I Fell for Le Labo's Santal 33 Just Like the Rest of the World and I Don't Care if That Makes Me a Sucker
I mean, even Justin frickin' BEIBER wears it.
Last October in London, I fell in love.
I was wandering the beauty department of Liberty when I found myself in front of the Byredo counter. Greeted by the lovely, soft-spoken woman standing behind the countless minimalist bottles, I got to chatting and describing scents that I'm drawn to, and she quickly "prescribed" Byredo 1996 to me, giving me a sample vial to take home.
And there, my friends, a romance was born.
It wasn't easy, though. Landing back in Toronto, I sorrowfully discovered my new beloved would set me back $190 CDN (approx. $156 USD). Eek.
I coddled my sample tube, spritzing it sparingly on special occasions only.
"You smell amazing," a friend noted. "What is that?"
"The greatest perfume ever," I would sigh.
With notes of juniper berries, patchouli, leather, and vanilla, it was warm, spicy, sexy. Simultaneously masculine and feminine, it perfectly suited its creator and collaborators, perfumer Ben Gorham and photographers Inez and Vinoodh, whose photo Kirsten 1996 inspired the scent.
And so I hemmed and hawed for six months. But on a recent warm spring afternoon, I popped into the air-conditioned oasis of Holt Renfrew to "visit" my perfume.
"I've been contemplating buying it for a while," I told the sales clerk, "but it's going to be summer soon and it's such a, you know, winter scent."
He stared back at me blankly.
"So what?! I don't care about that stuff."
Really? I thought. I'd always let the weather dictate the scents I wore. Everything was heavy and spicy in winter. White florals and citrus in summer. Those were the rules and I followed 'em."I just wear what smells good whenever I want to," he said with a shrug.
Perhaps this was a sneakily laissez-faire sales tactic, but it was the push I needed. That, and the fact that I had a sizable gift card in my wallet.
"OK, you convinced me," and off I went with my new perfume.
And while it has been warm lately, I still routinely spritz on 1996 and love it just as much as I did on that slightly chilly October day in London. Good perfume is good perfume, and you should wear whatever you want, when you want.