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Le Labo Founder Eddie Roschi on the Scent of a City

As the brand's City Exclusive perfumes go on sale around the globe for one month only, its co-founder reflects on the geographical influences behind three of his favourites from the collection

"Some beautiful things in life are hard to get," explains Le Labo co-founder Eddie Roschi, a man whose ability to translate emotion into fragrance has seen his brand ascend into great acclaim since its inception in 2006. "We are not obsessed by creating bestsellers, we are obsessed by moving people," he continues, "Success is a by-product of creating something that means something, and there is a mystical element to that which ‘smart reasonable business people’ can’t really grasp. The resulted soul of the perfume is our competitive advantage.” 

This spirit, which is determinedly anti-commercial (yet is prosperous enough to have seen the brand acquired by Estée Lauder last year), and thus completely magnetic, is perhaps best encapsulated by the brand’s City Series: a range of perfumes inspired by the cities within which Le Labo has its stores, which are ordinarily only available to purchase within those places. For 11 months of the year, you can only purchase the animalistic, tarry leather of Cuir 28 in Dubai; only find the peppery oriental Poivre 23 in London – and, as Roschi determinedly proclaims, “this means no online orders, no shipping, no exceptions!” But, during the month of September, they are all up for grabs internationally – “we close our eyes and let the city exclusives leave their hometowns” – and so here Rosci reflects on a three of his favourites from the collection. Order now, or forever hold your peace.

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Courtesy of Le Labo

On Limette 37 (San Francisco)...
"Limette 37's reference to San Francisco is abstract, and delves into an olfactive construction that mimics the hilly ride from Le Labo's Fillmore street store to the bay. You start off with a view, with bergamot's freshness and light, before plunging into the warm and welcoming effects of jasmine, petit grain and clove that roll into luscious softness with vetiver, tonka beans and musks..."

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Courtesy of Le Labo

On Baie Rose 26 (Chicago)...
"The main story behind this fragrance refers to music – jazz music, in particular. There is a direct correlation between the sharp pepper and some of the more upbeat sounds of jazz; the soft back representing the simpler, soothing side of the music. Either way, the uplifting effect of the music seems to carry you away; the same way the music of the spices (aldehyde and musk playing along with the pink pepper) bring your spirit away."

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Courtesy of Le Labo

On Benjoin 19 (Moscow)...
"Benjoin 19 is about a moment: a moment depicted by one of the most important writers of all time, Leo Tolstoy, in the eternal Anna Karenina, when Anna meets Count Vronsky in a Moscow train station. Benjoin 19 the moment when everything changes, when your life topples over, when nothing will ever be the same. In Tolstoy's masterpiece, this happens in Moscow yet what makes Anna Karenina a work of art is its universality: it could have happened anywhere. This is what Benjoin 19 is – a universal tribute to passionate spirits, to those determined to live their lives on their own terms. Like the novel, Benjoin 19 is a mosaic of intertwined stories centered around Benjoin (olibanum, amber, cedar, musks, ...) that transmits a deep and powerful experience of sensuality and rebelliousness."