April 25, 2014
I love discovering a new fragrance, especially when it’s been knighted a cult classic. Luctor et Emergo has been around since 1998, but it took my encounter with Olfactif, a monthly perfume subscription to make a proper introduction. Historically, perfume in the 1990s was a vast sea of transparent fragrances. Most were striving to be harmonious, spiritual, and almost environmentally aware, and during this time many ozonic or marine fragrances were produced. Luctor et Emergo broke from the pack with the help of provocative Perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri (of Nasomatto fame). Gualtieri considered perfumes made at the turn of the 19th Century for inspiration, and with this fragrance he created a sultry gourmand that has the perfect amount of recklessness. It was a radical statement at the time, and to my eyes (and nose) in 2014, I am struck by its unique mix of creamy sweetness and woody dryness. This is not your usual heavy Turkish delight fragrance; it stays airy, lifted, and not dated.
People of the Labyrinths founders Hans Demoed and Geert de Rooij
Luctor et Emergo is a Latin phrase that means “I struggle and emerge”; it also happens to be the motto for the Dutch province of Zeeland. In 1984, the Dutch fashion house The People of the Labyrinths began making hand printed and hand-dyed clothing, and today are still creating incredible silkscreen prints that are rich in color and flow. Luctor et Emergo was their first fragrance, and seems to embody their designs.
Image by Barbara Bezina
Initially dry grassy and tobacco notes collide with a boozy rose with cherry sweetness and a marzipan accord that almost seems to emulsify on the skin. Its sweetness has restraint though, and is enhanced by “precious woods” namely; cedar wood, guaiac wood, vetiver, and rosewood. These woods and the tobacco accord combine to transport Luctor et Emergo to a place of timelessness and calm. The precious woods become arid, silky, smoky, and burnt. Incense rises up and seems to float, but again vanilla strikes a balance. The floral heart flutters of rose, heliotrope, and violet.
For the last two months, I have been receiving the timely and very thoughtfully curated Olfactif selections. The Olfactif perfume membership takes the road less traveled by sending three monthly samples of niche, artisan, and indie fragrances to your door, stylishly packaged, in spray bottles (thank goodness) that are 2.25 ml. in size. Before you get to the bottles is a little intimate note that feels written just for me, a short description about each fragrance. The box itself opens like a jewelry box, holding the three fragrant gems inside. My first box arrived and the note read “Welcome to the Cult".
I say, it’s very nice to meet you.
– Valerie Vitale, Editor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen
Special thanks to Tara Swords of Olfactif.com who has generously agreed to a US only giveaway of a full sampler kit of the collection of the three fragrances in the Cult Subscription for March 2014 (includes Perfect Nectar by Sarah Horowitz-Thran and Grand Cuir by Parfums retro as well) which Luctor et Emergo was featured. Please let us know your favorite cult fragrance or why you want to try Luctor et Emergo and that you live in the US. Draw closes April 30, 2014
Editor's Note: Sign up for Olfactif's newsletter by midnight April 25 and receive $18.00 off any full bottle fragrance in their store. Happy Birthday Olfactif.com and congratulations to Tara Swords for introducing a new audience to artistic perfumery.
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