The People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo is now a niche cult classic. Launched in the late 1990’s, this fruity, boozy scent really paved the way for numerous niche perfumes launched in the early ’00s, as well as mainstream perfumes launched in the past 5 years. It’s an unusual perfume that has stood the test of time. It’s something that I hope doesn’t get ignored, especially in an era when everyone and their mother, brother and third grade teacher are launching niche perfume brands (and getting bought up by huge corporations).
Luctor et Emergo opens with cherry cough syrup – alcoholic, medicinal cherries. And there’s this Play-Doh™ accord going on which I think is supposed to be benzoin and marzipan. There’s a dried tobacco, sweet and like tonka beans. The fragrance is rather linear and tenacious. I’m one of those “lucky” folks. It smells like children’s cherry cough syrup and Play-Doh™ on me for 10 hours before the smoky, vanilla joss sticks arrive. OK, that’s a lie. Somewhere in there, “children’s cherry cough syrup” is replaced with “Luden’s Wild Cherry Throat Drops©“. The dry-down is sweet, smoky vanilla joss sticks (with even an innuendo of the burning wood/stick) and an excessive amount of tonka/coumarin. The tonka comes across as the sweetest vanilla/almond shisha. And like real tonka beans, it’s this sweet vanilla with a hint of cinnamon-like spiciness. So, the base is sweet, smoky and spicy. It reminds me of classic Papier d’Arménie.
Despite saying it smells like modeling dough, cough syrup and cheap incense, there’s something that keeps me coming back to Luctor et Emergo. It’s weird while being familiar. For me, it’s a nostalgic fragrance that reminds me of childhood (sick days at home with cherry cough syrup and burning benzoin; one of my favorite toys ever, etc.). All fragrances are different on other people, but I think Luctor et Emergo is the prime example of a fragrance whose differences are distinctive because of memories and perspective. I think all wearers agree that it’s sweet and boozy, but it’s our memories/experiences that make it appear more/less “sophisticated” than my description. Ex. I think it smells like childhood nostalgia, others may think it smells like a trip to Italy filled with indulgences like fancy desserts and sweet digestifs.
Notes listed include green grass, white florals, vanilla, almond, sour cherry and precious woods. Launched 1997. PERFUMER – Arturetto Landi
Give Luctor et Emergo a try if you like tonka beans, sweet gourmands and/or cherry scents. Or if you like perfumes like Cartier Delices EDP, Serge Lutens Rahat Loukoum, By Kilian Back to Black, Parfums de Vanille Cherry Vanilla and/or Guerlain Le Petite Robe Noire.
Projection and longevity are above average. It’s one of those that will even survive a shower. This is “too much” in my opinion, but I also think this throw and longevity is also what has made it so popular throughout the years.
The 3.4 oz bottle retails for $190 at Beautyhabit. Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINON – Cherry cough syrup and Play-Doh with incense. I’ve explained why I like it. It’s weird but oddly familiar. It’s not something I wear too frequently because of the commitment it requires with its above average longevity, but I do like it. I also think it’s one of those cult OG fragrances that sown the seeds of modern niche perfumes. So, if you like niche or indie perfumery and haven’t tried this one
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