I like my niche perfumes like I like my men: intellectually challenging, and impossible to go take out into public. So a few weeks back, I found myself so overcome by a gnawing curiosity to try Le Labo’s Another 13 that I went to Nolita (which is just an unnecessary differentiation from SoHo) to fetch myself a sample. After all, the once-exclusive collaboration between AnOther Magazine and Le Labo was now available to the public at large, so my fragrance FOMO was spiking, plus it had all the trappings of a fragrance (or man) I don’t know how not to love: it lacked any discernible warmth in its composition, and it was repeated likened to a robot. Another 13 sounded altogether f***ing weird, and therefore altogether perfect. I knew I had to have it.
Perhaps it’s strange, then, that it took me until this weekend to finally spend some with my sample. Sure, Another 13 is vying for affection from a few other Le Labo sample suitors, but I haven’t been courted by any of them yet, and besides, they’re just florals. They’re more likely to pamper, to eagerly seek my affections with gentle caresses and powdery flourishes. Maybe I was afraid to introduce him to my coworker, or maybe I just knew in my heart of hearts you can’t have a moment on the dance floor set to Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know?” if you keep chasing emotionally available men. Whatever the case, it finally happened, and oh honey, say hello to my new fancy pants robot loverboy:
Depending upon where you look on the internet, Another 13 is composed of notes including Iso E Super, amyl salicylate, moss, ambrette, jasmine, pear, and ambroxan (a synthetic musk). The result is fascinating, a breathtaking feat of olfactory engineering. It’s incredibly clean, but it feels animalic; it’s fuzzy, like a sweater, yet polished, like cold chrome. It teases at vegetation, florals, maybe even fruits, but it never feels relatably organic. Like Ian Holm said of the Xenomorph in Alien: I admire it for its purity.
What I’m trying to say is I’ve I already picked out dresses for our spring wedding (it’s this spring, because patience is not this blushing bride to-be’s virtue, and it’s dresses plural because I want more costume changes in this motherf***er than a Madonna concert), and if I played my cards right, this it’s gonna be a shotgun one, too. After all, if perfumes are boyfriends, Another 13 is the aesthetically too-perfect MFA student whose interests include talking about his thesis project on post-humanism and showering excessively after sex. He doesn’t seem in–or even capable of–expressing human intimacy, but that just means he’s hard to get, so you’d better trap him before he gets away, right? Whatever. Tin roof rusted, y’all! (And I mean that literally, because our babies will probably be part robot.)