Of course when you're in David Jones, it's impossible not to have a peek at Mecca Cosmetica. While I can't afford to shop there as often as I would like, it is a never ending source of inspiration and items to add to the "wish list".
One of the exciting things at Mecca is the "Le Labo" perfume laboratory.
Set up in the corner with all the needed equipment is a compounding laboratory where a skilled perfumer will make for you one of Le Labo's scents. They will even put your name and a brief note on the bottle.
There's dozens of options, each one named for the main fragrance, followed by a number, which is the number of other secret scent ingredients in the mix.
While the perfumer him/herself wasn't there, the Mecca staff were very friendly and helpful and let me sample the scents.. the one that really stood out for me is called "Oud 27".
It's a very spicy scent, what's called in the (non pc) perfume world an "oriental" perfume. It's heady and thick smelling. I think if you wore this people would get a whiff of it and ask "What is that?!". It's an intriguing, beguiling scent. It smelled to me as though it would be suitable for a man or a woman.
Ignoramus that I am, I had never heard of Oud before, so I did a little research.
Oud, also called Agarwood, is a very special kind of mouldy wood. Apparently it's worth more than gold because it's so hard to produce in commercial quantities.
When a very special mould infects certain species of trees (in the Aquilaria family), the tree responds by producing a dark, strong smelling resin. It's this resin that's used to make the perfume.
This particular blend also has Cedar Atlas, Incense, Patchouli, Black Pepper, Safran, and Gaiac along with 20 other secret ingredients.
If this doesn't sound like the sort of perfume you'd like, there are many others to sample at Le Labo. Two French perfumers, Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot founded Le Labo in Nolita, New York, and they have put together a stunning collection. I smelled lots and each one has it's own charm. Whether you like things dark and spicy like me, or light, fruity or floral, there'd be a scent here for you.
For a history nut like me, seeing perfumes made the way they have been since the Dark Ages is pretty exciting, and even though it's about $200-$300 a bottle, it's a big splurge I am seriously considering! Perhaps if I am really, really good between now and Xmas and write enough letters to Santa.. maybe..
Are you familiar with Oud/Agarwood? Do you love spicy perfumes? If you could write something on a perfume bottle, what would it be? Let me know in the comments!