The Founding father

Pierre-François Lubin, one of the greatest perfume makers in history, left an indelible mark on the art of perfumery. Born in 1774, his life spanned one of the most turbulent and exciting times of French history. Lubin was initiated to perfumery at the age of 10, under the apprenticeship of Tombarelli, a perfume master in Grasse. In 1790, he left Grasse for Paris to complete his training under Jean-Louis Fargeon, who was then still serving as the official perfumer to Queen Marie-Antoinette. Even during her imprisonment in the Tour du Temple, the subsidiary was finally created in New York.The next thirty years were the goldenage for Lubin in the US, until the GreatDepression in 1929. The Americansubsidiary, which had been outselling its head office in France, had to close upshop in 1930. Distribution in the US wastaken over by a sole agent still in NewYork City.Despite the tough economic climate, the company launched Nuit de Longchamp in 1937, a timeless perfume evoking the nightly splendor of a white flowered garden; Nuit de Longchamp became a particular favorite in America where its success lasted for several decades. By the end of the 1930’s, the perfume had become a global success and was especially treasured by the international upper classes. Nuit de Longchamp gave a boost to the then ailing company and helped it to recover.



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Grisette: She slips through the crowded streets on nimble feet with her head held high, a slim, fleeting figure that is the very image of Bohemian Paris. With her rosy cheeks and innocent gaze, she is hurrying to meet her lover, but Grisette is already thinking of another, dreaming wistfully of a new romance. Their first kiss beneath that awning sealed a promise truer than any other vow. Citrus notes of grapefruit and bergamot give way to a simple bouquet of Moroccan and Bulgarian roses. Discreet heart notes of orris oil are cloaked in incense and hints of cedar wood with touches of musk and amber melt into the scent of Madagascan vanilla absolute.


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.


It opens with a sweet, tart blend of Isabella grape and bergamot, spiced up with elemi and artemisia. At its heart is Bulgarian rose, mingled with raspberry liqueur and Sichuan pepper, which gives way to base notes of precious wood enriched with amber, frankincense, and a hint of dark chocolate.


Upper Ten is the fragrance of the corridors of power. The aroma is like entering a New York or Chicago Gentlemen’s Club in 1880. Cedar, sandalwood and fine leather with an added floral touch of geranium make up the main accord of this manly tribute to the life force of these American pioneers. Cardamom quickens its woody note while smooth cinnamon invigorates the mix. The amber, musky base brings more potency and depth, conferring a reassuring strength.