Slumberhouse Kiste: Southern Melodies

Gone with the Wind and Light in August, Kiste takes you straight into the heart of the American deep South. It’s the latest fragrance from Josh Lobb of Slumberhouse, released today without fanfare or advance press, and it is utterly beautiful. In fact, it is my favorite creation from Slumberhouse to date, and the first one that I would buy for myself.

Gone with the Wind image. Source: wildbell.com

Gone with the Wind image. Source: wildbell.com

Kiste is a deeply evocative fragrance, but I can’t make up my mind if it evokes Gone with the Wind or one of William Faulkner’s set pieces. The meticulously balanced composition has the genteel qualities of Tara, conjuring images of Scarlett O’Hara sipping sweet tea and eating a peach cobbler on the plantation veranda, as Rhett Butler smokes a honey-laden cheroot and takes a swig of bourbon under a honeysuckle tree.

1935 photo by Walker Evans,  Library of Congress FSA/OWI Collection, via southernstudies.org

1935 photo by Walker Evans, Library of Congress FSA/OWI Collection, via southernstudies.org

Yet, Kiste also has an underlying ruggedness, a pronounced muskiness, and a tiny streak of masculine rawness as well, even though the fragrance is far too perfectly balanced for it to ever verge on brutish strength. Something about the mix creates a sense of underlying earthy darkness, subtle though it may be. But it’s enough to create a parallel image that is far removed from the sun-dappled sweetness of Gone with the Wind.

This other side of Kiste evokes the darker, grittier world of William Faulkner’s South (or Robert Flaherty’s Louisiana) where things are less pristine, less simple, less a land of sweet tea and peach pie. Here, the muskiness and earthiness that were such a big part of Light in August abound. The more animalistic strains of honey, the sensuous muskiness of a fleshy peach, the rawness of tobacco spittoon juice, and even spiced, dark earth all strain at the leash, threatening to spill over and darken Tara’s summer light like an eclipse. In the end, they don’t. What triumphs is a creamy sweetness and golden warmth that tame the musky darkness, as though the South’s gentler side had overcome. The result is so comforting, so delicious, I feel like saying, “Bless my stars,” and “Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn.”

Photo & Source: Slumberhouse.

Photo & Source: Slumberhouse.

Kiste is an extrait de parfum that Slumberhouse describes as follows:

The honeysuckle hammer & the sundial

The cigar skinned chevotain

The thimble of peach cocoonase

Here is where the world becomes so silent and so still

The nothingness of it all becomes my own laughter

The honeysuckle referenced there is not listed in Kiste’s official notes, though it is commonly mentioned by retailers like Luckyscent and Twisted Lily in their descriptions. Both also talk about a tea note, as well as the fact that the perfume was “[i]nspired by the relentless heat of Savannah in August.” Luckyscent adds the additional information that the tobacco in Kiste was extracted from four different strains. Slumberhouse doesn’t mention any of that, but merely gives these notes:

Tobacco, Peach, Scotch Heather, Tonka, Henna, Elderberry, Patchouli, Honey.

Photo: Lesley Eats. Source: LesleyEats.com. (Direct website link embedded within. Click on photo for recipe of roasted peach and honey ice cream.)

Photo: Lesley Eats. Source: LesleyEats.com. (Direct website link embedded within. Click on photo for recipe of roasted peach and honey ice cream.)

Kiste opens on my skin with honey-laden tobacco and musky peach, drizzled with elderberry wine and streaked with wisps of an abstract floral that seems like a mix of creamy magnolia petals and delicate honeysuckle. Pinches of earthy henna powder are sprinkled on top, along with that Slumberhouse spice accord which is such a common element in Mr. Lobb’s earlier scents and which feels like a potpourri mix of clove, nutmeg, and something else.

The overall bouquet is beautifully robust, rich, dark, and sweet, dominated primarily by honeyed tobacco infused with a sticky, lightly spiced, grilled peach compote that also bears a touch of honey. I can’t decide which one I like more. Peach is one of my favorite fruit notes, but what is so nice about it here is that it is never cloyingly sweet, gooey, or suffocatingly heavy. Mr. Lobb’s creations tend to have a surfeit of richness, often too much so for my personal tastes, and the heaviness can also skew excessively sweet at times, like the ghastly strawberry jam that popped up in one of my tests of his Sadanne. That is not the case here at all, thank God. Yet, for all that I love peach in perfumery, I like tobacco just as much, and the note here is so rich that it conjured up images of Cuban farmers rolling the sun-dried leaves, as well as the more fragrant, sweeter kind found in pipe tobacco.

"Tobacco Rolling, Vinales, Cuba." Photo by April Maciborka and David Wile. Their sites:  blog.aprilmaciborka.com (link to full website gallery embedded within) and davidwile.com

“Tobacco Rolling, Vinales, Cuba.” Photo by April Maciborka and David Wile. Their sites: blog.aprilmaciborka.com (link to full website gallery embedded within) and davidwile.com

What fascinates me are the secondary notes. I’m familiar with henna from my time in the Middle East and India, and it is such an unexpected note. It works surprisingly well in perfume. Though it is only a light touch, it adds an earthiness that complements the musky peach and tobacco very well. I can’t decide if it is also responsible for Kiste’s very quiet touch of spiciness, or if Mr. Lobb has used a pinch of the spice accord that was often a big part of his earlier creations. What is more interesting is the tea note referenced by the various retailers. Slumberhouse may not mention it but, from afar, Kiste absolutely smells like sweet Southern tea with tobacco and a touch of honeyed, lemony florals. The latter really doesn’t read as actual honeysuckle to me, but more like the nebulous idea of them. When combined with the creaminess that appears in Kiste at the start of the 2nd hour, the abstract floralcy sometimes feels more like the ghost of magnolia which, lord knows, is a Southern Belle flower completely suited to a fragrance inspired by summer in Savannah.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

Kiste is not a fragrance that changes substantially from its core essence on my skin. The strength, prominence, and nuances of some of the secondary notes fluctuate, but the main bouquet remains largely constant. 30 minutes in, the sweet tea grows stronger, melding beautifully with the honey-thick tobacco and henna-spice sprinkled peach cobbler. Even better, tiny splashes of boozy bourbon appear out of the blue to complete the picture.

At the end of the first hour and start of the 2nd, Kiste turns even smoother, taking on a beautiful creaminess that coats every note. It may stem from the tonka, but it somehow creates that vision of magnolia in my mind when combined with the subtle streak of floralcy. The latter feels hazier than ever, and sometimes seems to vanish entirely. Yet, at other times, it pirouettes on the sidelines. There, it joins the muskiness, earthiness, henna spice mix, and patchouli (as well as a tiny, indistinct touch of aromachemicals), all of them encircling the main accords like druids supplicating before Stonehenge. At the top of the 3rd hour, the muskiness surges forth, Kiste turns into a hazier blend of notes that aren’t very easy to dissect, and the overall bouquet is an equal parts mix of golden warmth, fruited sweetness, tobacco darkness, and almost buttery creaminess. The 5th hour heralds the advent of a subtle, slightly aromachemical, almost incense-like smokiness that wraps itself around the bouquet like a ribbon. It joins the main notes on center stage an hour later.

That’s really it for Kiste in terms of olfactory development, though the perfume’s texture, sillage, and projection do change. By the end of the 3rd hour, Kiste takes on a dreamy quality that almost feels like a mood and sensation more than a concrete set of notes, thanks to a petal-soft, creamy, and satiny cloud that gently envelops you with incredible warmth, light, and sweetness.

"Passion," by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com http://www.cianellistudios.com/abstract_art.html

“Passion,” by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com  http://www.cianellistudios.com/abstract_art.html

The odd thing about Kiste is how it is simultaneously so soft and so strong. Mr. Lobb sent me a little atomizer, and using a few spritzes roughly equal to 2 big sprays (or perhaps 2.5) from an actual bottle, Kiste opened with about 4 inches of projection while creating a scent trail that initially extended several feet. The numbers drop after 30 minutes: the projection is about 2 inches, the sillage is about a foot, but the perfume’s actual notes are much richer. It’s like a wine that becomes more full-bodied as it airs. Kiste turned into a skin scent on me at the end of the 7th hour, though it was easy to smell up close without any effort for a while to come. All in all, the perfume lasted just a hair under 16 hours. I suspect the numbers would be substantially more if I applied a greater quantity. Kiste feels like the sort of fragrance that would quietly coat your skin for a full day, if you gave it half the chance.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

Anyone who’s read this blog for any amount of time knows that I take a pros-and-cons approach to reviewing, that I often have caveats, and that I rarely rave about a scent. With Kiste, from the very first moment, my response was: “I love it. I want it.” I’ve never said that before for any Slumberhouse fragrance. My admiration for Mr. Lobb’s originality, inventiveness, and talent has always been tempered by my personal difficulty in wearing scents that are so high-octane in some manner or another, be it unctuous over-abundance taken to exhausting extremes, sweetness, a heavy hand with a core accord, or something else. Sometimes, it is the aromachemicals which Mr. Lobb likes to use, including the ISO E Super that is my nemesis. With Kiste, I could absolutely tell that something was up in the base even before the streak of smokiness showed up, but Mr. Lobb has woven it so masterfully into the other elements, used so little and with such a precise hand that — to quote Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind — “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Kiste simply made me happy. It joins two of the Arabian Oud oils that I will be reviewing in the next week as the only fragrances that I’ve tried so far this year to make me feel genuinely happy and almost giddily joyous. It brought a sense of comfort and peace that only really good fragrances can do. It’s the sort of thing where you don’t even want to analyze the fragrance or how it works. You just want to enjoy it.

If you love rich tobacco, fruited sweetness, creaminess, delicately spiced earthiness, quiet smokiness, glowingly golden warmth, and endless coziness, you should order a sample of Kiste. Immediately. I mean it. Go, go now and order it.

Disclosure: My sample was provided courtesy of Josh Lobb and Slumberhouse. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Kiste is an extrait de parfum that comes in a 30 ml bottle which costs $160. It is available directly from Slumberhouse, and the company offers overseas shipping at checkout. In the U.S.: Kiste is already at Luckyscent and Twisted Lily, both of which sell samples and ship worldwide. Outside the U.S.: In Canada, Indiescents carries Slumberhouse, and Kiste should arrive there soon. In the U.K., the line is sold at Roullier White, but they only list four fragrances at the time of this post and don’t have Kiste. Samples: you can order samples at Luckyscent and Twisted Lily. Kiste is too new to be carried by Surrender to Chance right now.

79 thoughts on “Slumberhouse Kiste: Southern Melodies

    • Slumberhouse fragrances can sometimes be tricky from one person’s skin to the next, and that is the ONLY thing stopping me from telling you to go ahead with that blind buy. They can be excessively heavy or excessively…. something. That said, from what I know of your tastes, you’d fall madly in love with this one. I’d bet money on it, I really would, and you know just how much I normally advise you against blind buys. Still, the more prudent course in general is to sample first. Then again, if you were to fall off the wagon and blind buy…. 🙂

  1. I just found out about Kiste’s release earlier today and thought “I MUST try this,” so when I saw you’d reviewed it, I was hoping you had at least liked it. I didn’t quite expect unabashed raving!

    I love everything you mentioned in the last paragraph of your review. . .and honestly, just reading the notes list this morning and having really enjoyed almost all of Josh Lobb’s creations, well, if I was a blind buyer, I’d go right ahead, but I’m not, so I’ll probably sample it and pine away for a bottle. Right now I have to save my pennies for museum glass, not perfume.

    Y’know, I enjoy all your reviews, and appreciate your honesty, even when the review is brutal in your dislike of something, but this happy, happy review is just wonderful!! Vicarious pleasure is not a bad thing at all! Cheers and congrats to Mr. Lobb for creating what sounds like a masterpiece!

    • It really is so beautifully done. All of it is balanced perfectly in a way that is really impressive. So many of the individual notes are hefty by nature, and it would be very easy for their strength or richness to overpower the final composition. Using four strains of tobacco could totally bludgeon the rest of the notes; the same is true of the honey which could turn urinously shrill, or the peach which could be either animalic or ridiculously gooey like jam.

      NONE of that is the case here (at least on my skin). Everything works in harmony. The smokiness of the later hours, the darkness of the tobacco, the muskiness of the scent are perfectly balanced. The sweetness NEVER makes me feel as though I’ve eaten a whole cake when one piece would have been sufficient. There is an ideal balance of drier/smoky/dark/earthy/tobacco notes vs. sweetness.

      It just makes me happy. I hope you can get a decant or something because I think you would love it, too.

        • HURRAH! You have to let me know how it works on your skin. Hopefully, this will be your first major Slumberhouse love, too.

          • Not my first slumberhouse love! I have a fb of Norne, though I haven’t worn it in a year – the cap is stuck and I’m afraid of breaking the bottle trying to remove it. I see he’s since changed the caps. . . And I love Ore, or did a few years ago. I had a decant that I used up. . .

          • Julie, I’ve written to Slumberhouse about your stopper/cap issue. I’m hoping he will have suggestions or tips for how to fix it without breaking the bottle. Perhaps he might even replace it, though I have NOT suggested it and am NOT saying you should expect that. But it is a shame to have bought a full bottle that you can’t use, especially as the change in packaging may possibly have been done to avoid any such problems. (I don’t know if that was the reason, I don’t know what caused the packaging change, but surely you can’t be the only one to have encountered this?) In any event, I will let you know what he says.

    • It really is. I know you’ve struggled with past Slumberhouse fragrances for very similar reasons to my own, and I know you don’t find much occasion to wear your Zahd, but I think you would not only love Kiste but find it very wearable. Perhaps not in the height of summer, given where you currently live, but it’s the sort of thing that I could see you reach for often in winter. It is the first Slumberhouse scent that I think you’d really fall for, so I really encourage you to get a sample from Luckyscent, or to brave LA traffic and actually GO to Scentbar.

  2. Still on the fence about Sådanne, one blind buy I like but don’t yet love. The only experience I’ve had with peach in a fragrance was Kilian’s Liaisons Dangereuses which I also wasn’t sold on. Your review, however, makes this one sound well nigh irresistible. So I have ordered a sample from Twisted Lily, along with again too many other things. Enabler, indeed. I do love Slumberhouse, especially Norne and Jeke. And I so love your column. You write the most captivating reviews. I live for them.

    • Awww, that’s like the cherry on the sundae of a happy day. Thank you, Richard (if I may call you that).

      With regard to blind buys, I almost never (EVER) recommend them, but particularly not for something like Sadanne. I think it is a mercurial scent that shape-shifts often, and where quantity (or caution with application) is particularly significant. Skin chemistry, too, more than for some other brands since Slumberhouse fragrances are so much more potent and bold. Kiste, though, has such a perfect balance that it feels incredibly approachable and versatile. Not safe, but approachable and infinitely wearable. Many of the other Slumberhouse things are so rich or intense that they often feel like more of a “special occasion” thing, if that makes any sense. Kiste could be something that one could wear almost daily.

      Having said all that, I don’t recommend that you blind-buy solely because I don’t know your tastes the way I do the other commentators in this thread. I don’t know the notes or issues that you struggle with, how your skin handles certain things, what it may amplify, and the like. The peach issue adds to it further, as that isn’t a note for everyone. But I’m glad you’ve ordered a sample of Kiste. 🙂 And I do hope that you will feel free to stop by more often, if you’re so inclined, so that I can get to know both you and your perfume tastes better. Have a lovely evening and weekend, and thank you again for the truly kind comment about my reviews.

      • Most of my purchases are blind buys, many of them based on your reviews. I started my collection with Rose scents (favs being Rose Oud by Kilian, Laboratorio Olfattivo’s Rosamunda, Lutens’ Rose de Nuit).

        I’m a big fan of Lutens (Fille en Aiguilles, Fumerie Turque, Muscs Koublai Khan, Une Voix Noire).

        My collection has evolved to more woody, dark, incense scents (CDG Avignon, Kalemat, Jeke, Norne).

        Things I generally avoid: lavender, lime, coconut, and cumin in large doses. Out of 60ish blind buys only a few have I had to give away (Gris Clair, Serge Noir, Hindu Honeysuckle).

        Things you have turned me on to: Mecca Balsam (leading to a love affair with Abdes Salaam Attar), Oriza Legrand’s Chypre Mousse and Reliques d’Amour, Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom and Shangri La, and, most recently, the heavenly Anubis.

        Blind buy disasters I narrowly escaped: Black Afgano (yuck) and Armani Prive Rose d’Arabie, which smelled to me like grape bubble gum.

        Currently awaiting delivery of Fazzolari’s Lampblack, which I sampled and loved.

        Thanks again for your inspiration.

        Rich aka the Blind Buy Kid

        • I love the specifics and details. This was a wonderful start, Richard, in letting me know something of your tastes. I had to laugh, though, at the fact that there is now another “Blind Buy Kid” that I have to worry about. *grin* Heh. You lot like to live dangerously, huh?

          What is interesting to me is how your tastes have changed. You’ve gone from essentially being a rose junkie to much darker things, with an occasional foray into chypres. It sounds like you enjoy vetiver and oakmoss in addition to the woods and incense. How are you on patchouli (the spicy, woody, earthy, smoky traditional kind, as opposed to the gooey fruitchouli monster of mainstream scents)? Black Afgano…. an issue with the more powerful aromachemicals? And what about animalics (civet, castoreum, hyraceum)?

          You know, your mention of Fumerie Turque brought up how, last night, I was thinking that Slumberhouse’s Kiste was like a very distant (VERY distant) relation to that scent during the late part of its drydown. So, you may like Kiste even more than you thought.

          Have you tried the SHL 777 line with things like Black Gemstone (smoky), Rose de Petra (rose), or Soleil de Jeddah (citrus, birch, and leather)?

          I’m SO glad to hear you loved Anubis and Kalemat, but many of the others on your list were truly an unexpected surprise: Chypre Mousse (!!), Moon Bloom (You don’t mind tuberose??! Heavens, that’s different!) and Une Voix Noire (you don’t mind gardenia either?! Wow). I’m so glad you’ve given me a small sense of your tastes and perfume loves, so I hope you will continue and that you will stop lurking!

          • I have and enjoy Santa Maria Novello’s Patchouli. One spray packs a punch.

            I don’t know what it is with Afgano. I don’t think my nose is sophisticated enough to discern why but I wasn’t feeling it at the time. I was a bit taken aback by Lonestar Memories and Bois d’Ascese. Love l’Air DDM, though.

          • I received my sample of Kiste today, along with Sova, Vikt, Ore, Pear + Olive. The fine folks at Twisted Lily included 10 other complimentary samples with my FB of Lampblack.

            Kiste, YES! I wouldn’t even attempt to describe it here as my thoughts would be lame in the face of your glowing and comprehensive review.

            Peach is my favorite fruit but up till now my experience with it as a fragrance has been negative. Kiste, however is a peach I can get behind. Rich, dark, warm, honeyed tobacco and fully ripe juicy peach. Insanely beautiful.

            I am left with no choice but to order a full bottle tomorrow and hold of on ordering Kalemat Amber Oil at a later date.

            I can’t stop smelling the back of my hand. Kite gets fuller, wamer, and more wonderful by the second. (Swoon)

          • This was wonderful news, Rich! I’ll be interested to hear how the late drydown is on you, as it sounds that you’re still in the early stages. I’d also be MOST curious to hear your thoughts on Pear+Olive and Ore. I’ve covered both, but I think (can’t remember for sure) that Pear + Olive was reformulated since that time. Well, most of the line was, first changing from EDP to Extrait, then later, most (all?) of those extraits were reformulated in terms of balance as well. Anyway, would still love to hear how they work on your skin.

            I totally (TOTALLY!!) understand you wanting to buy Kiste right away! That said, Arabian Oud London is currently having a rare 30% off sale, possibly as a response to the Kalemat Amber review, and the oil is now £63 from £90. That’s quite a change, and it’s not a something that happens often, so timing wise, you may do better to take advantage of it now since Kiste isn’t going anywhere, it’s readily available, and its price is not going to change. Arabian Oud’s sale last until April 6th, but you may want to juggle the competing interests since Kalemat Amber is a rarer scent, especially at those prices. Anyway, just something for you to think about. Either way, thank you so much for letting me know your experience with Kiste!

          • Wow, thanks for that update. I’ll have to Jump on that one. I may just have to throw caution to the wind and order both simultaneously.

            So far for me, Pear + Olive is very interesting, fascinating even, though perhaps not for me. Too early for a fair assessment. It reminds me of Pear Amour, one of the specialty cocktails wear I work.

          • I loved, loved, LOVED the photo-realistic, dewy, crisp, sweet pear note at the top of Pear + Olive but it only lasted 15 minutes on me, alas. The rest of the scent, particularly in the later hours, was far too unctuous, oily, fatty, and rich for me. I had the exact same reaction as I do on those rare occasions where I’ve eaten far too many rich, heavy things in a meal. It kinda felt like having a whole, massively heavy, overly rich cake when 1 slice would have been enough, and that’s the example I frequently give when talking about the scent (as well as a few others from the earlier Slumberhouse line). Pear + Olive is truly a fascinating scent, as you noted, but it’s too much for me personally. So, I’m not at all surprised to hear that you feel the same way. I think it may be best for those who love really concentrated gourmands.

  3. Eeek. I went from “Sounds like a must try” on NST, to “I should get a sample” to “Why wait for a sample, just buy the bottle.” I haven’t triggered a buy yet, but I am certainly close to it!

    P.S. Vinales! Been there 😉

    • 🙂 I thought of your Cuba trip when I wrote about Parfums de Nicolai’s Cuir Cuba Intense.

  4. Lord almighty, you surely know which ones to review for us Kafka! Oh, you enabler. 🙂 I just read this tonight and wished I had known about Kiste yesterday when I went bonkers hitting the “I’ll try one” button from Luckyscent….I’m going to go back again to order. Beautifully written. This really sounds like love to me.

    • I thought about your Luckyscent order just the night before, and how the timing kinda sucked. If you haven’t tried any Slumberhouse fragrances to date, this is a great one to start with!

      • Hey, I really don’t mind *at all* that I’ve gotta go back and sample Kiste; who knows what else I’ve missed. 😉 Oh- I’ve only tried Vikt, which I thought I’d like, but
        that was a failure for me. Color would have looked great sitting next to my other palette!

      • I ordered another batch of samples from Luckyscent, including (2) of Kiste. 🙂 Also ordered samples of: Richwood, Boudicea the Victorious King’s Road, Tola Gulbadan, Agonist The Infidels, Rose de Petra & Black Gemstone, Le Labo Oud 27, Une Rose de Kandahar, and Fuegia 1833 Otro Poema de los Dones. Luckyscent is out of so many samples, plus many full bottles backordered. I may end up going to STC to order. Just convenient to order all from one site. I should receive my first order from Luckyscent Wednesday or Thursday. Hope you’re getting a bit more sleep. 🙂

        • Some great choices there, Don! Don’t know what you’ll think about Gulbadan and The Infidels, though. Heh. 😉 I’m very eager to hear your thoughts on Black Gemstone, Richwood, and the two rose scents. I hope at least one or two things on your overall list end up working out for you, though your wallet wouldn’t be very happy at that. 🙂

          • LOL, my wallet keeps biting my hand when I reach for it! Honestly I don’t have lots of costly hobbies, so I feel I’m able to splurge on perfumes because I truly love this amazing, new world I’ve discovered through your blog. 😀 I picked several odd ones on this batch of samples. I’m not sure about The Infidels or Gulbadan either, but I’ve got to be open to what I may not normally chose. I would list what my samples are from my order from the other day, but I can’t remember now!! Definitely let you know when I get my mail tomorrow or Thursday. I believe I ordered around 20. I believe as well as having chronic insomnia and OCD, I’m extremely impulsive but not rash. I envy you with all those Kalemats…are you going to review the new flanker Sahruhl(sic)? Some samples I pass over because the full bottles are just soo $$$ that I’m afraid I’ll love it and be disappointed not to be able to buy it. Some though, like Rose de Petra or maybe, just, Richwood would be worth it. You mentioned how after Roja Dove pricing something $400 seems reasonable! Remember way back you told me we’d have to work on my “price snobbery”? Hehe. As usual my reply is almost tome-like and I’ve so much to talk about, but,
            I’ll stop now Kafka dear.

  5. I’m so glad you wrote about Kiste. I have just recently heard about it. You wrote about it so beautifully.and I love your imagery. It’s a must-try for me!

    • Thank you, Maya! I’m so pleased you were tempted. You’ll have to let me know what you think and how it appears on your skin. One thing, though, I have the vague recollection that you don’t really like smokiness? Am I mistaking you with someone else? If so, forgive me. It gets hard to keep track of everyone’s individual issues, especially when I’m sleep deprived. But if I did recall correctly, I just want to caution you there is quite a bit of dark smokiness in the perfume’s late drydown. It’s mixed with the tobacco, honey, peach, muskiness, sweetness, and warmth, but it’s there. If you really hate smokiness, I thought it was worth mentioning. 🙂

      • Kafka – you’re basically right. Smokiness and incense can take over on my skin. Thanks for mentioning it. But even though my skin does strange things to some perfumes, others do what they’re “supposed” to do. I always have to try to find out and I will try Kiste. There are a lot of notes in Kiste that sound great, including peach which is one of the few fruity notes I like very much.

  6. Your review makes it sound so nice, like a sort of beauty with substance.
    It also makes me want to order a sample. Peach is one of my favorite fruits, but can be tricky for me in perfume. Although, a well done peach is very tempting…

    • Given your recent love for smokier, dark fragrances like Black Gemstone, I think you might like this one, Mi’Lady. Now, I’m not saying they are alike (they aren’t), but there is a dark side to Kiste in addition to an earthy one, a musky one, , a golden one, a fruity one, sweetness, and a touch of booze. And the peach here is very well-done in its balance! I hope you can get a sample.

      • Sample, of course, ordered right after finishing my comment to your review )
        Might take some time because they’re coming from the US, but I’ll definitely let you know the “outcome”. I like things with a dark side… – especially if it’s accompanied by fruits, sweetness and booze (now that sounds like a much better version of those hated 50 shades !)
        Am so thankful, dear Franz : your blog is my clearing in the jungle of www – many thanks !

  7. must. get. now! sounds like it’s close to baque, which was absolutely stunning and longed-for. must. glad you met a slumberhouse you really love; i think josh is brilliant. and ‘back on track” 🙂

    • Not a fan of Sadanne, huh? LOL. 😉 😀 This one is completely up your alley, Tim! I haven’t tried Baque to be able to compare but, from what I know of your tastes, you should get a bottle of Kiste.

  8. Damn, Kafka! Stop making me want to try more stuff! My to-try list is too big already. 🙂
    (tobacco! Hmmmm. Also intrigued by the peach)

    • Heh. 🙂 Have you ever tried anything from Slumberhouse? The fragrances are a world apart from anything you may have encountered. Completely original, different, unique, and with a density, power and heft that blow the vast majority of parfums out of the water. I can guarantee you that there is nothing quite like Slumberhouse in France.

      • I haven’t, not yet. Will tell you when I do. 🙂 Apart from Papillon fragrances, I want to sniff some Cabanel or SHL next. And LM parfums, too! Since I don’t have to order a sample to try them on. 🙂 then maybe Slumberhouse. Your review got me intrigued.

        By the way, I stumble upon a Couvent des minimes sale of past products with some really nice discounts (it’s still on on the French website vente-privée, in case anyone is interested. I don’t think it ships outside of France though). If my memory is correct, you recommended among other stuff the honey and shea butter body lotion? I needed one so I ordered that plus a couple of things. I’ve been wanting to try Couvent des minimes for a while but the full price always stopped me. Hope it suits me!

  9. Kafka, I think this is one of your most beautiful reviews, ever! I love how you used both Gone with the Wind and Faulkner to describe the perfume’s character, giving me the sense that Kiste is a classically beautiful and classically subversive take on peach, tobacco and tea.

    I’m sure that I will order this at some point, as it hits all the right notes for me, but I have one question for you. How does this compare to Viktoria Minya’s Hedonist (which I love and own, and which I’m reminded of when I read about Kiste)? It sounds as if Kiste is like Hedonist done in a Southern Gothic style, a darker scent perhaps???

    • Awww, I’m so pleased that you found the review to be beautiful, though I have to admit that I don’t quite understand why so many people have loved it (including my own mother) other than the fact that I rarely give a positive review or love something. Heh. 😀

      The more important thing is your Hedonist question. Suzanne, they are absolutely NOTHING alike. Not even night and day, but different galaxies. To me, Hedonist is floral-oriental first and foremost, with a heavily boozy/rum opening and dominated by jasmine that has a hedione greenness and sparkling quality. The peach is totally different in character, more truly fruited in nature, rather than a cooked, thick compote. The honey is much less than the booze. For all the rum, it is a very airy, soft fragrance and it becomes even more so later on. It skews golden like fizzy champagne in sunlight. The darkness is hardly a core element.

      In contrast, I would never classify Kiste as a floriental but, rather, as a tobacco scent. It is dominated by honey and tobacco first and foremost, then the cooked, spiced peach, muskiness and earthiness. It has a sense of earthy soil that Hedonist never has. The muskiness feels as if humus earth has been incorporated within it, in addition to that earthy quality of henna. The warmth is thick in a way that Hedonist never has. The floralcy is the merest ghost. A theoretical idea of floralcy more than anything else.

      Later, Kiste’s tobacco not only takes on an incense-like smokiness, but a subtle rawness that is almost like spittoon juice (with a streak of tarriness almost akin to birch tar). It’s true, hardcore tobacco absolute in a way that (later in the drydown) creates a similarity more akin to Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque mixed with the golden, honeyed, musky warmth of Kalemat. So, in that sense, Kiste is Fumerie Turque and Arabian Oud’s Kalemat done in a Southern Gothic style. If you’re expecting a darker twist on Hedonist, you will be sorely disappointed, my dear. I hope that helps a little. xoxoox

  10. Superb review, Kafka, – really hand in glove with the fragrance. I was lucky enough to receive an unexpected sample of Kiste in the mail Thursday. Kiste is so well blended, the smoky peach and bourbon being what I experience first followed on by an immediate, drawing 2nd layer of florals, tobacco, tea, a tantalizing creaminess and a hint of luscious patchouli. Kiste was seductive enough to send me to Slumberhouse last night to purchase a bottle – my first fragrance purchase in over a year. Your review was as much a work of art as the fragrance, Kafka. Thank you.

    • Your first perfume buy in over a year!! What a compliment to Slumberhouse. Most of all, though, I’m just glad that you’re dipping your toe back into perfumery, since I know you had other things to occupy your attention over the last year. But I missed you and I was saddened that your interest in fragrance had waned (understandable though it was!!).

      It sounds like you experienced quite a bit of Bourbon right from the onset with Kiste. How wonderful! I imagine it smells particularly glorious when the booze is a more dominant chord. Did you experience a lot of muskiness at the start, or smokiness much later on in the development?

      Thank you for the kind words on the review, my dear. I am happily surprised by the unexpected nature of people’s response to it.

  11. I’ve only read the first paragraph of your review and I know I’d love it. I’m afraid when I go back and read the whole thing I’ll be whipping out the credit card and making a blind buy. I will read the whole thing later and I’ll probably be putting another jewel in that enabler crown of yours. Lol.

    • Heh, I would be honoured and touched if I tempted you to such an extent. 😀 I have a vague memory that peach is a tricky note for you, though. Am I mixing you up with someone else? I could have sworn you told me that once. If so, then I strongly caution against a blind buy and suggest sampling Kiste first. 🙂

      • Peach is tricky but I do well with Slumberhouse in general so I would take a chance on this one. I agree with Tim in that it sounds similar to Baque which I should have bought and didn’t and have been kicking myself for that ever since.

  12. This sounds fantastic. I have been looking for a nice new scent for summer and this just may fit the bill. The tobacco, peach and spice notes sound like a truly beautiful thing. I am wanting to do a blind buy myself.

  13. I stopped reading this a few paragraphs in to check the boards and see if anybody I knew was splitting it. Indeed somebody was, and having secured 10ml, I came back to read the rest of the review more calmly. Your writing is lovely, and this scent sounds lovely. I admire Slumberhouse without being able to wear anything that I have tried from them, and in fact the memory of Sova still makes me shudder in a way that I can’t define. It wasn’t a terrible perfume, it was just a scent that accumulated at the back of my throat in an odd way. It’s funny, because I love really big scents and whenever I try a Slumberhouse I keep thinking “I ought to love this,” but somehow I don’t. This one sounds like it will convert me!

  14. I have tried several Slumberhouse scents and none of them really did it for me. This one sounds worth sampling though, as I am a big fan of Fumerie Turque.

  15. I have yet to try any Slumberhouse, but I may have to cave and at least order a sample of this one. Sweet tea, peach, honeysuckle and tobacco… sounds like a Southerner’s dream. I’m a little concerned by the earthiness as I am so often sensitive to it, but you never know. Tobacco I like, especially pipe tobacco, but it can occasionally nauseate me. I love Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea, like TF Tobacco Vanille (though I’d never bother to buy it), liked Fumerie Turque until it got down to that fabulously-dirty animal-butt musk down in the bottom, liked Chergui until it pulled up that musty-old-house quality.)

    I first came across Faulkner as a teenager, and reading him was like having the top of my head sliced off to admit strange vapors *and* like finding a whole cache of keys to secret treasure chests.

  16. I don’t do well with honeyed perfumes, and I don’t necessarily do well with sweet (Sadanne did NOT work for me) but damn – I really want to try this one after reading your review. You just *had* to mention GWTW (with which I am obsessed)… Sooooooooooooooooo, this may just end up at the top of my sample list. Well, I still haven’t gotten my hands on Cuir d’Ange so maybe the #2 spot. 🙂

    Thanks for a lovely lovely review.

  17. This was really good timing, because I was just about to do an order for samples when I read it, so I added it to the list. It sounds right up my alley. I have Slumberhouse Pear and Olive, which I love.

    • I think you’ll love Kiste, Leezie. Speaking of Pear + Olive, Mr. Lobb told me that he’d briefly considered calling Kiste Peach + Tobacco, because, stylistically and idea-wise, they’re related in a sense. Given some of the dark scents you’ve fallen for lately, I have a feeling that Kiste may blow you way more than Pear + Olive. Fingers crossed that I’m right. You’ll have to let me know, okay?

  18. Wearing some Kiste right now. I find it intoxicating, utterly gorgeous. I don’t find it that sweet, and I can smell the henna note, which is fabulous. If I hadn’t read your review, I’d call it tobacco dipped in cinnamon, but there’s no cinnamon in this (or is there?)

    My goodness it’s good! It’s really quite erotic; I keep thinking it’s sensual, but it’s so beautiful and there’s an elusiveness to what it smells of exactly that it’s more than just sensual. . .that urge to bury one’s nose in the smell, lick your skin as you wrote. . .THIS is what a good fragrance should be. I am wowed.

    As I’m reaching for words here and haven’t hit the “post comment” button yet, I find it so very interesting; the henna note feels so strong to me, and there’s a little bit of repulsion, memories of hair wet and heavy with henna mud, but, then I think “so what?” This is an elusive smell indeed. I am utterly flummoxed by it, really. I can’t smell the peach, at least today, and I don’t care. I feel as if I’m getting a totally different experience than you had, but I’m loving it! To me, this has the earmarks of a true piece of olfactory art – it’s changeable, evokes strong images and memories, is a surprise, and is beautiful, though not in a predictable way.

    Bravo, Josh Lobb!!!

    • I’m so happy you love Kiste! As for the peach note, I know you detected it the first time you tried the scent, so I wonder if a differences in the quantity that you applied explains the surge in the henna note this time around? Do you recall if you sprayed more or less of the scent? Either way, it’s a beautiful fragrance and I’m glad you thought so as well.

      • You must have me confused with someone else! My comment was upon my first wearing of Kiste. Now, I’ve worn it three days in a row! I can not smell the peach. If I concentrate hard when I first spray it, I can stretch and say “it might smell like peach skin.” I get raw honey, tobacco and henna, undefined spices (though I’d call it cinnamon if I didn’t know better). I find it magnificent and don’t want to wear anything else! I do not find it sweet. The eroticism of it continues, and my dh thinks the same, judging it “fantastic.” He’s the king of faint praise with his usual proclamation of “nice.” Not this time!!

        I must be anosmic to the peach. Or just can’t recognize it? I’m a bit baffled.

        Last night I made some Szechuan braised beef (heavy aroma of star anise and cinnamon). The combo of that dish and Kiste was stupendous!

        • Ah, I must have misunderstood your personal message to me when you first received the scent, and the reference to peach.

          High praise from your husband, and the Kiste Szechuan combination sounds wonderful!

  19. I got my Kiste! It is deep and rich and beautiful. The honey note is gorgeous. On me it opens with potent waves of honeyed bourbon, but after that the bourbon notes are more in proportion, and I get the tea notes and peach rather distinctly as well as a distant floral note. I like your description of the “nebulous idea” of honeysuckle. When I was growing up in Louisiana, honeysuckle was a distinct and powerful and erotic force in the summer night air, but here in dry desert air it floats around wispily like the floral in Kiste. Something vanillic and delicious develops in the vase over the first few hours, not like vanilla extract but like the vanillic notes of charred oak barrels. And it lasts several hours on me, which implies that it should last a day and a night on more normal skin. This is a real beauty. I have always admired the sensibility of the Slumberhouse line but hadn’t found one that actually worked as a perfume on me. This one is wearable. Thanks so much!

    • Heh, you and your utterly insane, voracious skin. I can’t believe it eats through Kiste as well! Only “several hours”?! Wow. How much did you apply, and how long in total (if you can recall)? I bless my stars that my skin is nowhere as extreme as yours, because it would really break my heart if perfumes lasted as briefly on me as they do on you. Still, at least you found your first Slumberhouse that you truly enjoy, and find to be wearable! 😀 😀 What does your husband think, and has he gotten the chance to try it on his own skin? Are you tempted by a full bottle?

  20. I can’t really add to your detailed and accurate description, but I will say that Kiste is an amazing fragrance. 10 hours after spraying (lightly, I might add), I still smell this rich, dense, complex aroma wafting up towards my nose. I don’t have to put my nose to my wrist to smell it at all. During the 1st few hours, I smelled a sort of peach potpourri when I did put my nose to my wrist, but when I just let the aroma waft, I smelled the beautiful tobacco and spices as well as the peach.
    For some reason, I’m reminded of Anubis, but not because the fragrances smell similar. I think it’s because both of them are very dense, rich, and thick. Both feel like I’ve applied perfume patches on my skin instead of using the spray method. One big difference between the two is the fact that, while Anubis stays close to the skin, Kiste projects like crazy. Sillage, projection, and longevity are phenomenal. I received many compliments today (“OMG, what are you wearing?” “What’s in it?” “It smells spicy.” “Where did you buy it?”) I love this perfume and it will be my next full bottle purchase.

    • I’m so glad you found Kiste to be beautiful, and also really appreciate the detailed description of your experience, Ed. I think it will help a lot of people who may be trying to decide on the scent. What I think is most helpful is your comment on how Kiste smells from afar versus up close, as well as its projection, sillage, and longevity performance. It is definitely a full-bottle worthy scent, imo!

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  22. I loved this scent. At moments there was a hint of Minya’s Hedonist, but Kiste stands alone. In particular longevity: A smear on my inner wrist at 5pm – shower, bed, woke up, working at computer. Now 9am the next day: It’s still a skin scent, easy to detect. Wow.

    • It’s very long lasting, and Slumberhouse fragrances are always very rich, dense, and hefty in body as well. I’m glad you’re enjoying Kiste, Paskale.

  23. today, on my third or fourth wearing i finally get kiste. i had kinda written it off as a more potent, slumberhousey visa by robert piguet, with the peach & tobacco cranked way up. alas, as with most durable art, repeated tries has revealed more facets and a comfort level i hadn’t noticed. could be the season: it is now firmly autumn. in fact reading this over my morning coffee confirms this new view of kiste. i have huge respect for josh lobb, and this more approachable side of his oeuvre is a winner 🙂

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  26. Kafka, I have just ordered a full bottle of KISTE from Luckyscent. I had read many online reviews— the whole parfum-o-sphere is falling over itself with praise for this number— but it was your review here that just sent me to my wallet. $160 buckaroos is quite dear for me, but I just HAVE to know what this is like. I have always liked a peach note in fragrance, especially the peach head that is part of the 1920’s-30’s “Patou-ade”, in numbers like QUE SAIS-JE?, LASSO and AMOUR AMOUR. And the delirious peach head of Roudnitska’s NOIR EPICES. I’ll be sure to let you know my verdict when it arrives. THANK YOU!

    • Welcome to the blog, Mr. Brooks, and thank you for letting me know my review was helpful to you. I’ll be crossing my fingers in hope that you love Kiste, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts once the fragrance arrives and you have the chance to explore it fully. PS — I’m curious what part of my review was the final impetus, given all that you had previously read about Kiste elsewhere? Was it simply my description of the peach note, or was it something else? 🙂

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