Following the easy appeal of Kiste, New Sibet suggests a return to the strange and challenging aesthetic often associated with the brand in a way that underscores increasingly refined technical skills. As is the standard with this line, the scent is unprecedented. And, as with all things genuinely original, itís unsettling at first sniff. This is a brand that cannot be assessed via paper strips or drive-by sniffs of the cap; theyíre scents that have to be worn and lived in ó even if they make you uncomfortable. New Sibet is perhaps the best example of this.
A few weeks ago I was traveling across the US and found myself driving through the country roads of the American Midwestís Corn Belt. Because Iíve always lived in cities, getting out into the heartland is a treat for the senses. I drove with the windows down and the a/c off (even though the temperatures were soaring) just so I could take in the scent of passing fields and whatnot. While New Sibet doesnít smell like fields of corn per se, the impression that it gives me is along the same lines ó that of a dusty, dry atmosphere buzzing over a huge open space.
I suspect that this scent will be contentious as itís such a unique, tonal smell ó not one that hits you hard with obvious nostalgia (Sova), high drama (Zahd), or easy comfort (Kiste). In fact, itís discomforting at first ó like getting lost in an arid, open, alien landscape. Itís cerebral, sophisticated, packed with subtleties, but the initial impression I get upfront is of sandy / beige colored leather ó perhaps a vintage leather jacket done in a western style. The leather is wrapped around scorched florals and a buttery musk that splits the difference between skin, hair, and baked earth. If thereís a hay-like feel to it at all, it would be dry, clean hay. What is extraordinary, though, is how dovetailed these notes are. I could never say ďthis is a leather scentĒ even though leather is clearly present (Iíd peg the genre as somewhere between leather, woody-oriental, and chypre, but itís a scent that debunks the very concept of genre classification). If anything, Iíd be inclined to say that itís a sandalwood-based scent as thereís a distinct bubble of buttery-rich blonde woods and mysore carrying the low end. It smells ambient, like the air of a space in which multiple scents intertwine but without any muddiness whatsoever. Unlike Slumberhouse releases of the past, thereís no wall-of-scent going on here ó nothing syrupy, goopy, or particularly dark / aggressive; itís open, spacious, and very dry. If Mare was the scent of a depopulated world in which vegetation retook ownership, this is a similarly desolate space, only without the green, damp vegetation. Itís dusty, barren, distant ó yet calming once you dial into it. It does smell like a thing from the past, but not quite a vintage perfume (even though there seems to be a considerable vintage influence at work). If thereís a genealogy to the brand at all (despite his obvious knack for decoupling himself from anything heís done before), Iíd situate this as an estranged cousin, several times removed, from either Sova or Sana (Une Fleur de Cassie and LíAir de Rien come to mind as well). Although I think it might divide fans of the older style, I suspect that New Sibet will draw a new audience of its own. More unexpected than anything heís released as of late, but I think thatís why people flock to the brand in the first place as Slumberhouse remains one of very few lines that is actually innovating and is way ahead of its time.