International Women’s Month: Olivia Giacobetti

Welcome to International Women’s Month! Scents of Self will be celebrating with tributes to the female pioneers of perfumery all month long. First up: Olivia Giacobetti!

I want to keep Olivia Giacobetti in my basement. Wait, let me try that again: I want to keep Olivia Giacobetti in my basement so that she can make me an endless supply of her brilliant fragrances. (Olivia, where are you going? Come back! I don’t even have a basement! OLIVIA I WILL TREAT YOU HUMANELY.)

A Giacobetti fragrance is instantly recognizable. She favors light, graceful strokes of bold notes, like a watercolor painting with bright colors. But it’s not just her talent that makes me want to keep Olivia in my basement (or the attic! Like Jane Eyre!) I also admire her unorthodox path as a perfumer.

Giacobetti is one of the very few perfumers who works outside of the perfume industry’s traditional fragrance firm system, and inarguably one of the most successful. She created her own company, Iskia, at age 24, after beginning her career at Annick Goutal at age 16. After 13 years of creating fragrances for the likes of Hermès, Diptyque, and Byredo, Giacobetti launched her own line, IUNX. Despite a challenging beginning (the original IUNX boutique closed in 2006), IUNX triumphantly reopened at the iconic Hotel Costes in 2008. Respect, Oli-G.

Choosing a Top 5 for my very favorite perfumer was so impossible that it almost immediately became a Top 7 list!

7 Olivia Giacobetti Fragrances Every Human Needs To Smell

L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing!

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L’Artisan’s tribute to the circus has Giacobetti playing lion tamer, softening this wild creature of leather and sawdust until it purrs.

Diptyque Philosykos

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No discussion of fig fragrances is complete without a mention of the gorgeously green Philosykos.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant

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My #1. Saffron, sandalwood, unearthly beauty.

Frederic Malle En Passant

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Tender, dew-soaked lilacs. Probably my favorite floral.

Lubin Idole

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First name greatest, last name ever. Rum, saffron, and a souk’s worth of spices. I would trade an alarming number of organs for a bottle of the now-discontinued eau de toilette.

Honoré des Prés I Love Les Carottes

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The carrot fragrance you never knew you needed! A very clever olfactory magic trick; crisp, rooty iris smells like carrots from a certain angle.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Jour de Fete

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Cruelly discontinued. MAJOR party foul. Jour de Fete was the loveliest candied almond fragrance around.

In conclusion, the Giacobetti-Weinberg wedding will take place in June, our cat will be the ring-bearer, and you are all invited.

What’s your favorite Giacobetti fragrance? Did I miss any must-sniffs?

Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. All fragrances featured in the post were purchased at full price by me, to my horror. 

The Scents of Self Guide to Barcelona’s Museu del Perfum

Don’t let that 2.5 Trip Advisor rating scare you away. Ignore the review calling the Museu del Perfum “one room you could walk around in 1 minute.” That lowly one room contains one of the most unbelievable perfume collections on earth, a spectacular 4,000 bottles ranging from ancient Egypt to modern day.

The museum starts off old-school: Roman clay urns from 500 B.C., gorgeous 18th century Italian glasswork, and even two bottles owned by Marie Antoinette. I somehow have only one picture from this section. Bad blogger!

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She’s totally judging my blogging. Major side-eye.

About halfway through the collection, the fragrances are categorized by national origin. It’s nice to know that Israel and Palestine peacefully coexist, at least behind a glass case in Barcelona.

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We’ve finally reached my favorite part! The end of the museum is a dazzling parade of long-lost, legendary fragrances from the last century.

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They had all the big names, but even more thrilling were the unknowns. Chanel Ivoire, Guerlain Fol Arôme, Meteor de Coty;  mysterious bottles that I had never heard of before despite their big brand names. Lost fragrances that no longer exist outside of the museum’s display cases. All you can do is stare at them through the glass and try to imagine what they would have been like.

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No museum is complete without a gift shop, and Regia Perfumería has one of the best selections of niche and high-end fragrances outside of France. If you can tear yourself away (I couldn’t without a bottle of the deliciously warm Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur), the magnificently whimsical Casa Battló is just a few Gaudí-designed tiles further down the street.

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A few more spectacular bottles that didn’t fit into any particular category:

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The original Amouage packaging!
The original Amouage packaging!
I really need more perfume bottles to be in the shape of bears.
I really need more perfume bottles to be in the shape of a bear.

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Disclaimers: This post does not contain affiliate links. Please note that the museum goes by both Museu del Perfum (Catalan) and Museo del Parfum (Castillian Spanish). All museum captions are in Catalan, which my high school Spanish was totally unprepared for.

Lubin Gin Fizz

Have I mentioned that I like gin?

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I thought I might have.

A Gin Fizz is a glamorously retro cocktail from New Orleans that consists of gin, sugar, lemon juice, and soda/tonic. (13.5% in Baltimore makes a gorgeous grapefruit Gin Fizz, if you’re ever in town.) Lubin Gin Fizz really does smell remarkably like a gin and tonic, meaning a prominent juniper note and nose-tickling aldehydes. Not to the extent that you’ll be labeled the office lush, of course; I think that anyone who didn’t know that this was supposed to be a gin perfume would simply interpret it as a refreshing, effervescent floral.

The original version of Gin Fizz was released by Lubin in 1955. I don’t know a thing about it, except that it was apparently good enough for Luca Turin to request its re-release in his Perfumes: The Guide. A Luckyscent review claims that the new Gin Fizz smells the same as the old, but has inferior lasting power. I actually get higher-than-average wear time with Gin Fizz, but if you don’t, the price ($150 for 100 ml) is decent enough for a niche perfume that you can feel okay about frequent reapplication.

Oh, and if you were wondering what happened to my gin masterpiece, it’s coming along quite nicely.

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