With a name like What We Do In Paris Is Secret by A Lab On Fire,1 you might expect some esoteric little niche scent that will horrify your co-workers and create havoc and dismay in the line at the grocery store, but nothing could be farther from the truth. What we've got here, at the most basic level, is an easy to wear and easy to love sweet gourmand.
A Lab on Fire is a sub- or sister-brand of S-Perfume, and their mission appears unchanged: collaborate with famous perfumers (in this case, Dominique Ropion), work on a small scale, and emphasize the juice over the packaging (What We Do is housed in a plain lab bottle with a smear of black paint and a label, and there's a ziploc bag instead of a box; see image below).2
What We Do In Paris opens on honeyed citrus, bright, sharp and sweet. It takes on a dessert vibe almost immediately, with first sheer rose — it is almost like loukoum for a few moments — then almond, then vanilla, all wrapped in an airy heliotrope marshmallow cream and finished with a dusting of powder. There's a woody amber-y base with a bit of spice, and the dry down, while still sweet, isn't quite as sweet as the opening. It's creamy and delicious, but not too heavy — it has just enough transparency and light to keep it from being overwhelming.
When I announced What We Do back in January, reader Karin commented that it reminded her of Parfums de Nicolaï Kiss Me Tender, and more vaguely of Bvlgari Blv Notte and Kenzo Amour. I will vouch for the Kiss Me Tender and the Amour (I don't think I've ever smelled Blv Notte), and will add another Dominique Ropion fragrance, Ego Facto Poopoo Pidoo, as a distant relative. But What We Do, while not a dark fragrance by any means, has just enough of a dark woody edge lingering underneath the all the sugar to move it out of straight-up comfort scent status and into something a bit more grown-up and sexy.
Verdict: I am sure some people will find What We Do In Paris too sweet, but gourmand-lovers will want to give it a shot, as will those (like me) who like a bit of dessert for a change every so often. I find it immensely appealing — it's cheerful, fun, sexy and comforting all at once, which is no mean feat — and would not at all mind having a bottle, although I do not think it I would reach for it in any but cold weather.
A Lab on Fire What We Do In Paris Is Secret is available in 60 ml Eau de Parfum, $110. The notes include bergamot, honey, lychee, Turkish rose essence, vanilla, heliotrope, tonka bean, tolu, sandalwood and ambergris. For buying information, see the listing for S-Perfume under Perfume Houses.
1. What We Do In Paris Is Secret is apparently unrelated to an earlier fragrance from A Lab On Fire called What We Do Is Secret. Got that?
2. Oops. The bottle I have (it was sent by the brand, and I will give it away next week) looks like the one in the picture, but now I see that the bottle on Luckyscent looks different. So never mind, I don't know what it looks like.