Le Labo Patchouli 24

I was scrabbling around in the perfume box for something I hadn’t worn in a while. Had completely forgotten I own one of the 15ml bottles of Le Labo Patchouli 24 and was just delighted to pull it out.

This is fairly old. I bought it from the first (tiny) New York shop in 2007 (a year after the house itself started), so way before you could find Le Labo everywhere. This was during a visit to my father. I doubt he was along, but my son, age 6 at the time, was. Beyond the ‘we mix it for you right now in front of your eyes’ thing, what I recall most about that visit was that at least one of the guys who ran the company was actually in the shop and he took my boy over to a seating area and entertained him while I was perfuming. Beyond that being excellent customer care, it was just really sweet and I wish I had a picture.

Notes include patchouli, birch, styrax and vanilla and Annick Menardo was the nose (also the nose for Bulgari Black – which we’ll get to). In a comment about the fragrance on NST, Robin states that this is not a perfume to buy unsniffed and I’m with her on that even though I bought it at the shop based on comments about it. This was during a period when I was after really dark, stanky, weird perfumes. (The SA may have offered me a few things to smell but I have no memory of doing that – only of standing at the counter and watching her mix my brew.)

I love the different descriptions of this, from old chemistry lab to cow dung (someone who didn’t like it).

I adore it in any case and it’s still absolutely wonderful from the bottle after originally being ‘made’ 15 years ago. It doesn’t change much on me from the big birch-tarry opening with a whisper of vanilla except to smooth out and for the vanilla to get stronger. The vanilla is caramelly in the way really good extract is sniffed from a bottle — so not cloying at all.

I can’t wear Tauer Lonestar even though I think it’s gorgeous, but I can wear this. I think that might be due to the vanilla, but who knows. On me Patch 24 is unctuous leather-birch tar-creosote ever so slightly gentled (just enough) by the vanilla. It reminds (shit, now the D key, along with the C on my PC is sticking) of teenage summers spent in Maine, the horse/farm smell in a nearby village, the interior of lean-to shelters I stayed in while hiking and the interior of my old shed (both soaked in creosote). These are all things that I love and appreciate. LL Patch 24 reminds me of them and I can’t believe I’ve left it so long since the last time I wore this (like it’s been a couple of years).

Bulgari Black: apparently for some people Patch 24 reminds them of BB. Not me, as the times I tried BB it simply smelled of vanilla-rubber, and not in a good way. Really not attractive. It’s one of the perfumes that lots of people adore but doesn’t do it for me (others like this are the Narciso Rodriguez and FM Musc Ravageur, which is decidedly not ravageur on me).

Anyway, this is definitely back in rotation until it (if?) gets too hot here to manage it, when it will go back in the box till autumn.

And almost forgot to say the bottle has my name on it: “Compounded in Nolita by Bo-Jade for …”. This sent me looking at my bottle of Ylang 49 which just says who compounded it on X day. Ah, well, that’s what happens when you become wildly successful and have been gobbled up by Estee Lauder.

This one of yours? Are you more Lonestar? Is this so far outside your love zone it makes you twitchy?

  • Be thankful you have a decent sniffer. I have had a few years of industrial chemical exposure and blood poisoning. Stuff doesnt stink-stink until it does.

    Also, some folks can smell “fecal” parts of oud. I am glad that I havent had the test yet.

    I enjoyed the article, btw. My memories, outside of a exgf mention, arent that great when it comes to fragrances.

  • March says:

    I remember being irrationally annoyed by their shtick of “we bottle it fresh for youuuuuu” and the fact that whatever the bottle’s called is possibly/probably not what it smells like, at least to me lol. I mean, most perfume marketing is laughable, so I needed to get over myself. There was one of the city exclusives that grabbed me, pretty sure I have one of those little bottles of it.

    • cinnamon says:

      I don’t mind the shtick — too much — I guess it’s sort of better than really weird marketing guff. Have never managed to smell any of the city exclusives.

  • AnnieA says:

    The one closest to Liberty? That trip had only one London shopping day and it was fairly Liberty centric. And like others I get no patchouli.

    • cinnamon says:

      I’ve been to the concession within Liberty. Can completely understand shopping being Liberty-centric. Years ago, I took my father there so he could buy his evil girlfriend a really beautiful scarf (and I have a really beautiful scarf my former husband bought me from there).

  • Tom says:

    I have this one in the same bottle and even (I believe) mixed by Bo-jade! I wasn’t there for it however- I had gotten the sample set and asked a friend to drop down to NoLiTa to purchase. She was not into the experience and thought the whole process rather silly. Which it is, really. I have to dig it out though because I did like it, even though I get zip patch.

    BB is interesting, but in a weird, slightly industrial way. Like robot perfume.

  • Musette says:

    I have a conflicted relationship with Le Labo, most particularly Aldehyde 44, which was done for Dallas TX (if I recall correctly). I fell in love with it when it was on tour at Barney’s Chicago store… then, when I got an actual bottle while in Dallas there was this weird cumin/musk note that I didn’t remember from the Chicago sample. Subsequent sniffs of various iterations all contained that cumin/musk note. So I suspect either the original mixer did something odd and wonderful – or I just fabricated that memory.

    I love Lonestar! Can’t wear it for the moon – but I love it!


    • cinnamon says:

      I can’t do their lighter things but the heavier ones seem to like me fine. I just sniffed the Ylang again — might well take it to London at end of month. We’re doing one breakfast at a fancy restaurant full of media types. Need smell armour.

  • Dina C. says:

    I only like patchouli when it’s “clean,” and well-blended into a scent as a supporting player, so I can’t imagine this would be my kind of thing. That said, I really enjoy and own Le Labo Iris 39 which is full of green, carroty iris and patchouli. It’s a great scent with patchouli. I’m glad you found the LL Patch 24 in your stash to enjoy. I like Bulgari Black on my husband. I think it has enough tea notes in it to keep the rubber from being overwhelming, but it’s been a good long while since he’s worn that one. Need to get him to wear it again!

    • cinnamon says:

      I meant to say in the review that for me this has nothing to do with patchouli which I love but can no longer wear. I appreciated the iris but can’t wear it. I think my low body temp doesn’t work with greener things.

  • shiva-woman says:

    I love the “shit…now my “D” key is sticking part! LOL. I had a computer a few months back that I used for about 7 months during pandemic that was a NIGHTMARE of sticking keys including the space bar. I finally got rid of it and then broke two (non-essential) keys on the computer on which I’m typing.
    I really like Oriza L. Legrand’s “Horizon.” I have many many patches and am a “patch head” and that one does it for me. Oddly, so does the, dare I say “cheap” Fancy Nights which is my “I don’t care how much I spray” patch for “just myself.” I also like her pretty green (possibly naff) bottle. I’m so sick of square, solid bottles. Give me whimsy. Give me art. Give me a bottle that either shouts “tacky” “fun” or “lovely.” I’m not much for Le Labo and especially now.

    • cinnamon says:

      … and then I discovered the new landline phone doesn’t work. I think I need to clean the keyboard of the PC laptop. Only Ortigias I’ve sampled have been in shower gel form (amber? and the fig). Tacky — sometimes that’s what we need — a bit less pretension.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    Love the story of the owner occupying the kid. Excellent!
    Patchouli 24 punches me so hard in the nose I’m left dazed for an hour or so till it calms.
    All the things that you mention you can’t wear I love, except Lonestar Memories which I moved on to another home.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      I was a bit gob-smacked. NY shop owners in fancy areas can be a bit off-ish regarding kids. I was so excited to try BB and it was just meh. Ah, perfume re-homing. It’s a thing.

      • Portia says:

        HA! I reckon most shop owners are a bit kid averse.
        BB was such and early weirdo for me that it keeps that specialness to this day.
        Perfume rehoming is a wonderful thing. Someone might as well love it.

  • filomena813 says:

    I have that same size bottle of Patchouli 24. It is an odd fragrance and I wanted it so badly but rarely have worn it. I will have to revisit.

    • cinnamon says:

      I can still smell mine a day after spraying it on (even with a shower). A soft slightly birch tarry vanilla. Really nice in our cold weather.

  • Deborah says:

    This one is my wife’s favorite on me. She calls it “the smoky one”. It reminds her a little of bacon. And mine is probably from around 2011 or so, and like you, I think it has become even better with age. I’ve been wearing it around quite a bit this winter. None of their others have really impressed me, but this one is definitely meant to be worn on my skin. Thanks for writing about it!

    • cinnamon says:

      It is smoky but no bacon for me 🙂 It has aged very well. I love Ylang 49 but that is recent. And you’re welcome. It was really good to find it again.

  • SpringPansy says:

    I really like this one – likely the first patchouli (and leather–I know it’s subtle, probably why I like it) I liked. Doesn’t have that bitter, moldy scent I sometimes get with patch. And you know what else smells a lot like it? Cartier La Treizieme Heure XIII. I have to be in the right mood for these.

    I also love Bvlgari Black which I find easier to wear. Yep, it’s weird vanilla rubber, at least at first. I agree, I don’t find it similar to Patchouli 24.

    • SpringPansy says:

      Thanks for your fun memory!

    • cinnamon says:

      I don’t get patchouli at all in this which is good because I now can’t wear patch fragrances. Not sure I’ve smelled 13 — I do have 4 (thank you, A) which smells like hay and horses to me.

  • AnnieA says:

    I bought my bottle of Patchouli 24 in London ca. 2015 so it is in part a Souvenir Perfume. The pretentious in store mixing had me in giggles. I only wear it on sunny autumn days as it reminds me of bonfires.

    • cinnamon says:

      I sort of like that you know when you got it. Yes, the mixing is a bit much but I guess they need a gimmick? Where in London did you get your bottle?