Slumberhouse New Sibet

Opulent iris butter as thick as cream turned ashen from cinders dropped by smoked woods; grey floral suede and leather wrapped up in vapours of pink and red, first from carnation, and later from roses; the flanks of an animal heated from an afternoon ride, its golden muskiness pulsating softly through its heartbeat to cling to your cool hands as you stroke fur that is as smooth as satin and infinitely creamy — these are parts of the tableau painted by New Sibet, the latest fragrance from Slumberhouse and it’s quite a departure from the brand’s usual style. Gone is the rugged aesthetic of old created from dense, forceful, practically opaque bases imbued with sweetness, spices, or brooding darkness.

Instead of nature-based landscapes slashed with colour and loaded with weight, this is a coolly elegant, sophisticated scent, soft and vaporous, worn with sleek city suits, furs, or cashmere, and constructed in a fashion that is often as much about tactile texture as it is about scent. Often, even more so, because it’s frequently an impressionistic scent where its elements are sensed almost on a subconscious, intuitive, and subliminal level rather than an actual one, its notes a suggestion that pass on the breeze — there and, yet, not there at the same time. It is scent that is often rendered through a filter, notes tinted in sepia hues like an old photograph, and it’s all done in a way that is extremely artistic and sensory.

New Sibet. Photo: my own.

New Sibet. Photo: my own.

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Slumberhouse Norne: Tolkien’s Forest

Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

If the vast forests of America’s Pacific Northwest were all condensed and concentrated down into a green-black wine, it would still be only a fraction of the tale told by Norne, the famous fragrance from Josh Lobb of Slumberhouse. Norne is an incredibly atmospheric scent that conjured up a host of disparate images in my mind: the terroir of expensive aged, red wines; lumberjacks in the Pacific Northwest; and a dark, verdant world straight out of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings where goblins, hobbits, elves, and Orcs battle it out amidst a verdant darkness.

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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.”

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Slumberhouse Sadanne: Days of Wine & Roses

Source: theunlocker.co.uk

Source: theunlocker.co.uk

Garnet wine and rubied roses with iridescent flashes of green-black earthiness; tart, tangy cherries with bitter almonds; syrupy fruits and sweet dessert — these are a few of the faces of Sadanne, a new fragrance from Slumberhouse, an indie brand out of Portland, Oregon run by the highly respected, talented Josh Lobb. I found his latest creation to be joyous, bright, and cheerful, not to mention very fun to wear. At times, Sadanne took me deep into Germany’s Black Forest with its tart Kirschwasser liqueur centered on sour Morello cherries and bitter almonds. On other occasions, it conjured up “Old Vines” Zinfandel wine with a dash of fruity Pinot Noir, and Ernest Dawson’s famous phrase about “days of wine and roses.” In short, it feels like an alcoholic’s gourmand interpretation of roses, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Regular readers know just how much I love boozy, alcoholic, or wine-like notes in my perfumes. (I swear, I’m not a lush!)

Theoretically, Sadanne is a rose fragrance, but it was created by a man who shudders at the note and has always avoided making any floral scent up until now. I share Mr. Lobb’s squeamishness, and prefer my roses to be gagged, drowned, and then beaten to a whimpering pulp by other elements — preferably of an oriental nature. So when I heard that a rose-hater had made a rose fragrance that he could wear, partially as a challenge to himself, I knew I had to try it. I’m glad I did.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

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