People of the Labyrinths (POTL) Luctor et Emergo

Luctor et Emergo by The People of the Labyrinths (aka POTL) — and yes, it’s a moronic name for a perfume company, but try not to hold it against them — is a vanilla-slathered incense fragrance that’s sweet, musky and a little bit fruity-floral. Terrific news if you’re a fan of foody (aka gourmand) fragrances, but if you like your perfumes not so edible, you might want to give Luctor et Emergo a pass.

Once the initial sweet-jam opening starts to fade, the wearer is strapped in for that full-throttle vanilla which, as far as vanillas go, is actually very nice — warm, pleasantly sweet, reminiscent of cakes baking and fresh puddings on the stove top. Needless to say, you’ll be an instant hit with the kids (not to mention a hungry spouse) should you decide you need a little spray of Luctor et Emergo to get you through the day.

There are numerous customer reviews on the Lucky Scent site stating that Luctor et Emergo is not a gourmand fragrance, but you’d have to engage in a willing suspense of disbelief if you’re going to convince yourself that vanilla is not primarily a food ingredient.

There appears to be a dash of neroli for a brief cut grass scent, some galbanum to evoke the scent of green apples, and perhaps a spicy clove is buried in there, as well. Color me surprised if there isn’t also some cinnamon and the occasional whiff of star anise thrown in for good measure, too.

After the vanilla and spices complete their tour of duty, there follows a drydown of light incense smoke, a sweet floral musk (ambrette seed) and a fragrant amber accord that brings the project to a wrap.

I’m sure I missed a few steps in that dance (patchouli and sandalwood, most likely, because everything seems to have patchouli and sandalwood in it lately; a bit of chewy black cherry at the opening), but I’m thinking you’ll get the general picture.

Luctor et Emergo can be worn by both men and women, though I would personally find its candied vanilla nature more attractive on a woman; that said, I suspect it would be a big sugary hit at a sweaty gay disco.

There are two versions of Luctor et Emergo: the eau de parfum (EDP), and the eau de toilette (EDT). I’m writing about the EDP version, so I can’t vouch for any similarities or dissimilarities to the less concentrated EDT, though I hear the EDT emits a distinct “Play-Doh” odor — so if you’re determined to buy the stuff, do yourself a favor and shell out the extra cash for the eau de parfum.


  • Des Esseintes

    I was underwhelmed by L&E (the parfum) when I first tried it, but still I managed to use up my decant in no time. There’s something comfortinng about it. Not vanilla, to me, but more heliotrope. Then starched woods/incense and amber in the base. The cut grass in the beginning translates as air-freshener to me. All in all I’d like to smell it again one day, but not enough to buy a whole bottle.
    By the way, I like the name People of the Labyrinths. It’s sort of gothic. And they’re a clothes brand foremost.
    Thanks for the review.

  • Nathan Branch

    Ah, that explains the name. It’s a much better tag for a clothing brand than for a perfume line.
    And yes, Luctor et Emergo (I keep wanting to type “Luctor et Embargo” — I must have Georgia on my mind) is rather a comforting scent, but there’s something about wearing vanilla that just, in the long run, does not appeal to me.
    Too many baking-in-the-kitchen associations, I think.
    So when I smell vanilla, I expect there to be a freshly baked cake nearby. Chaos ensues when there’s only perfume.

  • Scott

    I would personally find its candied vanilla nature more attractive on a woman; that said, I suspect it would be a big sugary hit at a sweaty gay disco
    At the risk of sounding like Johnny One-Note I’ll say it again: It’s those clever, no-BS statements that keep readers coming back to this blog.
    But I cannot be the only guy that thinks the name “People of the Labyrinths” is a crappy name for a clothing line too…

  • Nathan Branch

    Johnny One Nn — I mean, SCOTT!
    Now I know what to get you for Christmas . . .
    And when you shorten People of the Labyrinths to POTL, it makes for way better t-shirt graphics and belt-buckle designs, non?

  • This perfume from People Of the Labyrinths is nothing spectacular. It reminds me of some Montale fragrances I have tried and the Montale brand is much more affordable. If you like very rich scents then try Sweet Oriental Dream from Montale which has amazing lasting power. Another thing about people of the labyrinths is the name- I just can’t get over how contrived it is!
    Anyway I have only tried the perfume in a sample vial so I could easily be wrong but I guarantee you cannot go wrong with most Montale fragrances.

  • Nathan Branch

    I have tried out a few Montale scents, but not enough to get a true feel for the line. I have a few sample vials sitting in a drawer that I need to dig out and pay some attention to.
    From what I have tested out from Montale, I would tend to agree that it’s a more affordable version of the People of the Labyrinths fragrances. For how sweet and vanillic Luctor et Emergo turned out to be, I would have expected a far lower price tag. I mean, if you’re going to get all hoity-toity about the quality of your ingredients, why use vanilla at all?
    I view vanilla in perfume the way that most people view Lysol for the bathroom — it’s best use is to cover for something you don’t really want to smell. IMO: People who looooooove vanilla fragrances are people who love food, not perfume.