Labo packages from LA. I look at them and smile and remember what a fun day that was with Daniel.
    Portia xx

  • Calypso says:

    I meant, “of this line,” not just “of Santal 26,” up above. I’ve got the orange blossom and neroli ones so far. Both are too sweet and “blah” for me, but maybe you’ll disagree. I’ll try to get the Lys and Ylang too before I come.

  • Calypso says:

    I just visited Saks yesterday here in Houston and tried both the new Lys and Ylang fragrances. I found Lys too sweet and simple, surprisingly so given the typical Le Labo approach. Ylang was a lot more interesting to me, though I wouldn’t really have called it “dark” at all, just more complex. There were several there I hadn’t tried before. The one I liked the most was Santal 33. It was pleasant and lighter than most sandalwood scents. I have a large spray sample of Patchouli 24 and bring it out occasionally, but I’m sort of afraid to wear it in public ever since I did once while shopping and my aunt asked me “What’s that smell? Is something burning?”! I have bought a bottle of Santal 26 three years ago at Liberty’s in London. It is labeled as a room spray/eau de parfum, but I had tried most everything they had there and liked it the most and the guy at the counter told me that you can wear it yourself if you want to, it’s safe, and so I bought it. It is way more pepper than sandalwood and very striking. Still my favorite one. And by the way Lucasi I am going to bring you a few samples of this when I come to Poland in July.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    The only Le Labo that I’ve tried is Labdanum 18. It struck me as almost like Shalimar without the citrus note and not as heavy on the vanilla. I did like it but something kept me from loving it.

  • lucasai says:

    Hello Tom!
    Le Labo is very far away from me. I live in Poland and we don’t have a stockist in the country. The closest one is probably in London, or maybe in Germany? I don’t know.

    Anyway, thanks to a few generous people I got a few samples of Le Labo fragrances. My very favourite which I want to have in my collection is Iris 39. I also enjoy Rose 31. I just tried Limette 37, a kind friend who was in San Francisco few weeks ago got me a sample.

    There are also a few that didn’t work for me like Patchouli 24 and Oud 27. They turned into monsters that I couldn’t bear.
    Now I’d like to try Ylang 49

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Tom! I’m seconding dear Sherri above on the Vanille 44 love — one of the best comfort scents ever! (Have not tried the Jasmin 17 though.) And I do adore their Tubereuse 40 with its bright, happy aura. If I ever hit the jackpot, those two will be mine. Also love the Gaiac 10, and my FB is looking frighteningly low 😉 so I guess some traveling is in my future to get it refilled.

  • Sherri says:

    Oooh I had forgotten about the Musc! That is one of Le Labo’s best, imho! My other favorites are Vanille 44 and Jasmin 17.
    The Le Labo I expected to love but ended up hating is Iris 39.

  • Connie says:

    I’ve also only tried Patchouli 24, but I quite loved it. Not enough to get a bottle, but enough to wish someone near me would wear it. Good stuff, can’t wait to try more.

  • ncmyers says:

    Vetiver 46 was one of the very first samples I ever bought when I started getting into perfume. I’m starting to make my own perfume for personal use and I’m going to try to ‘recreate’ it! Also love the Iris and would love to try the Bergamote and Neroli. The new ones sound amazing..and that Musc! Le Labo lust!!

  • Insensé says:

    I totally agree with you about Patchouli 24, the only one I know. One of the best experiences I’ve had in my catch of a perfect smoky. I’ll buy one of these days the discovery set, as I am very curious of some of their perfumes.
    Oh, let me add they are really nice: when I received my sample, they sent also a very amusing postal card 🙂