The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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New Release: Lubin Kismet

lubinkismet“Folly!” That’s how the elderly owner of the Lubin Perfume House, Monsieur Paul Prot, described the elephant-shaped perfume bottle that had appeared on his desk. It had been designed for a princess who was believed to be Indian, and so Lubin perfumers had consulted the writings of the famous Indian poet Valmiki. In his work, Valmiki paid homage to Woman by comparing her to the animal believed to be the noblest of all — the elephant. This seemed altogether odd to a well-mannered Frenchman in the early Roaring Twenties. But as for Kismet, the Eastern princess for whom this new perfume was intended, well, she liked it.

kismet-original

An original Kismet Baccarat bottle.

The beautiful Ottoman spy actually laughed when she saw the small crystal bottle of perfume that had been made especially for her. It featured a brightly decorated elephant, alluding to the verse of Valmiki’s Ramayana. Spiritual and multilingual, Kismet cultivated the mystery surrounding her background. She reigned over the Parisian parties of the Roaring Twenties for a time, then one day slipped away, never to be seen again. All that remained was the memory of her intoxicating scent — the scent of the perfume that Lubin had created for her.

Kismet was created in 1921 only to disappear in infamy like many other classic perfumes of the early 20th century.  Thankfully, Kismet once again is available through a modern interpretation.  Is it still worthy of a princess?

WHAT I SMELL:  Kismet unfolds gracefully with a warm, sweet, velvety smooth  citrus that quickly melds into a wonderful vanilla infused rose.  It’s soft and dreamy and it feels like it’s full of quiet whispers.  As the perfume develops, the focus remains on the warmed rose and the labdanum and vanilla, but the projection grows.  Never shouting, Kismet instead weaves a spell with the lightest of opoponax to let you know that it’s veil of beauty surrounds you at every turn.  Kismet is a mystery from the very start, slow to progress, the perfume moves quietly through its intepritive dance, mesmerizing you with every flourish.  Kismet is magic.

From the Lubin website:

Top notes are bergamot, lemon and petitgrain; middle notes are rose de mai, bulgarian rose and patchouli; base notes are labdanum, opoponax and bourbon vanilla.

salome1

Nazimova as Salomé, Salomé 1923.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Salomé’s Dance of the Seven Veils.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE KISMET: seductive, warm, inviting

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT KISMET: Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  Incredibly lovely, the opening is similar to Shalimar, but as it develops, it becomes a softer and more cashmere in its feel.  The vanilla, rose and labdanum mix together like a dream that unfolds while you’re awake.  Kismet is easily full bottle worthy.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral
  • Nose: Thomas Fontaine
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: $186 for 100 ml eau de parfum.

Sample provided by Arielle Shoshana.  Opinion my own.


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Idole by Lubin

Spicy rum and smoky incense are the first impressions left when applying Idole.  The scent is intoxicating in the way it wraps itself around you.  That initial opening then starts turning towards the bitter orange.  It still a bit boozy, but it now has more of a bite.  Still intoxicating.  Sometimes, scents with rum as an ingredient can get too thick and will overtake all of the notes.  Not in the case of Idole, it accentuates the spices and makes them pop. The real interesting part of this fragrance is that it stays in this boozy, spicy state for a long time, but then hours after wearing it, it does fade and the leather notes are what you are left with.  Usually you’ll notice the leather in the scent much earlier, but in this case you don’t find it until the end.  And in that end, the leather is soft and warm and very pleasing.  So far, this is my second entree’ into the world of Lubin scents and I’m happily surprised.   And from the pictures I’ve seen, the bottle is a work of art.

Idole Notes:

Rum absolute, saffron, black cumin, bitter orange peel, Doum palm, rock rose, smoked ebony, frankincense, sugar cane, leather, red sandalwood, amber

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent Type: Oriental – Spicy
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $160 for 100ml EDP


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Itasca by Lubin

I was really excited to sample Lubin’s Itasca, the scent that was designed to represent the North American Forest.  Itasca is named after Lake Itasca in Minnesota, my home state.  My father was actually born not far from Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River gives birth.  So as a native son, I was trying to see if this scent represented what I think of Minnesota.  Unlike my last review of 1828 by Histoires de Parfums where I loved the opening of the scent, but did not like the dry down; this is pretty much the opposite.  The dry down is lovely and the opening is nice, but considering the fact that with most scents you live with the dry down for the most part, I couldn’t have been happier.  Itasca opens with a fresh blast of grapefruit and pine.  It’s fresh, green and clean. It’s also very soothing and smooth.  Pine can sometimes get sharp, this does not.  In the end, Itasca evens out into what I would say is a floral scent, with just a hint of powder.  Itasca overall is a cool, clean and refreshing scent.  I think Lubin did a wonderful job of representing my home state.

From the Lubin website:

Top Notes:  neroli, marigold, mandarin, juniper berry, grapefruit

Middle Notes:  clove, tonka bean, clary sage, nutmeg, geranium flower

Base Notes:  Itasca Red Pine, Java Vetiver, Texas Cedar, Partak Incense, Ethiopian Myrrh, amber, Canadian Fir Balsam

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of 5 possible bones
  • Classification: Masculine
  • Expense: $110 for 75ml, EDT