That Perfume You Smell Everywhere Is Santal 33
In 2011, the perfume industry was experiencing an increase in popular scents and was relying on the appeal of glossy advertising Santal 33 Le Labo, an independent perfumery Le Labo proposed an antidote to the craze for hype by releasing its fifth scent in five years unaware of the impact that its new scent for women could have on a specific segment (and generations) of fashionable women. Similar to an under-the-radar bag that is coveted for its indistinct characteristics and unassuming branding, Santal 33 quickly became an unofficial cult that was sprayed through wafts of cedar and sandalwood that could only be noticed by those who are who know.
In the past four years and what began as a common desire for a signature scent from a designer — a scent that nobody else was wearing is now an established presence all over the New York City subway, at bars in London as well as cafes in Paris and even on the beaches of Los Angeles. It’s been welcomed by the fashion-conscious as well as A-list stars alike (everyone who wears it, from Alexa Chung to Emily Weiss to Justin Bieber and Emma Roberts wear it) as well as nearly all who follow the brand. According to GQ creator Griffin Funk recently tweeted, “At this point it’s weird if someone doesn’t smell like Le Labo Santal 33.”
In its zealous effort to leave the fragrance market that is dominated by mass-market brands in favor of something unique, Le Labo has, in a way made the most recognizable scent on the market; a signature scent that is so distinctive that it is recognized across the world. It’s an impressive achievement that is not forgotten by the co-founder, fragrance designer Fabrice Penot. “We are lucky at Le Labo to have a few ‘cults’ in our collection, so we have been blessed,” says Penot who co-founded Le Labo with his business partner Edouard Roschi in 2006. “But Santal 33 Le Labo is another kind of success. It has seen a ridiculous number of successes. As perfumers, you dream of, but don’t anticipate to have such an impact. It’s only once in a lifetimein the event that you’re extremely fortunate.”
For those who love Santal 33 seeking new scents to try These five alternatives, small-batch scents share similar scents, ranging from their unisex creations to the warm emotions they create.
Hunter was among the first scents Anne McClain created when she started her Brooklyn-based perfumery five years ago, prompted by a acquaintance who had introduced her to the “naturey side of life.” One component of Vermont and one part campfires. The deep and intense scent makes use of balsam the fir (the resin that is inside of a pine tree) as well as bourbon vanilla, along with tobacco Absolute. “People typically think of vanilla as a women’s fragrance, but the dryness of the tobacco and the other woody notes means Hunter slips into masculine territory,” McClain explains. McClain who attended the Grasse Institute in France. “I like floral and wood fragrances, that’s what I’m drawn to: that push and pull between something really feminine and something smooth, more masculine.” Price: $95. mcmcfragrances.com.
D.S. & Durga’s El Cosmico
In the spirit of “really unique flora in West Texas,” perfumer David Seth Moltz created El Cosmico following a trip to Marfa during an unseasonably heavy rainfall. “There were wildflowers everywhere,” Moltz recalls Moltz. To preserve the aromas of the region Moltz bottled some of his most favored plants, such as pine and cedar, and jotted down them for use in the future. “A lot of them had this really strong aroma against the giant, open landscape,” he states, noting that each scent he develops is a tale to tell through the smells. “With El Cosmico, you can wear parts of Marfa on your skin, delving into these places through scent.” $150, dsanddurga.com.
Joya’s Composition No. 1
“It smells like you are coming out of a shower,” says Joya founder Frederick Bouchardy of Composition No. 1. It blends fresh florals and rich scents like musk or sandalwood. “It’s more of an accent than a dominate fragrance; to complement your personality, not overpower it.” It is only available in oil form The unisex scent designed by fragrancer Rayda Vega, puts an emphasis on the intimacy. $135, joyastudio.com.
Maison Louis Marie’s No. 4 Bois de Balincourt
Inspiring by her family’s estate in the suburbs of Paris particularly the scent of the forest after heavy rains, Marie du Petit Thouars set out to develop the scent that could remind her of her home no regardless of how far she traveled. The Belgian-born perfumer encapsulated the fine-grained woods from Balincourt by using sandalwood that is said to have the “very calming property to it, bringing me back to the experiences I had in the forest as a young girl,” she declares. It also has subtle scents that include cedar, vetiver cinnamon and nutmeg. Thouars’s heritage as a descendant is an important factor in her perfumes. Her great-grandfather, Louis Marie, discovered more than 2,000 species of plants when he was in an exile area in Madagascar at the time of the French Revolution. $85, maisonlouismarie.com.
Aesop has based its latest scent Tacit on it’s Reverence Hand Balm. It is a blend of the yuzu citrus, a zesty vetiver and a surprising amount of basil. The fragrance was developed in collaboration with International Flavors and Fragrances perfumer Celine Barrel, the fragrance draws inspiration from the rough landscape that is the Mediterranean Shore — where both Barrel as well as Aesop founding member Dennis Paphitis are from. “It’s supposed to cheer up your crisp winter morning, and freshen up your summer night,” Barrel says. Barrel explaining that the perfume’s name is inspired by the movie “In the Mood for Love,” which is “full of secrets, and an illusive, mysterious life,” Barrel declares. $110, aesop.com.