Not Marie-Antoinette – Review: Lubin Black Jade

The stories perfume houses want us to believe…

“A flacon made of black jade hid the last gentle breath of a long-kept secret. The recipe, that Pierre François Lubin as an apprentice had secretly copied from Jean Louis Fargeon, purveyor to the Duke of Angouleme, has now been found. Marie-Antoinette ordered the fragrance as the Trianon garden was being built in Versailles, far from her sumptuous life at court where she enjoyed halcyonic days before the eruption of turmoil and revolution.

The perfume recipe was entrusted to a noble lady and a loyal friend of Marie-Antoinette’s and has survived over the centuries. The fragrance, which today has been revived, was described by Lubin up until the 1930s as “Jardin Secret”.

-excerpted from the press material via First in Fragrance

This is a great example of things marketing people say to make us buy perfume. Allegedly this is a perfume made after the original recipe of Marie Antoinette’s favorite scent. The name results from the “fact” that she carried it always about her person in a black jade flask.

Octavian Coifan calls it a fake, and I have to say I tend to believe him a lot more than the marketing folks at Lubin, but that is my personal opinion after all, everyone is free to choose the version they prefer. Or disregard the entire back story and just concentrate on the juice, which is lovely after all, based on an old recipe or not. (Okay, you may regard the super pretty bottle as well, I love it and therefore included three images of it for your viewing pleasure.)

Black Jade was created in 2011 by Olivia Giacobetti Thomas Fontaine (according to new information) and includes notes of galbanum, bergamot, cardamom, rose, jasmine, incense, cinnamon, Indian sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean and amber.

All the frills aside, Black Jade is a spicy rose on an ambery base.

Opening with fresh bergamot and a tiny dollop of galbanum, a good dose of cardamom appears quickly and stays for a while, enveloping the emerging rosy-jasminy heart in a spicy veil, assisted by cinnamon and a bit of incense.

The base is nice, soft sandalwood over ambery vanilla.

Black Jade is voluptuous, but transparent, it is never overwhelming although it is quite diffusive, it lasts for about four hours on me. Not bad at all.

I can’t get rid of the feeling that I would be able to enjoy this a lot more, had it been released without the Marie-Antoinette angle and the resulting hullabaloo of overwrought expectations on the one hand or the growing indignation on the other.

Black Jade is a good fragrance, and while it doesn’t floor me, I enjoy wearing it and it garnered a few compliments here and there.

Nope, that's not Marie-Antoinette either, it's Kirsten Dunst.

I like it, but for what it is worth, I don’t for one second imagine it as Marie-Antoinette’s perfume. (This one is much more like it!) Another Marie-Antoinette inspired perfume is the sadly discontinued La Haie Fleurie from L’Artisan Parfumeur, created by Jean-Claude Ellena in his pre-minimalistic period. Maybe I should go looking for my sample of that one next…

Update, Oct.24: According to the owner of the House of Lubin, Gilles Thevenin, the perfumer credited with Black Jade is not Olivia Giacobetti, but Thomas Fontaine.

Image source: luckyscent.com, mein-duft.de, sarcastig.blogspot.com
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95 Responses to Not Marie-Antoinette – Review: Lubin Black Jade

  1. lady jane grey says:

    Well, the note-list doesn’t sound bad… (as opposite to the marketing blah-blah, which does and is entirely contraproductive at least for two people already : for you and for me…)

    • Olfactoria says:

      True. But they must not trust their juice very much at Lubin, if they think they need a big story to bolster it.

      • lady jane grey says:

        What on earth make them think that I’d belive those obscure ideas ??? I’m not a complete lunatic ! But they think we’re and that annoys me the most on all those marketing stories around … I mean they have a nice little flacon and the Giacobetti there – that’s a nice enough marketing already.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Absolutely. They are not exactly hiding the fact that Olivia Giacobetti did the perfume, but it is not immediately apparent either, instead they focus on the stupid Marie Antoinette story. Deep, deep sigh.

  2. Ines says:

    Luckily for me, I sampled this without reading the blurb (actually, I stopped in the middle here too, I just have no patience in reading that kind of thing, to remain polite). :)
    I like it – like you said, I’m not floored by it, but it’s one of those perfumes that I would grab without hesitation in the morning while getting ready for work.
    And the bottle is truly lovely. :)

  3. Liam says:

    Interesting… I have to agree with you too, the Marie-Antoinette angle may set the bar a little too high, expectations may fall. But this sounds like some nice stuff none-the-less.

  4. James Dennard says:

    “nice perfume, lovely bottle, unnecessary story”.

    The first thing I thought of when I read your review and the above quote was the Creed house. I’ve read fanciful stories about the house and individual perfumes that are suspect and unnecessary. Why tell the tall tales when the fragrance good enough to stand on its own merits?

    • Olfactoria says:

      A really good question. Maybe the people who manage those companies don’t believe in their product. They feel they have to embellish or flat out lie to sell it. That is sad.

      • deeHowe says:

        I went to college with two (wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent) sisters who each owned and wore a Creed perfumw— each chosen for the woman the scent was supposedly originally created for, and that they as individuals identified with.
        Did the fragrances smell good? Nope, not at all (but that’s partly that they were not to my taste), but if you asked about the perfumes they wore, you didn’t get information about the fragrance, you got the (supposed) back-story.
        Two otherwise incredibly smart girls, totally buying into the aspirational identity of the Creed house!

  5. vanessa says:

    Sounds more like one of Olivia Giacobetti’s own creations then if it is “transparent”. The PR people covered themselves though by slipping in the bit about the “old recipe”, which is just as well, or we could only conclude that Olivia has very good genes or has had a lot of “work” done since the 18th C.

    And I love L’Intrigante that you introduced me to, so that places me more at the scene of M-A’s actual possible perfume preferences!

    On an off-topic and rather silly side note, back in the 80s I interviewed the Head of Engineering for a well known brand of French cakes, whose surname was Marie-Antoinette!

    • Olfactoria says:

      V, so how did Monsieur Marie-Antoinette smell? Maybe that’ll give us a clue? So funny that he sold cake of all things! :D

    • lady jane grey says:

      Marie-Antionette & CAKE … LOL (a pity he wasn’t a boulanger…)
      Vanessa, now I’m intrugued to know which french cake… – macaron, eventually ?

  6. Hazel says:

    It is the modern day marketing that most companies seem to pay for…

    Like the many bad commercials that run rampant in Television Ads.

    I’d rather if they are going to invent a fairy tale to sell a product, that they
    create a new tale to tell…go all out and design a story that can be sold with the
    perfume…perhaps a mysterious stepped back in time or a step forward in time
    story line? It would be more interesting and not a twist or out and out lie to sell
    the products.

    But that is just my opinion….the perfume does sound interesting though. A Spicy Rose.

    • deeHowe says:

      Hazel, I agree— I am head-over-heels in love with the stories Tarleisio has written for the Amouage fragrances (especially for Memoir Woman), and would love to see that sort of thing become part of the “package” so to speak!

    • Olfactoria says:

      What an interesting idea! Hermes did something like that for Eau de Merveilles – there was a set where the (LE) flacon was accompanied with a booklet that contained a short story by a writer, written especially for the perfume. But that is not a very well known fact, sadly and it was only available in Hermes boutiques for a limited time.

  7. deeHowe says:

    I’m really fond of Olivia Giacobetti, whose talent speaks for itself— do you know, for all I’ve been hearing about this fragrance, this is the first moment I actually realized it was an OG creation? Which is too bad—such a talent (and with a following, no less) shouldn’t be buried in ad copy!

    • Olfactoria says:

      So true, I was researching this perfume for the longest time without ever coming upon the fact that it is a Giacobetti creation… why hire a nose with such a name and impact if you don’t use it? Thankfully they did it anyway, and thus the scent is as good as it is, at least they didn’t opt for marketing only.

  8. Tara says:

    Yes, I agree they are really not helping themselves with that Marie-Antoinette nonsense. I was quite interested in this perfume before but “spicy rose on an ambery base” does not inspire. I’ll be sure to give it a sniff if it passes my way though, the bergamot, galbanum and cardamom opening does sound nice.

  9. I was fixated on the bottle when I first saw this, but wasn’t pleased with the juice when I ordered a sample. Recently, I saw the bottle and was pleased to find that the cap looks very cheap in person. :)

  10. civava says:

    Lovely bottle. I haven’t tried it yet but as I’ve read your opinion on it, it is not my perfume either.
    Just nice. That doesn’t work for me anymore even if I had plenty of money to spend.

  11. thevenin says:

    A small precision from the “marketing folks” at Lubin: Olivia has nothing to do with this perfume,
    since she never accepts to work on older formulae, or scents formerly created by other people.
    If you want to smell pieces of history, go to the Osmotheque in Versailles, they have a huge collection of original scents of all brands, with the original ingredients. But you can’t wear them,
    nor purchase them legally. Finally, concerning older formulas, if you want to check on the way
    they were constructed in the 18th century, the information is widely avalaible: have a look at “le parfumeur françois” written by Barbe in its 18th century edition, or the “traite des odeurs”, by Dejean from the same era. That’s what we have to deal with when reconstructing a formula.
    It takes time, lots of trials, and a lot of work. And if you don’t like brands with an history, there’s
    a lot of modern stuff to choose from on the market.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Now that is a very interesting comment, thank you.
      First of all, I’m not entirely sure you are indeed representing Lubin, since your tone is quite hostile for someone working in sales. But aside from that, your information leaves more questions than it answers.
      Why does Lubin say this perfume is by Olivia Giacobetti and you say it is not?
      You accuse us of not liking a brand with history, when our chief concern with Black Jade is that it is not an accurately reconstructed historical formula?
      The issue is not at all whether anyone “likes” your brand, but that the stories you sell along with the scent that just don’t seem to gel somehow.
      Black Jade is a very nice perfume, but in my opinion, it is one more of the “modern stuff” available on the market clothed in a beautiful flacon and a huge story.

  12. thevenin says:

    Hostile? don’t you think your comments are hostile, when you assert we are producing lies? You have bad habits: you always expect people working in sales to creep in front of bloggers, because we are supposed to be afraid of your noxious comments? I’m the owner of Lubin, and I despise the people who criticize other people’s work and publish without even checking the most basic information. Noone in my company ever said Olivia did the job for Black Jade. Olivia works on new projects for Lubin from time to time. The perfumer who is working on our ancient formulas is Thomas Fontaine. He is an experienced and highly skilled professional, he knows much about old recipes . Besides that, he has a huge documentation, including very old documents and books gathered all along the years, as well as me. I have purchased “le parfumeur français” from a library auction in the US: people who are looking for older recipes can find them if they try to. We do our best to provide good smelling and qualitative stuff, with what is allowed today, in respect with the original olfactive shape of the said formulae. Not a single old formula can be duplicated identically and sold as it on the market, even the ones that are even 25 years old only. Not because of the costs, we are financial people, but because of the law enforcement, which is very strict. without mentioning what was produced in the 1930′s, or in the 19th century, where some ingredients cannot even be identified precisely. Our role is to keep that heritage alive, the spirit of the creation. If you think Black jade is “modern stuff”, please do find one modern perfume on the market which you find similar to it! You are used to collecting old bottles with old stuff inside, and sniff that with nostalgy. But you don’t know what they were really smelling when they were produced. The more they contain naturtal stuff, the less perfumes last in time. and not only naturals: aldehydes, for examples, turn into vinegar after a few years only. When they were young, your grandmothers were smelling good, but not like their old perfumes you are now purchasing on e-bay. What partly saves older perfumes is their drydown. But the rest is spoilt.

    • Olfactoria says:

      A pleasure to meet you, M Thevenin.
      Thank you for your elucidating comments. It is interesting and curious that only now you correct information that is freely available from many sources, like citing O.Giacobetti as the perfumer of Black Jade.
      I stand corrected, if this is not the case and will update my review accordingly.
      As for your other points, I, in fact, do not expect anyone to creep in front of me, much less members of the perfume industry, but I do expect people I interact with, to treat me with a modicum of respect and good manners. Things can be talked about in a professional way, not in an aggressive and basically rude way. As the owner of Lubin you did not exactly represent your brand in a way that is very inviting, I’ll keep that in mind.
      To take your own phrase here, “what partly saves your comment is your understandable outrage at what you perceive as a false accusation on my part, but the rest is spoilt.”
      I apologize, if my personal viewpoint that I, at no point, present as an absolute truth (how could I?), has incensed you in such a way.
      Sincerly,
      a noxious blogger.

      • thevenin says:

        Look at what a person who is been cited at the beginnig of your comments is writing about most new releases in his blog, presenting himself as a perfumer ( !!!) . When such people are being put forward by other blogs, every comment loses its credibility. You, delivering comments, have nothing to lose, whereas the “sales people” or most other people working in the industry, who never react against such agressions, do care about not losing their jobs, because they are employees. They mostly don’t react because they are afraid of the consequences.You know that already, because, as you said, you expect sales people not react with an “hostile” tone, but to react quietly and politely, even if they are being insulted. How do you react when someone is insulting you? I’m not hostile, i just want to make a point, for once.

        • Joe A. says:

          I don’t think the point is that reps of the company should “creep” before bloggers… it’s that a *professional* representative of a brand would do well to have some tact and not react like a spoilt child having a tantrum in such a public forum if he/she wishes to impress what is ostensibly an audience of buying consumers. It doesn’t reflect well on the brand, and almost anyone in sales or customer service would realize this.

          I doubt that this is the first time a Lubin product has been criticized or negatively reviewed in print. Am I wrong? Most readers are savvy enough to be able to interpret any writer’s opinion and weigh it against their olfactory perception of the creation. I’ve heard many glowing personal reviews of Black Jade, but I also am a bit incredulous at the claims of being a faithful reproduction of a formula from the 18th century. My primary concern, as a consumer, is whether the product appeals to me; however, such a petulant attitude certainly does no favors to the company, in my opinion, in the eyes of the public consumer.

        • deeHowe says:

          Hey, Mister Rude!

          If it weren’t for the bloggers, I wouldn’t know about Lubin at all. As someone who spends upwards of $2,000 per year on perfumes, it’s people like me who you want to know about your brand.

          I promise you this: your response to this blog post has completely put me off the Lubin brand, and I will NEVER purchase a Lubin fragrance, on principle.

          Money saved.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I’m sorry that you feel insulted and I can see were you are coming from. Nonetheless, I do try to not react emotionally in situations like this, but use my adult skills of communication. And that is what I take issue with – the way you chose to react. And you chose the public venue too.
          But it is not my intention and my way of dealing with things, making a war out of this.
          I will update my review regarding the perfumer, as by your information. Other than that I stand by my opinion, and as hard as this may be to fathom, bloggers are independent and therefore not bound by any affiliations or threatened by bullying.

          • Nancy says:

            Wow. I hardly think that you were being bullied here. I hope in the coming weeks you can revisit your post and imagine yourself the owner of a niche perfume company, one which has a small (by industry standards) distributorship, and one on which your livelihood depends. A company where you pursue you passion of fragrance. Where your goals are to create pleasing scents of good quality.

            Now. Read the blog. Now. Read the response after response to which you responded – without a thought to the possibility that Lubin is house that does not stand on it’s own, but is a company run by a person. Now, imagine that person, who has likely spent more than a year on the creation, packaging and marketing of a launch. Think about that. Unlike larger houses, Lubin does not produce two scents a year. I’m going to guess that you, yourself spend not much longer than 30 minutes on a blog entry. If you have an off day, no matter.

            Imagine how that person feels. Pretty damn bad, I expect.

        • Ruth says:

          I am neither a blog host nor a perfumeur. I am, however, a consumer and great appreciator of fine fragrances. This calendar year I have spent in excess of $16,000 USD on perfumes and related products (as many here know; I share a lot ). One of those purchases was a bottle of Lubin Black Jade. The bottle is attractive but the cap was cheaply rendered. It is a pretty scent, not an amazing one, it does smell very modern. Whether it is one of Ms. Olivia G’s creations, I do not know although it fits very well with her known aesthetic. Was this truly a favored scent of Marie Antoinette? I doubt anyone alive today really knows…without proper documentation it’s merely hearsay. Frankly, I don’t care a single bit. I choose a fragrance based solely upon how well I like it.
          What I find truly offensive is your hostile and combative attitude toward an individual who has stated only their opinion and comments based upon available information. Disagreement might have been handled in a much more appropriate fashion, evidence I would assume you have access to, might have been presented in a constructive way. You have not acquitted yourself or your company well this day.

  13. Pink says:

    I am now not in the least bit interested in purchasing a bottle of Black Jade. It now has an unpleasant back story. One in which I just read from the postings of a certain Thevenin. I love to read reviews, they are opinions, simply opinions. I enjoy reading others opinions and sharing mine as well. I choose to spend my dollars on perfumes I enjoy and with companies I value. Lubin will forever remain an unpleasant company in my mind because of the comments left by Thevenin. I liken this to the situation involving Laurice Rahime when she wrote a nasty letter to another perfume company over a name dispute. The reprecussions among the perfumistas was and remains fierce. I expect this to be much like that situation.With so many fragrances on the market today, it makes sense to buy from a company with positive representation, one who accepts and supports diverse opinions not one who wishes to silence them.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Pink, thank you for commenting.
      “Positive representation who is accepting and supporting diverse opinions” that is very well said and very true.

      • Marie says:

        I’d never heard about Lubin before I read this blog post, but I certainly have now, and I’m with Pink. I will never ever purchase nor try anything from that line. Perfume purchases, like any luxury purchases, must be a pleasure to fulfill their purpose, and purchasing a Lubin product can never become that after this. But I’d venture a guess that Lubin’s owner doesn’t care. That makes two of us. There’s enough to choose from without having to bother with this line of products.

  14. Tama says:

    I have sampled Black Jade and it is nice perfume. I saw the whole backstory and glossed over it like I do with most perfumes – Lubin is not the first to have eyes rolling at the marketing blurbs, and I’m surprised M. Thevenin has taken your comments so much to heart. Ultimately it is about the perfume, no? not whether Marie Antoinette wore it.

    Ultimately the best response to criticism, when one is a professional, is to agree to disagree with courtesy.

  15. Wow. What a thread.

    I already mentioned this on FB, but thought I’d reiterate here. I do understand the use of backstory. It sells. And I would rather see an “ancient recipe” recreated than hear a false history (Creed). Whether or not this is indeed Cleopatra’s favorite scent (I have my doubts but I’m quite skeptical about such things) doesn’t matter to me one bit or another. However, that sort of thing DOES move many a consumer – to whit, those two acquaintances of Dee’s who wore their scents for the backstory alone (see comment above). I also could care less which celebrity wore which jeans, spritzed which scent, or drove which car.

    I do have a question, though. If Black Jade is meant to be “in the spirit of” Cleopatra’s scent, why wasn’t that simply said in the press release/description. I’d have accepted that quite readily. It’s the “secret formula” cloak-and-dagger that really rings false to me. But anyway…

    I prefer to make up my own mind about things. With perfumes, I do this by looking at the list of notes and conversing with (or reading reviews by) other perfumistas. I try to weed out the “I hate the bottle” kinds of comments and get to the person’s opinion of how it smelled, especially if there is a description. I want to know what mood it evoked. How did it develop? What notes were apparent? How long did it linger? I don’t care about the story.

    Here, the description about how the scent actually smelled impressed me. It piqued my curiosity about the scent. I was interested.

    Then I started to read the comments. I personally do not know that it is a good idea to have a business owner commenting on blogs and social media for the reasons displayed here. M. Thevenin certainly pushed past the wall of assertiveness and tumbled into the field of aggression, and that’s clearly not professional. First and foremost, a blog is an opinion-based platform, which a professional should know not to take to heart. Correcting factual information – “Giacobetti did not make this perfume, in fact Thomas Fontaine did” is one thing, but to call a blogger (a consumer!) that her thoughts are “noxious” is quite another. And the bizarre “creeping” comment… I just am not really sure what that’s about. I don’t believe anyone wants sales teams to “creep in front of bloggers”, but maybe it’s not too much to ask to remain professional and civil?

    In the end, it’s not the backstory that turned me off of Black Jade. Nor was it the review. The first didn’t even register, really, and the second actually made me curious to try the scent. What turned me off of Black Jade – indeed, Lubin as a whole – are the comments by the owner of the brand. Sad stuff, that…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, Jen! You are wonderful, thank you for that thoughtful and intelligent comment!
      The points you make are exactly how I feel about the whole story. The curious thing is that this is not a bad review damning his perfume, I am voicing my personal doubts about the back story. Telling me to go to Osmotheque is not the point, I am not the one seeking out a historical perfume – he is offering one or saying he does.
      Like you, I am interested in the juice, I hoped that would be clear from what I wrote. That was obviously a wrong assumption to make.

      • Ellen says:

        I’m actually surprised at all the excitement this post caused. I completely agree with you that clearly you’re interested in the juice, you didn’t say it was horrible or anything of the kind. As for the story, my interpretation of what you wrote was to poke a bit of fun at these lavish stories companies invent to market products. Really not a big deal at all and I’m surprised the owner of the company (if that is the actual person in any case) would blow things all out of proportion. Personally, I’m unlikely to believe anyone if they told me a particular perfume I’m thinking to buy was worn by let’s say, Cleopatra, a lot of things change through time so it just boils down to do Iike the juice or not. :)

        • Olfactoria says:

          Hi Ellen,
          I was quite surprised at the whole thing as well. Poking a bit of fun at the overblown marketing stories was exactly my intention, it seems like the question of whether the perfume is good or not, is not deemed as relevant in that case…

  16. Persolaise says:

    I think it’s vital that the perfume industry remembers that the whole point of bloggers is that their voices are free and independent. Yes, this means that sometimes irresponsible individuals use the Internet as a platform to broadcast ‘opinions’ which stem from some sort of personal agenda, rather than a genuine desire to offer a heart-felt view, but there’s always a price to be paid for any sort of freedom.

    Personally, I’ve always enjoyed reading Olfactoria’s Travels precisely because the opinions expressed here seem to stem from the author’s genuine love of and appreciation of the art of perfumery.

    Certain sectors of the perfume industry have already embraced the fact that the independence of bloggers allows a meaningful dialogue to take place not just between different groups of perfume consumers, but also between consumers and creators. I hope other sectors of the industry follow suit soon.

  17. I can only agree with what others have already expressed. If M Thevenin is indeed who he claims to be, I am disappointed to witness his decision to react to your review with anger and a personal attack, rather than sensibly aiming to correct any factual errors and respectfully acknowledging that you are entitled to your (very informed) opinion. As others have stated, I will not be giving Lubin any of my future business, and will be amending my review of Black Jade to correct what he claims is a factual error, but also state my reasons for not patronizing this perfume house.

  18. Pingback: Black Jade | another perfume blog

  19. Undina says:

    Wow…

    Birgit, is there any way to confirm with the company that the response actually came from who he claims to be? Because I still can’t believe an owner of a company would be that arrogant in PR: if your blog in this person’s opinion is influential enough so that what you say in here matters, it’s not the right way of handling the situation; and if it’s not – then why to even spend time doing that?

    If it’s not a hoax, Lubin goes on my “not to buy” list just on principle (next to Bond). Too bad: a week ago I tested Black Jade in the store, thought that I liked it more than I expected and actually considered buying it. Well, money saved.

  20. thevenin says:

    The good lesson for me is: never comment on a critic, or try to correct false info, that’s what I usually do , otherwise you are considered agressive. I agree, by the way, on the fact I shouldn’t have written in a blog as a brand owner, or at least not under my name, since everyone is anonymous here. I should not consider myself a normal person, and i shouldn’t have reacted spontaneously to the negative comments whatever they are. My fault. If I have hurt anyone,
    really sorry.

    • Pink says:

      This has already spread like a wildfire on several perfume blogs, chats etc… I also saw your apology coming, what choice did you have? Lubin remains on my never to buy list.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I welcome the correction of false information and as I have iterated many times tonight, I only take issue with your style of complaining, not the differing opinion as such or the supplying of additional facts per se. Let us end this now, my blog is not the right venue for a showdown of any kind or to act as a PR vehicle. Thank you for your comments, they have been duly noted. And I’m not sure whether you realized that I actually like Black Jade, too bad you couldn’t focus on that part, thankfully my readers could.

    • deeHowe says:

      This is, I think, what Turin and Sanchez might call “Not an Apology.”

      M. Thevenin, if you click on my avatar, you will be linked to my blog, which will provide you with my full name, and physical mailing address. I am a real person. One who knows that you must use the same discretion and consideration in commenting on a blog, or anywhere online, as you would in conversation to a person’s face. This is the lesson for you.

      I suspect that your mother would be ashamed of your behavior.

  21. Pingback: Thoughts on Media and Blog Coverage of Perfume | another perfume blog

  22. Jane Daly says:

    I am really saddened to read such an attack on something as benign as a perfume marketing plan. Its all fantasy and if you think any perfume company out there is selling truth you are wrong. All those “notes” and scent descriptors- unless they are backyardy naturals, they are all invented fiction. I don’t blame the owner of the company for feeling the need to defend himself and his business, which is his livelihood – wouldn’t anyone? I’d be tempted if it were me that’s for sure. I would be quite happy to feel like I am wearing Marie Antoinette’s perfume, if that was my thing. What else do we buy, if not the illusions of what we want that item to give us? Especially in the world of cosmetics. It is all smoke and mirrors. I love to stand in front of a Sales Associate at the perfume counter and hear a lovely story. This post and some of the comments border on mean and snobbish, some so nasty I can’t believe what I’m reading. Invoking someone’s “mother”? What are we, 12? I guess I will be attacked too.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Jane, thank you for chiming in, and since you think you are going to be attacked as well, let me assure you that is not what I am going to do and despite what you perceive as such, I don’t think I “attacked” anyone at all.
      I am well aware of the difference between truth and marketing campaigns and I believe that is exactly my point. What I am saying in my post is that I choose not to believe in elaborate stories, but rather concentrate on the perfume itself. I may be guilty of articulating this in a way that might be seen as snarky, but I surely am neither nasty nor mean.
      You ask what else do we buy if not the illusion? Well, we perfume people like our illusions as well as anyone, but what we like even more and what we buy a perfume for, is not some story, but the juice itself. I don’t need to believe in a lovely story, all I need is my nose.
      But I’ll stop defending myself now, because what I wrote is what I wrote and everybody can take it or leave it.
      And we need to be realistic here, Lubin is not a huge corporation, but it is not a one man show either, and I highly doubt my lowly blog post will ruin the livelyhood of anyone. Whereas the emotionally charged comments of M Thevenin, while maybe understandable on a personal level, did a lot more to damage his and his company’s image.

    • kathleen says:

      What Jane said!

      • Cebella says:

        I couldn’t agree more Jane. I think it’s sad that this man cannot post his opinion without the fear of being flamed by a mob. I’m sure I will be flamed as well too but c’est la vie, someone has to stand up for reason. All this did was close the door for a little interesting conversation in a corner of the industry.

        I did not find his initial post to be rude, more informative as a matter of fact, and I feel that you took what he said incredibly wrong and became very defensive. I think what is most shameful here is when he apologized, the comments were rude and tacky to say the least. Furthermore, I disagree with the thought that he has damaged his company in any way. And, no worries, I will not be coming back to read your blog, although, I will remain a Lubin user. Be well.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I did not realize that reading this blog or being a Lubin customer is mutually exclusive. How sad that you think so.
          I don’t think I need to point out that comments others make, are not my responsibility, I provide the venue (that M Thevenin chose), nothing else. And I do not censure those comments, but let everybody have his say, including you. I regret how this whole story developed and I may have been at fault in my initial reaction of feeling attacked, but there is nothing I can do about it now. In the end it may even serve the company, since I am told that there is no such thing as bad PR.

  23. Eva S says:

    Jane, if perfumery is to be considered as a form of art, it follows that perfumers and companies have to deal with the same kind of critique and reviewing as other forms of arts. Someone reviewing a movie for instance might for instance say positive things about the acting, photo etc but critisize the fact that it’s claimed to be based “on a true story” if it contains a lot of historical inaccurasies.
    In my opinion it’s more respectful to the pefumers and perfume companies to give them thoughtfull critique (like this blog always does) even if sometimes negative than patting them on the head like they were children.

  24. Oh. My. God. I have just finished reading all this. Birgit, you have my full support, you handled yourself as a mature adult. While both points of view are valid, it’s just sort of sad that the owner of a firm comes to someone’s blog to complain. A private email could have done the job. I find it strange that Mr. Thevenin is so averse to unaffiliated criticism, or that anyone should be. But then, I’m one of those “noxious fumeheads” too.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you very much for your sensible words, Carrie. This has been an awful few days. I wish the whole story would have never happened, but it has and I can only hope that it blows over without damage to anyone, since that is the last thing I want. But I totally agree, an email should have done it. He chose the venue of this controversy.

  25. Pingback: What I Have Learned This Week… Final Thoughts On The Lubin Incident | Olfactoria's Travels

  26. moonrae says:

    WOW….who p#ssed in everybody’s Wheaties!?!?!?! Brigit, you made a mistake, okay, you’re human….so folks chill a little, she corrected herself!! She also has an opinion, and is certainly entitled to it!
    I’m a “real” person, a real consumer, I cannot spend thousands of dollars on perfumes and such, but still find perfumes and scents fascinating. I come here for exposure to that “world” that I will probably never get to be a part of or experience.
    In the end, it’s still MY choice if I do or don’t like a certain scent and one person’s review or comments are just that, theirs…..I doubt very seriously that any of Brigit’s reviews will be the downfall of any multi-million dollar perfume house and in some ways is advertising for them. Many people will spend big bucks just to see what the “stink” is all about.
    For Heaven’s sakes people, it’s PERFUME!!!! and to top it all, she liked the “stuff”, just not the hoopla and fantasy that went with it….
    Just hang in there sweetie, this too will soon pass
    ~Sharon~

  27. moonrae says:

    my apologies for misspelling your name!!!!

  28. Heidi says:

    I just wanted to say shame on Jane Daly for chiming in with such anti-blogger rubbish. How on earth can olfactoria, as a single voice in the massive blogosphere, ‘attack’ a successful company like Lubin?? It’s appalling to see a blogger spout such absurdist rhetoric against another. Daly should know better. If anything, bloggers should actively support freedom of opinion and speech. No one wins when big bullies like Lubin try to shut down blog conversations.

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  33. Zubi d'Nova / Melissa de Blok says:

    Have to show my support here for Birgit!

    The saddest thing in this entire conversation, is that people are not able to know the difference between passive-aggressive words and genuine ones. His “apology” was extremely passive aggressive, and the only sentence that did not have a tone of passive-aggressiveness was his last one. Literally every other sentence had a little jab in it, directed at Birgit or the other posters who supported her.

    What kind of messed up world do we live in, that people cannot even read a passive aggressive tone as just that?

  34. Pingback: Smell With Me – Olfactoria’s Travels Turns Two! | Olfactoria's Travels

  35. I found out about this discussion via a post that lucasai just put up with a mini-review of Lubin’s Idole. I am just floored at how unprofessional M. Thevenin reacted. It’s true that I have only been following your blog for a short time, but I have never known you to be anything but respectful, gracious, and kind. I saw absolutely nothing in your post that would warrant such an aggressive response. And the assumptions that he makes about you! So disappointing.

    We are all entitled to our opinions, and I applaud you for being brave and standing up for yours. I am glad you kept blogging, Birgit! Otherwise, how else would you have inspired me?

  36. Wim Janssens says:

    Lubin is not a brand that marketeers. Mr. Thévenin is one of the most intriguing people I have ever met and works night and day to keep the House of Lubin alive and to save the heritage of one of the oldest perfume houses in the world. He is a walking encyclopaedia and his passion is fantastic. I would feel insulted if they would write about a creation I brought back alive, with passion and respect for the work of Jean-Louis Fargeon as the personal perfumer of the latest Queen on France who was the teacher of Pierre-François Lubin.
    Also Creed doest not really marketeers itself, it is done by agents and sales people around the world.
    What bloggers should understand is that they don’t have the knowledge neither the complete picture of what happens behind the curtains at prestigious perfume houses as Lubin.
    I deeply respect Mr. Thévenin’s work and passion and I hope that besides all said and done you can all appreciate the delicate work of relaunching a perfume that was made for Queen marie-Antoinette. Lubin would have never given this information if it would not be true. Lubin has such a rich archives and is one of the houses that deserve deep respect of keeping the French Haute Parfumerie alive!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Wim, thank you very much for your informed opinion. After all this time has passed, I deeply regret the whole thing, and I agree that I have not known all the facts. But there is no way for me to ever know them all. So does that mean I have to believe everything I am told by the industry?
      The one fact that remains is that I liked the perfume itself, which I have always cleary stated, and in the end that is what counts for me.
      Bloggers can’t know it all, the point of bloggers being that they are NOT insiders, and retailers and small businesses profit a lot from the free publicity they get through a blogger’s attention. I can imagine that bloggers are regarded as a necessary evil by
      industry insiders, but what can I say, that is really not my problem. I see myself as a customer with a bit of a way with words.
      I hope the discussion can be left behind now. I’m truly sorry it ever happened.

      • Wim Janssens says:

        Dean Birgit, I just found this wen I was on google…. . I deeply respect bloggers because they make free publicity for the brands that don’t have marketing budgets. But sometimes it is dangerous when certain bloggers just write to be provocative… . I don’t mean this is in your case!
        As you also like Black Jade and if you compare it to the other perfumes of Lubin you will see this one stands out because the original perfumer was not Lubin but his former mentor Fargeon.
        I like your blog and we are already a long time connected on Facebook – where we oth share our passion for fragrance.
        One year and a half ago I did launch Lubin back again on the Belgian market – at the store where I work and it is still such a nice experience to bring back one of the oldest perfume houses back again on the market with a lot of support and passion of Lubin. ThereforeI just wanted to share my sympathy for Mr. Thévenin who puts all his passion into the survival of Lubin, to keep the heritage alive!
        Black Jade is Marie-Antoinette, and I understand that this story can rise questions, but the house would never have launched it for marketing reasons as they don’t really marketeer.
        But I respect your thoughts and I loved it that you liked the creation, they also did work very hard on it! :)

        With love,

        Wim

  37. There has never been anything but kindness and generosity on the “Olfactoria” blog. It is also an
    appreciated source of information for those of us who do not live in areas where perfumes are readily available. There is a trend in marketing to make up stories to go with products, the Peterson catalog, for example. In my opinion, it is just a whimsical way to catch the attention of customers, and I find it harmless. Claiming that a fragrance has actually been handed down and has historical significance is another matter and deserved to be disbelieved. This will blow over, and, hopefully , no harm will come to anyone. Best regards, AnitaATM

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