October 19, 2013
Perfumer Frank Voelkl , will you be mine?
When Le Labo announced that their City Exclusive for Moscow was not the Cuir 28 but the Benjoin 19, I scratched my head a little. Isn’t Russia known for leather? It wasn’t until I learned that the inspiration for Benjoin 19 was the transcendent golden moment that Anna Karenina meets Count Vronsky that the choice made sense. This is about deep passions, not keeping the cold out.
Kiera Knightley as Anna Karenina for Vogue (star of the 2012 movie adaptation)
Putting on Benjoin 19 made me very nearly angry, because it is exclusive to Moscow and not easily accessible to me. I would wear this perfume to within an inch of its life. It makes me smell like the fur of a spirit animal, one that is all about warmth and fire and sensuality. Once the crystalline, resinous top notes quiet down, this perfume has to be smelled at several levels.
Aaron Taylor Johnson as Count Vronsky for Vogue (starred in 2012 movie adaptaion)
Against the skin, nose pressed close, the smoky, musky animalics purr. The aroma is almost unbearably erotic. A couple of inches up, and there is a sweetness, with a bit of wood. This is the scent you want on your scarf on a cold day; inviting, yet still crisp. Even farther away, and there is a cloud of ambery beauty so inviting that there could not possibly be any resistance to every desire. It lasts on the skin a nice long time, with varying sillage.
Kiera Knightly as Anna Karenina for Vogue
I am a fan of Le Labo, even though the City Exclusives are annoying with their once-a-year attainability outside their designated city, and palpitation-inducing price tags. However, I would sell my grandma for a bottle of this juice (sorry grandma, if you’re reading this from the other side). Some of the other city scents have been lovely, but haven’t broken the must-have barrier. I must have a bottle of this. There are a lot of perfumes I love deeply, that sing to my soul, and they are not lesser than this, but this is, in perfumista terms, a Holy Grail. The perfumer behind this miracle is Frank Voelkl, ( Le Labo Baie Rose 26 (2010) Le Labo Iris 39 (2006) Le Labo Musc 25 (2008) Le Labo Santal 33 (2011) Le Labo Ylang 39 and Limette (2013). Maybe he’ll marry me so I can have a lifetime supply.
Notes: benzoin, olibanum, amber, cedar, and musks
I received my sample from the lovely people at Le Labo.
Tama Blough, Senior Editor
Although it pains me to part with it, I have a second sample to give away to one lucky reader in the US.
This 1948 reprint features a cover image featuring Vivien Leigh, who played Karenina in a 1948 film adaptation
Please leave a comment if you’ve read Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (or seen any of the film adaptations including last year's movie directed by Joe Wright) and name your favorite Le Labo City Exclusive. Don't forget to tell us you live in the US. Draw ends Thursday, October 23rd.
We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.