Sunday, October 15, 2006

Le Labo Jasmin 17

I made a beeline for the ultra-hip Le Labo perfume boutique in Nolita when I was in NYC last month. While there, I had a wonderful conversation with Eddie Roschi, one of the co-founders. He took the time to explain many ingredients of perfumery to me and my two friends, Chris and Jan. One of the most interesting discussions was about ambergris, a product highly valued as a perfume fixative. It is a product of whale digestion (yes, you read that correctly), which comes about when the sperm whale regurgitates a mass of partially-digested squid. It is, says Eddie, "like coughing up a hairball," which then floats on the surface of the ocean or washes up on the beach. Depending on the quality and current market, ambergris sells for as much as $60-$240 per pound.

Eddie then pulled a jar from his amazing apothecary, and inside was a dark, grayish lump of waxy-looking ambergris. We three all took a sniff of this animalic product and unanimously agreed that it would be fascinating to know how the first person ever decided to use this in perfumery! It was not an offensive scent; rather, we just pondered the thought process that may have led to using whale vomit residue in this way!

We thoroughly enjoyed testing all ten of Le Labo's scents. I came away with a bottle of Jasmin 17, a very feminine floral composed of jasmine, litsea cubeba (exotic verbena), neroli, orange flower, palma rosa, bigerade (bitter orange), amber, musk sandalwood and vanilla.

For a wonderful interview with Eddie, check out Marlen's conversation at The Perfume Critic.


eyesofsunshine said...

whale reguritate in perfumes? I'm not sure I need to know! So perfume bee answer me this: my co-worker wears a scent that reminds me of roach you know which one it is?

christine said...

lol! Perhaps it's "Eau de Raid?"- The Bee

Emily Davidow said...

Thanks for your sweet comment in your fresh and enchanting blog.

I fell in love with Jasmin 17 too. I didn't know about the origin of ambergris though, wow!

All the best to you ms Bee!

christine said...

Thanks, Emily!
--Ms. Bee