Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Le Labo Ambrette 9

I have two issues with Le Labo's Ambrette 9: First, the concept of a perfume for babies. Why? Who needs that? I'm not a baby person and don't go nuts for "baby smell", but I also have no intention to scent my two adorable nieces until they are old enough to spell "Bergdorf Goodman". The second problem is that to actually smell Ambrette 9 for more than 20 minutes, even in the grown up version (the one actually for babies comes in a water base), requires bathing and marinating in this stuff.

The first few times I've tested Ambrette 9 I thought I was completely anosmic to everything past the chemical fruit opening. Eventually I received a much bigger sample at the Le Labo counter in Barneys and one day accidentally spilled half of it down my arm and into my sleeve. Finally I could smell it.

Ambrette seeds are the source for a natural vegetal musk. In this Le Labo interpretation of this raw material it's definitely a soft skin musk with a fruity undertone. The problem is that Ambrette 9 smells like the pale, drowned ghost of CB Musk Reinvention. Where Christopher Brosius has created a warm, robust musk, Ambrette 9 is washed out and watery. The scent itself is pleasant enough in the sense that it smells nice if you press your nose against a skin that has soaked it, but it doesn't give me the thrill of wearing a beautiful perfume.

Le Labo perfumes ($52 for 15 ml, there are also larger sizes available) can be found at Le Labo Boutiques at several major cities around the world and also at Barnyes. In the case of NYC I actually prefer the latter to the Elizabeth Street boutique because the chairs are more comfortable and the customer service is excellent.

Freaky image from


  1. I'm fond of my child, really, but when she was a baby she mostly smelt of recycled milk. I'll leave it there so as not to gross anyone out too much.

    I find the concept of baby smells odd for both those reasons too; as a grown woman I have no desire to smell like a baby and I can see no virtue at all in scenting a baby with fragrance.

  2. Babies (okay, clean babies) DO smell really wonderful.

    But I'm with Grace up there: I don't want to wear a baby-smelling perfume, and I don't think babies need perfume.

  3. It may be the baby spiel, but on smelling Ambrette 9 I got a brief moment of a sour note that reminded me of the... messier moments of bonding with my god-daughter. As Grace writes: recycled milk.
    The best expression of ambrette to me is Chanel N°18 -- there's quite a wonderful whiff of it in Annick Goutal Musc Nomade too.

  4. Perfumes that you need to marinade in are really frustrating. Give me something with a proper grown up smell any day.


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget