My vote in the “most calming fragrance” category is easy: Luctor et Emergo, released in 1998 by the funky Dutch design house The People of the Labyrinths (aka POTL), and included in Style magazine’s 2002 list of the top 5 cult perfumes. The notes are listed as fresh grasses, various white flowers, vanilla and precious woods.
Luctor et Emergo starts as a slightly smoky, very resinous wood scent, with a touch of incense and a bit of grass or hay. The top notes are very soft and subtle. Over the next 30 minutes or so, it takes on hints of cherries and almonds, and slowly evolves into what is essentially a dead ringer for the smell of Play Doh.
The Play Doh stage does not last long on me, but personally I enjoy it while it lasts. Who doesn't love Play Doh? As it fades, we are back to woods and resins with a light undertone of vanilla. Despite all the foody notes, it does not strike me as a gourmand fragrance — I would classify it as a woody-incense. I have been looking for the white flowers since I first tried this scent over a year ago, and have yet to detect a single one.
Luctor et Emergo is a comforting, contemplative scent, and I find it rather addictive. It is the best scent I know of for reading in bed, so long as you don’t mind reading with your wrist glued to your nose. There is nothing particularly masculine or feminine about it.
It is not cheap, but it is not the most expensive perfume on the planet either: about $165 for the Parfum (90 ml), and $110 for the Eau de Toilette. The Eau de Toilette is currently marked down to $79 at lacremebeauty. It has a bit less depth than the Parfum, but is otherwise fine, and I find the lasting power excellent in either concentration.
For buying information, see the listing for The People of the Labyrinths under Perfume Houses.
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