L’Erbolario Meharees & Le Labo Labdanum 18

People often search for affordable facsimiles or “dupes” of famous fragrances. In the case of Frederic Malle‘s Musc Ravageur, one name that comes up is Meharees from the Italian brand, L’Erbolario Lodi. It’s been called the “Musc Ravageur killer” for a fraction of the price, and it’s also mentioned in the context of HermèsAmbre Narguilé as well. A more expensive niche name that comes up in relation to Musc Ravageur is Le Labo‘s Labdanum 18. I love both Musc Ravageur and a bargain, so I bought Meharees blindly, persuaded by the rave reviews and by the company’s description of camel rides through the Sahara and legendary oases filled with undulating date trees. I thought I’d review it in conjunction with Le Labo’s Labdanum 18 to show how they compare to the Malle.

Photo: George Steinmetz/Corbis. Source:  spiegel.de

Photo: George Steinmetz/Corbis. Source: spiegel.de

L’ERBOLARIO MEHAREES:

Meharees. Photo: Louis/LifestyleAsia via businesspme.com

Meharees. Photo: Louis/LifestyleAsia via businesspme.com

Meharees’ official name is L’Erbolario Lodi‘s Méharées Acqua di Profumo, but I’ve taken the liberty to refer to both the company and scent by their commonly abbreviated versions (and to skip the accent marks). According to L’Erbolario‘s website, the company was founded in 1978 by an Italian couple whose focus was on the beneficial properties of herbs in beauty products. They created plant-based cosmetics, before branching out into scent. Meharees is an eau de parfum that I believe was released in the early 1980s. Its official description on CyberCucina, L’Erbolario’s lone American retailer, reads as follows:

“Meharees” is a word for which there is no direct English translation. It suggests exotic travels by camel through the vast African Sahara. Picturesque undulating dunes, fanciful formations of stone, legendary oases now lost, and poetic groves of date palm blend to form a mirage filled with the aura of romance and wonder of destiny. […][¶]

Meharees is the sensual scent of the Sahara, exotic, spicy, and charming for men and women.

On Fragrantica and elsewhere, the note list is limited to: myrrh, spices and dates. I think there is no way that list can be complete. Not only do I (and a lot of other people) smell more than those three things, but I’ve also noticed that a lot of Italian companies prefer to give the barest of nutshell summations for their ingredients.

Source: happy-morocco.com

Source: happy-morocco.com

Meharees opens on my skin as a very strong, sweet, fruity amber drenched with spices and a ton of musk. The latter is, unfortunately, a very sharp and chemical-smelling civet, with a bit of a bug-spray undertone. The fruit accord seems to be a mix of clove-studded orange, gingered plums, and something vaguely resembling a date, but not quite. The rest of the picture involves a dash of nutmeg, a hint of smokiness, and very rich, heavy, ambered warmth. For the most part, though, Meharees is a strongly musked, extremely spicy, fruity oriental.

It would be an utterly gorgeous beginning were it not for the musk which stands out above all else. The problem is that it has a synthetic quality which feels extremely sharp, even pointed and harsh. All of that is completely separate from the issue of the chemical bug-spray. Granted, it’s merely an undertone that pops up on occasion, and it is admittedly a subtle thing but, nevertheless, a whiff of “bug spray” was noticeable whenever I sniffed Meharees up close. Thankfully, it’s not evident from afar, and it also doesn’t last beyond the 60-90 minutes of the scent, though the civet’s synthetic, sharp pointiness does remain for much longer.

Musc Ravageur in the 50 ml bottle. Source: Liberty London.

Musc Ravageur in the 50 ml bottle. Source: Liberty London.

The nature of the musk underscores what should be an obvious point: you cannot expect a fragrance that costs a mere €20.50 or $43 to have the same quality as one which costs €120 or $180 for a comparably sized, 50 ml bottle. It is financially improbable for an inexpensive fragrance like Meharees to contain the same sort of costly, high-end ingredients that give the Malle its refined smoothness. In short, there is a reason why you’re paying so much more for Musc Ravageur, and it would be both unrealistic and rather unfair to expect the same quality from Meharees. That said, I have to admit, I was taken completely aback by the degree of the synthetic sharpness in the musk, and I was rather disappointed. It’s unfair of me, I know, but it’s the simple truth. Still, from this point forth, let’s just take it as a given that the two fragrances are not going to be equal on this level.

Clove Studded Orange. Source: DwellWellNW blog at DowntoEarthNW.com

Clove Studded Orange. Source: DwellWellNW blog at DowntoEarthNW.com

Putting aside the question of quality, and focusing purely on the olfactory bouquets, I must agree with the common thought that Meharees is extremely similar to Musc Ravageur. Nevertheless, there are differences from the start, differences which grow much more significant and prominent during Meharees’ later stages. Let’s start at the beginning. In its opening, Meharees has almost triple the amount of musk than the reformulated Malle fragrance has on my skin, and it’s quite sharp, too. In addition, the cloves and fruitiness feel heftier; the ginger is quite weak in comparison; and there is a smoky, almost dusty quality to Meharees that the Malle lacks. In short, Meharees is purely oriental in nature and very much a musk fragrance.

Source: thisoldhouse.com

Source: thisoldhouse.com

In comparison, the Malle skews more gourmand, and is barely animalic or musky on my skin. Perhaps the Malle was different once upon a time, but the current version is quite tame and can be boiled down to: gingerbread cookies with vanilla-ish benzoin and a dash of furry kitten via a polite, very restrained touch of ambrette and civet. The ginger is far more noticeable than the cloves on me, though one of the problems that some people have had with Musc Ravageur is an excess of cloves in the beginning. I suspect the cloves have been substantially reduced to deal with IFRA/EU eugenol restrictions, but it may well be an issue of skin chemistry, too. Regardless, there is almost no fruitiness, and certainly nothing dusty, smoky, sharply synthetic, or heavily oriental about Musc Ravageur.

Source: funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Source: funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Meharees shifts at the end of the first hour and the start of the second. The orange now feels hazier with more of an abstract, orange-like vibe than the aroma of the actual, juicy fruits. The date also feels quite intangible, akin to a fleeting suggestion. In contrast, the smokiness is now quite recognizable as myrrh, and the dustiness it brings to the scent starts to feel almost sandy in nature. I have to wonder if there is a touch of guaiac wood to accompany the myrrh because there is a hint of something like autumnal burning leaves as well. Regardless, the sandy dustiness is a really nice touch and quietly conveys the whole “Sahara desert” thing, even if it’s very subtle. (Meharees is definitely not as sandy, dusty, spiced, or dry as Andy Tauer‘s L’Air du Desert Marocain.)  The best news, though, is the underlying whiff of bug spray disappears after 75 minutes. Even the civet is now decent, at least from a distance. Meharees feels smoother as a whole, with almost a creamy quality emerging deep down in its base. The perfume really seems to be improving, though more from afar than up close at this point.

The more interesting changes occur near the end of the 2nd hour. The civet is slowly beginning to creep towards the sidelines, while the smokiness grows increasingly prominent. At the same time, the abstract orange note is now overshadowed by dried fruits, ranging from dates to raisins. I can understand why some people have mentioned Meharees in the same breath as Ambre Narguilé, because there is definitely a raisin aroma in the perfume now, along with a tiny whiff of something almost boozy at times. That said, I think there are distinct differences between the two scents. Meharees is a much drier bouquet that doesn’t read as dessert at all. It’s more akin to a handful of clove-infused, dried raisins in a dusty, sandy, smoky warmth. rather than a blanket of boozy, stewed rum-raisins that festoon a rum-soaked, apple pastry. The myrrh is the key, because it renders the fruits dry and parched in Meharees, rather than sweet, fat, plump, and boozy.

"Gold Rush," by Artist Elizabeth Chapman. Source: melizabethchapman.blogspot.com

“Gold Rush,” by Artist Elizabeth Chapman. Source: melizabethchapman.blogspot.com

Meharees turns increasingly abstract as time passes. The notes begin to overlap, many of them losing their individual character, and what is left behind is a strong, rich bouquet of spicy, sweet, smoky, dried fruits encased in musky, ambered warmth that is flecked with some sandiness. The fragrance feels much smoother by the start of the 4th hour, perhaps because the civet is no longer a significant factor. By the middle of the 5th hour, the dried raisins have grown so pronounced that Meharees is primarily a soft, spiced, dry, slightly incense-y, raisin amber with very little civet musk but with a smooth, soft undertone in the base that almost borders on the creamy. The textural feel of the base is such that, a few hours later, I began to wonder if Meharees contained tonka or vanilla. It’s not clearly or strongly creamy, per se, but almost. I also wonder again if Meharees has any guaiac because there is a contrasting whiff of dry woodiness as well.

Meharees continues in this vein for a several more hours before finally dying away as a wisp of golden sweetness with a lingering vestige of something vaguely woody and dry. There is good longevity, and the projection is initially very strong. Using 2 sprays from an actual bottle, Meharees opened with a bold, intense cloud that radiated about 4-5 inches, but then seemed to grow a bit further after 10 minutes. The numbers dropped to about 3 inches after 45 minutes, but Meharees leaves a pronounced and definite wake in the air around you beyond that distance. The perfume only turns into a skin scent at the start of the 6th hour, though it’s not particularly hard to detect up close for a while to come. In total, it lasted roughly 9.5 hours, though that number increased by a few hours when I applied more of the scent.

Cloves, close up. Source: www.toothachesremedies.net

Cloves. Source: www.toothachesremedies.net

There is a huge amount of praise for Meharees on the different sites that I’ve read. A good number of people describe Meharees in the same way that one Basenoter did in this thread: as having “the nice cosy drydown of Musc Ravageur without the awful cloves on top.” Another commentator writes: “There isn’t a clove note in Meharees. That’s why some people prefer it to MR. As far as bringing you to the Sahara I would say it does. It has a middle eastern type spice to it.” My experience is obviously very different from his in terms of the cloves. They definitely appeared on my skin and, in fact, to a significantly greater extent than they did in the Malle. Then again, as I keep saying, I’ve tried the reformulated version of Musc Ravageur.

In Basenotes’ official entry page for Meharees, there are 9 positive reviews and 2 neutral ones. Out of the latter, the most negative one reads as follows:

I’m neutral to this. It’s definitely just like Musc Ravageur without the disgusting cloves in the beginning. It still has a medicinal feel though to a small extent and it’s not the most pleasant thing. Beats Musc Ravaguer easily though, and is much cheaper.

One of the positive reviews also notes a “slight medicinal” vibe, but most talk about Musc Ravageur, the spices, fruits, how the scent has a strong vanilla component, or the perfume’s woody qualities. Here are parts of some reviews that cover a few of those points:

  • Vanilla gourmand with light spice and a slight medicinal note at the initial spray (not bad though). I like this one. […] Has that slight middle eastern vibe. Definitely one to try!
  • The reality is, Meharees smells EXACTLY like Musc Ravageur. But only after MR has settled on your skin for about 20-30 minutes. After that, they are identical.
  • Delicious spicy oriental with a warm woody-musky dry down, the addition of balsams (mirrh and vanilla) and with a strong dusty presence of cinnamon and nutmeg throughout. Appealing and easy. The presence of the sweet date provides a sort of edible-tasty temperament that enhances the Meharees’s appeal. The dry down is somewhat musky-boise, spicy and resinous.
  • Dried Medjool dates via nuts.com/

    Dried Medjool dates via nuts.com/

    This is very pleasant, smooth, mellow, and mature. The top notes have lavender, tangerine, bergamot and rose oil. For the first twenty minutes it reminds me exactly of lemon meringue pie. The middle and top notes are where it shines, after about an hour the citrusy vibe is muted and you get cinnamon with a slight touch of sweetness from dates. In the base the myrrh and tonka bean are ever present along side the dates that never really dissipated. In the end it gives off an amazing sweet nutty almond/walnut vibe. [¶] I believe that myrhh cannot be the only wood present in this masterpiece. […][¶] I would guesstimate that cedarwood, sandalwood, guaiac wood, amber, basil, nutmeg & musk might*** also be present in this. In conclusion this fragrance is BEAUTIFUL and a must try.

Fragrantica posts are even more enthusiastic. In fact, quite a few of people resort to all-caps to express their love, like one person who wrote: “At the risk of sounding like a texty teen: OMFG!” On the page of L’Erbolario’s lone American retailer, CyberCucina, the comments are overwhelmingly positive. On Amazon, all 7 of the reviews on the site thus far give Meharees 5 Stars. That was where I read the statement that compelled me to finally buy the perfume blindly: one woman happily said that Meharees reminded her of her time in Egypt, and had the same sort of smell or vibe.

No-one mentions the strong chemical, synthetic element that I experienced, but a few of the readers here talked about it in the comments to my Musc Ravageur review. To quote one of them, “T.C.“: Meharees had “a heavy overlay of something chemical and unpleasant.” Another sold his bottle due to disappointment in the quality. I have to wonder if the “medicinal” aspect written about by a few people on Basenotes is the same thing that we’re talking about here as “chemical” and “synthetic.” I suspect that it is. Personally, I think that the synthetic harshness improves over the time, and it’s really just the first 3 hours which are tough, but I can’t deny my disappointment or the fact that I haven’t worn Meharees extensively as a result. Then again, I did enjoy the perfume’s later stages and I did receive a compliment on the scent.

I think you’re going to have to weigh the balance of factors for yourself. Do you have the patience to wait a while? Would you care greatly if there is a synthetic harshness or a possible “medicinal” chemical quality for the first hour or two? You will want to balance those questions against the vast number of absolutely gushing, overwhelmingly positive endorsements for the scent, as well as Meharees’ low price and the fact that the rest of the perfume is quite nice. My suggestion would be to sample it first if you can, either by ordering a cheap vial from Surrender to Chance or by going to one of the many retailers that carry L’Erbolario from Brazil to London, Asia, and several points in-between. (See the Details section below.) It is a scent that has enough nice elements to warrant trying for yourself.

LE LABO LABDANUM 18:

Source: Fragrantica

Source: Fragrantica

Labdanum 18 is an eau de parfum that was created by Maurice Roucel in 2006. The number 18 indicates how many ingredients are involved in the scent, but we know only a few of them. Luckyscent‘s short note list and description gives us the following:

Labdanum, tonka beans, vanilla, civet, castoreum, and patchouli.

Labdanum 18 opens on my skin with labdanum amber and significant amounts of clean musk, dusted with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and a dash of citrus. There is a subtle streak of woodiness and patchouli in the base, but the predominant impression above all else is of a spiced, extremely clean labdanum amber.

Source: salongen.de

Source: salongen.de

Unlike Meharees or Musc Ravageur, the musk is truly just the clean, white variety, and absolutely none of it in the opening hour involves civet, ambrette, or animalic skankiness. I loathe white musk when it is sharp and strong which, unfortunately, is exactly how the note presents itself on my skin here. Not only is there too damn much of it, but it only gets worse after the opening minutes and for the entirety of the first hour. It is fully intertwined with the labdanum, and also overwhelms the majority of spices which quietly drop back into a very muted blur. The one exception is the nutmeg which feels far more prominent at times than the rest.

There isn’t much else to Labdanum 18 on my skin for the first few hours. It’s an uncomplicated, clean, lightly spiced amber in an incredibly sheer, wispy bouquet without any body or depth. Using 3 large smears amounting to 2 good sprays from a bottle, Labdanum 18 initially opened with 3-4 inches of projection, but that number dropped to a single inch at the end of the first hour. All of it feels very thin.

"Soul Wave" by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com  http://www.cianellistudios.com/abstract_art.html

“Soul Wave” by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com http://www.cianellistudios.com/abstract_art.html

At the end of the 3rd hour and the start of the 4th hour, Labdanum 18 starts to shift. The vanilla creeps up from the base, along with a touch of a cinnamon-like benzoin resin. More importantly, the blasted white musk finally starts to change. It is now very clearly ambrette mixed with a small drop of synthetic civet. The end result is a more vegetal, warm sort of musk, less of a pointedly sharp, synthetic, purely clean, white sort. While all of this is happening, the spices turn even softer, folding into the amber which has, in turn, turned deeper, smoother, and sweeter. It’s an enjoyable bouquet that feels better balanced, though it also turns into a skin scent on me at the 3.25 hour mark.

For the next few hours, the notes flow seamlessly one into the next, occasionally feeling a little hazy in terms of their individual shape, but Labdanum 18 is generally a nice blend of warmth, light spices, minor richness, and coziness where amber is streaked with lashings of vanilla, cinnamon benzoin, and relatively smooth, vegetal ambrette before being dusted with a light pinch of nutmeg and ginger. Tonka awakens in the base to add a subtle suggestion of creaminess, while deep in the background, there are the first stirrings of something woody in nature. The latter starts to make itself more noticed during the middle of the 5th hour and slowly morphs into cedar. It’s a muted, minor note, but it helps to indirectly counteract any potential gourmandise from the vanilla and to keep Labdanum 18 planted in the oriental category instead of the sweet, dessert one.

"Passion,"  by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com (website link embedded within.)

“Passion,” by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com (website link embedded within.)

Labdanum 18 really doesn’t develop further on my skin. It continues to be a lightly spiced, nutmeg and ginger amber with equally light wisps of ambrette musk and a hint of cedar atop a creamy base. The vanilla feels fully submerged within the labdanum where it counteracts the amber’s leathery, balsamic, musky, or truly masculine facets. In short, it’s a filter that defuses the darker aspects of the labdanum instead of being something strongly distinct in its own right like a vanilla custard or a creme caramel vanilla. As for the cinnamon benzoin, it neither lasts long nor does it ever impart a truly balsamic, resinous feel to the scent. Taking its place, however, for a few hours at least, is some powderiness that I suspect stems from the tonka.

In its final moments, Labdanum 18 is merely a blur of golden warmth with sweetness and a lingering vestige of something dry and vaguely woody. All in all, it lasted just short of 8.5 hours on my skin. The sillage was initially good, but Labdanum 18 is generally a very soft scent that doesn’t project much.

Source: newallpaper.com

Source: newallpaper.com

What I found interesting about Labdanum 18 is that there is absolutely nothing dark, dirty, leathered, resinously smoky, toffee’d, or truly animalic about the scent on my skin. This is not a labdanum scent in the vein of something like Dior‘s Mitzah, SHL 777‘s O Hira, Amouage‘s Opus VITom Ford‘s Sahara Noir or Serge Lutens‘ Ambre Sultan. It’s far too wishy-washy for that. I also don’t find any real, profound similarity to Musc Ravageur beyond the fact that they share the same spices. I truly don’t. Musc Ravageur feels like a quasi-gourmand gingerbread scent that merely happens to be cocooned in golden warmth and has a touch of civet-ambrette musk.

Labdanum 18 is clearly a labdanum scent first and foremost. The spices are initially tertiary to the white musk before eventually rise to second place, but the labdanum is always front and center. More importantly, it is a clean, light, soft labdanum from start to finish, without the traditional dark, chewy, toffee’d, leathery or musky qualities that are so characteristic of the note. In essence, this feels like a labdanum that has had most of its wonderful impurities refined out of it. Alas.

My feelings about Labdanum 18 veer between disdain, ambivalence, and apathy. I definitely didn’t like the sharpness of the synthetic white musk in the beginning, nor the vast quantities of it. I was also unimpressed by the scent’s sheer wispiness, especially for the first 3 hours until it finally turned deeper and smoother, but then I think the vast majority of Le Labo fragrances have a disappointingly thin, wispy feel. They lack heft, density, or weight, and that seems to be the brand’s aesthetic. So is wishy-washiness, if you want my personal opinion. I’m afraid Le Labo is a brand that does little for me, and I’ve tried a ton of them by now.

On the other hand, Labdanum 18 is better than most in the line (for whatever that’s worth), it developed into a nice scent, and it is something that would also be work-appropriate. It’s not distinctive, interesting, or rich in my opinion, but I don’t think it’s trying to be. It’s also quite a linear scent whose main changes are in the nuances, prominence, and strength of its various secondary or tertiary elements, but there is nothing wrong with linearity if one likes the scent in question. Some of my favorite comfort scents are linear, so I’m hardly going to fault it for that. Ultimately, it just comes down to an individual thing. I wasn’t moved, but I can absolutely see why someone else might be, especially if they have none of my issues with clean, white musk or wispy scents. When taken as a whole, Labdanum 18 is a nice, enjoyable, spiced amber comfort scent.

Labdanum 18 has been around for so long that most people know what it’s about, have tried it, or have read reviews of it, so I won’t provide comparative reviews. I’ll merely link you to Fragrantica. One thing I noticed in reading the comments there is the point that one poster summarized in a nutshell as follows: “Labdanum 18 obviously plays very differently and diversely on many of the reviewers below.” And it’s true. Some people experienced much more complexity than I did, while others experienced even less. Some detected the animalics and underlying leatheriness, others didn’t. A significant number of people talk about powderiness and the vanilla, occasionally experiencing substantial quantities of both, but not a lot of people talk about the spices.

There seems to be a very wide divergence in people’s feelings about the scent as a whole. Some people really enjoy Labdanum 18, though they agree that it’s not very distinctive and even admit that they aren’t blown away by it. Others, however, call it “utterly boring after a couple of hours” because it’s so “plain,” or find it “ho-hum [and] Shockingly safe.” One person brought up Musc Ravageur and said, Labdanum 18 was “as similar to Musc ravageur as an elefant to a rhino! Only in the first 15 seconds they have perhaps one note in common? but then you get closer and they have nothing in common at all.” As always, individual skin chemistry is going to make a difference.

ALL IN ALL:

I think you should try Labdanum 18 if you’re looking for a very gauzy, very sheer, office-appropriate amber scent with spices and some musk that is also quite safe and clean. For once, the name of a Le Labo scent actually matches its aroma: this really is a labdanum fragrance above all else. But it doesn’t smell like Musc Ravageur, in my opinion.

If you’re looking for something closer to the Malle and don’t mind a synthetic opening, then you should skip Labdanum 18 and go for the Meharees. It may not have Musc Ravageur’s quality, but it is a much closer fit for a fraction of the price. You pay more for the Labdanum 18, but it’s very far from being a “clone” or “identical,” if you ask me. I don’t think Meharees is a Musc Ravageur “clone” either, but there is a smaller degree of separation. Actually, Meharees is more nuanced and complex on my skin than Musc Ravageur. If it weren’t for the harshness of the synthetic civet and the bug-spray undertone in the opening, I might find it more appealing than the Malle. It’s a purely oriental scent with layers that unfold over time; it’s significantly bolder and stronger; and it’s also more interesting with its dates, myrrh, smokiness, and sand-like undertones. Musc Ravageur is very linear and completely simplistic on me. Then again, it’s also a smoother, better quality scent and has a cozier feel because it skews more gourmand, so it suits a different need or itch.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for. If you keep your expectations low and don’t expect Malle quality, you might be happily surprised by Meharees. As for the Labdanum 18, it’s a typical Le Labo scent with a typical Le Labo approach and vibe. There isn’t more to say about it than that.

DETAILS:
MEHAREES Cost & Availability: Meharees is an eau de parfum that only comes in a 50 ml bottle, and costs $43 or €21,50. In the U.S.: You can buy Meharees on Amazon for roughly $51 with shipping; and it is available worldwide for only a little bit more on eBay. The Amazon retailer is L’Ebolario’s sole American distributor, CyberCucina, and you can buy Meharees directly from them as well. However, they do not ship to California, whether you buy through Amazon or from them. Also, their international shipping goes through a third-party, so your best bet if you’re in either California or overseas may be the Italian vendors on eBay, especially as the scent is even cheaper there, so the overall cost still ends up being roughly the same, about $50. Outside the U.S.: You can buy Meharees and its accompanying body products directly from L’Erbolario which also has shops in London and the Netherlands, and is sold throughout Europe, as well as Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the UAE. You can find store locations or other places that carry the L’Erbolario line near you on their World Retailers list. Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Meharees starting at $2.99 for a 1 ml vial.
LE LABO LABDANUM 18 Cost & Availability: Labdanum 18 is an eau de parfum that is most commonly sold in two sizes: 50 ml for $160, €125, or £105; and 100 ml for $240, €185, or £150. There is also a perfume oil version. On its own website, Le Labo offers its fragrances in a wider range of sizes and forms. For example, there are decants, Discovery Sets, 500 ml bottles, 10 ml “travel tubes,” body lotions, shower gels, etc. Le Labo Website Options: Le Labo has websites divided by region. On its North American page, Labdanum 18 is $160 for 50 ml and $240 for 100, but there is also a mini for $70, a 3 x 10 ml travel kit for $140, and more. The U.K., International, and French websites have the same options. Le Labo also has Sample Programs, or you can get a single vial for $6. Lastly, it has boutiques all around the world. You can find a list of locations and vendors hereIn the U.S.: Luckyscent has the 50/100 ml bottles and accompanying body products. So does Barney’s, but it also has the travel kit of 3 x 10 ml for $140. Outside the US: In Canada, Le Labo is carried by Toronto’s 6 by Gee Beauty, but you can’t buy from their online website. Call to order by phone. In the U.K., Le Labo is sold at Harrods’ Designer Department and at Liberty, which offers Labdanum 18 in a variety of different sizes/forms. In Paris, Le Labo is sold at Colette. In the Netherlands, it’s sold at Skins Cosmetics. In Australia, you can find it at Mecca Cosmetics. Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Labdanum 18 starting at $4.25 for a 1 ml vial.

23 thoughts on “L’Erbolario Meharees & Le Labo Labdanum 18

  1. …..I,m happy to see that you too found this scent as synthetic. I couldn’t stand it and on my skin it lasted the whole day! I hope the person who bought it likes it more than me. I’ll keep wearing my old bottle of Musc Ravageur and I hope it last because the new reformulation is really bad for me. Why all I love is being reformulated? Why??
    Have a nice day to you and all the readers! 😀

    • I think there are definite and obvious differences in terms of quality, Merlinasil, between Meharees and Musc Ravageur. No doubt about that at all, in my mind. The actual aroma, though, was not so widely, totally different on my skin, at least not during the first few hours.

      What is the reformulated Malle/Musc Ravageur like on you? And was it like before?

  2. Dear Kafka, seeing Dior Mitzah’s name and knowing how you hold in high regard, I decided to check ebay to find samples, to no avail. BUT I ended up on the Dior website, and surprise surprise, it IS available here (it’s the French website, so I don’t know about the US). I also found it in Le Bon Marché, where they told me they had only a few bottles, and that it wasn’t available in the other big, luxury department stores in Paris (namely the Galeries Lafayettes and Le Printemps, which I find a bit surprising since I think they have a bigger perfume selection than Le Bon Marché’s, exclusive fragrances including. Now, from what I gather Mitzah might be available only for a short time, but that wasn’t clear. Anyway, I thought I’d let you know, given how much you like it. I can definitely see why: I tried it on and I’m sniffing my wrist as I type. 🙂

    • Mitzah has definitely been discontinued, but some places have a few bottles left as part of their old stock. Some Dior stores keep what’s left in the back, just as the Dior boutique in the Duty Free at CDG Airport did when I was there was last year. But the perfume is totally discontinued. I posted about that back in Spring 2013 in a post about how Dior also discontinued their Vetiver at the same time. It was between Grand Bal or Mitzah in terms of their decision to discontinue, and they went with Mitzah for reasons that I will NEVER understand! Anyway, if you love how Mitzah smells on your skin, you should buy it before even those last few bottles are sold. 🙂

      • I’m positive Mitzah was not in Le Bon Marché even a few months ago. So I was wondering if maybe Dior reissued a few bottles? The salesperson I spoke with told me that it wasn’t being put back on the market though.
        I’d love to own it. I thought ah, yes, this is nice during the opening, but now? Now, I’m sniffing my wrist every five minutes, ahing and huming.
        I tried Musc Ravageur, which was nice, and I think the musc was a tad more pronounced on me than what you described, but I wasn’t wowed, so Meharées and Labdanum 18 do not tempt me, but Mitzah? Man, oh man. It’s funny because during the first hour, I “only” really liked it, but I’m fully smitten now.
        Trouble is, the Dior website only offers for sale a huge 250 ml bottle, for a whopping 300 euros. I absolutely cannot justify that much money for a perfume. 🙁 Did Mitzah exist in smaller sizes?

        • Dior’s sizing for the Privée Line has always been substantially bigger than everyone else’s but, yes, there was a “small” size. The “Small” was a rather large 125 ml or 4.25 oz, as compared to the 250 ml or 8.5 oz. And, yes, Mitzah only gets BETTER with time and as it develops. What I think you should do is to call around to a few Dior boutiques and see if they have the 125 ml “Small” one in the back or hidden somewhere. Order by phone. You may have to call Dior boutiques throughout France, like in Cannes or elsewhere, but one of them should have a bottle left.

          I would also look at my review for Papillon Perfumery’s Anubis, because it has a definite Mitzah vibe in its opening. Some people think they’re extremely alike, though I think there are differences. (For one thing, Mitzah has quite a bit of patchouli in its drydown. Anubis is also smokier in the start, imo.) Anubis is affordable, comes in a 50 ml bottle for about €120, and is available in mainland Europe via Annindriya Perfume Lounge in the Netherlands, so you won’t have to worry about the UK Postal regulations or obstacles. http://shop.perfumelounge.nl/parfums/PA10002–papillon-artisan-perfumes_anubis.html They also offer a sample service: http://shop.perfumelounge.nl/samples

          Anubis won’t satisfy your need or love for Mitzah, but you may like it as something in the same overall genre or style. It’s definitely worth checking out, in my opinion. It was #2 on my list of best releases of 2014, and was on many other people’s lists as well.

          • Papillon is one of the brands I’m firmly planning on trying. I remember your review of Anubis, and how gorgeous it sounded. Thank you so much for the links! I’m bookmarking them.

            I’m also planning on doing that for Mitzah. It just hope I can afford the 125 ml. The sale season has started in France, and I had to replace some shoes/clothes, so I’ve already spent a bit of money. The incense aspect of Mitzah became more proeminent as it developed and that’s when I went bonkers. Well, I’ll tell you if I end up committing to a bottle!

          • If you weren’t an EU citizen, I’d tell you to take a trip outside of France to get the detax from the Douane from your sales purchases, and then use that to buy the Mitzah. LOL. Gosh, the sales season in Paris…. *sigh* I remember the temptations but Mitzah won’t always be around, while other things will so I do hope you manage to find the “Small” bottle. In years to come, Mitzah will be selling for outrageous prices on eBay, just you watch and see.

  3. Mitzah has been discontinued, so if you want a bottle, buy it asap! I haven’t tried Meharees, but I have Musc Ravageur and Labdanum 18. I liked them both a lot at first, but fell out of love with Labdanum 18, which was too linear and overpowering on me.

    • I’m assuming the Mitzah comment was to Anne? 🙂 I know it’s been discontinued, and have a bottle. It’s a gorgeous scent, imo, and I’ll never understand Dior’s decision. I refuse to believe that Grand Bal (the one they had contemplated discontinuing instead of Mitzah) is actually a bigger seller or received more critical acclaim. It’s certainly not a cult hit the way Mitzah is. Pfffttttt to Dior.

      Anyway, I’m not surprised that you thought Labdanum 18 was too linear (or boring), but I am wee bit surprised that you fell out of love with it. It seemed like something that you might find to be a cozy comfort scent nevertheless, even if it’s not really gourmand. (I know how your ultimate comfort category is the gourmand one! 🙂 )

      • Yes, my reply about Mitzah was for Anne. 🙂 I grabbed 2 bottles of it when I heard the bad news. I have tried Grand Bal but it doesn’t do much for me, can’t understand why they thought that one was more worthy than Mitzah.

        Labdanum 18 should be a favorite of mine I agree, but something about it put me off, it seemed like a long loud note that got tiring when I wore it, so I have been avoiding it for the past couple of years. I should probably pull it out and wear it again to see if I still feel that way.

        • My Dior lady/sales insider called me a few days ago with news about the upcoming, newest Privé called Fève Délicieuse that will come out in a few months, and all I could think about was “I hope it’s in the vein of Mitzah, and better than Gris Montaigne and Cuir Cannage.” I think I’ll be sulking about Mitzah’s discontinuance for years to come. If you think about it, taking Mitzah *AND* Eau Noire out of the line essentially means that they’ve eradicated almost half of their orientals. Sure, there is the Leather Oud, Cuir Cannage, and Rose Isphanan left, but they’re very different and hardly an amber. Two of the 3 are leathers, and one is a floriental. I hope the new one is an attempt to replace the void left by Mitzah, though I have to admit that I’ve lost some faith in Dior.

          Anyway, back to the actual topic at hand, I’ll be curious to see if your feelings about Labdanum 18 have changed with the passage of some time. Even more so, I’m curious what the “long loud note” was! If you try it again, let me know. 🙂

  4. Spot on. You nailed it in one. I enjoy Meharees, but curiously other people love it more than I do, ON me. Whenever I wear it friends are always grabbing me, taking a good long sniff and concluding with “I could chew your arm off! Yum!” Or something along those lines. I LIKE Musc Rav, quality certainly tells, but there are so many wonderful Ambers out there so…… Lab 18? Meh. The only Le Labo I currently own is Bergamote 22, and only reach for it in the summer.

    So yes. Spot on.

    • I’m curious, Robert, are there a lot of fragrances that fall into that sort of dichotomy for/on you? That your friends or family members absolutely LOVE on you passionately, but you’re rather lukewarm about? I always find it really interesting when there is a disconnect between how one feels about a scent and how one’s friends feel about it on the same skin. Obviously, individual personal tastes are part of it. In my case, the split is quite common, but it’s usually that *I* love something that some other people in my life are not… er… enthusiastic…. about. LOL. Oddly, though, Meharees fell into the same category for me as it did for you. I have no idea why people who sniffed it on me liked it so much. I mean, they really, REALLY liked it! (??!?)

      I’m also curious, did any of the people who loved Meharees so much on you end up buying a bottle for themselves? If so, did they like it as much on their own skin?

      With regard to Musc Ravageur, it’s basically impossible for me to think of it as an amber scent. If someone were to ask me for a list of that genre, MR would never once cross my mind. Gingerbread, yes. Amber, no. That’s reserved for something like Ambre Aurea and the like. MR seems like something that has ambered warmth, but it’s hardly its main focus (or even its secondary one, imo).

      Le Labo…. interesting that you only own/like one of them and even then, you don’t reach for it often. You seem to like florals as a genre. Did Rose 31 or Lys 39 do nothing for you? The Lys is the only one from the line that I’ve liked thus far, but it dies with astonishing rapidity, so that’s out. Rose 31 was mostly a woody, peppered, cedared ISO E Super bomb on me, though I know it’s the big favorite for most people from the line. The rest…. I find them either really wishy-washy or they’re heavily aromachemical. (Le Labo seems to LOVE its Iso E Supercrappy. Urgh.) Did you ever get to try the Lys or the Ylang last year?

  5. Before I smell Meharees, I have yet to smell Musc Ravageur. I’ll pass on Labdanum 18 because of the white musk. And I don’t believe in wearing office -safe scents. When I ride the elevator, I like to clear it Kafka! Heh :)- As you can see, I’m in a better mood. Yesterday my funk peaked….phew. Good news: my samples of Alahine, 1740, Absolue pour le Soir, Montecristo, Rudis, Chypre Mousse, Violettes du Czar, Cuir Cuba Intense, Fiore d’Ambra arrived today!!!!! My bottle of Maai of Bogue Profumo’s MAII is due soon. Ah, good times. How was your weekend K?
    P.S. I haven’t smelled my samples yet- later tonight.

    • ……..meanwhile later…..all of my above mentioned samples are gold. Alahine is beautiful, not what I expected- it’s full bottle worthy since it’s meets my criteria: roses, ambery, woody-resinous, opulent, classy, and not weak. 😀 I’m in a dilemma because I really like the others too. Violettes du Czar is unlike anything I expected. Of course I’ve got to properly wear each one to
      see how they develop. Thanks for all your recommendations! 🙂

      • Hurrah for the Alahine, and it seems to have struck at first try, too, instead of the usual 4 wearings that it seems to take. I’m glad, though I suspected that you’d love Alahine quite a lot. 😀 I can’t wait to hear how each of the fragrances is on your skin, in their appropriate threads, and to hear your thoughts after you test them all properly. Enjoy!

    • Congratulations on your wonderful haul. You have a lot of goodies there, and I have no doubt that the next week will be a lot of fun for you.

  6. I haven’t been able to try any Le Labo, but I do find that Méharées very close to Musc Ravageur. The similarity is quite striking, although there’s no denying about the synthetic vibe and the more rough texture of Méharées. But as I’m not absolutely in love with Musc Ravageur, I’m pretty happy with the much cheaper Méharées. 🙂

    It’s intereting that you mentioned Ambre Narguilé. I never thought about that when I wear Méharées, probably because L’Erbolario also has Dolcelisir which is quite similar to Ambre Narguilé.

    • The similarities are definitely striking, but so is the whopping price differential! Lol. 😀 Does Dolcelisir have the same strong burst of synthetics and roughness, Yinghao? I wouldn’t mind a strong, bold, hefty version of Ambre Narguilé, but only so long as it doesn’t have excessive sweetness, cloying sugariness, and white musk.

      • I find Dolcelisir more hefty and spicy than AN, but loses a bit of luminosity instead. The roughness is probably inevitable. The same dilemma between Méharées and Musc Ravageur. 😛

        • Thank you for letting me know, Yinghao. If Dolcelisir were easily available in sample form the way Meharees is, I’d definitely try it, but I’m not doing another rashly impulsive blind buy for a full bottle! LOL 😀 I suspect my low tolerance for sharp synthetics would be too great for the scent to really work for me.

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