The best Le Labo fragrances include celebrity-orientated The Noir 29 and the compliment-getting Tonka 25. The brand’s popularity lies in its manufacturing process which allows users to see how the perfumes are made.
Finding Le Labo fragrance is not easy outside the US. But there are methods of getting your hands on these sharp scents simply by ordering online.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the house as a whole, I like their top fragrances and I think I’m going to keep wearing them on certain occasions.
Apart from wanting to visit them in person, I’d also order a few more to see how their new releases are doing, even if there’s nothing new out there in 2020.
Without further introduction, here’s the best Le Labo has to offer in terms of perfumery.
Le Labo Iris 39
As far as iris accords go, a few fragrances are trying very hard to impress and others which are simply able to leave a lasting impression without an effort.
Iris 39 seems like it’s trying hard to impress but it works for some reason.
Its notes include iris, patchouli, lime, rose, ylang-ylang, violet, ginger, cardamom, musk, and civet.
Its floral musky accord is successful here. It draws in compliments and it is surprising given not many of my guy friends go heads over heels for iris.
Chypre is there in the opening to offer a magnetizing opening. But it’s only a short opening. It then turns to iris. This floral accord is a bit earthy and there’s rugged masculinity about it which can’t be overlooked.
A stronger chypre vibe is there in the drydown together with some pepper which probably gives its vivacity.
The combination is luxurious and that animalic note I was expecting wasn’t there. I’d rate the fragrance as sexy.
For me, it’s a masculine interpretation of iris.
However, I’m sure your partner might be stealing it away from you as it smells like pure luxury. While that iris is there for hours, it’s the chypre that’s going to have the last word.
My next purchase is going to be the 500ml version as I also share it with my partner. But you can get it in a smaller 100ml bottle as well.
- One of the best iris-violet combinations
- 8-hours longevity
- 2-hours projection
Le Labo The Noir 29
Launched in 2015 by Frank Voelkl, the fragrances come with appealing sweet fig. Its top notes come with bergamot, bay leaf, and fig.
Cedar, musk, rose and vetiver is its mid accords.
Hay and tobacco are its unlikely base notes.
For me, it’s one of the original interesting releases from Le Labo. With intense cedar and fig, it’s masculine and there’s a tea note in there to give it a bit of greenness.
The aromatic perfume comes with a bit of dryness from hay and vetiver. Since it comes with a dry feel to it, the fragrance is light.
But even with a light profile, it still lasts long. The fragrance persists on the skin for up to 7 hours.
With a sweet masculine appeal, the fragrance works for fall and wintertime wear.
Made with black tea, walnut and vetiver notes, it even reminds of Blvgari’s Au The Noir. It has a similar vibe but the fragrance has a higher quality to it.
A couple of my friends are not fans of hay since they’re allergic to it. If this is your case, you should just skip to the next fragrance here.
The original fragrance is available in 50ml, 100ml, and 500ml versions.
- Dry fig-cedar scent
- Solid 7-hour performance
- Available in various-size bottle
Le Labo Tonka 25
The resinous Tonka 25 features cedar, tonka, musk, vanilla, orange blossom, and styrax. But there are 25 ingredients in it and I think I won’t be able to recognize all of them.
Like most perfumes from the house, it’s also polarizing. Some guys love them while others run away from Le Labo men’s fragrance.
But I got the 50ml Tonka 25 which has plenty of character. Maybe it’s the name customization on the bottle which might also attract you to the brand, but I’m not going to give it more credit than it deserves.
In the opening, there’s a bit of confusion. I expected tonka-heavy impact but I got an orange blossom opening with a woody settles down with only mild tonka somewhere in the background.
I think the company got the name of the fragrance wrong. It should have been Woody Orange 25 and it would have told men exactly what to expect from it.
As with the scents above, there’s still not sweetness in it. But this works very well with the citruses in the scent.
Since it’s not sweet, I already see it as an option for formal outfits. I just would have liked a bit more tonka in it since I like the note.
I also think that other woody notes would have been a better compliment to its opening. However, if you need a masculine Le Labo with no linearity which won’t bore you, it’s certainly high on the list.
- Strong orange opening
- The woodsy smell in the drydown
- Moderate projection with 6-hours longevity
Le Labo Bergamote 22
Released in 2006, the scent is one of the options the house proposes for the summer. Since summer is just around the corner, you might want to check out its notes to see if it’s something you’d like.
Bergamot, amber, grapefruit, vetiver, petitgrain, vanilla, orange blossom, and cedar are its notes.
Bergamot is dominant in the opening then transitioning to a floral ambery cologne.
Vetiver, musk and orange blossom greenness dominate its drydown. During the summer, it’s going to be the type of Sicilian appeal scent.
I see it with a white T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. It can also be dressed up with a shirt for any special occasion. If you’re looking to wear it on dates, it might be one of the digestible Le Labo releases which women love.
Its casual appeal is certainly something men feel comfortable with even as a signature scent. If you don’t want to test out any experimental scents from the house and you want a home run, this is the right option for the summer.
Without too much originality, it also lasts a few hours. You don’t need anything stronger in the hot summertime anyways.
After about 2-3 hours, you’re going to have a clean-smelling scent with a soapy appeal.
- High-quality bergamot
- Up to 5 hours longevity
- Citrusy-vetiver appeal
Le Labo Tabac 28 Miami
Part of the City series, the Tabac 28 Miami release is made to represent the holiday vibe of the city. It comes with tobacco, guaiac wood, rum, cardamom, and cedar.
Its laboratory appeal is certainly there. If you’re in the city, you can even see how they make the fragrance as it’s going to be prepared in front of you. But if you’re not in Miami, you can still order it online.
The opening here is dominated by heavy noir tobacco. There are smoky spices that bring it to life as well.
Tobacco starts to diminish in intensity further on. The drydown is very similar to dried fruits. It’s the type of fruits you would add to a wintertime wine.
Then there’s the guaiac wood in the background. It has that resinous amber vibe about it. Certainly, it’s going to be polarizing as it brings a certain bitterness in the background.
I have to say the Jamaican rum is not as intense as I expected. However, the scent works together and after a couple of hours, it’s going to remind you of Vetiver 46.
- It projects for 2 hours
- It lasts 5-6 hours
- Hard to source outside Miami
- For some reason, Miami is a fall/winter fragrance
Le Labo Patchouli 24
If you’re finally expecting a crowd-pleaser in Patchouli 24, it’s not the case. But I love this scent and it shines on my skin in the fall.
Patchouli, birch, styrax, and vanilla are among its top notes.
The bold notes come with a specific smokiness which can certainly be interpreted as polarizing.
This smokiness is very present in the opening. You can compare it to petrol but it’s certainly sexy and not off-putting in my eyes.
The problem is not even with its longevity as it lasts around 8 hours.
I see its DNA as very unique but also very hard to pull off.
I’ve never seen a guy properly-being confident while wearing it. I think its fall appeal is going to be best suited for a leather jacket.
It may also be one of those out there jackets as its extremely bold itself.
As it’s a top performer, you still want to apply it with caution.
Silage is impressive as well. There’s smoky silage up to a few feet away when you pass by someone. This means it’s worth its high price.
However, the combination of smoke and strong silage doesn’t recommend it for work or college wear.
For the most pleasant wear, I think you should wear it outdoors, maybe to a game or to a simple fall shopping or walking trip.
- Very strong smoky scent
- Masculine vanilla interpretation
- It lasts at least 8 hours
- Too strong for the office
Le Labo Santal 33
I see Santal 33 as another cold weather must-try from Le Labo. The fragrance has already been copied very badly by a few clones but it still has that uniqueness about it.
Its cozy notes include sandalwood, cedar, cardamom, violet, papyrus, leather, amber, and iris.
Of course, as seen with other fragrances from the house, its title is a bit unrepresentative. This scent doesn’t smell like sandalwood.
This fragrance is also smoky and not sandalwood-heavy.
It even doesn’t resemble sandalwood as it’s a soft note somewhere in the background.
As expected, it’s a polarizing scent.
However, its dry green leaves scent is certainly another leading option for anyone looking to stay away from sweet fragrances.
If you’re worried it’s going to be a bit too floral, you can rest assured as well. Violet leaves are different from the violet flower which is a bit misunderstood in its notes.
Those expecting to have proper hints of sandalwood are also going to be disappointed. The note is blended with leather and it becomes very smooth.
As its one of the most popular Le Labo fragrances, you can’t expect to be the only one wearing it. However, it’s going to attract a lot of compliments.
- 12+ hours longevity
- Green dry scent profile
- 4-hours projection
- Doesn’t smell like sandalwood
Le Labo Baie 19
Since summer is just a few months ahead, Baie 19 is expecting you to try it out in its perfect conditions.
Juniper berries, patchouli, ozonic notes, green leaves, ambroxan, and musk are among its notes.
However, it barely smells like its noted ozonic accords.
The scent is perfect for those who love summer rain. It resembles the smell and atmosphere in the air after a warm summer rain.
The green notes are opening a bit minty which is why some might interpret it as an old man’s scent.
But menthol seems right for the summer and its certainly different than the traditional bergamot opening summertime alternatives.
Patchouli and amber notes are also there in the drydown. Green notes never go away in the drywdon which immediately made me think about a beast performance the first time I’ve tried it.
After about half an hour, woodsy notes are also going to come into place.
Musk and ambroxan are not going to be as vivid as many expect.
I still see it as an everyday scent. It’s not masculine as it has a playful casual appeal.
- 7-hours longevity
- A rare Le Labo for the office
- Green from start to finish
- A bit feminine
Le Labo Vetiver 46
This masculine fragrance is another popular option from the US house.
Labdanum, Tahitian vetiver, Guaiac wood, pepper, cedar, olibanum, amber, bergamot, vanilla, and cloves are its oriental, woodsy, floral accords.
The fragrance here is a bit dry but vetiver is indeed intense, which is finally true to the name of the scent.
With crisp green vetiver, smoke and a lot of incense, it becomes a nighttime scent that every man can wear. However, if the temperature is rather cold such as on fall morning or during the winter, it can even be used during the day.
If you’re considering the 100ml bottle, you can purchase it reassured that it comes as a long-lasting scent. It sits around 7 hours on the skin.
Men who want to ensure they get noticed at the office and can’t wear any other bold Le Labo scent might also consider it themselves.
- Bitter vetiver
- It lasts for about 7 hours
Le Labo Labdanum 18
Released in 2018, the fragrance is another animalistic masculine release that has plenty of character. I’m also glad to see it has been positively-received in the community.
Now, labdanum is dominating here. As a late summer option, it works well even if its floral accord also suits springtime wear very well.
Castoremum and civetta are also there.
Vanilla, musk, birch, amber, cinnamon, patchouli, Guarjan balsam, and tonka bean are its background notes.
I’d say only patchouli is distinct among them.
It has been interpreted very differently by men and women. Its animalic opening transitions towards labdanum and vanilla, often compared to baby powder.
If you’ve already tested it but your savings don’t allow you to purchase it, there are alternatives. Among them, Shalimar Eau De Parfum from Guerlain is the most similar. However, it’s made for women and not as universally appealing as Labdanum 18.
- Dominated by labdanum
- Animalic and unisex scent
- It lasts for around 6 hours on the skin
Le Labo Gaiac 10
While the scent is Tokyo-exclusive, you never know who might help you get it. I was in luck due to my fragrance community friends. Needless to say, the effort was worth it.
Under Annick Menardo, the fragrance was released in 2008. Its simplicity is a bit unlike what Le Labo has shown its fans. Notes include musk, Guaiac wood, cedar, and olibanum.
There’s a very rough opening here but then the men’s scent starts to settle and it becomes very pleasant.
There’s a unisex appeal to this fragrance that men find interesting. Part of its appeal is mainly based on the woody drydown.
Without a doubt, you won’t be able to identify its woodsy green appeal if you simply smell it from the bottle.
Its rough opening is even off-putting. However, you should give it time to show its full colors.
The scent certainly has a high appeal to anyone who wants something different. Guaiac wood and musk seem to be reminiscent of past ingredients and places around the world.
With an animalic feel, this cologne is certainly special. Since it’s not easy to find, it has an ever-higher appeal.
Everyone else looking for a substitute can still find one, albeit 3-4 classes underneath it in terms of quality. Among them, you can try out Azzaro Visit.
- Primal woodsy appeal
- 19+ hours longevity
- Similar DNA to Santal
- Le Labo Jasmine 17
12. Le Labo Jasmin 17
Jasmine is dominating in the fragrance. If you don’t like jasmine, I can bet there’s no way you’re going to love Jasmine 17 as it brings the floral note to life by enhancing it.
Delicate, juicy and highly-playful, jasmine here is a masterpiece. With its vanilla notes, it gravitates towards the feminine. But it’s still a very good option for guys who like floral sweet scents.
While it smells very good on my skin and it goes well with a summer T-shirt, it doesn’t last on me. This is the only reason why it’s not higher on my list.
If you don’t mind its weak projection, here’s what else you can expect.
Jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood, neroli, palmarosa, orange blossom, bitter orange, litsea cubeba, and musk are its notes.
As I hear people’s opinions on the fragrance, I realize that it might only be my skin which has a problem with it in terms of longevity and projection as much.
Yes, it doesn’t last as long as others, but it may be enough if you’re already familiar with short-lasting summertime scents.
I won’t be buying it again, but you can try it out by ordering online.
The overall impression it leaves on your skin is white floral and it then turns into creamy sandalwood vanilla with a jasmine background.
If you manage to split its high cost with your partner, it might make a bit more sense to press that buy button and test it out yourself.
I’d advise you to use a good skin hydrating balm if you’re struggling with its longevity as I did. It certainly has an artistic profile and it’s a shame its longevity is not at least 30% better.
- Jasmin, sandalwood, and vanilla profile
- It lasts 6 hours on the skin
- Very weak projection
- A bit feminine
13. Le Labo Fleur D’Oranger
Released in 2006, this summertime Le Labro fragrance for men is also very simple and pleasant. It only includes lemon, bergamot, petitgrain, and orange blossom.
The opening of this fragrance is rather sweet and less citrusy. I can say I like it a lot. At the moment, I also saw more women purchasing it than men and I think this sweet opening is what draws them in as well.
But the floral drydown is very different. For me, it’s going to be one of the fragrances which remind me of orange trees in the Mediterranean. To be honest, I don’t mind it’s a bit more feminine than masculine due to this accord.
Here’s who I think can buy this without regretting the purchase. I think men who already own orange-dominating cologne might find it a great second purchase of this classic note.
It’s a bit modern if not post-modern in its orange interpretation. As a result, the fragrance is not going to be what you expect it to be.
With its floral vibe, it switches and turns with every breeze which passes by. Its notes come to life in the sun and the wind but they almost take orange blossom to an unexplored dimension.
If you already have an orange fragrance such as Serge Lutens Fleurs D’Oranger and you want a different take on it, feel free to give it a go. Otherwise, you won’t be wearing it every day and you might end up regretting your purchase.
- 6-hours longevity
- Moderate projection
- Very easy to wear
- Le Labo Oud 27
The oriental fragrance is one of Le Labo’s’ best-known products. I know people in the US ask my opinion about it since the scent house is not popular in Europe. What I can say is that Americans love it.
Agarwood, cedar, incense, patchouli, black pepper, saffron ambergris, and civet are its notes.
The scent is dominated by civet in the drydown and highly polarizing as a result.
Oud is still strong here, alongside woody notes. It’s a bit bitter in the opening with a citrus vibe. But these notes fade to the animalic civet slowly.
As the first fragrance on the list, it is also a bit dry. There’s no sweetness in it so I think it’s going to be a bit more masculine than others.
However, I don’t think you should buy it just to get your hands on your first oud. I think agarwood interpretation here is wrong and to some extent, it reminds of very oriental scents which are also highly polarizing but which come with better performance.
Still, I see this fragrance mentioned by some men and I think its 8-hours performance is fair given its price.
- Strong oud-civet scent
- Highly polarizing
- It lasts for at least 8 hours
As you can see from the above, some of these are not easily available. Le Labo city-based fragrances can only be purchases in certain cities.
A few Le Labo City exclusives
|Le Labo Rose 26||Chicago||65 Highland Park Village, Dallas, TX 75205
Dallas, TX 75205
|Le Labo Limette 37||San Francisco||2238 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
|Le Labo Musc 25||Los Angeles||744 E 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
|Le Labo Tuberese 40||New York||233 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012
|Le Labo Aldehyde 44||Dallas||65 Highland Park Village
Dallas, TX 75205
But the fragrance house certainly offers a pleasant experience to anyone looking to step into their shops.
Certainly, there’s a laboratory feel in these shops. They say they don’t embrace commercial hyped up scents and they offer a ‘perfume experience’.
Whenever you hear the word experience, be prepared to pay more.
But otherwise, I think they’ve pulled it off. As seen from the scents above, men find most of their releases appealing.
Every fragrance is made to order. Ingredients are put together in front of the customer which also starts the aging process when purchased.
Another reason why this approach is superior is that they don’t add as many preservatives for shelf life. If you have sensitive skin, you might have no other choice but to go to Le Labo.
But not everything is as good as they claim and I think the fragrances are 30% more expensive than they need to be. Here are a few issues I have with the brand.
- Personalized perfumes are the same, there’s no personalization
- The lab-like look of the stores is invented by a marketing team, there’s no heritage in it
- Most fragrances are at least one third too expensive than they need to be
- The name branding on the bottle is a nice touch
- The minimalistic branding is still branding
- Le Labo tries to do a bit of everything and it looks like the CrossFit of the fragrance world
- Even with these grievances, I still find fragrances such as Santal 33 add value to any collection
- I’ll continue buying Le Labo fragrances myself
- My current plan is to save up to purchase a 500ml Santal 33 and see if and how it performs once it stays in the bottle for a few months and certainly more than a year