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Idole de Lubin – Cuba, and breaking the perfume rules

Photo - - Rumba dancers, Tropicana, Cuba

Idole de Lubin makes me think of two things – Cuba, and breaking the perfume rules – but before I explain the rules and Cuba thing, you need to know about Idole.

Idole de Lubin was created by Olivia Giacobetti, who is known for the light-handed style found in her highly original scents - L’Artisan Tea for Two, Frederic Malle En Passant, and Diptyque Philosykos.  Idole represents a real departure for her into much darker, richer creative territory. With Idole, she set out to “Set the jungle on fire with a woody liqueur rich in scorching spices, as sweet as sugar cane, and as warm as leather.” - Olivia Giacobetti

 Idole fragrance notes are listed as: Rum Absolute, Saffron, Bitter Orange Peel, Black Cumin, Doum Palm, Smoked Ebony, Sugar Cane, Leather, Red Sandalwood.

So the first thing you smell are spiced oranges  and rum, totally delicious and pungent. As the dry-down gets into full gear, the rummy citrus-sweet sugar cane top-notes take a back seat to smokey, leather woody notes, and every so often the rum jumps back into the front, which keeps the ride interesting. The character of this fragrance is luscious, warm and inviting, long-lasting with seductive sillage, but amazingly, not intrusive or overwhelming. Olivia Giacobetti’s light touch at work! It is so beautiful!

So back to Cuba, and why Idole makes me think of it......

I’ve visited Cuba several times. The most memorable, and best, visit was two weeks in July about twenty years ago. HOT? HUMID?.......even the Cubans were wiping their brows, and moving in slow motion. Between noon and two o’clock – nothing moved. I loved it!

Every night, the locals showed up to play music. We drank the rum, ate the roast pig, smoked the cigars, talked, laughed and danced past midnight. By that time of night, there was a slight breeze from the ocean - the smell of salt, and cooling white sand wafted over orange blossoms, and the salty citrus scent mixed with rum and coke, sweet tobacco, wood smoke from the fire-pit, creating the perfect Cuban olfactory cocktail.  Rich, intense scents, weaving in and out, floating on the warm breeze....the Cuban night.... the scent of Idole de Lubin!  A  vivid memory for me, a piece of my life.

And now to breaking the perfume rules....... !

The perfume rules are hopelessly outdated – here’s two:

1.    fresh citrus or floral fragrances are best for summer heat, orientals and chypres are best in winter cold.
2.    There are feminine fragrances, and there are masculine fragrances

Idole de Lubin is a rule-breaker! The fragrance is classified as a Spicy Oriental, and is made from components created in a  hot, humid, tropical climate. Rum absolute, bitter orange, sugar cane, doum palm, spices, sandalwood - made by the heat, made for the heat - designed to "set the jungle on fire" - remember? Idole de Lubin blooms and thrives in hot weather, revealing nuances that cold weather keeps in the deep-freeze. Seriously, why would you not wear it in the summer??  Rule 1 goes out the window – useless!

And Rule 2 is marketing hogwash...... categorized as a Masculine, Idole de Lubin is a true gender-bender – not sweet, not floral, but rich, boozy, exotic, complex – it has incredible appeal to both men and women!  It stays close to the skin, addictive and seductive, but is the kind of scent that jerks heads around when people catch a whiff, and makes them want to ask what you’re wearing. A blog comment I read by a woman said she thought Idole was HOT, loved it on herself, and couldn’t wait to drizzle some onto her husband!

I agree. Time to go drizzle......

Idole de Lubin is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.


I have a bottle of L'Eau de navigateur that I don't wear much but I like to sniff and think of pirates :) I also love Credd's Virgin Island Water. Evertime I wear it I sing "Put the rum in the coconut." I'm also in love with CdG Man 2 (oh the frankincense) and Hinoki. I don't believe in "masculine" or "feminine either, except for some real big sillage ladies, like Fracas.

I love Hinoki and CdeG Man 2,

I love Hinoki and CdeG Man 2, too! Some of my all-time favourites are so-called "masculines" - Timbuktu, which was the fragrance which opened the niche door for me - Frederic Malle's French Lover, Lalique Encre Noire, Eau Sauvage - anything with herbs, woods, incense! I'm certain this connection goes way back to growing up near forests, playing in the woods as a kid.
As far as Fracas - I can appreciate it, but could never wear it - waaayy too big and sweet tuberosy!  I want my scents to follow me, not precede me!!.Have you tried the new Nuit de Tuberéuse from L'Artisan? absolutely fabulous - never thought I'd like tuberose and I love it so much I bought it!