Because it is September, I was able to get a sample of the one Le Labo city exclusive which had eluded me. I appreciate the yearly effort to make these geographic limited editions more widely available. Le Labo Bigarade 18 was one of two released in 2019.
Bigarade 18 is the exclusive to Hong Kong. I have never visited the city, but I have seen pictures of the soaring skyline of glass skyscrapers. The depiction seems like there is more square footage vertically than on the surface of the island. Hong Kong has always seemed like one of those fantastical metropolises. For a perfume to capture that creative directors Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi turned to the perfumer who has become their semi-regular composer, Frank Voelkl. Mr. Voelkl has worked on eight of the thirteen releases since 2011. Bigarade 18 extends both numbers by one. I would guess one reason they ask him so often is his perfumes have a precision to them which work especially well within the well-defined Le Labo aesthetic. What they came up with for Hong Kong as represented by Bigarade 18 was a brilliant citrus reflected in the sleekness of the glass skyscrapers.
Mr. Voelkl uses a set of synthetic musks throughout as the architecture of this perfume. In the early going it provides some expansiveness to the citrus accord. Even though this is called bigarade the citrus is a mixture. The titular note is there but not in any way dominant. It is just its own glint of reflected sunlight off the high-altitude glass. Neroli comes next and it comes with its own synthetic musk along for the ride. It provides a delineation to the neroli which is usually more diffuse. It allows it to also be its own sunny point of light. The rest of the musks come together in a compellingly contemporary way as they add height to this tower of fragrance.
Bigarade 18 has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
The creative team captures a trip from the ground floor to the penthouse in a high-speed glass elevator on the outside of a skyscraper in Hong Kong. Just the kind of thrill ride I look to Le Labo For.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.