Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In a nutshell: Le Labo's Patchouli 24

Mercurial, shimmering, Gareth Pugh-esque (ie. on the razor's edge of wearability) composition from that mistress of the weird and wonderful, Annick Menardo. Explodes off the skin with a mix of lapsang souchong tea (read: campfire), cedar, patchouli (it's there, look harder), gasoline, and a bone-dry vanilla that somehow blends perfectly with the smoky salvo. Much like Menardo's Black for Bulgari, 24 is a bipolar shape-shifter, seeming sweet and sultry one minute, coarse and carcinogenic the next. Unlike the easygoing Black, though, 24 can be fickle: The drydown occasionally calls to mind a glass of flat, watered-down root beer into which someone's extinguished a cigarette. But when it works, Patchouli 24 is nothing short of relevatory, a delicously dark confection with a rich presence and phenomenal staying power. Not for all tastes, but a masterwork regardless.

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