A Lab on Fire is an interesting company and Liquidnight is an interesting fragrance. When I say “interesting”, I don’t mean it in the polite British way of saying “bad”. It really is interesting and unique.
The idea behind Liquidnight was to recreate the mystique of New York City at night. I think the fragrance successfully achieves its mission. Liquidnight‘s synthetic vibe and natural-smelling woody note very much reflect New York’s hi-tech modernism and New World traditionalism.
To understand Liquidnight, we need to understand A Lab on Fire’s founder, Carlos Kusubayashi. Mr. Kusubayashi grew up in Japan. After high school he became an apprentice in the shop of a master kyoji mounting calligraphy and paintings on screens, scrolls and sliding doors. Mr. Kusubayashi’s Japanese upbringing is likely responsible for his preferences in aesthetics and taste. Simplicity, modernism and refinement are the aesthetic values that define A Lab on Fire and its fragrant creations.
Mr. Kusubayashi’s Japanese upbringing is likely responsible for his preferences in aesthetics and taste.
After seven years of working as an apprentice in Tokyo, Mr. Kusubayashi landed a job with a French collector of Asian art. Instead of returning to Japan after his work in France was over, Mr. Kusubayashi went to New York City. There he met a sculptor who was working on incorporating high-art scents in his sculptures. When the sculptor decided to sell some of his fragrances, Mr. Kusubayashi took over the business of selling his fragrances online.
This first exposure to perfumery and creating a scent inspired Mr. Kusubayahi to start his own fragrance line. This is how A Lab on Fire was born. Mr. Kusubayashi envisioned A Lab on Fire as a limited production niche fragrance company. Through collaboration with the best talents in the fragrance industry, A Lab on Fire would produce original and creative fragrances using the highest quality of ingredients.
This commitment to quality, originality and Japanese-influenced minimalism are evident in Liquidnight. It definitely smells like a modernistic perfume. My first impression was that it smells “chemically”. My second impression was that it has oud in it and that it is not bad at all.
My first impression was that it smells “chemically”.
Liquidnight opens with bergamot and lime, which do not smell at all like any other bergamot and lime I’ve smelled before. In fact, if I didn’t read that these are the top notes, I wouldn’t have known. In the opening I get the medicinal slight woody aspect of agarwood. It is not listed in the official ingredients but the same impression can be recreated to an extent by mixing other notes.
With a slightly off-putting opening, the fragrance develops into a woodier, more natural smelling mix. The medicinal oud-like notes become more predominant. I believe the hinoki wood in combination with something else is responsible for this.
The heart notes are dominated by the hinoki wood. Its piney-creamy facet is very similar to the one found in Commes de Garcon’s Hinoki. The only difference between the two is the slightly more medicinal nuance present in Liquidnight.
The hinoki notes subdue in the dry-down and incense starts to emerge. It took me a while to figure out that slight smokiness as it was mixed with the synthetic elements, which continue to thrive from the opening through the dry-down.
Liquidnight has a longevity of 6+ hours but it quickly turns into a skin scent. The projection is moderate and does not go beyond the opening notes. I have never applied too much and I suspect over-application will result in an overwhelmingly chemical experience unpleasant for you and everyone around you.
Technically Liquidnight is a light-to-moderate scent and one can argue it could be worn anytime and anywhere. I am of a more conservative bend and would prefer Liquidnight in the evening. It doesn’t have much to do with the body of the fragrance but more with the sense of mystery and mystique it portrays. The combination of chemical-smelling and natural-smelling notes gives a strong big city feeling to it. Therefore, I don’t see myself wearing Liquidnight at the cottage or the countryside. It can work great, however, on a colder day in the city when you are surrounded by honking cars and neon lights.
The combination of chemical-smelling and natural-smelling notes gives a strong big city feeling to it.
The interesting thing about Liquidnight is that it creates this feeling of loneliness you experience in a very busy and crowded place. It is the feeling of the apathy you experience when your senses are over-saturated. This doesn’t mean that Liquidnight is a bad fragrance. It means that it does not fit any mood or situation like many citruses do.
A modern big city male suffering from mild melancholy and general dissatisfaction with society and culture. This may sound like diagnose for a disease but it may not be far from the truth.
Liquidnight is likely to be appreciated and worn by avant-garde artists and generally people who seek the creative and unusual.
Liquidnight is likely to be appreciated and worn by avant-garde artists and generally people who seek the creative and unusual. It is not for dads who want to smell trustworthy or girls who want to smell pretty. It is for the big city artist who fights an internal (and external in some cases) struggle with himself, their talent and the “dismall” state of the art. If you are that artist, you can find Liquidnight at LuckyScent.com or the ALabOnFire.com.
- Comme de Garcons Wonderwood Review (scentbound.com)
- Hermes Santal Massoia Review (scentbound.com)
- Uncommon scents (johnlewis.com)