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.
As far as material possessions go, the only thing I love more than makeup is books. While I'm a pretty social person, I love to spend hours on end totally immersed in a story.
One of my favorite things about books is the way they smell, so I set out to find scents that either capture that smell or at least evoke pleasant memories of times spent buried in my favorite book.
This is one of those scents that doesn’t necessarily match the title; it has more of a clean linen vibe, like fresh laundry on a line. It does bring back book-related memories, though — specifically summers spent sitting on the porch steps, reading the latest edition of Goosebumps or The Babysitters Club. It’s very fresh and light and I’m looking forward to wearing it regularly come spring.
The story behind the creation of this scent is what drew me to it. Rather than go the traditional route of creating a fragrance and then generating an image to capture that scent, M/M’s graphic-design duo, Michaël Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak presented “a block of solid ink purchased in Asia, a photograph showing a Japanese master practising his daily calligraphy, and a large utopian formula that Mathias drew on Korean traditional paper” to Byredo founder Ben Gorham, which, seven months later — through the work of Jerome Epinette — yielded this fragrance.
I first got a sample of this via The Perfumed Court a few months ago, and I would definitely recommend checking it out that way first since it is quite expensive. It's a fragrance that you’ll either love or hate as it is very distinct. It makes me think of ink wells and a well-explored library.
Upon first spritz, my immediate reaction was “I’ve made a terrible mistake” because it hits very sharp and metallic initially. However, once this settled on my skin (about 30 minutes later) warmer notes like amber and incense began to pull forward on me. I go weak in the knees for anything with amber so it’s no surprise to me that I really love this.
Paper matches its name pretty well as it kind of reminds me of fresh copy paper or new book pages. It’s a bit woodsy and slightly sweet and really captures the creaminess of fresh paper smell. My only complaint about it is that it's so light that it’s almost hard to detect after a while (although it does linger for some time).
Book doesn’t smell exactly like a book, but oh boy, does it smell amazing! It’s definitely got the amber component — that always reminds me a bit of binding glue and a hint of sandalwood, which pulls papery to me. But it’s also got fresher, greener notes like eucalyptus and cucumber. Cucumber is not a thing I would think I want to smell like, but the way it plays off the more woodsy notes makes it divine on me. This scent makes me picture a well-kept study, with polished wood furniture, leather chairs and a trace of aftershave as if the owner has just recently left the room.
I mentioned this scent in a recent piece about fragrance layering, but it is just as delightful on its own as it is in conjunction of other scents.
I recently read an article about why books smell the way they do, and I think Demeter nails the essence of book pages aging over time. On me the perfume is a dead ringer for a slightly old paperback, but it has pulled a little sweater on some of my friends. This is by far the closest I’ve ever come to finding a book in a bottle.