It’s hard not to judge books by their covers, especially when you walk into the bookstore with little more information than a few famous authors’ names. That’s the experience I believe many of us have when we enter the world of perfume. You walk into a department store, you see the names of luxury brands emblazoned on some boxes, and you sniff a few until one stands out. Chances are, a nice-looking bottle is likely to swing our choice if two scents come head to head. This phenomenon has likely lead to the creation of bottles that are literal works of art, ones that you’d love to display on a mantle or a dresser to show your taste in decoration as well as fragrance.
I’m bringing this up because Lubin’s bottles are, well, striking. The first time I saw one I immediately guessed that the fragrance was too fancy for me (and as a college student, I was right.) I’ve since then come to realize that the bottles, at least for several of the brand’s most famous scents, are somewhere between pieces of modern art and classy, expensive phalluses. It’s a strange combination and not exactly one that makes me want to throw down my money.
But of course, the bottle is only the literal surface you scratch before you dive into a perfume. Korrigan may be packaged in a strangely expensive and masculine manner, but it’s not really an issue if you’re just there for the fragrance. The bizarre thing about Korrigan is that it’s kind of an embodiment of its bottle.
Saffron, Cognac, Juniper Berry, Lavender, Ambrette Seed, Whiskey, Cedar, Leather, Oud, Vetiver, Musk
The first thing you’ll notice about Korrigan is it’s extremely bass-heavy. There’s hardly a formal top note here; this is a perfume that goes on skin smelling like an especially rich fragrance that’s already dried down a few hours. Korrigan’s heart is boozy and leathery with just a few herbal and spicy touches to round out the base. It’s as if someone bottled the darkness in the corner of a dim cocktail bar.
While the opening is quite nice, if a bit minimalist, Korrigan’s drydown is, well, exactly what you’d expect – an increasingly duller version of its heart. There are nuances here and there, specifically a much-needed dirty edge granted by the musk and ambrette. However, it can’t help but feel like a weaker, safer outing from a brand like Slumberhouse, which is famous for its almost-entirely low-note compositions. There’s a flare and power to those fragrances which is completely absent here.
Ultimately, Korrigan is a dark, masculine perfume without a lot of depth. It looks pretty and certainly appears powerful at first glance. However, there’s not much going on beyond the perfume’s elegant sheen. Suffice it to say its bottle is a fitting advertisement. For some, that ultra-sleek, well-honed masculinity will be a perfect match for a suit or a lounge. For others and myself, it’s simply more of a show-er than a grower.
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