New Perfume Review Lubin Kismet- Winter Rose

Now that we have passed the winter solstice the days are getting longer which means spring will be here before too long. I am already getting the first trickle of upcoming rose perfumes for this spring. If the past is any indication I will soon be buried beneath an avalanche of fresh sparkly roses. I’m not ready for it. I need a rose which is unafraid to strut her stuff with nary a bit of fresh to be found. The new Lubin Kismet is providing that bulwark against the fresh.

Ever since Gilles Thevenin brought Lubin back to life in 2005 he has been charting a consistent course. Reaching back to the heritage of the brand and re-formulating for the current day as well as making new perfumes with a vintage-y vibe to them. Kismet is one of the heritage reconstructions.

Gilles Thevenin

According to the press materials Kismet was originally composed in 1921 named after the Indian princess it was made for. Kismet the person was an enigma as she entertained in Paris during the Roaring Twenties. The story goes she wanted a fragrance which would be the only trace left of her after she left a place. Kismet the perfume was what the perfumers at Lubin came up with. For this modern version I was unable to determine who the perfumer was but Thomas Fontaine has been behind almost all of the previous ones and Kismet has a similar feel to it. So until I find out differently I suspect M. Fontaine is once again performing fragrance archaeology on Kismet.

What was great about the early rose perfumes of modern perfumery is they weren’t after fresh they were more interested in grabbing your attention and never letting go. This version of Kismet uses a rose and patchouli heart to do that.

Before the roses come out to play in Kismet a fantastically finger popping top accord of bergamot, lemon, and petitgrain sharpen the focus. This was such a staple vintage opening which has seen less use currently. When I smell it again, as here, I am reminded how effervescently bracing it can be. Soon enough two versions of rose, centifolia and otto, form a full-blooded rose note. An equally powerful patchouli is needed to stand up to it. Here is where Kismet gains a bit of power that is not seen in today’s new releases. The patchouli provides a dirty contrast to the lush rose all done at volume. When this combination is done well it is lovely; which it is here. An opoponax and vanilla base accord provides a sweetly resinous coda.

Kismet has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Kismet is a perfume for someone who does want their perfume to linger after they have left. For me it is going to be the antidote to the upcoming deluge of fresh as I cling to my winter rose.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Lubin.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Lubin Upper Ten- 19th Century Masters of the Universe

Every era has their movers and shakers. In the current time they can be internet moguls as well as the more traditional business kind of mogul. Also in 2016 the corridors of power are less defined. Back in the 1880’s not only were those corridors well known the members were a select confederation of men. Lubin Paris has been a brand which has explored, through fragrance, different European historical figures and times. With their latest release, Upper Ten, it is the American experience being interpreted.

Gilles Thevanin

Gilles Thevenin

Upper Ten comes from American Nathaniel Parker Willis who in 1850 described those men who were the visionaries and bullies as America began to exert more influence as “the ten thousand who matter”. President and Creative director of Lubin Gilles Thevenin wanted a perfume which captured the wood paneled parlors where those “who matter” met to divide up the opportunities. He enlists perfumer Thomas Fontaine to bring this to life. What Upper Ten really does well is to settle into a nice leather wing chair surrounded by polished woods.


Thomas Fontaine

Upper Ten has a very beautiful but maddeningly fleeting top accord. M. Fontaine uses bergamot, saffron, juniper berry, cardamom, and baie rose. It is a lovely opening but it comes and goes so fast it doesn’t have the chance to make an impact. It is a shame because I really liked the energetic way those notes all came together and could’ve done with a little more time with them. Geranium and leather form the core of the heart notes. This begins to assemble the lair of the men of influence. M. Fontaine imparts a softness to the leather by a judicious use of peach to blur the sharper framing leaving something more refined. That leaves the woods to arrive with gusto as cedar and sandalwood become the overwhelming accord for most of Upper Ten. These do have a sharp separation between the strong lines of cedar juxtaposed against the more arid features of sandalwood. The woods in Upper Ten are extremely desiccated and are only modulated ever so slightly by a bit of patchouli and white musk.

Upper Ten has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

Upper Ten is mostly a very dry woody perfume. Everything that comes before develops rapidly until you are left with the woods. I think the unforgiving nature of these dry woods will only be enjoyable for those who really like cedar and sandalwood. One day I was happy to be smelling it into the evening. The other time it was borderline irritating because of the almost unforgiving relentlessness of the woods. I liked it but it something I will only wear when I am in the mood for woods or getting my Vanderbilt on.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke