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  1. #1

    Default What is the Lubin story?

    I was reading the reviews of Idole and was surprised to read the following provided by Basenotes:

    Lubin's 466th fragrance, and it's first of the 21st century.

    This SHOCKED me. Looking at the directory there are 21 fragrances listed, some of which are early 20th century, but only two are current.

    Looking at their website, I see they date back to 1798.

    Can anyone give some insight into the history of this House? From the statements above, Lubin is one of the oldest houses and one of the most prolific. Is that for real? One would think there would be countless Lubin threads, rivaling those of Guerlain or Creed in frequency, but that certainly is not the case.

    This is my 1,000th post!
    Currently wearing: Augusto by Mazzolari

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Congrats on your 1000th post! A whole new world has opened for you.

    There used to be an article about Lubin somewhere. It used to be a prestige house in the old days, before it became unknown in the latter part of last century.

    Then a creative director from a commercial house (I forgot which one) put all his savings plus some investors in it, and now he's in charge of Lubin.
    Wanted: a cap of Bvlgari Thé Vert

    Wanted: L' Artisan Timbuktu or Fragonard Concerto

    Feel free to visit Polderposh - a young up & coming Dutch fragrance blog!

  3. #3

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Congrats on 1000!! I too would like to know more about the house. I just picked up a bottle of Idole from Luckyscent, and I just love it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    The house of Lubin has been "resurrected" by Gilles Thévenin who is doing an impressive work at relaunching classics (like Nuit de Longchamp, chypré goodness) and creating new ones (like Idole). First-rate fragrances, really.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    That's an interesting little titbit indeed

    PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather

  6. #6

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    I wore several of the Lubin scents in their first incarnation - L de Lubin, Eau Neuve, Gin Fizz and Eau de Lubin. I am thrilled at the level of expertise and passion displayed in the resurrection of the house of Lubin. I've already gone through half a large bottle of the new Eau Neuve - it's not "exactly" the same as the original note for note, but it hews closely to the structure and spirit of the original. I have high hopes for this house, and also the fresh blood at the house of Piguet.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    I`ve met Gilles Thevenin personally and make an e-mail interview with him.
    here`s some parts (Perfume Critic site has it all):
    "I’m 49 years old, was born in the center of France, in a very old city called Bourges, which had been the Capital city of Gallia 2000 years ago. I studied economics and languages in Paris at the end of the 1970’s.
    I joined Guerlain in 1987, as an export manager, in charge of more than 20 countries. It was for me dreams come true, and I keep beautiful memories of my time with the company. I became creation director at Guerlain beginning of the 90’, and left the company at the end of 1995. I’m very grateful to the Guerlain family because they were both teachers and fathers to me. I owe them much of what I am now".
    "After my time at Guerlain, I joined Rochas as an international marketing director. Rochas, a French company, had been purchased it in 1987 by famous German group Wella. In 1994, Wella had purchased another family perfume company, a German one, Mülhens. Mülhens was itself the owner of the French perfume house Lubin since 1984. After this acquisition, Wella decided they would put together all their perfumes activities into one single organization, later called Cosmopolitan Cosmetics. I then applied for the managing responsibility of Lubin, besides my Rochas assignment, in order to bring back the Lubin head office back to Paris. Only few people then were still able to keep Lubin going, and I was convinced to be one of them. Lubin in this period was much neglected: many countries were not supplied anymore and they had even decided at a certain point to stop the activity completely, because it was not profitable anymore. Knowing that, I felt it was my urgent duty to prevent such a heritage from disappearing from the scene. I knew that a large part of the Lubin archives were kept in a safe place at Mülhens in Cologne.
    By chance, people at Mülhens had a long tradition of dealing with respect with older historical documents, since it had itself been a family company for more than 200 years: it was founded in Cologne in 1792 and sold by the same founding Mülhens family in 1994 to Wella. As a result, the archive heritage was still available, even if many things had been lost, destroyed or even stolen in the course of time.
    However, the president of Wella, after a time of reflection, decided in 1999 that Lubin was not worth investing on anymore, because too old, too dusty, and not fashionable enough. He was basically right: most of the perfumes now are created in the wake of a fashion creation, and profit from the awareness created by fashion/couture collections. As a result, a pure perfume brand can hardly survive without the advertising effect created by the fashion collections. The only way to survive is to keep a very small structure, and to devote all the investments to the highest fragrance quality you can have and dare the most original creation. This is something you can’t do within a big group, but that some crazy individuals can cope with. I then left Rochas, and started to deal with the purchase of Lubin from Wella.
    It took me several years to sort out the archives, get to know senior perfumers who had been working with Lubin in the past. More important, some accepted to help me. I had to identify as well the best suppliers in France that would believe in the (my) future of Lubin. In the meantime, I had to sell everything I had, including my big apartment in Paris, ancient furniture, paintings and classic cars. You really need a lot of money to finance the survival and new development of an historical perfume house. I had the feeling I was doing my duty, more than business. I made sure all the means I could find were made available for Lubin and the people around me are just the best around".
    "L’Eau Neuve de Lubin was first launched in 1968. It was created by a talented perfumer called Roger Broudoux, who disappeared from the scene a few years later. L’Eau Neuve was a tremendous success then, it sold incredibly well in the whole world for more than 25 years. It was the typical “hippie chic” French fragrance, very natural and simple at first smell, but then you realize how much it’s sophisticated and refined. It all starts in a very fresh and simple way, with lemon, orange and bergamot, a slight touch of lavender. Then it soon unveils its aromatic side, with the thyme and coriander spicy notes, that fit together with clary sage and marjoram. There’s also a slight hint of flowery notes floating around, rose and jasmine in the background. It comes down after a while to a drydown of woody notes, where oak moss is dominant. However you will identify a hint of patchouli as well, much used in the sixties. It combines at the end with the exotic but elegant woody notes of cedar wood and sandalwood. Nothing can compare with L’Eau Neuve in its category; it’s a unique fragrance that is even more actual today than it was 40 years ago. We relaunch it now, in October 2007, with a new “psychedelic” bottle produced by Pochet. We could preserve the original formula, and have been very careful in selecting the raw materials.

    As far as a Vetiver at Lubin is concerned, it came from a discovery I made in the Lubin archives. We actually had a Vetiver fragrance at Lubin in the second half of the 19th century till WW1. But I didn’t want however some kind of old fashioned dusty fragrance. When we started with it, I asked Lucien Ferrero, the composer, to get off the beaten track where many vetivers keep in order to please everyone. Most important of all, there are already some beautiful vetiver notes on the market. The one created by Jean-Paul Guerlain for his own House of course, and more recently the “Vetiver Extraordinaire” by Frederic Malle, created by Dominique Ropion. It was no use launching another one if not to emphasize on a new aspect of the vetiver note, set it in a different context. The original idea was… “Winter”! Actually it was to recreate the natural smell of a very elegant man, an aristocrat, coming back from hunting in winter. On his way back home, he stops over in a small church in the forest, where incense is burning. Now that the fragrance exists, we describe it as the smell of the “Green Man” of the Celtic legends. He is a very mysterious creature that lives in the middle of the forest. Girls are frightened by him, but still they are very much attracted. He is often considered a sort of god of fertility in pagan legends. That’s why the fragrance is both mystical and sensual at the same time; it’s very masculine without being overwhelming".
    "Lucien Ferrero is a senior perfumer that created in 1974 the last international success of Lubin, called “L de Lubin”. The formula had been changed in the meantime, and I wanted to get back to the original one, that’s why I originally got in touch with him… when he was about to step into retirement! But he told me he would do an exception for Lubin, and he made some new “L de Lubin” concentrate for me. We then decided to relaunch this one in the first half of 2008. While we were discussing, I showed him a few older formulas I had. He was the one who gave me the final solution to produce the real L’Eau Neuve formula again, and as a result I gave him the responsibility of the production. At a certain time, we ended up talking about a 19th century Vetiver formula I had in the archives, asking what we could do around it. Then it started snowing outside (it’s quite rare in Paris) and I started asking how a “winter Vetiver” would smell like. It all started with the story of the hunting lord I was speaking about just before. A fragrance often starts with those little stories we tell to explain how something should smell, or to evoke and illustrate childhood memories we have, it helps the imagination. The result is “Le Vetiver” of Lubin, a fragrance that was actually not in my original plans. It has a high concentration in Javanese Vetiver roots, with a sort of mystical smell as well, thanks to incense and myrrh, and spices of course, nutmeg and Caribbean pepper, which enhance the “fresh” side. The vetiver essence on the drydown combines with clove tree; both are from Java, where I lived several years when I was in my twenties. I used to smoke “Kretek” then, cigarettes with clove-flavored tobacco. The cedar in the background combines with a hint of mild tobacco, both are from Virginia, and that smell reminds me the smell of American cigarettes boxes, with “Virginian tobacco” written on them. They made me dream of the USA when I was a kid living in a remote village on the French countryside! As you see, you end up influencing the creation with your own fantasies and memories, it’s always like this".
    "I have a number of older formulas, and I know people who had been making them when they were working with Lubin in the 1950’s, and who know the recipes. For example Jeannine Mongin, who is a retired perfume composer, and who started her career at Lubin in 1952, working with Henri Giboulet, the great perfume creator who made Gin Fizz in 1955. Jeannine was one of the founders of L’ Osmothèque in Versailles, and helped me a great deal. Thanks to her help, we have been producing again small quantities of some of the older Lubin fragrances, like Gin Fizz and Nuit de Longchamp. I’m not satisfied yet with the result. It’s sometimes disappointing, because some of the raw materials are not available anymore in sufficient quantities, or with the right quality, on the market. It means we could only produce very small quantities every year; otherwise we have to find new supplies or replace with something equivalent. It all takes a lot of time and devotion. Some other raw materials are even completely forbidden now, and very difficult to replace with something else. It took us 2 full years to make a real “L’Eau Neuve” again. At a certain point I was on the verge of dropping it, since we had to overcome several difficult technical problems. It would have been simpler to create a completely new fragrance with the ingredients that are available to-day. I’m happy that we “saved” this one. We will keep working in order to save a few others, but it’s impossible to say how much time it will take before we reach a solution. It doesn’t bring anything to relaunch an older formula if it’s not a beautiful and perfect fragrance for today. At the same time, we are not a museum; we have to keep creating new high quality fragrances for today’s customers."
    "Some “Napoleonic colognes” as you say, from other brands, are still available in their original formulas, like the Cologne of Jean Marie Farina, created in 1806, or the “Echt kölnish Wasser” of 4711/ Mülhens, created in 1792. I have in the Lubin archives a few such very old “Cologne” formulas, like the one for Napoleon’s sister, princess Pauline Borghese, created in 1809, or the one that was created by Pierre François Lubin for the Russian Tsar Alexander 1st in 1821. On the contrary of more modern fragrances, Colognes are all more or less based on the same combination of ingredients. The differences between them rely on the quality of the essences that are been used, on one side, and the «secret ingredients” typical of every perfume House, on the other. I do not know if people are still that much interested in such older formulas, but we will give them a chance in the future, because they actually smell very good".
    I do not believe in hidden talents or concealed beauty. A good perfume sooner or later becomes a commercial success. On the contrary, some short term commercial successes are not good perfumes, but they get so much advertising investment on their name that people end up buying them. However, they do not last. I do not believe in “good taste” or “bad taste” either. Some people make believe they have “good taste” or at least a taste that is better than yours just because they want to sell you something. They are the masters of arrogance. I call them “commercial gurus”. At the same time, a man in charge of a company who says he prefers unknown beauty to commercial success is just a big lier. The quality perfume business requests a lot of heavy investments, which means I had to convince people to gamble large amounts of money on my old House and creations. We need to be successful; otherwise we’ll disappear, because we are not supported by a large group, but completely independent. We need to be successful, of course, but not at any price. It might have been easier and more profitable to make fake luxury fragrances at a lower cost, but then it’s no more my job, and I would get depressed. I have the feeling the brand Lubin is still full of resources, and that what we bring onto the market is unique. As you can smell from the first Lubin fragrances that were issued recently, our fragrances have their own character, they have a strong personality, and… they smell good! I do not have a vision, I just follow my instinct. And my instinct tells me that people anywhere in the world now request real quality from the fragrances they purchase for a high price and wear every day. They are no more satisfied by a famous brand or name on a nice bottle. I can provide that sort of quality and originality to our customers because I have the right partners to help me doing so, and that I have the financial means to produce real high-end perfumes.

    What are your 10 favourite perfumes – The “Best of the World” Perfumes?

    "I will refer mainly to great classics, and of course exclude the Lubin perfumes from the selection. I’m fond of most of the classical Guerlain perfumes, such as “L’Heure Bleue”, and for men of course “Habit Rouge”. I love “Aromatics Elixir” from Clinique, both very elegant and very sexy, as well as “Mûre et Musc” from l’ Artisan Parfumeur. I love very much “Chanel N 19”, to me maybe the most beautiful Chanel perfume, maybe because it reminds me of a person I was very much fond of. Among the colognes I like “L’Eau d’oranges vertes” from Hermes, as well as of “L’Eau de Rochas”. One of my favorite classics of all times of course is “Femme de Rochas”, created by Edmond Rudnishka in 1944, maybe the most beautiful Chypre. And to mention an oriental fragrance that is not Shalimar, but still a very beautiful creation, I adore Habanita of Molinard. Last but not least, I’d love to see Ether de Iunx, by Olivia Giacobetti, back on the market, maybe the most elegant of all, unfortunately unavailable at present."
    Vetiver The Great!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    mind blowing insight and a story laced with passion! Thnx moon_fish!
    Last edited by jenson; 28th May 2009 at 11:54 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Fantasitic, thanks.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder


  10. #10

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Moon_fish, thanks for one of the most fascinating, informative and encouraging posts I have seen on Basenotes!

    Now I have a much keener interest in this house and I wish them success!
    Currently wearing: Augusto by Mazzolari

  11. #11

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Cool, what a great interview - thanks for that. I bought Idole - it's quite something. Intrigued now . . . wonder what else will appear from the vaults? Great to see such passion . . .

  12. #12

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Thanks, moon_fish!
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, ...... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

  13. #13

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    moon_fish, thanks very much for sharing - I'd read this interview before on the PerfumeCritic site, but it is such a treat to have it right here again. I was very much moved by Thevenin's recollection of selling everything he owned in order to pursue his goal. The back-story to the creation of his vetiver scent is the true essence of creativity - the ability to bring dreams to life. It just makes my mouth water to hear about Gin Fizz again - I'm looking forward to re-uniting with that old friend of mine!
    Last edited by Jardanel; 28th May 2009 at 05:11 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Now that's what I call a recap! Thanks for sharing. Lubin is even more lovable.

  15. #15
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the Lubin story?

    Fantastic! Bravo for his efforts. I love the re-issue of Nuit de Longchamps & own it. I have a vintage Gin Fizz & I wish him luck on a successful recreation. The original is drop-dead gorgeous! Rock-on.

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