When I was younger I liked to voice my opinions on the net on new music albums after just one listen. Looking back, I regretted saying a lot of “oh this song is nothing special” or “this album is a let down” because some of my favourite albums took me more than 3 or 4 listens to get warmed-up to. Now that I believe I am a sensible grown up (but still opinionated), I try not to write anything too reckless about a perfume before wearing it at least a few times.
I am very nervous to talk about Le Labo’s Benjoin 19, because 1) why would I buy a perfume that’s crazy expensive and say anything negative about it; 2) a lot of people have already voiced their opinions on Benjoin 19 and they all think it’s a great perfume; what if I say it sucks? Does it make me look like Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber?
#1 is easy to answer, because I am a Le Labo collector and ten foot too deep into collecting their scents. I just have to get their latest stuff; #2: I have worn it several times and I think I can give it a fair opinion on Benjoin 19:
It’s a woody and warm (because of the benzoin) scent, very likeable, and it smells like a pencil made out of some good grade cedar wood, but the carbon core is made out of amber and benzoin. There’s nothing more about it, in my opinion. Compared to Le Labo’s Gaiac 10, which I consider a minimalist’s creation that smells elegant, interesting and full of idiosyncrasy, Benjoin 19 cannot achieve its greatness, instead it’s like the base of an incomplete perfume or a slice of boring artisan bread short of a dab of butter or jam.