Le Labo – Gaiac 10

French for “the laboratory,” Le Labo is a 15-year-old French perfume brand that is a subsidiary of Estée Lauder. They are popular for a number of reasons, one of them being their naming system (primary note + ingredient count).

One of the biggest reasons for their rise over the years has been their City Exclusives – fragrances tailor-made for only one specific city. Gaiac 10 is one of them and it was formulated, exclusively, for Tokyo, Japan.

Rarity is an element that can increase the value of a product despite its quality. So, it’s essential to know where Gaiac 10 Tokyo stands on that scale. 

Is it overrated or a well-appreciated gem?

Overview

  • Brand: Le Labo
  • Fragrance: Gaiac 10
  • Release: 2008
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Perfumer: Annick Menardo

Fragrance Notes

  • Top: Olibanum (Frankincense)
  • Heart: Guaiac Wood, Cedar
  • Base: Musk

What Does Gaiac 10 Smell Like?

Despite the expectation that the scent will be heavy on guaiac wood (as per the name), it’s not as prominent as the cedar. It starts off mellow thanks to the woods, and although one would expect it to grow into a strong scent over time, it stays light and misty throughout.

The brand mentions a “subtle, profound, and stable” wood that isn’t as dry, but at some point, you’ll come across this dryness despite the subtleness. It’s well balanced by the incense, though, and it provides a sweet, lightly smoky smell to the warm woodiness.

The musky scents in this add a clean, smooth, detergent-like essence that is pronounced as the fragrance dries down. It smells sweeter at this stage but the airy, woodsy notes are still noticeable.

Overall, it’s a beautiful scent that has been described as “enchanting,” “luminous,” and “radiant.” It’s not nearly as leathery as Patchouli 24, but the most accurate description is that it’s “peaceful meditation in a bottle.”

How Long Does It Last For?

It’s formulated to be a skin scent. This is highlighted on the website, where it claims that you shouldn’t expect the woody musk aroma to leave a trail of perfume.

So, if you’re on a mission to add it to your collection, keep that feature in mind.

Despite being intimate, it lasts for a good four – six hours, but you won’t enjoy the projection for too long. A good two hours is the best it can do.

When Should You Wear It?

It smells perfect in fall and winter.

It doesn’t smell as fresh or vibrant, but it is also wearable in the hotter months. But bear in mind that it won’t last as long in the heat.

Where Should You Wear It?

It’s a simple fragrance, meaning it’s versatile enough for a number of occasions all year round. The only issue is how close the spray sits on the skin.

It’s ideal for both formal (the office) and informal occasions (a lunch date with a friend), but don’t expect those around you to notice your perfume. If this is something you’re okay with, it’ll serve you well in several situations.

If not, calm activities like a chilled evening on the patio or a meditation session are still great occasions that benefit from its mellow features.

Presentation and Value For Money

The bottle is nothing fancy or unique and is the embodiment of the essence inside—clean and simple. It can also be seen as the embodiment of the target audience—calm, straightforward personalities.

The City Exclusives are available once a year, worldwide (September 1st – September 30th), though finding one is still a bit hard considering how quickly they sell out. If you’re lucky to find a bottle in stock, 50ml will cost you about $300.

It’s no secret that you can find cheaper options that are on a par in terms of smell and quality. As much as it’s a simple scent, it’s not as unique in the fragrance world.

Because of this, it, sadly, won’t provide great value for money.

The Bottom Line

It’s not as prominent as Santal 33 or Another 13, but it’s still one of the most popular scents in the City Exclusive range.

That said, a purchase should be seriously considered if you like something unique that hasn’t been created to serve the masses, only a select few, which is a smart move by the brand.

If it piques your interest, this is ideal for calm evenings by the fire – something to adore in those deep, reflective moments.

Perfumes that Smell Like Gaiac 10

The below alternatives are some of the closest in DNA:

1. Musky Gaiac (Dossier)

It was created as an alternative to Gaiac 10. It’s woody and smoky and is the closest thing to a cheaper version of this aroma.

2. Oliban (Phaedon)

Oliban is a 2011 woody fragrance by Pierre Guillaume. It comes off as an ambery, warm, spicy alternative, but its core scent structure smells the same.

3. Molecule 01 (Escentric Molecules)

Formulated around Iso E Super, Molecule 01 is a musk scent that’s as minimalistic as you can get. If you’ve ever smelled this concoction, you’ll know that it is sharp and somewhat peppery but still very similar to Gaiac 10.