The Smell of New York



The fragrance you smell everywhere in NYC is SANTAL 33 by Le Labo.


Le Labo successfully transformed the streets of New York into the interior, comforting, cotton inspired – wood finished olfactive experience.

While brands like Bond n9 have purposefully created lines of perfume directly named after iconic places of the city, it relied on a glossy marketing driven and was clearly targeting tourists. It turns out that Bond n9 opened a store on Madison avenue as if to add local New Yorker to their original target poll.

A brand, franco-american, niche-driven and which surfed on interpreting movements like slow beauty to create a personalized perfume chain did.

Le Labo was created between Grasse, in Provence and NYC. A breakthrough knowing the ubiquitous use of “Paris” in French national luxury narrative. The brand adequately evoke the spiritual DNA of perfume and bring “soulful experience” to new yorkers.


As explained by T magazine from the New York Times :

“Fast forward four years, and what started out as a collective craving for a boutique signature scent — something no one else wore — has now become a predictable presence on the New York City subway, at bars in London, cafes in Paris, even on the beach in Los Angeles. It has been wholly embraced by the fashion flock and A-list celebrities alike (everyone from Alexa Chung and Emily Weiss to Justin Bieber and Emma Roberts wear it), and nearly everyone who follows them. As the GQ designer Griffin Funk tweeted “At this point it’s weird if someone doesn’t smell like Le Labo Santal 33.”

The brand claims that there too many perfume and not enough soulful fragrances, and helped transforming the niche, luxury narrative into a need for sensual signature.

Mainstream retailers have adopted the principle of using signature smells, or sensorial experiences in their stores via collaborating with such brands.


The brand starts by claiming that there too many perfume and not enough soulful fragrances. Then takes you the core process : ” Nostalgia, the future of perfumery might actually lie in its past”. Last year, the brand was bought out by Estee Lauder group.

“The Estée Lauder Companies is the ideal home for us and for our brand,” said Le Labo co-founders Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi. “We founded Le Labo with the guiding principle that the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created, and the attention with which it is prepared.


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