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Korrigan – Caramel, woods, leather – a shape-shifter

I’m at the dentist, waiting for my appointment with the hygienist.

Ping! A text. Oh good, a distraction from thinking about the pending torture. It’s from my daughter.

“I’m in Jovoy in Paris right now – I can’t believe this store! I want to buy you a gift. Which perfume do you want?”

At that moment the hygienist appears, summoning me with a glint in her eye. “Ready? Follow me!”

No time to think, I text back, “Surprise me!”

A week later, I’m definitely surprised. Guided by François Hénin, the charming owner of Jovoy, my  daughter chose Korrigan, by Lubin. Based in Paris, the House of Lubin was established in 1798 and is therefore one of the France's oldest luxury brands. Bought in 2004 by Gilles Thevanin who learned the perfume business at Guerlain and Rochas, the old company has been revived and reinvented for the 21 century. Gilles Thevanin works with a talented pool of perfumers to whom he gives free rein to create, noses such as Olivia Giacobetti, composer of Idole, Delphine Thierry, and Thomas Fontaine, who created Korrigan.

Along with Giacobetti’s Idole de Lubin, a divinely luscious Oriental with notes of rum, spices, woods, leather, Korrigan is part of the Talismania Collection from Lubin. Considered avant-garde when it launched in 2012, it’s since become a minor cult classic because it is so uniquely original and perfectly formulated, with its otherworldly interplay of two accords: creamy boozy woody caramel and bitter-green tarry smoky leather. Whether you get to fully experience both of these accords depends on your personal chemistry – turns out that skin is one of the key ingredients in Korrigan, which adds to its cult appeal.

From the Lubin website:

A Korrigan is a small mythical creature that haunts the moors of Brittany, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.In the Armorican countryside frolic the Korrigans at night. They come to harvest juniper berries and wild beechnuts. Then, in dark caves, they distil barley into spellbinding spirits, spicing them with saffron, musking them with ambrette, scenting them with lavender. During the solstice festivals, they all drink their elixirs out of leather pouches, causing bodies and souls to capsize."

Perfumer Thomas Fontaine created Korrigan by imagining a tree with sweet but tangy sap, which he called  “Caramel Wood.” From the top, Korrigan smells milky and steamy, but immediately becomes buttery and sweet as the caramel note develops. Before the burnt-sugar caramel becomes cloying, cognac and juniper berry mix with the top notes to create a deliciously gourmand booziness. Into the heart, saffron and lavender and ambrette transform Korrigan into a sensuous cloud, pushing the gourmand sweetness in the background, pulling more boozy and herbaceous warmth into the heart.  With the addition of the base notes, cedar, leather, oudh, vetiver, and warm musks, the magic of Korrigan truly happens. 

What began as a seemingly simple sweet fragrance, is now a full-blown skin scent, a scent of whispers and caresses. Hints of resinous cedar, wafts of rich saffron, the tarry smokiness of oudh and leather, the sweet alcoholic glow of golden liqueurs, all speak of shared pleasures far beyond a Caramel Wood. A scent to be shared by lovers, by women and men.

I’ve craved a bottle of Korrigan since I first sniffed it five years ago, and now the tall sleek cream-colour Art-Deco bottle with the tortoise-shell cap sits on my perfume shelf. I’ve worn it a lot since my daughter gave it to me, in warm weather and cool weather, and it always smells wonderful, with a soft sillage that lasts for hours.

I have to share it though, because my daughter loves Korrigan, too. She should have bought two bottles.

Korrigan is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Korrigan EdP -