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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Perfume Review: Idole de Lubin


Lubin’s 466th scent since 1798, Idole de Lubin was created by Olivia Giacobetti, the nose behind Frederic Malle’s En Passant, various L’Artisan scents, and the whole IUNX line. As Victoria (Bois de Jasmin) points out in her review, Idole is Giacobetti’s darkest fragrance yet. It is a nocturnal, resinous, smoky, woody, warm scent that is somehow very Lutenesque in its feel. Idole brings to mind precisely the image the creators intended, namely that of a wooden Idol, “a mute and hieratic figure of Nubian divinity”, around which “bark was burning and resins were grilled”. Still (again I agree with Victoria), Giacobetti retains her crown as a Queen of the Light (the title originally bestowed by Chandler Burr on Jo Malone, undoubtedly another master of olfactory transparency). Even though the color this scent evokes is pitch black, at the same time it manages not to be heavy and overwhelming.

I love Idole, love its every stage, from the pleasantly medicinal, sweet and spicy blend of rum and saffron of the top notes, to the strangely sweet, almost fruity, smoked wood accord of the middle notes, to the incredible leathery and resinous drydown. There isn’t a single note that I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the composition, this perfume is so perfect for me, when I put it on, it feels like second skin. Idole is the scent of wanderlust to me, one whiff of this smoky, dark potion and, the homebody and potato couch that I am, I start dreaming of adventures a la Jules Verne, of faraway exotic journeys, of “languid Asia, blazing Africa, a whole faraway world that is absent, almost defunct…” I adore and treasure perfumes that make my heart and my mind fly away from the mundane everyday reality; Idole now tops the list of these beloved Wanderlust Scents.

A review of such a scent would not have been complete without a Baudelaire poem (do I hear groans in the audience?). I will let the poet finish this review by telling about that longing to be far, far away, in the way only he can:

Grieving and Wandering

Tell me, does your heart sometimes fly away, Agatha,
Far from the black ocean of the filthy city,
Toward another ocean where splendor glitters,
Blue, clear, profound, as is virginity?
Tell me, does your heart sometimes fly away, Agatha?

The sea, the boundless sea, consoles us for our toil!
What demon endowed the sea, that raucous singer,
Whose accompanist is the roaring wind,
With the sublime function of cradle-rocker?
The sea, the boundless sea, consoles us for our toil!

Take me away, carriage! Carry me off, frigate!
Far, far away! Here the mud is made with our tears!
— Is it true that sometimes the sad heart of Agatha
Says: Far from crimes, from remorse, from sorrow,
Take me away, carriage, carry me off, frigate?

How far away you are, O perfumed Paradise,
Where under clear blue sky there's only love and joy,
Where all that one loves is worthy of love,
Where the heart is drowned in sheer enjoyment!
How far away you are, O perfumed Paradise!

But the green Paradise of childhood loves
The outings, the singing, the kisses, the bouquets,
The violins vibrating behind the hills,
And the evenings in the woods, with jugs of wine
— But the green Paradise of childhood loves,

That sinless Paradise, full of furtive pleasures,
Is it farther off now than India and China?
Can one call it back with plaintive cries,
And animate it still with a silvery voice,
That sinless Paradise full of furtive pleasures?


Idole de Lubin is now available in Printemps for very reasonable EUR 59. The rumour has it that it is going to be available in the US in a couple of months. I am counting the days!

*The photo is a still from Пятнадцатилетний Kапитан (Fifteen Year Old Captain), an old Soviet movie based on Jules Verne’s book Dick Sands: A Captain at Fifteen.

27 Comments:

Blogger Qwendy said...

Hi there,
I can't wait to try this scent, I can't believe it's so reasonable! I'm delighted to have tripped over this wonderful blog, could I have read about it on Andy's site? I haven't yet had a chance to go through all of your posts, and I'm looking forward to it! Now it really is a happy new year! qwendy.typepad.com

11:19 PM EST  
Blogger Christina H. said...

I can't wait to for this too!I hope they bring this sooner than later.Great review!

8:38 AM EST  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

This is clearly the most-lemmed scent on MUA--and you have done your part in working us all up to a frenzy! Like everyone else--I can't wait (but I will, because I am not willing to pay the outrageous price of the bottle that sometimes shows up on Ebay:))

9:52 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

W,
It is lovely to see you here, I have been enjoying your blog for a while now.
The price of Idole is surprisingly reasonable. I am not sure what size the bottles are, but it seems reasonable either way, whether it is 50ml or 100ml or 30ml.

10:00 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
Thank you, and you know I can't wait for it to be launched here either!!

10:01 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

J,
It seems like the scents we lemm for are going to be available to the US, we just need some patience. Heh.

If the shipping price of Printemps was reasonable, I would have considered ordering Idole now, but I beleive someone (Christina? Patty?) inquired and they were told that it maybe as high as EUR 50!!

10:08 AM EST  
Blogger Christina H. said...

Yes,I had called the Les Printemps store in Paris and spoke with the lady in the shipping dept.She had mentioned that they were currently out of stock of Idole but would be happy to ship to the States.She also mentioned that shipping COULD be as high as 50 Euros.Whether it is or not,I have no idea.I'll be patient for it to come to the US.Besides,there are so many other things to desire before that arrives!

10:26 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

So, M, how close is it to Costes? I keep meaning to try my sample, but have been hesitating...whether for fear of being disappointed for fear of needing a bottle immediately, I don't know. But I don't love Costes & someone, somewhere said they were similar.

10:50 AM EST  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I have been in love with this fragrance since I tried it in November, and I am already half way through my bottle. Lovely review!

Robin, I said that I found the top notes reminiscent of incense in Costes. Idole is by no means identical to that fragrance, but it is very Giacobetti, especially in rendering incense and woods.

11:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Cait said...

I join the legions of people dying to try this scent! I wonder how it compares to L'Ether d'IUNX. I adore the shampoo from IUNX that is scented with rum and dates, so I figure this will delight me, too.
Thanks for your review!
Cait

12:32 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
I will be a good, patient girl too :-) I will wait till it comes to the States, but heaven knows it's hard...and I may break down yet LOL

12:32 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

R,
It is reminiscent of Costes in a way, but not in any way identical. It reminds me- not in notes, mind you, just in the general spirit or feel or what have you- of a host of other scents, among them Nombre Noir, Andy tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain, Feminite du Bois...again, I am not talking about the notes.
Please report what you think about it when you get to try it!!!

12:35 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

V,
I am in love with too, oh so in love! :-) It also showed me a new, unexpected side to Giacobetti. I am very interested to see what she does next now.

12:36 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Cait,
I remember L'Ether vaguely, but I wouldn't say they are very similar. Idole is spicier, and darker, and more "substantial".

12:39 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Ok, couldn't stand it so put on a dab...although already wearing 5+ fragrances on various parts of my arm, so not a good test. But would say it is fabulous, not me at all, and I don't need to own it.

2:18 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

R, lucky you!! You could resist the spell of Idole! :-D

2:46 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I've joined early in the ranks of Idole fanatics. I agree with you, M., in that it is quite close to Lutens scents (of which I own a fair amount). Some time ago, I posted my boyfriend's comment on POL: that it smelled the way a kiss should taste. I spritzed him with it and it is absolutely wonderful on male skin too... and it is indeed quite intoxicating when it wafts up during an embrace. To me, this is one of the most erotic scents around, both masculine and feminine without being androgynous in the least bit. Who was it that said the most attractive dimension in a man was his feminity, and in a woman, her masculinity? This is what Idole is like: a hermaphrodite, Dionysiac god-scent.

4:26 PM EST  
Blogger Patty said...

My little bottle is being shipped by a friend tomorrow, I'm going to count off the days until it arrives.

4:43 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

C,
Do you have a blog? You must start one, you write beautifully. And I could not agree more on your take on Idole. I would love a man to wear it, it would be stuning, as it is on women.Dionysiac god-scent! That is great.

5:14 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Patty, I am super envious (but in a good way :-)) Enjoy the wonderful Idole when it arrives!!

5:15 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Thank you, M. I am (or was) a professional journalist but I've switched jobs recently because I couldn't take freelancing anymore... But I am seriously considering a blog, when I get a little room to breathe in my new job as an English teacher!

2:18 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Please let me know when/if you do start it!

4:35 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

You know, I hate it when I read a review of something I can't get and think: I need that. Why can't you stick to reviews of SJP? (Kidding, kidding...) This sounds so intriguing I am trying to think my way further through it -- is it reminiscent of SL in terms of the fruity/winey richness? The changes in the scent while you wear it? In terms of the darkness, how compared to (don't laugh) Bal a Versailles? (That dries down very dark on me, in a great way). Something "nocturnal, resinous, smoky, woody, warm" pretty much sums up something I'd love... is it incense-y at all? How is it compared to that other Giacobetti dark/light masterpiece, Passage d'Enfer? Thanks.

10:19 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

M,
It is reminiscent of SL in terms of the richness, depth and complexity of the composition, and because it is evocative of the(exotic) things and locations that Lutens's scents usually are. In the drydown it does remind me a tiny little bit of Feminite du Bois with its sweet woodiness. I wouldn't call Idole fruity, well maybe fruity the way sandalwood sometimes smells fruity (to me at least).

It is not alike Bal a Versailles really, but in terms of darkness...quite a big darker. If Versailles (again to me) is very dark brown, Idole is black.

Compared to Passage d'Enfer...well, I don't really get incense from Idole (smoke yes, but not incense), so I don't find them very similar in that respect. Idole is also more substantial and much "darker" than Passage.

I don't know if these ramblings help you at all! Idole is apparently coming to Luckyscent and Beautyhabit quite soon...

10:29 AM EST  
Anonymous Santemon said...

Oh, I am fast falling under the spell of Idole... having grown up in tropical Asia, Idole, unlike many other exotic fragrances, absolutely conjurs up teak boxes full of silks, simmering spices, sugar cane juice drunk during a heat haze and dripping from the corners of the mouth... the perfect scent to a soundtrack of Ravel's Asie set to Tristan Klingsor's text...

"Asie, Asie. Asie
Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice
Où dort la fantaisie comme une impératrice
En sa forêt emplie de mystère

Asia, Asia, Asia!
Ancient, marvelous lands of nursery tales
Where imagination sleeps like an empress
In her forest, surrounded in mystery"

1:17 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

S,
Oh you write beautifully! Your comment made want to spray Idole right away.

8:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Katie K said...

The least you could do is credit the translator: William Aggeler.

9:14 PM EDT  

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