Thursday, August 29, 2013

Le Labo Ylang 49: fragrance review

Ylang 49, newly launched by Le Labo this summer, is more treacherous to its assumed floral disposition and deceptively crepuscular: like murder-experienced, gold-digging, vacationing in Hawaii for one last trick Theresa Russell in 1987's "Black Widow", there's a bit of that Seattle rainy weather she just escaped from accompanying her sunny blonde exterior. The fruity sweetness of the ylang and the tropical tiare gardenia (the Tahitian Pua Noa Noa) are underscored by a green and resinous backdrop rich in mossy, earthy tones, that casts a long, long shadow.

Perfumer Frank Voelkl, who was also involved in the creation of Le Labo Santal 33 Iris 39, Musc 25 and Baie Rose 26, created with Ylang 49 a deceptive composition that zigs when you expect it to zag. Not exactly the "New Chypre it's touted to be (we're a long way from the perfume-y, lady-like, strict ambience of the classic chypres), it's all the same further removed from the scrubbed 18-year-old faces of the "floral woody musks" with their cleaned-up patchouli & vetiver under fluorescent florals that we affectionally call "nouveau or pink chypres" on these pages (you know, Narciso for Her, SJP Lovely, Idylle, L'Eau de Chloe, Chypre Fatal etc).

Not the typical ylang floral with jasmine-like sweetness (an inherent part of the ylang ylang absolute itself), much like Theresa Russell isn't your typical blonde American actress, I'm instead discovering a richly nuanced tapestry in Ylang 49 where every thread is shimmering with full conviction that they're contributing to the mysterious whole, just like the tiny clues federal agent Alex Barnes, obsessed and under the seductive spell of the murderess, collects to get to the heart of the Black Widow's fatal game.

Just great!

Notes for Le Labo Ylang 49:
Ylang ylang, Tahitian gardenia, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, sandalwood, benzoin

Stills from the 1987 Bob Raffelson film noir "Black Widow" (recommended) via

Disclosure: I was a sample directly by the company. 


  1. i like the sound of those notes...would love to try this one!

  2. You're sending me off not just to acquire a sample of the scent, but to add the movie to my Netflix queue, as I somehow missed it when it first came out.

  3. That sounds wonderful. I love a dirty earthy element, and the contrast sounds divine. Are there any perfumes out there that try to capture the idea of a whole plant still in the earth, from root to stem to bud and beyond? Preferably a swamp or jungle plant rather than a potted rose.

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  5. I am a Ylan Ylang addict! hee hee

    I doubt this fragrance will reach Africa, enjoy...

  6. NFS,

    I have seen lots of samples on Ebay and the LL pack at LS ;-)

  7. K,

    I think you're enjoy both!
    Thanks for saying so :-)

  8. Gorg,

    love your imagery.

    Seek no further than Manoumalia by Les Nez; a very lush, densely leafing blossom with earth attached on it hailing from the South Seas.


  9. Pic,

    that's why the online retail world exists!

  10. Gorg,

    thanks, spam of that kind is tedious and stupid. :-/


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