Perfume Pen Pals: Le Labo Neroli 36 and Neil Morris Fragrances (various)


I'm glad you showed me the light regarding Le Labo. I'm wearing Neroli 36 today and I am loving myself for it! The sun is shining in San Francisco for the first time in ages, my chi is on the rise, and I am loving myself! But it smells awfully beachy, no? Neroli 36 smells like CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach. And Patchouli 24 smells like CB’s Burning Leaves. But both the Le Labo scents are superior: fuller and more complex.

What a strange line so far. None of the scents smell anything like each other (or like their names, which I guess is some kind of inside joke, right?). I like them more than I thought I would. But not as much as I like myself. I LOVE myself right now!

(And I hung tough with Patchouli 24 last night like I was New Kids On The Block circa 1988.)



I agree that Le Labo fragrances are practically bursting out of the bottle with flavor! Yes, the names are a nonsense, but misdirection can be fun. I would guess Neroli 36 has jasmine, which equals suntan lotion, which equals At the Beach.

I was just reading Chandler Burr’s review from March of Neil Morris for Takashimaya, which made me wonder how you were getting on with your Neil Morris samples?



Yeah, I read that review. I don't buy it. Mostly because all the large samples I have of Morris' line (including all the ones Burr praises, save for Takashimaya) are unrelentingly heavy and unsubtle.

They don't even wear like perfumes. They smell like something that spilled in Zza Zza Gabor's purse. Forty years ago. And it still stinks. And now you have to wear the purse over your head.

If I ever really wanted to kill myself, I'd put on a Morris scent with the expectation that it would encourage me to finally pull the trigger. Because a life that pungent isn't worth living.

I always consider putting a bunch of Morris atomizers in your decant packages (because he uses a good deal of incense and amber, which I know you enjoy) but I never end up doing it. I don't know you well enough to gauge your level of depression and I can't chance sending you over the edge.

I feel badly slamming Neil Morris (though obviously not enough to stop doing it). I'm just annoyed by his fragrances. And each annoys me in the very same way: they're all loud and simple. Like Dane Cook.

And there are a couple people on Basenotes who ONLY post about "Neil" ("Neil took a bath this afternoon!" "Neil likes pistachios!" "Neil won another bullshit independent perfumer award that no one's ever heard of!"). It’s not fair, but it somehow makes me hate his perfumes even more.

Having said that, Neil seems like a charming fellow - he wrote me a nice note with all of his samples (which are VERY generously sized). So, as with everything I say, I could be wrong.


Fumeheads - could Dan be wrong?


  1. Dan, you're not alone. I also find NM's fragrances heavy-handed, indelicate, un-subtle, un-nuanced. I've sampled 13 of his fragrances now, so I feel I've given them a chance. I liked none of them. I feel bad too, since he's supposedly such a nice guy and his samples are generous, no doubt. But more of a bad thing is still bad.

    I also recently sampled all of the Aroma M line. I liked 1 out of 11 of them. Sometimes I don't know why I even bother sampling new things anymore. I should just wear one of the 100+ fragrances that I know I like.

  2. Ahsu, I'm never confident enough in my own opinions to hold any real certainty about something as vague as perfumes, but I do know you're right: those NM fragrances are heavy-handed. And while it's unfair to compare a small artisan to a well-financed niche outfit like By Kilian, Back to Black (from Katie's below review) is just so rich and nuanced and accomplished, it does make NM perfumes smell un-subtle by comparison. And yet I suffer from the same sampling compulsion you do. There's even something satisfying in disappointment, in smelling disagreeable perfumes and crossing them off the list. And then, of course, ranting about them.