Ladamo by O’driu smells like a Christmas craft store – scads of thick, velvety dirt, fallen apples, mulled wine, grated ginger root, the whole nine yards – but without the nasty chemical edge of the candle or stock oils that many American indies (BPAL, Possets, Alkemia, etc.) tend to rely on to create that type of vibe. It could be because Angelo Pregoni uses a ton of naturals, especially immortelle, to do the heavy lifting. But I’d bet that Pregoni’s famously kooky (and largely impenetrable to me) artistic sensibility plays a large part in it.
Some reviews point out that that Ladamo is basically an immortelle soliflore, but I disagree that that’s the case, at least at first. I mean, yes, you certainly get that bronzed, curried maple syrup vibe that accompanies immortelle wherever it goes, but the mossy dampness of the soil tincture, the watery (almost aquatic) magnolia, the metallic ginger-tobacco combo, and the smoky licorice note build it all out into something far more complex than is suggestible by one material alone.
The upshot is that Ladamo smells of all the brown, good-smelling things of autumn – root cellars, apple rot, and the hummus of the forest floor – mulched down into one compact but vibrant layer. An amber this may be, but spiritually, Ladamo shares a lot of ground with Comme des Garcons’ Patchouli, and artistically, it is what Foxcroft by Solstice Scents wishes it could be when it grows up and taps into a bigger budget.
The first half of Ladamo is borderline intoxicating to me. Boozy, deep, sweet but also bitter and earthy, it sells me a fantasy of my former Goth self, striding through a forest full of wet, fallen yellow and brown leaves, wearing long leather boots, a riding crop, and way too much eyeliner. But cool, you know? The Gucci ‘hobo chic’ version of that, not the crunchy granola one hastily knocked up by your teenage self in your nearest health food (New Age) store.
Alas, as the day goes on, Ladamo loses it stamina and eventually becomes just another old codger shuffling forward on the crutches of that immortelle, because immortelle is always the last to die. What was initially a complex, every-evolving smell doing an insane loop de loop from curry to brown sugar to maple syrup and golden leaf and hay and spice and back again, eventually whittles itself down to the faintly dusty, monochromatic booze sweat territory that most immortelle-heavy fragrances wind up in. Still, worth it for the first half of the ride.
Source of sample: Part of a sample swap with a friend. Ladamo seems to be no longer available.
Cover Image: Photo by freestocks on Unsplash