Labdanum 18 by Le Labo is one of those perfume that make me wonder why I even bother wearing anything else. The answer, of course, is the rest of my perfume collection; but Labdanum 18, a modern cousin of Shalimar and the brainchild of Maurice Roucel (Musc Ravageur), is really all that.
An incensy labdanum, rich vanilla and a delicious animalic base is just about what I love most in perfume. It's warm, furry and walks the line between comforting and sexy, with a side of dirty intimacy thrown in there. The sweet incense and something in the way Labdanum 18 opens reminds me very much of Barbara Bui. But the dry-down, as my scent twin also noted, is very close to Musc Ravageur. Tom, being a guy, isn't all that crazy bout the powder puff aspect of either one of these Maurice Roucel creations. Me, being a girly girl with a fondness of all things vanilla, have no problem. I do think that Le Labo's version might be more feminine, but I'm sure many of the guys on Basenotes would be more than willing to tell me I'm wrong.
I find that Labdanum 18 has a very classic feel that's quite different from the edginess of many Le Labo perfumes. It could have been the product of many perfume eras, though I'm aware that what we today consider dirty would have probably appeared as tame to the generation that first experienced Shalimar in all its original glory. I mean, I own a really old bottle of Tabu. Those people knew skank.
Notes: labdanum, tonka beans, vanilla, castoreum, patchouli.
Le Labo Labdanum 18 ($58, 15ml) and the rest of the Le Labo line can be found at Barneys, Luckyscent and Le Labo boutiques around the world. I highly recommend taking advantage of Le Labo's discovery set that lets you order 3 vials of different perfumes, 5 ml each for $58 (available online from lelabofragrances.com).
Image: The Dirty Thirties on Tumblr.