This raises a question: Why? To be sure, Le Labo’s brand vision goes beyond a preference for minimalist design. Le Labo avoids superfluous emotive messaging to ensure that the experience people have of their fragrances is shaped solely by the scents themselves. That is, the brand does not try to lure people in with inviting words. When a customer walks into a Le Labo store and holds a test bottle of fragrance under their nose, their senses, heretofore controlled with poise, are instantly awakened to an experience of purely olfactory communication. All of the brand’s fragrances are made to order on-site, and the label can be customized with a personalized message. The makers of Le Labo are empiricists in the truest sense. They believe there are things that can only be known through experience, that surpass the expressive capacity of words and images.
Unlike reason or logic, experiences are not perfect. They are flawed, at times self-contradicting, and limited. The founders of Le Labo seem to find pleasure in giving creative form to such imperfections, or simply presenting them as is. This is the biggest difference between the fragrances of Le Labo and those of other brands. Fabrice Penot explains that he believes in the intuitive genius of knowing as a perfumer when to stop the work. Beyond a certain point, things would become too perfect and, thus, boring. Perhaps, as he says, balance is not about continuing to add on to something until it is perfect but rather about stopping at the very precarious brink of perfection. If so, one way to enjoy the world of fragrances, not to mention discover the best one for yourself, might be to compare where and how different fragrance brands achieve this sense of balance.