Friday, August 5, 2011

On Lubin's Black Jade: a Perfume Fit for Marie-Antoinette

Parfums Lubin has been a rekindled fragrance brand, after the old house was brought into new ownership some years ago, when the niche market first boomed around the mid 2000s. Engaging Olivia Giacobetti was the first step, issuing and re-issuing fragrances was the second, crucial one; from the legendary Gin Fizz and Idole to the modern Vetiver, as well as the recent crop of releases Bluff, Figaro, Itasca, Inedite. The latest Lubin fragrance release, named Black Jade, is based on Marie Antoinette's signature scent, created by royal nose Jean-Louis Fargeon and inspired by the doomed queen's beloved Trianon gardens in Versailles.  

Black Jade thus contains rose, jasmine, and bergamot, Marie-Antoinette's signature notes. The name for the new fragrance, Black Jade, was inspired by the lore that the queen carried the fragrance with her in a black jade bottle at all times, even when she was imprisoned in the Temple Tower of Paris. It was only before her beheading that she confided it to the Marquise de Tourzel, whose descendants are reportedly still in possession of the original flacon.

Lubin is no stranger to French history: Pierre François Lubin founded the company in 1798 when he began supplying scented ribbons, rice powderballs and masks to "Les Merveilleuses," socially exulted women who frequented Thermidorian drawing rooms of Napoleonic France; and the "Incroyables," members of the subculture that mixed fashion and propaganda which emerged following the terror that was the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789.

The 2011 edition of Lubin Black Jade has been launched by fragrance company Aedes de Venustas, the well-known niche perfumery which holds a special place in the heart of New York perfumistas. In addition to the original focus on rose, jasmine and bergamot, perfumer Thomas Fontaine infused Lubin's Black Jade 2011 version with galbanum, cardamom, incense, cinnamon, Indian sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean, and amber notes. It belongs to the chypre floral family of fragrances.

This is not the first attempt to recreate Marie Antoinette's scent however: Le Château de Versailles had hired Francis Kurkdjian to create the orange blossom-based M.A. Sillage de la Reine and L'Artisan Parfumeur was inspired for the jasmine-rich  La Haie Fleurie du Hameau, composed by renowned perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena , by the French queen's fated passion for beauty and flowers.


  1. I absolutely love their Inedite - and want to try this one too

  2. I like it, but it was gone too disappeared muc too quickly...

  3. This sounds like it will be right up my alley, I can't wait to get a sniff!

  4. C,

    they do know how to raise interest, don't they? I don't recall Inedite all too well. Must remedy. Care to refresh my memory in the meantime?

  5. L,

    really? That'd be a shame. :-(

  6. TFC,

    I do hope you get to enjoy it. Black Jade is a great, schizo name and the bottle looks very elegant.


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