Le Labo has recently opened a beautiful shop at 233 Elizabeth Street downtown NYC. I was there last weekend, in the early evening, and the place is almost like a small slice of an imaginary farm laboratory for perfume, with pressed tin patterned walls and waist high block wooden tables and some scientific looking glass vials divided in threes, arranged in a row, facing a long counter with mysterious things going on behind them (mixing, boxing, naming, many beautiful jars and substances arranged around on the floors and on shelves). There was a skylight bordered with a coat of arms designed to symbolize male and female pleasure, with the man eating the apple, as no doubt it really was, for a change, depicted overhead, in simple black line on a white background with this sliver of sky above the long narrow room. I tried a number of things, most are solo scents such as vetiver and jasmine, but the iris was what I was most attracted to that day. I came away with some that I have been wearing this week, sometimes alone, sometimes layered with other things like a Creed Fleurissimo (not on the same spot, different scents on different areas such as the Iris on the neck and the CF on the wrists). The Iris is very dimensional, does not smell like anything else, though it is composed of a number of natural elements to become Iris. I believe Iris itself as a substance is very rarely used and very very very expensive. So this was like a sharp, very candied inscense smell with a powdery dry down note that seemed to get darker and darker (some kind of secret form of patchouli beneath it all). They have quite a nice website you can check out for more information, and I would definitely recommend stopping in for yourself and meeting the two partners, who will probably be there, being informative and helpful as seems to be their nature. They reminded me of a couple of greyhounds, very lean and friendly, sensitively aware and mellow. They sell the fragrances in a range of sizes, so you can afford to experiment if you get the small travel size and then if you fall in love with any one thing in particular can get a very large amount that will be enough for any eventuality. They are compounded on the spot, to be as fresh and unoxidized as possible, and your name is entered on the label, like a prescription, with an expiration date for freshness noted.
Some interviews and reviews: Perfume Critic/Scenteur and Now Smell This and
Everything and Nothing
The Redoute Iris above reminds me of one I painted on a bedroom door panel years ago...