As September appears on the calendar there is one thing I look forward to. The opportunity to buy the Le Labo city exclusives. One of the most frustrating things about this brand in the early days were they released some amazing perfumes exclusively to one city in the world only. Many of my favorites are city exclusives. A few years ago they changed the practice to make every September the chance to buy any city exclusive without paying for a plane ticket. Usually to coincide with that there is a new one. For 2020 that is Le Labo Citron 28.
Citron 28 is the city exclusive for Seoul, South Korea. Creative directors Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi asked perfumer Daphne Bugey to interpret this Asian metropolis. That’s a bit of false advertising. If there is anything the city exclusives aren’t, is emblematic of the cities they are sold in. They are mostly extensions of the typical Le Labo aesthetic. Rule Number 1 of that is don’t expect the ingredient on the label to be the keynote. Which is the case here.
In the press release they mention they codenamed this “Citrus Boheme” which captures what they have created more accurately. The star of this perfume is jasmine and musk. It is the first Le Labo to attain this transparent floral trend which prevails currently. Mme Bugey creates a beguilingly opaque floral.
It begins with a matador’s wave of lemon as it is rapidly joined by jasmine. This is the non-indolic type of jasmine. It has a sunnier disposition which allows for the lemon to shade it with a bit of citrus energy. The primary partner to the jasmine is ginger. I enjoy when a perfumer uses it in a way which imparts energy without chaos. Ginger has easily taken a perfume off the rails as much as it turbocharges it. In this case Mme Bugey focuses that quality into the jasmine giving it more life. It is as if the ginger has replaced the indoles going from growl to giggle. The final piece is a suite of musks that is well blended. There are a few animalic versions underneath more of the expansive white musks. This time the lift provided has a bit of fur underneath.
Citron 28 has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
This is the most transparent Le Labo they’ve made. It is a big change. If you are thinking Citron 28 will be similar to Mme Bugey’s earlier Bergamote 22; they are not. They are opposite in design and intensity. Citron 28 is something new as the brand asks what you think of a light lemon tinted jasmine. I enjoyed it a lot in these late days of summer.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.