Space NK Laughter (2000): The Shadow of a Smile, Maybe {Perfume Short (Review)}

Woman Roaring with Laughter as she Undergoes a Head Tapping Session © Arthur Schatz; bottle of Laughter EDT © Space NK

I wanted to smell Laughter by Space NK or a long time, for two reasons. One, because it is credited to perfumer Christopher Sheldrake now working at Chanel who was before attached to Serge Lutens: he is perceived to be a perfumer with artistic credentials. And two, because you simply get curious about knowing how ticklish and happy a perfume can smell. Not surprisingly, Laughter is a citrus fragrance, thought most of the time to convey an optimistic, summery tonality. Beyond that, the fragrance is a bit less predictable in terms of its gender-connoted personality and its overall impact.   

If there isn't necessarily a Manichean combat taking place between the masculine and feminine principles inside the bottle of all unisex fragrances, in this case, Laughter seems to put the feminine principle K.O. during the first seconds of the first round. My first thought is: this perfume has a masculine vibe.

Although offered as a fragrance for both women and men, the juniper berries mingling with the dry and clear citrus, the black pepper and the woody-ambery rather standard and synthetic-smelling base - there is simply too much of the synthetic Galaxolide in here, a cheap, universal toiletry-musk with overtones of wood splinters - all contribute to making the jus come across as a splash of cooling eau at the end of a shaving session at your friendly neighborhood barber shop. This normally entails shaving your beard in public, not your legs... 

After this brisk typical scent of men's grooming, the perfume mellows down to a slightly rounder and warmer ambery-lemony scent.

I continue to find the base notes to be on the harsh side. It is only when the latter soften down that I can imagine the sunnier and more natural impression of a fresh glass of lemonade on a back porch, transporting the smeller closer to the semantic field of the name, Laughter. The longer drydown is a very discreet skin-scent impression of musk and aromatic citrus. It is rather pleasant, luminous and diffusive yet a bit thin in the eau de toilette version. It is still for me nevertheless the best stage of Laughter.

The signature of perfumer Christopher Sheldrake is appended to the fragrance on the Space NK website but honestly he does not seem to have put much of himself in it. Laughter feels for the most part of it very standard-issue - not with regard to Sheldrake himself who has become a household name among perfume lovers thanks to his collaboration with perfumer-whisperer Serge Lutens in particular - but with regard to what any professional perfumer is capable of doing.

Laughter eau de toilette is clean, citrusy and polite as hell. On top of that, it barely conceals the fact that it prefers to shop for synthetic underwear at the men's department of a penny-and-dime store.

Notes: bergamot, grapefruit, lime, juniper berry, angelica root, verbena, rosemary, fennel, coriander, patchouli, amber, musk, ginger.

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