The idea for Paris*LA, one of the recent launches from niche brand A Lab On Fire, is simple enough: "LA, captured through Parisian eyes...", and the description, "a refreshing Coca-cola marries a smooth-shelled macaron", is enticing, perhaps, depending on your predisposition towards soda-inspired gourmands. I love them, the fizzier the better.
Paris*LA starts off energetically, with ginger and tart citrus (the notes: key lime, ginger, cola accord, neroli, coriander, thyme, macaron accord, amber and musk) and slowly rearranges itself into its key elements, the cola and the biscuit. The cola, admittedly, I'm not sure I'd recognize if I wasn't looking for it. Paris*LA is only lightly fizzy on my skin, perhaps because I'm dabbing from a vial, and while all the cola "pieces" are there, it's not the exact cola I'm used to (i.e., Diet Coke, slice of lemon please). Paris*LA's soda is little more herbal, a little less vanillic. So there was no "aha" moment, as there is with say, Demeter Gingerale or Comme des Garçons Soda.1 Still, it smells great — if it were a soda, I'd drink it.
The macaron, likewise — the pieces are there, and it's biscuit-y and a little sweet, but all the same, I don't think I would have said macaron. And so what? It's a delicious dry down, with the biscuit and spices and herbs, and a little touch of lime peel seems to come and go long after you'd expect it to have disappeared. Farther on, there's a lovely creamy-nutty powder finish to tie everything together. In the early stages, it's admirably dry for such a foody perfume, but it does get sweeter (and more vanillic) after the first hour or so.
Verdict: a little quirky but completely wearable, great fun AND a perfect winter comfort scent. Plus, in the relative sense it's cheaper than free, sensible perfumistas having long since decided that $100 is the new free. If you like gourmands, or just need something to chase away the winter blues, do give it a try. If it were available in a smaller size it would go on my buy list, but for the moment I am resolved to never buy more than 30 ml of any fragrance again. We'll see how long I last!
Do comment if you have another great suggestion for a gourmand to chase away the winter blues!
1. And come to think of it, while there are dead ringers for Gingerale and 7-Up, I'm not sure there really is a dead ringer for Coke, although there are lots of cola-ish fragrances. If you know of one, do comment.