Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing a couple of perfumes from a local fragrance label, the LAB Fragrances.
The LAB Fragrances specialises in offering unique scents that are not commonly seen in mainstream fragrance houses. With this in mind, the brand sent me some of their more intriguing scents, specifically the Pepper & Tobacco, as well as Earl Grey. Let’s see if they are any good!
The LAB Fragrances – Video
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the perfumes, do check out my Youtube video below!
The LAB Fragrances – the Brand
The LAB Fragrances was founded in 2017 by Taylan Torin. Fed up by how fine fragrances were being mass-marketed and produced, Taylan wanted to create a brand that offers unique scents, handmade in small batches and with the wearer’s name printed on the dial. He wanted to forge a brand known for its uncommon scents, without a burning concern for current mainstream trends. Thus, the LAB Fragrances was born.
According to the brand, The LAB Fragrances sources ingredients from some of the most reputable suppliers across the globe. The brand investigates widely to source plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients, and very precisely select among them only those with a proven record of safety and efficacy. This has resulted in The LAB Fragrances being one of the rare fragrance houses that comply with both major global standards, the EU Cosmetics Directive and the IFRA Regulations.
Let’s start with the brand’s award-winning fragrance, the Pepper and Tobacco.
Winner of the Augustman 2020 Grooming Awards, the Pepper & Tobacco is described as “a blast of spices”, with an initial freshness that catches you by surprise.
The top notes of the Pepper & Tobacco fragrance include Bergamot, Grapefruit, and Pepper. It then blossoms into the middle notes of Saffron and Cinnamon, before eventually revealing the base notes of Tobacco, Vetiver, and Leather.
The Pepper & Tobacco is one of the most intriguing scents that I’ve come across. It has an exotic punch to it – it reminds me of the Peranakan Oud perfume I reviewed from Singapore Memories over a year ago. It’s a balanced scent that stands out. There’s certainly a spicy kick to it, especially at first, but it is balanced by the fresh fruity notes (such as Bergamot and Grapefruit) that have been smartly woven in. After a while, the scent transforms into this lovely masculine scent that evokes the memories of drinking whisky – always on the rocks – at a bar. There’s a vague mystery to the fragrance too that is strangely calming. Let me put it this way – when I spray the Pepper & Tobacco on, I feel like I’m Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians. I can certainly see why Augustman chose this as one of their favourite perfumes!
For those unfamiliar with perfumes, fragrances generally come in various concentration levels – Eau Fraiche, Eau de Cologne (EDC), Eau de Toilette (EDT), Eau de Parfum (EDP), and finally Extrait de Parfum (often just known as Parfum), in ascending order of concentration and pricing. If you’re interested, you can read about the differences between the various concentrations in this article here. The LAB Fragrances offers its perfume in only the two most concentrated versions, Eau de Parfum and Extrait de Parfum. The brand states that their Eau de Parfums have a concentration of 15-18%, while their Extrait de Parfums have a concentration of up to 30%. The LAB Fragrances is actually one of the only local brands to offer their creations in Extrait de Parfums, so if you’re looking for a stronger perfume their offerings will definitely fit the bill. Despite doubling the fragrance oil concentration in their Extrait de Parfums (as compared to EDP), the price remains accessible – S$188 for a 50ml bottle.
While the bottles from the LAB Fragrances may be a tad bulkier as compared to some of the local brands I reviewed previously, I still found them svelte enough to fit into a suit pocket with ease. Personally, I think the bottles look great – there’s a traditional feel to them that I appreciate.
Overall, I quite enjoy the Pepper & Tobacco from the LAB Fragrances. While the scent may not be my go-to perfume, it is certainly one that is intriguing and different. I found myself reaching for the Pepper & Tobacco on days where I needed a little confidence booster, or when I want to stand out a little and be noticed. If you’re the type that wants people to ask you about the scent that you’re wearing, the Pepper & Tobacco is for you – it’s definitely a conversation starter.
Next, let’s take a look at the brand’s bestseller, the Earl Grey.
Described as a “sparkling fresh fragrance captivating with its uncommon composition”, the LAB Fragrances states that the perfume possesses delicate floral notes, blended with the freshness of tea leaves and bergamot along with warm aromas of sandalwood and amber.
The top notes of the Earl Grey is stated to include Bergamot, Tea and Lime. The freshness of these notes develops into the floral middle notes of Orange Blossom, Tiare, Heliotrope, and Pepper, before finally evolving into the more woody base notes of Amber, Musk, Sandalwood, and Vanilla.
I’ll admit, I’m biased – Earl Grey is one of my favourite teas, especially in the mornings. There’s a royal (I guess Singaporeans call it atas) nature to Earl Grey that I simply love. As such, I adore this perfume. When first sprayed, you get a citrusy punch, followed by what is familiarly Earl Grey. This comes as no surprise, as Bergamot (used in the top notes) is what gives Earl Grey its distinctive scent. It’s like smelling a cup of Earl Grey tea in the morning – spraying this perfume just rejuvenates me. After a while, the top notes fade to more floral notes. It’s hard to describe in words, but I would say that the middle notes smell like how an Earl Grey cake would taste like – flowery, slightly fruity. Finally, the woody base notes of the scent anchor the perfume, giving it bold scents that is reminiscent of the strong flavours of Earl Grey tea.
I really enjoyed the Earl Grey perfume from the LAB fragrances. Firstly, the scent does a great job at evoking both the smell and flavour profile of Earl Grey tea. Secondly, the fragrance is one of the most complex scents that I’ve encountered – and I’ve reviewed quite a far bit of perfumes thus far. With 12 different ingredients used in the formulation of the Earl Grey, the result is a delightfully intricate fragrance will is sure to delight those who are fans of Earl Grey tea. Finally, it’s a rare fragrance profile – I have not encountered any other perfume that smells anywhere close to the LAB fragrances Earl Grey perfume. I must commend the brand for innovating on their products and being able to successfully encapsulate the essence of Earl Grey here. It’s currently my favourite scent.
Conclusion – so The LAB Fragrances “shiok” or not?
I really liked the perfumes from the LAB Fragrances. I found them to be delightfully complex – it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone behind the formulation. The quality of ingredients is also evident in how pure the scents were. I found the Pepper & Tobacco and the Earl Grey to be the perfect two perfume collection. On my “comfort” days – going out with friends, shopping, etc – I reach for the Earl Grey, as I simply loved the scent. On days where I needed a boost, I go for the Pepper & Tobacco, which felt like an extra layer of armour on me due to the pure masculinity that the scent gives off. One could also say that the Earl Grey makes for a great day perfume, while the Pepper & Tobacco is fantastic as a night perfume. The fact that the perfumes are personalised makes them great gifts as well!
Finally, the brand also sent me some samples of their Agarwood and Ginger scent. The Agarwood has a luxurious woody tone that envelopes your senses – it’s the perfect fragrance to wear on a date. On the other hand, the Ginger is a fresher scent that brightens up your senses. Between the two, my preference is the Agarwood as it simply has more character and sensuality.
Just for my readers, the LAB Fragrances is offering a free sample vial of their latest perfume, Jasmine. Simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” in the additional comments section upon checkout, and the sample vial will be included in your purchase.
View the LAB Fragrances’ full range of offerings here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.