kismet olfactive / nostalgia (a sonnet for grasse)
Adventurous, Bold, Rich, Deep, Confident
Heart: Tonka Bean, Rose de mai
Base: Leather, Suede, Nagamotha
Nostalgia is a love song to the French-Alps village of Grasse, where Kismet-founder Shabnam Tavakol studied perfumery. Structured on poetry’s 14-line sonnet form, the fragrance is composed of 14 raw materials.
Nostalgia’s first stanza is based on seductive suede, saffron, and leather accords, evoking Grasse’s roots as an epicenter of tanning in the Middle Ages. Heart notes include Rose de mai and nagarmotha as a nod to Grasse’s rise as the world’s perfume capital in the 18th century—home to hillside flower fields that meet the Mediterranean Sea. At its volta, Nostalgia turns upwards towards anisic top notes inspired by Pastis—the complex, herbal aperitif with which Shabnam developed an intimate relationship during after-school hours at Grasse’s sole watering hole, Le Crystal.
At once leathery, musky, floral, herbal, smoky, and spicy, Nostalgia is a unisex scent intoxicating to men, women, and everyone in between.
Embrace your solitude and love it. Endure the pain it causes, and try to sing out with it. For those near to you are distant.
—Rainer Maria Rilke
Kismet Olfactive is a New York City-based independent fragrance studio founded by bohemian-perfumer Shabnam Tavakol. Born and raised in California, Shabnam—Farsi for “morning dew” — is the daughter of Iranian-immigrant parents who escaped the violent 1979 Revolution in Iran, relocating to the U.S. by way of hard-won efforts and a string of good fortune. Recognizing this fortuitous past, Kismet — from the Persian qismat, meaning “fate,” or, “what is meant to be” — translates the serendipitous moments that make up our lives into wearable scents.
Shabnam studied fragrance creation at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in South France. After graduating, she worked professionally in Paris and New York City, yet soon grew disappointed by the perfume industry’s rigid conformity, privileging corporate hierarchy, political correctness, and a hard line between ‘natural perfumery’ and ‘fine fragrance’ — large-fragrance-house perfumers seemed disconnected from clientele, pressured to formulate from marketing briefs, consumer-projections, pie charts, analytics. Seeking an alternative, Shabnam founded Kismet to establish a more intimate, inclusive, and ‘naturals’-integrative approach to fine fragrance creation.