I mentioned in my last post that I discovered a small perfume store in Venice that was home to many Italian brands, one of them Laboratorio Olfattivo.
Laboratorio Olfattivo does not seem to be well-known in the perfume world, considering the few reviews that can be found online. Although widely available in Europe (e.g. via perfume online shop First in Fragrance), I had not heard about the brand before and was thus even more excited to find all of their now 14 fragrances in Italy.
About the brand
The story of Laboratorio Olfattivo is a story of a project born in 2009 from Daniela Caon and Roberto Drago’s love for niche perfumes. A collection composed by 14 Eau de Parfum, […] 14 Room Fragrances and a range of products for the personal care.
Given their very unique composition, they can be considered “emotional experiences” that come to life through our sense of smell. The fragrances come in a linear, easy-to-hold bottle and simple yet elegant packaging.
Source: Laboratorio Olfattivo Website
“Emotional experiences that come to life through our sense of smell”? Sounds good to me! After trying some scents of their range in Venice, I came back to Austria and ordered some samples.
The line consists of several warm, oriental and spicy fragrances (such as Alambar, Alkemi, Kashnoir, Patchouliful) that are usually not my preferred scent genre which is why I decided to skip those. The samples I chose and that I will review today are Cozumel, Daimiris, Décou-Vert and Nirmal. The new releases, Nun and MyLO, were not available yet.
This was the scent I was most curious about. Created by Marie Duchêne and described as an aromatic fragrance that was inspired by a journey to Mexico, I imagined a fresh, somewhat wild and adventurous scent.
Looking at the notes, my image of Cozumel was fueled further:
I didn’t bother that it was targeted at men and jumped right in to get my remote island feeling.
Cozumel starts with a mixture of coconut and fig. There is no coconut and no fig in the notes but I swear they are there. It is a green milky accord that lasts for a couple of seconds before it is pushed aside by a warm sandalwood note that calls to mind Tam Dao by Diptyque. It is less harsh in Cozumel and smells more nutty, almost reminding me of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Bois Farine but without the peanut butter. The cedar is there but it is played at a low key, not sharp at all.
If I come close to my arm, I do detect some herbs. They are green and just a tad bitter but the underlying almond will never turn them into a herb garden or pot territory.
Cozumel stays like this for a long time, I can still smell it 6 hours after I’ve applied it although it looses some of its sillage.
Altogether, Cozumel reminds me of a better and more interesting Santal Massoïa. It is no island fragrance to me but rather a comfort scent with a twist. It is perfect for people who don’t feel comfortable with the heavy oriental hitters but who prefer a warm woody fragrance that wears like a light coat, is not too gourmand and comes with some green secrets. I found it interesting but muss confess that woods don’t feel right on my skin. However, to all of you wood-fans out there, I highly recommend Cozumel for fall. I think it’s perfectly unisex.
The reviews that I found of Nirmal describe it as the Goldilocks Iris fragrance. I love Iris although I was a bit scared of the violet note that is mentioned in the note list:
Nirmal starts with a clear Iso E Super note that I can only describe as a white, slighty synthetic scent cloud. It is often used to create more “space” in a scent, as if the molecules were pulled apart. I’m not the biggest fan on earth when it comes to Iso E Super but luckily, the note becomes less strong after a couple of minutes.
Then Iris enters the stage in one of its purest forms that I have ever smelled. Although it says carrot in the notes, I can not detect the vegetable, the same is true for the violet which shows no prominent violet pastille resemblance. Instead, the three notes create a pure, rooty, slightly powdery harmony that is just right: not too sweet, not too powdery, not too much make-up accord, not too dark and gothic. The longer Nirmal sits on my skin, the more I like it. After some half an hour when the warm, smooth leather appears, I am almost in love.
The leather is not rough at all but rather a velvety suede which is paired with a medium sweet white chocolate. I can not smell the amber accord.
Nirmal has no edges, it is pure and white, slightly warm but still wearable in warm weather. It is a very intellectual scent that I believe would be perfect for wearing in the office by a guy or by a girl.
You must be tolerant of some Iso E Super but if you are and you love iris in fragrance as much as I do, this is a must try.
As far as I know, creator Rosine Courage has not worked on any other scent after Nirmal. I hope this will change and that we will hear from her more often.
Unlike Nirmal, Daimiris is the oeuvre of a well-known perfumer, Pierre Guillaume who has brought many niche favourites to the perfume market under the label of his own house, Parfumerie Generale.
As I am familiar with some of his Parfumerie Generale scents, I expected Daimiris to be a well-crafted, round and probably sweet rendition of leather and iris. The notes are:
As can be seen, Daimiris and Nirmal share several notes but they couldn’t be more different.
Daimiris welcomed me with a splash of alcohol that I first could not specify until I identyfied it as rum. Rum is a note that I connect with cake and cookie dough and this impression became even more intense when the saffron popped up, another kitchen ingredient that often finds its way to pastries.
The combination with amber renders Daimiris into a warm, brown-golden scent that I know many will love to wear. While iris is not the main actor, it gives Daimiris some plushyness which is further enhanced by the suede note. The latter may be the only note that reveals the relationship between Daimiris and Nirmal. However, while the suede in Nirmal dances with a vegetable iris, in Daimiris it is more of a soft suede couch where I sit in the evening to enjoy my favourite magazine and a tea with rum.
Daimiris is mildly sweet and brings to mind scents like Bois d’Iris (VC&A) or Parfum d’Empire’s Cuir Ottoman (but without the latter’s fruit accord).
While I enjoyed wearing Daimiris, my impression was that it brought nothing new to the table. It is very well done and will warm you like hot porridge with maple syrup but I prefer the unusual and one-of-its-kind iris of Nirmal.
Coming to the last sample of my Laboratorio Olfattivo fragrances.
I remember how I tried Décou-Vert in Venice, thinking to myself “you mustn’t fall in love with this one, you’ve got too many green scents already”. And green it is, look at these notes:
The first thought I have upon spraying is “green leaves”. It smells like when you crush and rub green fleshy leaves between your fingers. Very natural and… well, green. Then it only takes some seconds until the lily of the valley and lilac enter the scene, carrying with them the images of Diorissimo and En Passant. Flowers are tricky for me, they are easily too much and while I like green scents, I don’t like to smell like a flower shop. Here, they are definitely present but not overwhelming.
Décou-Vert is fresh and a little bit soapy but not in an unpleasant way. It feels light (although its staying power is amazing!), time-less and feminin. There is no elderflower listed in the notes but it smells as if it took part in this spring dance. Décou-Vert smells like a day in May, optimistic and free, a clearing in the woods. There is nothing complicated in Décou-Vert, it is just there to be enjoyed.
Together with Nirmal, David Maruitte’s creation became my favourite of the Laboratorio Olfattivo samples.
My overall impression is that the Laboratorio Olfattivo fragrances are of very good quality, their compositions are clear and easy to wear. I would love to see the range in more stores in the future.
What do you think? Have you tried any of the Laboratorio Olfattivo fragrances?