I had a different post contemplated for today, but since Patty announced a drawing yesterday for samples of the new, hotly-anticipated L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse, I thought I’d revisit it. As you may remember, I got to try a dab from a private pre-release sample – a couple of drops on the skin – in Paris in April. We all liked it, and (paraphrasing here) Louise said and I agreed that it smelled like something that would be commercially successful.
On Sunday, I got to try two (okay, three) generous squirts on the skin from an actual NdT bottle from an Unnamed Source. I was so excited about the juice that I didn’t look carefully, but I think the bottle was etched. Duh. LMGTFY. Here’s an image. The bottle’s etched, it’s pretty in person (although I still like the old-style caps better, grrrr). There wasn’t a ton of juice left but I think it’s a pale, clear pink — it looked pinker to me in person than what I’m seeing on my screen.
Based on the comments for the drawing yesterday, and since most people haven’t tried it yet – let me do a little refinement/management of expectations regarding this scent. First off, for all the people wondering if it will equal their first love, Carnal Flower, or (INSERT FRACAS, BEYOND LOVE, OR ANY OTHER GIANT, PAINT-PEELING, NOSE-SEARING, SKIN-BLISTERING GODZILLA TUBEROSE HERE) – uh, no. Nuit de Tubereuse is a completely different animal. So if you’re going to love it, in my opinion, you’re going to need to be looking for something different.
It’s not a giant tuberose. It doesn’t smell essentially/obviously tuberose – or even tuberdenia, since the two, tuberose and gardenia, are often faked up together in a fragrance, whatever they’re calling it. It’s … well, it’s quirky. To my nose, it bears not much relation to L’Artisan’s earlier/original tuberose fragrance, and much more of a resemblance to another recent Duchaufour creation, Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, which I think (if you’ve tried that) might give you some idea how you’re going to feel about the L’Artisan.
Notes for AMARANTHINE: green tea, freesia, banana leaf, coriander, cardamom, rose, carnation, clove, orange blossom, ylang ylang, Egyptian jasmine, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, condensed milk, tonka bean.
Notes for NUIT de TUBEREUSE: tuberose, cardamom, pepper, clove, citrus, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, mango, angelica, gorse, sandalwood, palisander, musks, benzoin and styrax.
Thus far I haven’t managed to get Amaranthine and NdT on my skin simultaneously, but you can see they share some notes and, while they both have floral aspects, I wouldn’t characterize either as being particularly “about” a flower. They’re florientals. Nuit de Tubereuse is less weird than Amaranthigh, but it’s got a top note I didn’t catch the first time around and that a couple folks have already complained they find terribly bitter, while others have found it very sweet. I didn’t get the sweetness of Juicy Fruit gum at the opening that Robin did – to me it is green and hazy, the rooty, slightly pissy/sulfurous smell of unripe mango, and while it’s not as aggressively peculiar as the green/metallic front end of Amaranthine, it’s still odd, somewhat like picking up a mango and sniffing it for the first time ever. The mind grasps at the smell, trying to categorize it as pleasant or unpleasant – and it’s both. If you acquire a taste for mango, and ripe mango contains an additional, slightly garbage-y overripe smell, the whole thing becomes delicious in the mind. (Is there anything on the planet better than the perfect plate of mango and sticky rice? No.) But it’s not necessarily love at first sniff.
The two scents diverge further in style as they go along. Amaranthine is the sweaty, dirty one – the cumin-y one, which I love, and many of you hate, and there’s none of that sweatiness (at least on me) in NdT. Amaranthine becomes decidedly cuddly later on in the relationship – it’s milky and soft spices, without ever becoming edible in construct. In contrast, Nuit de Tubereuse is one-half tuberose, one-half all that stuff in the base – woody and green and resiny. Again, the amplitude you often expect from Giant Tuberose (hellooooo, Kilian Beyond Love!) just isn’t there – half the scent is base.
I’m now going to bloglift directly from Robin’s Now Smell This review: “The base is that particular blend of earthy and resinous notes that any fan of Bertrand Duchaufour will recognize as his signature, and that really ought to have a name by now. Duchaufourade, I suppose, is a little unwieldy? At any rate, it smells like dirt and soft wood and incense and hot skin, and I find it very sexy.” I stole that because I wanted to comment on it. While I totally get where Robin is going with this, and her description of the base is spot on, I have to disagree with the Duchaufourade part only because I dislike most of his famous, signature scents, including those for L’Artisan. That earthy Duchaufour base he’s known for smells horrible to/on me, like musty old vase water. I’m no aromachemist. Whatever he’s doing now, and both Amaranthine and Nuit de Tubereuse are definitely earthy, smells fabulous on my skin, if I do say so myself. Point being: if you’ve avoided his scents like the plague because of that Duchaufourade, you might like these. But if you love Duchaufour for his signature base, I wonder, are these are going to seem different to you?
Nuit de Tubereuse has decent lasting power, not extraordinary – remember, I’m the scent-clinger. The sillage is lovely, to use a word I overuse regularly – but dammit, it is. NdT is a wafter. It wafted up beautifully from my arm all afternoon and evening, quietly slipping away before I awoke the next morning.
I have been enjoying reading the early reviews and comments, because folks are all over the place on Nuit de Tubereuse. Here’s a sample from commenter ScentRed on the Posse a couple days ago: It was not at all what I expected. I was thinking big honking tuberose layered with tuberose and a bit more tuberose. It was much more complex than that, with many players doing their part to create an intriguing overall effect. It´s unusual, but not crazy weird. And yet it is somehow simple and subtle at the same time. I do remember someone describing it as “approachable” or “amiable”, and I think that´s true – but not in a boring way. I also was surprised at how green it was on me, despite the presence of the florals…
Robin called it “stunning” yet admitted she’d put off her review because she still hadn’t decided whether she liked it. It’s a funny place to be in as a reviewer, to be confronted with something that seems to have all the right moving parts – that appears to be everything it could or should be, in a genre you typically like – and yet it leaves you kind of cold. I’ll be interested if her feelings change.
This thing, though? It does something for me. It’s a tuberose that even folks who don’t especially care for tuberose might love, because it’s more muted. So I’ll finish playing my game, just because. If I were backed into a corner and forced, on pain of … something or other, to choose between Amaranthine or Nuit de Tubereuse (let’s make this easier and say they’re offering me a free bottle, which BTW they AREN’T), I’d take Amaranthine. I’m fascinated by its journey of weird skankiness to post-coital spooning and then a browse of the Sunday Times. But I don’t have anything like NdT either (for the record, my personal Holy Grail tuberose is Carnal Flower), and so, of course, I want both.
PS For anyone who missed my link last time, Grain de Musc has reviews of Amaranthine, NdT, and interviews with Duchaufour himself.