Jeke 2022 is an interesting creature. It’s nothing like the original Jeke but it’s also not the same fragrance from one wearing to another in terms of its development, the strength and unfurling of its notes, or the ways that various materials combine to create impressions of entirely separate materials. There are a whole list of recreated scents aromas that have me utterly confused, uncertain as to whether they are the result of the listed materials have exceedingly complex facets or whether they ensue from unlisted notes. For example, I have no explanation for the savory, culinary herbs that appear on my skin, nor for the profound impression of vetiver.
Further, as alluded to up above, Jeke 2022 is prismatic – never the exact same way twice in terms of its details or nuances – though its basic gist remains the same from one test to another. As a result, the format of this review will differ from my usual style.
Jeke was originally released in 2008 as an eau de parfum before being tweaked and re-released sometime later as an extrait de parfum. That second version was what I reviewed back in 2013. I don’t know how much tweaking Jeke has gone through since then because I get the sense that Mr. Lobb is one of those perfectionists who can never stop adding or removing brush strokes from his paintings. All I know is that he seems to have continued his compulsive editing straight through to Jeke 2022 where, just as with Ore 2022, he’s sought to create a more and more refined, elevated scent than what he once put out.
A few weeks back, he had a long description of how he’d reworked both Ore and Jeke. I’d like to thank both “Purpea” from Basenotes and “Jan” here for each helping me find that full, detailed explanation which Mr. Lobb had removed from Slumberhouse’s front page.
Below you will find both the official description for Jeke 2022 as well as a few insights into Mr. Lobb’s thinking or goals when revamping his old scent:
As with Ore, the lighter color of perfume here was intentional. As I look to refine my work and ensure the best possible offerings, I have come to acknowledge that while the dark sludgy appearance of my earlier perfumes provided a certain unique (at least back then) visual element at the time, those materials were also quite crude. It’s hard to comprehend the advances in the raw materials world since I started doing this. The technology to create truly remarkable materials is really one of the most fascinating things happening in the perfume world right now, and all I care about is existing on the cusp of those advancements and creating the very best perfumes I can.
Unlike the latest iteration of Ore, this new Jeke formula is quite different.
This latest version of Jeke focuses on three main accords: whiskey, ‘amber+honey’ and tobacco. The whiskey note comes from a booze accord I’ve worked on since 2014 (for those who have received prototypes of it over the last 8 years, this is the ‘Withnail’ perfume) that uses extract of whiskey along with a special rum material. These two materials pair up beautifully and are glued with a unique caramel note which buttresses up perfectly to the honey chord. To this boozy accord I added traces of a number of chemicals which add tones of reflective metal and ‘golden flinty’ notes. I wanted the vaporous boozy aspect to really sparkle in the air. I wanted to create something like a whiskey/rum aldehyde, but one that was rooted in something a bit richer and more substantive. Not the faint ephemeral suggestion of alcohol but a massive golden rum/whiskey scent that billows into the air like a smokestack. The liquor aspect of Jeke is not reserved. It is very much front and center. Next to this are the honey and tobacco chords which are based on actual pipe tobacco casing syrup recipes and utilize not just real honey and real tobacco but the full array of aromatic curing materials used by tobacconists to flavor and scent tobaccos. It is a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, smokey amber tobacco within a thick golden halo of whiskey and rum notes. This is the version of Jeke I’ve always envisioned in my mind.
The succinct note list for Jeke 2022 is:
Tobacco, amber, honey, rum, vanilla, clove, caramel, whiskey, benzoin, smoke [and aromatic curing materials.]
In contrast, Slumberhouse’s website description for the old Jeke and its notes was, per my old 2013 Jeke review, as follows:
A breath of fog in the autumnal humidor.
Benzoin, Patchouli, Tobacco, Lapsang Souchong, Vanilla, Clove
Fragrantica‘s old note list back then was slightly different than what Mr. Lobb listed but it fit closely with my experience with the (circa 2013) scent. They basically added two things. So, if one merges the two lists together, Jeke’s full original note list for the pure parfum was:
Cade, Tobacco, Patchouli, Benzoin, Labdanum, Lapsang Souchong, Vanilla, Clove.
Quite different, as you can see, from Jeke 2022.
There have also been a few colour changes along the way, as Mr. Lobb himself stated and warned, plus bottle packaging changes.
Before I start with the scent description, I wanted to briefly talk about the tobacco material in Jeke 2022. I’ve never encountered anything quite like it because it goes beyond many of the traditional aspects of tobacco, even the very dirtiest kind, on my skin. I think one reason may be how the tobacco interacts with other notes, like the clove, resulting in side-effects that strongly mimic entirely separate materials. For example, the tobacco combines with the clove to give the impression of spiced, dark earth. I’m talking about actual black soil infused with clove powder.
More importantly, the tobacco wafts a ton of aromas which, when taken together, are virtually identical on my skin to vetiver. To be specific, the rawest, most layered “vetiver,” like a Haitian vetiver absolute combined with Bourbon vetiver.
In addition to that, the “vetiver” combines with Mr. Lobb’s “full array of aromatic curing materials used by tobacconists to flavor and scent tobaccos” to result in a completely unexpected aroma of fenugreek and savory dried green cooking herbs. I associate the aroma of fenugreek with curries or various Middle Eastern dishes in which it’s typically used, so it’s hard for me to smell this unexpected off-shoot of the tobacco and curatives without thinking Persian fenugreek herbal rice. You won’t have that mental association, but do not be surprised if by chance the tobacco ends up wafting aromas similar to vetiver, green herbaceousness, dried herbs, spiced earth, and tannic, dirty leather.
Jeke 2022 opens on my skin with multi-faceted tobacco and equally complex booziness. The tobacco smells of vetiver, fenugreek, dark earth, raw tobacco juice like that you’d find in a spittoon in an old cowboy movie, honeyed tobacco leaves left to cure in the sun, and spiced, herbal leather raw hides.
The booze accord smells like: fruity rum; sweet Bourbon whiskey infused with a big slug of Bourbon vanilla that’s been aged in Bourbon oak caskets; and also, in two of my tests, apple brandy that evokes French Calvados.
That’s just the start. Jeke 2022 quickly adds a plethora of other aromas: sticky caramel, a honeyed syrupy sweetness that smells just like immortelle’s maple syrup; charred woods and wood smoke; a resinous incense-y-like smoke; sticky balsamic amber; and a leathery, smoky woody-amber aromachemical.
I’ve tested Jeke 2022 two full times (and I’m currently in the middle of my third test as I write), and I have to say that the strength, prominence, and order of some of these nuances is strongly impacted by how much scent I apply.
My first full test involved 2 generous smears equal to perhaps 2 spritzes from a bottle or one really big one. With that amount, I experienced what smelled unmistakably of maple syrup, aka immortelle. I also experienced the apple Calvados brandy during the first 40 minutes. In addition, the “vetiver” and “fenugreek” were pretty muted, while the caramel and aromachemical woody-amber were both noticeable.
In my second test, I doubled my scent application, using roughly 4-5 generous smears equal to 3 sprays from the bottle on my forearm. With that amount, the tobacco’s dirtiness seemed to double or triple. Now I was really envisioning tobacco spittoon juices in an old Western saloon. The tobacco was also significantly earthier, had such a huge “vetiver” aroma that I actually began to wonder if vetiver was a secret, hidden note in the formula, and wafted a sort of tarriness that was quite unexpected.
I don’t know if Jeke 2022 has a hidden leather component, if it’s a side-aroma of the tobacco or the woody-amber synth, or a combination of the two, but there seem to be separate sorts of “tarriness” on my skin, one of the more dirty, tobacco-ish kind, one that smells more like leather. Or perhaps they’re both side-effects of the exceedingly complex tobacco accord. (I refuse to believe that there is only one sort of tobacco material used here, not with everything that is unfurling.)
Then again, maybe it’s related to the hidden, undefined “full array of [tobacco] aromatic curing materials” that Mr. Lobb briefly alluded to in his description. I don’t know. I’ll be honest, there were a lot of times during my Jeke 2022 tests where I felt I didn’t know what was going on. Or rather, why certain things were happening. I simply couldn’t get over the powerful “vetiver”-like accord or the mimicked, reproduced “fenugreek” smell. I felt like I was going a little crazy, so I poured over the notes a few times to no avail. There is simply a LOT more going on here, on my skin at least, than what the note list would suggest, and I’ve concluded that it has to be a combination of an exceedingly complex, exceedingly dirty tobacco mixture with that undefined but broad “full array of [tobacco] aromatic curing materials.”
It’s difficult for me to break down Jeke 2022, despite having roughly 14 pages of notes on it on a yellow legal pad. First, as I noted, dosage applications make a difference to the notes, their nuances, and their prominence. But it also effects what smells unfurl when. My three wearings/tests so far have yielded three different scent evolutions, at least in terms of the details since the overall gist of the Jeke 2022 remains the same.
Second, the richness and complexity of Jeke 2022’s accords render it both incredibly nuanced and, yet, also incredibly linear and simple in development because the rich notes create a thick wall of aroma. To put it another way, Jeke 2022 is a behemoth bouquet that seems to remain largely linear for many, many hours at a time (Jeke lasts at least 22 hours on me), unless one is sniffing up close frequently in order to detect the ebb and flow of certain notes.
While the force and complexity of the tobacco accord remains the central focus and driving force of Jeke 2022 for eons, the prominence or effect of everything else varies from time to time and from wearing to wearing. For example, that “maple syrup” note, the strength of the caramel, the nuances of the complicated booze accord, how much clove-ish spiced dirt shows up, how the smoke accord varies (from charred wood smoke to incense-like aromas) and what the nuances of the “vetiver” are (woody, rooty, herbaceous, boozy, smoky, and/or earthy).
There seems to be no uniformity of experience for me to share with you. Not even about the tobacco. In one wearing with a light scent application, the variety of tobacco aromas were briefly supplemented, somewhat early on (around the 2nd hour) by the aroma of an expensive, unlit Cohiba cigar. (There was no cigar aroma in my other tests.) Adding to the weirdness, the tobacco later fused with everything else, changing the character of Jeke 2022 from the 7th hour onwards.
In essence, the tobacco was submerged under clove-ish spiced earth, a lot of amber, caramel swirled with vanilla, and the powerful “immortelle” maple syrup echo. In its long drydown stage that begin around the 12th hour, Jeke 2022 was a honeyed, spiced (clove and cinnamon) earthiness with vanilla, a woody amber synth, and lingering traces of maple syrup that eventually died away completely in the 18th hour. At that point, all that was left was spiced, golden, dry-sweet earthiness.
Another test, my second wearing (4-5 smears), was quite different. Jeke 2022 opened as I described above with a complex tobacco accord, a layered liquored accord, “vetiver,” “fenugreek” and dried herbs, clove-ish spiced earth, honey, no immortelle, woody-amber synths, a muted splash of caramel, and charred wood smoke with incense. The tobacco wafted a plethora of different facets until the 2.5 hour mark when it turned purely dirty, like a wad of raw tobacco that’s been chewn, spat out, and left on the ground to leak its juices. Then, it changed again, an hour later. It fused with the now-peaty “vetiver,” the smoke, and whatever is in the complex liquor combination to powerfully recreate the aroma of a peaty, smoky, earthy Islay single-malt scotch. The “Islay scotch” bouquet didn’t last long, but I enjoyed it while it did. (Although, the strong and ongoing “fenugreek” herbal aroma was a weird accompanying touch.)
There were other differences in this test, too, from my first wearing. For example, there wasn’t really a distinct caramel note; only honeyed sweetness lurking under the dominant notes. The impression of fenugreek and dried green herbs lasted almost straight until the drydown began around the 14th hour. The vanilla only really showed up then. While the varying and fluctuating rum, whisky, or whiskey aromas lasted longer on my skin during this test than the others, they still only endured about 5 hours on my skin. With regard to the caramel, vanilla, and even a lot of the boozy notes, they were either secondary or tertiary to the dominant tobacco, “vetiver”-like, smoky notes. The latter simply overwhelmed everything else like a battering ram or a big, gulping whale.
In my third test, which is ongoing as I write, I wanted to make doubly sure about certain aromas or the recreations thereof. I applied about 3 huge smears, equal to a bit more than 2 sprays from a bottle; I also applied it to the top of my hand this time, not my forearm. This third test, thus far, has aspects of the two other ones, at different times, but also something quite new: a pronounced, overt woody-amber synth in the base that rises to the top in a noticeable way 2.75 hours into Jeke 2022’s development. It’s smoky in a way that differs from my first test where it also appeared. It’s raspy in character, scratching my throat and rendering it scratchier with every passing hour. It’s also very arid in terms of the type of smokiness it exudes.
On top of all that, the vagaries of Jeke’s prismatic nature somehow landed me, from late in the third hour until this moment at the start of the 5th hour, in the middle of what is predominantly (like 75%) “fenugreek” and charred wood smoke, sewn together by “vetiver” (with a fistful of spiced earth from who knows where strewn on top). I am not a fan of “fenugreek” with arid smokiness. I have no idea where this scent will lead me this time around, but it’s quite clear that it’s unpredictable in its developments.
I hope it’s clear by now why I’m not breaking down Jeke 2022 in my usual fashion, hour by hour or stage by stage, and instead giving you snippets of what happens in different tests. I suspect I could try Jeke 2022 ten times and give you ten different iterations. And that’s just on my skin; who knows what it could be like on yours, the next person’s, and the next? Yes, the basic gist of dirty tobacco, smoke, booze, and sweetness may remain largely the same, in terms of the broadest parameters, but everything else may vary.
One thing that I can say is that there is always some point on my skin where everything ended up pretty much the same in the two full tests that I’ve done: Jeke 2022’s final hours. It is basically spiced, clove-ish earthiness with attenuated wisps of abstract sweetness, goldenness, and an occasional tiny blip of dry woodiness.
Jeke 2022 had excellent longevity and, depending on how much I applied, intense to strong sillage during the first four hours. Depending on my dosage application, Jeke 2022 lasted 22 hours in one case and 30 hours in another. The sillage with a large dosage was intense at first, wafting several feet until it dropped in the fourth hour to something simply big, like merely a foot. Jeke 2022 dropped a bit further every few hours after that until, in the 14th hour, the scent hovered a inch above my arm. It was easy to detect with zero effort until the 19th hour at which point I had to put my nose right on the skin. It lasted just under 30 hours.
With the smaller dose equal to about 2 small spritzes or 1 big spray from a bottle, Jeke 2022 opened with about 14-16 inches of scent trail which, again, dropped as the fragrance developed. In the 3rd hour, Jeke 2022 extended about 6-7 inches, shrinking gradually until the 8.75 hour mark whereby the scent trail became about 2-3 inches. This version of Jeke 2022 became a skin scent in the 12th hour, though it easy to detect up close until the 15th hour. At that point, I needed to put my nose on my arm. In total, Jeke 2022 lasted 22 hours.
I don’t know what to say about Jeke 2022 to you because I have no earthly clue how it may manifest itself from one person to the next, so I’m leery of reaching conclusions as to what sorts of tastes it will suit. I think it’s likely that most people will experience a rather dirty tobacco scent with quite a bit of smoke, booze, and (different sorts) of sweetness but, at this point, I wouldn’t bet even on that. Who the heck knows?
If you love Slumberhouse and tobacco scents, though, you should try Jeke 2022 for yourself and see what ensues.