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Sophie Labbé IFF 2017 - EdC Reimagined


For over thirty years Sophie Labbé has created beautiful fragrances for luxury brands such as Bulgari, Estee Lauder, Givenchy, Giorgo Armani, Ferragamo, Guerlain, Jill Sander, Kenzo, Yves St. Laurent, In 2017 she was a participant in the IFF Speed Smelling* 2017 event  for which the creative brief was to “use irony, a characteristic of the Post-Modern movement, breaking codes to better reconstruct them.” Participants are given the freedom to work without a brief, ignore the cost, and break the perfume rules. Using some of the newest materials developed by IFF, Sophie chose to explore a new path for eau de cologne, revising the structure from top to bottom. 

NOTE: The fragrances in Speed Smelling* IFF Post-Modern Collection 2017  are identified only by the name of the perfumer. I assigned the Dominique Ropion fragrance the name Kyphi, and the Sophie Labbé fragrance I’ll refer to as EdC Re-imagined.

The first big rule Sophie Labbé broke was to omit citrus, like lemon, lime, orange, etc. which she replaces with ginger, using a very modern IFF/LMR ingredient ginger oil freshwhich is the scent of fresh grated ginger root. A generous spritz on the back of my hand is definitely gingery and fresh but it also smells of lemon. What’s going on? 

Being in a Show Me kind of mood, I go into the kitchen and grate a piece of fresh ginger which I always have on hand, and hold the root under my nose for an up-close sniff. The first sensation is the sharp ginger bite, then the unique ginger aroma, and then I smell the lemon, like zesty juice or juicy zest with just hint of pine resin.  Yup, it’s the same as the EdC opening I just experienced, only fresher and stronger. Remarkable!

In a couple of minutes the spritz on the back of my hand releases the scent of coriander (cilantro), coolly aromatic and green, which seems to add a small measure of sweetness. Underneath the opening accord, a peppery presence is developing. As EdC Reimagined dries down, bitter notes are added, such as gentian flower distillation used in Swiss and Italian aperitifs and liqueurs, and elemi, the tree resin in Angostura bitters, which strengthens the pine note and along with pink pepper maintains the fresh character and deepens the spiciness.

Like all Eau de Cologne scents, the dry-down is quite linear but now the ginger accord softens with a warm woodiness, still fresh but moving into a chypre effect with woods and moss in the dry-down, which is the second deviation from the traditional EdC structure which focuses on herbs and flowers. Sophie Labbé achieves this through the use of another contemporary material, vetiver heartLMR. In an interview with The Perfume Society she describes why she loves the vetiver heart: “It has the gorgeous distinctive note of vetiver without its rooty smoky facet, and with a refreshing grapefruit hint.” More of the missing citrus, which is very subtle, and very lovely. 

The last big rule challenged in EdC Reimagined was the short-lived nature of eau de colognes, due to the low ratio of juice to alcohol. As modern fragrance consumers we mostly prefer our scents to be long-lasting, and Sophie Labbé solves this issue by adding musks to her formula. AmbertonicTM, AmbroxanTM  and SinfonideTM give her post-modern Eau de Cologne stronger sillage and longer duration on the skin. At the end of the day the scent still wafts gently, fresh and light, the ginger and peppery lemon notes buoyed by green vetiver and warm musks.

EdC Reimagined is Eau de Cologne like you’ve never imagined – it’s very modern and very fabulous! 

Notes: ginger oil, coriander seed, gentian absolute, pink pepper, elemi, vetiver heart, musks.

Type: EdC

Parfumer: Sophie Labbé

Price: $6.00