LSA Loves is a weekly column where our editorial team raves about something they love. From skincare to a dish or a Netflix series, this is a look into what gets us ticking.

Perfumes are a tricky thing to navigate. They are extremely personal, and every scent conveys a different emotion.

I’m no perfume connoisseur, but I do have a couple of favourite scents of my own: Si by Giorgio Armani and Bluebell from Penhaligons will always have a special place in my heart.

When I stopped by Le Labo Ginza on a rainy November afternoon last year, I thought I’d check out its Japan City Exclusive: the Gaiac 10. 

The Gaiac 10 is nothing like what I’ve experienced before. The first time I caught a whiff, I realised my breathing become longer and deeper and I felt as though my heart rate slowed down. I was at peace. 

That in itself stands for everything I know about Japan. The woody waves of its incense notes are reminiscent of a traditional temple: soft, inviting and full of zen.

Spritzing on the perfume is like being garlanded with an aura. It wears close to the body, and is most noticeable in the warm embrace of a lover. 

What makes the Gaiac 10? 

Gaiac 10 review
(Image credit: Jocelyn Tan for Lifestyle Asia)

Those who have taken a whiff of Le Labo’s intensity through its signature Patchouli 24 would assume its perfumer, Annick Menerado, would make Gaiac 10 a full-force, nose-grabbing fragrance.  Maybe even something like the hot-blooded Incense series from Comme des Garcons

Which is why when Gaiac 10 was released, it turned heads quite literally. With it comes clean, musky scents that are linear and well-balanced, even a little spicy-sweet at the end of the day. While it may have been marketed as a masculine perfume, the delicate nature of this scent tells me otherwise. 

So why the Gaiac 10? 

Gaiac 10 review
(Image credit: Jocelyn Tan for Lifestyle Asia)

Truth be told, I’m not the best at dealing with stress and anxiety. Everyday situations do take a toll on me, and the entire COVID-19 situation only exacerbates it.

While others find themselves seizing the day with their scents, I find solace in the Gaiac 10 because it’s peaceful mediation in bottle. The perfume slows things down. It brings back memories of a simpler time when I was younger, accompanying my grandmother to the temple with not a worry in sight. 

It sits by my side as a steady, portable source of comfort and tranquillity, quietly cheering me on from the nape of my neck. 

Jocelyn Tan
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.