1. Le Labo, Poivre 23
Labdanum, sandalwood, patchouli, pepper, vanilla, guaiac wood, styrax and incense.
Le Labo’s London city exclusive, and so (a) only available about one month of the year, and (b) priced at a daunting £190 for 50ml. It might still be worth it. I have a tester, and… you just feel different when you wear a scent this good, like you can take on the world.
(Also really want Oud 27 ("notorious, polarising… a juxtaposition of tenderness and repulsion.") and Patchouli 24 (smoky leather; "very earthy, near camphorous patchouli [with a] birch driven heart”)
2. Tom Ford, Sahara Noir
Frankincense, cinnamon, amber, cedar, oud, balsams, softened by a trace of vanilla, jasmine & rose absolute.
"It’s intoxicating in the best possible way"
3. Etat Libre d’Orange, Rien
Leather, Iris, Cistus, Oakmoss, Black Pepper, Aldehydes, Cumin, Patchouli
"Rien is a gorgeous, sharp, harsh leather. Distinctive, striking, beautiful? Utterly."
"I would never, ever invite Rien out to dinner."
4. Serge Lutens, Ambre Sultan
Pure amber with a herbal, resinous opening and vanilla dry-down.
"Indecently potent, vaguely medicinal, it only just manages to avoid the insanity of unbearable excess."