Le Labo City Exclusives—Ranked

le labo city exclusive

It’s that Le Labo City Exclusives time of year again! The French-American fragrance brand Le Labo is, I swear, the only retailer on Earth that isn’t afraid to keep an exclusive. Each Le Labo city has a signature scent—and those City Exclusives, as they’re known, are only available in their home city, except for the magical month of September, when all the City Exclusives are available at all the Le Labos (and online). August is not as magical as September, but it is the month when you can buy samples of the 13 city exclusive scents. They’re tiny, and so absurdly expensive ($12/10€), but extremely addictive.

Below, our ranking for our three favorite Le Labo City Exclusive scents. Note that the products are linked to product pages but they often won’t work except during August and September, for the reasons above.


They say: “This theme is a subtle ambery, incensy, woody, sexy note that once acquainted with your premium pashmina sweater will release the finest of the vanilla bourbons that you’ve experienced. It’s vanilla disguised.”

We say: Literally our favorite fragrance in the world. It’s vanilla, but not the over-sweet variety: It’s the sort of vanilla worn in front of a fireplace in a library in an inn in the Scottish Highlands. It’s vanilla, but it’s woodsy and spicy and deep. It’s true love, not first love.


They say: “It is very warm, ultra spicy, truly oriental, and it’s only for London.”

We say: You know that thing a dog does when it’s trying to scratch its chin with its collar? A few days ago I sprayed this on my chest and spent the rest of the day doing that exact sort of move, trying to get my nose as close as possible to the perfume. It’s no joke: It is totally peppery on first spray, but moments later the pepper clears and you’re left with this rich, woodsy, slightly vanilla-y scent that’ll last deep into 24 hours. (After applying this in the morning, I went into a Sephora, forgot I was already wearing perfume, put on some Tom Ford Soleil Blanc—which I love almost as much as this—and then settled back into the Poivre 23, which lingered after the Tom Ford was nothing but a memory.)


They say: “You start off with a view, with bergamot’s freshness and light, before plunging into the warm and welcoming effects of jasmin, petit grain and clove that roll into luscious softness with vetiver, tonka beans and musks… Limette 37 is an olfactive roller coaster, mingling an impression of cleanliness, freshness and well-being with that definite feeling that you are smelling special.”

We say: It smells like detergent, but like the best possible of all detergents. It’s like if you owned a mansion, on a Greek Island, and that mansion was extremely, extremely clean—it would smell like Limette 37. And it would be amazing.


They say: |The main story behind this fragrance refers to music – jazz music, in particular. There is a direct correlation between the sharp pepper and some of the more upbeat sounds of jazz, and the soft back representing the simpler, soothing side of the music.”

We say: A baie rose is not a rose: It is a pink pepper. So there’s rose in there, but it’s made into something other than rose thanks to the addition of pepper and musk. (This is not Diptyque’s Roses.) You may like it! I find it really boring.

Obsessed with the fact that mousse de chene (oakmoss) is a lichen.

They say: “Moss and patchouli are paired with their most incisive synthetic boosters – crystal moss and clearwood. Cinnamon, pimento bay oil, and pink pepper spice it up to create timeless elegance that is reassuring yet surprising, tense, and addictive.”

We say: At first it smells like the back of a drawer in an old oak cabinet. Then it smells like a lemon drop candy found at the back of a drawer in an old oak cabinet.


They say: “The scent is a small wonder – a mix of aldehyde overload that gives a unique cleanliness, a sublime floral composition built around narcissus, jasmin, and tuberose (all absolute, in case you wondered), and a bed of musk notes tied with a hint of vanilla. The result is esthetically admirable and unique.”

We say: Like if the whole city of Dallas got a custom-mixed version of Chanel No. 5 just for them.


They say: |Myrrh, a resin once considered to be so sacred that it was more valuable than gold, is known in Chinese traditional medicine as a ‘blood mover.'” (That literally says nothing about how it smells.)

We say: We haven’t smelled it yet! Shanghai is new to the collection this year (2023). Updates when we have them.