Le Labo ~ new perfumery in New York City

Le Labo fragrancesLe Labo, a new perfumery in New York City, offers an interesting twist on ready-made fragrances:

When customers buy one of Le Labo's 11 scents, a maturated essential oil blend is mixed with alcohol and water to create a finished fragrance. The process is designed to take about 10 minutes, ample time for visitors to browse shelves of raw ingredients in the 600-square-foot shop...

The maturated oils are composed by one of eight perfumers, all of whom work for fragrance suppliers: Alberto Morillas, Annick Menardo, Daphne Bugey, Maurice Roucel, Frank Voelkl, Françoise Caron, Michel Almairac and Mark Buxton.

By keeping the essential oils refrigerated and blending at the very last minute, Le Labo ensures that the fragrance is fresh at the time of purchase. The shop is located at 223 Elizabeth Street in Nolita (212-219-2230), and custom fragrances are also available. (via Women's Wear Daily) Read more about Le Labo at Thrillist.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm trying to understand the aesthetic behind this. The maturated oils (and I suppose some synths as well) are blended with the alcohl and water on purchase. Well, I suppose they have to have samples of the blends (with water and alcohol) available to sniff before purchase, since alcohol can greatly change the scent of oils. After maturation, typically long maturation, I then add alcohol, and the perfume truly opens up, revealing its final form.

    I also blend with diluted oils and add alcohol at the time of blending, just to compare, and the difference is often noticable. Learned these tricks years ago, and it really depends on what you want the end product to be.

    So, do they have already diluted perfumes for the customer to sniff, and then blend from the refrigerator? So what's the point? The stuff they sniff will be aged by sitting out at room temp, light, oxygen (unless in a sprayer,), etc…

  2. Anonymous says:

    The list of perfumers is frankly impressive, but like Anya I too am not understanding the point of dilution on demand. If they are refrigerating anyhow… ???? How peculiar.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A, I suppose the only point is that you lengthen the shelf life of the finished product since it hasn't already been sitting in a box for months on end…but K below has a good point…they could just refrigerate the bottles as Frederic Malle does in his boutiques. Whatever…I'm mostly interested because of the noses they are using.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You guys are a tough crowd, LOL…

  5. Anonymous says:

    R, it certainly is an impressive list. I'm wondering about the licensing and marketing angles. I suppose it's flexible, and non-competetive with their other lines and stockists. Very unusual, nonetheless.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey, sorry for the mix-up with the comments…I deleted your duplicate & then it deleted my original response:

    As I said to K above, you guys are a tough crowd! Apparently they have lots of the raw materials in the shop for customers to smell, which is nice, and the list of perfumers is impressive. Hope to visit at some point and report back.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Actually, it reminds me of those mixed-to-order paints you can buy at DIY places! I imagine a bored teenager in green overalls squinting at an ingredients chart and punching numbers to produce 'Tahiti Sunset'. You have to hope they get the recipe right every time…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Interesting article. It amused me reading the article on thrillist where it said that the guys who own it were sick of the industry hype so they opened their own place, aren't they creating hype themselves?

    I still wouldn't mind smelling the scents though.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well you are right to be scared by a new marketing trick to fool customers… I am fed up myself with new “clever” concepts where I feel treated anyway like a customer and not an individual.

    but I went myself to the shop of Le Labo and met the guys ! they are exactely the opposite. There is no commercial attitude in what they do or how they act… And the perfumes themselves are really one of a kind. I am wearing the Rose 31 for man and I really feel special for the very first time since ages with a perfume… lots of comments in the street by people smelling me also… that's why we also wear perfume no? Anyway, Just wanted to share my experience with Le Labo that really deserves a visit… B.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A, not sure I understand the comment…those noses are all with the big fragrance & flavor companies, not with other brands per se. Or maybe that isn't what you meant?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Garden Botanika, yes!! I actually loved that store.

    In this case they aren't mixing on the spot, just adding the fragrance to the alcohol base when you buy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yet another jaded customer! You guys are really tough today. I don't care if my perfume is mixed on demand or not, but I like all the rest of it: being able to smell various components in the shop, knowing who the perfumers are, etc.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for commenting, I am looking forward to trying the scents.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ok, I'll try to dilute the toughness of the crowd…I'm a neophyte, and easily amused. I like to smell things, so as long as the people trying to sell me fragrance are nice to me, it's fun. I would go to this place if it is friendly.

    The only thing I don't like are pushy department store SAs who drop you as soon as you aren't interested in whatever they're pushing that day, or treat you like a plebeian if you don't want what everyone is wearing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Whew, glad to finally see someone who is as easily amused as I am, LOL…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hello Robin,

    I can detect an interesting angle in the concept. They could change (push) the concentration a little bit For the customer who wants a EfT something like 8% and for another maybe 10 or 12% like in EdP. I suppose the perfumers have tried different concentrations and the IFRA tests where made at a high concentration. Good idea indeed.

    Cordially René

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yes, René, that would be interesting! Will have to find out if they are doing that…

Leave a reply