kismet olfactive / nymphaes
Cheerful, Sunny, Serene, Gentle, Enchanting
Top: Pond water
Heart: Maté, Lily of the Valley, Lotus
Base: Vetiver, Oakmoss
Nymphéas (Water Lilies) is a series of roughly 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet, depicting the artist’s renowned garden ponds at his home in Giverny. Painted over the last thirty years of Monet’s life—as his vision progressively blurred due to cataracts—‘Water Lilies’ is an extended study on the interplay of light, color, and reflection on water, testifying to nature’s constant transformation and ephemerality.
Inspired by Monet’s great cycle, Nymphéas (Water Lilies) is a floral fragrance exploring ambiguity, impermanence, and blurred perception. Solar water lily notes hover over lily of the valley, jasmine, and aquatic pond water which, in turn, mingle with earthy scents of vetiver, oak moss, and maté. Embracing olfaction’s ever-shifting subtleties, Nymphéas (Water Lilies) evokes the uncanny experience of familiarity with the unfamiliar—it’s like being in love.
“These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me. It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel.”
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.