Originally Posted by ChicagoRon
Anybody know why Turin and Sanchez hate Le Labo soooo much? The Bergamote is the only one I really love, but I think the Rose and Santal are okay as well... but those guys really seem to have a bug up their collective A$ses... any reason in particular?
There are a couple of explanations: first, in his blog (when he had one), Turin put forth his preference for the larger houses, claiming in short that the niche houses were - excepting Lutens, Nicolai and Malle - poseurs. In most of the nicheys he found a faux-naif aesthetic with a hideous markup, and noted that it was a lot to pay for 'first drafts'. "At least, with a big house, the brief has been fought over by every competent perfumer in the world." (paraphrased) Sometimes I think he's out to knock a niche perfumer off his or her pedestal, should he or she make the attempt - God help you if you call yourself a "Master Perfumer", because you immediately get compared to Jacques Guerlain and told, in effect, to sit down and compose a few Shalimars before you try wearing that title again. So, anything niche is automatically viewed through a skeptic's lens.
Second, Turin has been an unapologetic devotee of French perfumery as practiced by Chanel, Caron, and Guerlain, and has been unstintingly critical of Guerlain's post-LVMH output, even calling out J-P Guerlain for messing with Laurent's Shalimar Legere. In fact, most reformulations are harshly punished as in the case of Tabac Blond (originally he recommended this as one of the best leathers out there) which was more of a re-write than a tweaking. But in that he's not really consistent because everything gets reformulated at some point. How badly a scent goes off the rails seems to be a mitigating factor, though. But, back to the original point: if it's not of the French school - you have a very steep hill to climb.
Finally, and this I didn't quite get until recently: sometimes he writes from memory, and other times they test - on paper. Their position is that scents can smell good on paper but go badly south on skin, but the inverse is never true. The latter, as I'm told by people I trust, is precisely the case with the MdO line - they smell awful on paper but open up on skin. I sniffed a few Orio's a while back and thought they would be right up LT's alley, but if he only tested on paper then it was highly likely that he threw the smelling strip across the room, looked up the price of her bottles, and her claim to apprenticeship and other marketing prose, and immediately marked her entire line down to 1 star, tout court.
Although, even now, I giggle at his "Loud civet fart" when describing Nuit Noire (iirc). So, you have to smell good on paper, AND on skin, to get good marks.