Pocket Potent

By Zonaira Chaudry

 “Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived”, said Helen Keller in her essay “A Neglected Treasure”. Something which was said in 1934 still holds true in these turbulent times. Perfumers ardently create fragrances which might paint wanderlust illustrations and uncover hidden memories.  Sentiments and scents are often used to draw inspiration opening a window to faraway lands, and prompting us to write our aromatic journals. Find out more in Pocket Potent Here

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Take an olfactory journey with Le Labo with an all-exclusive Discovery set which celebrates beloved cities around the world. This collector’s item of sensual delights makes a journey of its own and travels once a year from its home cities to be available worldwide. Le Labo invites scent lovers to explore the cities of Berlin, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Miami and Paris.

“Ich bin ein Berliner” are John F Kennedy’s famous words from a speech he gave in 1963 during the cold war. The phrase gave hope to the residents of West German who were shaken by the Berlin Wall and sent a strong message of freedom to the Soviet Union. Le Labo gives you a ticket to freedom with CEDRAT 37 comprising notes of cedar, ginger and ambergris breathing freshness and candid saccharinity.  CEDRAT 37, Le Labo claims, reflects the free spirit of Berlin; a city without a tomorrow, with no closing time and mystical nightlife. Berlin, a city which harbours free spirits, individuality, and diversity.  Even on a rainy day, Berlin breathes life with its tributes to alternative art and street style, a forever dreamland for the nomads and nonconformists and welcomes warmly anyone wishing to live without any constraints.

An interesting note on Berlin’s colourful history is that in 1945, Berlin had a strict closing time curfew which promoted drinking tourism. Night discotheques and special permits were given to people in the eastern part as well to party till the early hours of the day. ClosibHeinz Zellermeyer, a Berliner hotelier and founder of the trade association for bars started campaigning to end the curfew in West Berlin and convinced the Commander of the US – American sector Frank. L Howley lifted the curfew by sharing a bottle of whiskey on June 21, 1949. By the time the bottle of whiskey nearly finished, Berlin became a curfew-free city which never slept.

Japanese have unique perfume habits. They consider wearing strong artificial fragrances offensive. Scent has always been given an esteemed role in Japanese culture emphasizing subtle, gentle, natural, raw material-based fragrances animating the Japanese devotion to pure perfection. The use of scent was first introduced in religious and self-purification ceremonies of “kōboku” where aromatic wood was burned with herbs in temples during the 11th century. The world’s first novel “The Tale of Genji” by Lady Murasaki mentions the elite busy in incense-making contests. Japanese also used an incense clock to show time. To experience a culturally appropriate Japanese scent palette of all natural raw, woody, musky fragrances; meet GAIAC 10 which houses the spirit of Tokyo. Embodying the notes of Gaiac wood, 4 kinds of musks and traces of cedar and the incense Olibanum, this perfume will not linger around your surroundings but will be your constant consort for day and nights to come! 

MOUSSE DE CHENE 30 makes a dramatic entrance into the heart of Amsterdam, a city with traditional roots and modern shoots. Founded by two Frisian fishermen who reached Amstel shores in a small boat with their dog. The name “Amstelredam” or “Dam in the Amstel” was taken after the damming of Amstel itself, later becoming Amsterdam. 

Patchouli, in MOUSSE DE CHENE 30 evokes an earthy, woody note and when juxtaposed with moss, clear wood and notes of cinnamon, pimento bay oil and pink pepper gives off vibes of intoxication. The strong woody essence of Patchouli brings out complexity and depth in the scent and has been defined as an aphrodisiac in nature. A chypre construction is created bringing out the facet of freshness. The intoxicating scent of MOUSSE DE CHENE 30 will soothe nerves and elevate moods and make you feel as if you are already in Amsterdam.  

Who could have thought that a scented branch of orange blossom was the reason behind establishing the city of Miami? The story is rather fascinating. Julia Deforest Tuttle, a businesswoman and a widow from Cleveland owned property in Florida. Known as the “Mother of Miami”, she believed that the area had the potential to become a centre of trade and a majestic city.  She is the only woman who is the founder of an American city. Tuttle convinced millionaire Henry M. Flagler by sending him a scented branch of orange blossom to show that the Miami River area was not affected by the 1894 Freeze. Consequently, he helped bring railroads to southern Florida. April 22, 1896, saw the arrival of the first train which made way for the city to develop.

The power, a scent holds is indeed undeniable.

You can also feel empowered by TABAC 28; a reflection of Miami’s soul. With a strong Tobacco base note, combined with the richness of oud and cedar wood, hints of Gaiac wood and warm rum, the scent ends with a sweet and spicy aroma of green cardamom. TABAC 28 will conjure up a futuristic image of a beach vacation or a sentimental bond with your past spent in the sunshine city. An idea or inspiration behind the ritual of wearing TABAC 28 can be anything from rendering a state of mind to self-immersion in a new culture.     

Le Labo’s homage to the perfume capital, Paris is VANILLE 44. Embark on a Persian getaway to uncover this rich sensual legacy. Wrapped up in Vanilla bourbons, underlined with woody and ambery notes, it offers something more than the ordinary, something more exciting and tantalizing for your olfactory nodes. To wear it, your senses must be fully intact and ready to be engulfed in its realm.

Paris has always been at the forefront in setting olfactory drifts. During the 17th century, it was seen as the “Muddy City”, a term coined by the perfume historian Elisabeth de Feydeau. In the 18th century, master perfumers started inhabiting Paris and influencing the French Revolution of aromatics. In the second half of the 19th century, the urban landscape of Paris started changing which brought more changes in the way fragrance was annotated. From the dressing tables of elites, perfume trickled down to become a product of daily consumption. One can smell woody, musky fragrances on Persian streets. Women were drenched in Eau de toilettes of lavender, rose and patchouli bought from fashionable departmental stores. Paul Poiret was the first French fashion designer to introduce a signature perfume during the twenties. In the time of the first world war, when men were away women liked to smell of Tobacco and leather.

Paris also boasts of a perfume museum, Le Grand Musée du Parfum which was curated by perfume historians, perfumers and researchers. Visitors learn about perfume history, explore interesting facts about how perfumes were used to fight plague or Kyphi, an Egyptian perfume recipe created in 1550 BC to please the gods and pray for fortune.

The perfume culture across the globe is widely different and hunting for a local fragrance to experience the city which you might or might not have visited is slightly more profound in this time of globalization. September is coming to an end but you still have a chance to bring back memories, evoke your deepest emotions, and look for escapism in the real world with Le Labo city’s exclusive fragrances which will surely imprint another dimension to your sensory world.

Le Labo does bring innovation in their discovery sets with different fragrances. This set is available online and in Le Labo labs here.  City Exclusive 50ml, 100ml and 500ml bottles can also be refilled in  Le Labo labs.

If you enjoyed reading Pocket Potent then why not read Stories of our Streets Here.

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