L.12.12 Red (Lacoste)

I happen to love Red Rooibos tea, iced. This lovely beverage is an herbal tea made from rooibos harvested along South Africa's Fynbos, a belt of shrubland stretching across the country's Western Cape. Rooibos is only found in South Africa, making it rather valuable among tisane connoisseurs, if such folk actually exist. I'm a fan of tisane teas, and alternate between rooibos, peppermint, chamomile, and lemon-ginger. I also love black teas from Ireland and England, and I prefer them all iced. The flavor of rooibos tea stands apart from the rest, a smooth, dry, oddly tannin-like essence (despite its extremely low tannin levels), which always reminds me of unsmoked cigarette tobacco. In fact, if one could bag treated tobacco for steeping, I imagine its flavor would be pretty close to that of rooibos tea.

As a fan of this herb, I expected to be wowed by L.12.12 Red. Its pyramid lists rooibos tea, and quite a few people on Fragrantica smell this note, if the votes for it are to be believed. Alas, upon application I was immediately disappointed. Where's the tea? I waited five minutes, shaking my wrists in the air to move the drydown along. Sweet fruit (mango), woody spice (cardamom), the same pickled ginger that I sniffed in L.12.12 Green, a vague woody amber, and a hint of white musk were all I could smell. I re-applied. Still no rooibos. Two hours later, searching in vain, I finally gave up on the tea note in Red. It seems this entry in the "colors" series by Lacoste is simply about warm spiced-fruit notes, your garden-variety woody amber, and not much else. I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm still disappointed; whenever I smell a new Lacoste, I always think, "This is the one that will win me over," but end up feeling entirely "meh."

One day a Lacoste fragrance will lighten my wallet, but Red's semi-functional air-care approach doesn't make the grade. To think they were so close: just one note would have cinched it. Damn those misleading notes pyramids!

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