I don’t think there’s a floral note in perfume more divisive than Tuberose, do you? There are factions of lovers, factions of haters, each with their flaming cudgels and those things they used to use to fling rocks ….oooh! catapults (it’s late. I’m slower than usual)…those who (gasp!) hate Carnal Flower and are not averse to giving the Stinkeye to anyone foolish enough to enter their airspace wearing Fracas. The Carnal Flower contingent, proudly wearing the Beurre Exquise like chain mail, show a tubey-scented Finger as they spritz with abandon as the hatas choke on the fumes. And so it goes….
I’m a Tuberose Lover. I wear Carnal Flower – a LOT of Carnal Flower. And I have 4 bottles of vintage Fracas, plus the shower gel, body lotion and dusting powder. Our bedroom smells like a bordello, most nights. But! there is a …note…. in some of the Tuberose Perfumes…and I don’t know what it is, that gives my stomach the heebie-jeebies. And so I come to you, darling Posse, to try to suss it out. I’m going to list the ones I love and the ones that freak me out – and let’s see if we can figure out what that note is, shall we?
Loves: Frederic Malle Carnal Flower. Love the mentholated edge here – the eucalyptus cuts the butterfat Just So. I would wear this every day if I didn’t love so many other fragrances. Clean, clear, cool tuberose.
Serge’s Tuberose Criminelle. I didn’t have to try with this one at all. Again with the menthol. I think it’s like that glass of water you get alongside a perfect cup of hot chocolate. You don’t think you need it but at the end of the cup you’re glad to tip that cold glass to your lips.
Fracas. But only because I’ve been wearing it for so long – it’s like that cashmere robe you really should throw out because it has a coffee stain you can’t quite get out and maybe a little moth hole..or two…but it’s still wonderfully, gorgeously soft and warm and…hey! it’s your robe. And you love it. And when it’s just you at home you wear it on a Friday night and order a whole bunch of Chinese food and eat like a pig and channel surf and who cares! But I have to say, if I were starting from scratch right now I probably wouldn’t pick Fracas.
Vero Profumo Rubj. Who knew? Certainly not moi. I was so much in love with Onda and not really in love with Kiki…somehow Rubj got lost in the shuffle. Well, Missy March took care of that. I was blown right out of my shoes at the beauty of this one. So was she. I can wear the living daylights out of a tubey. This smells like sheer heaven on my skin. I thought she was gonna bite me! Another lush-but-clear tuberose. Faintly chilly.
Arquiste Flor y Canto. I was prepared to not like this but it’s a perfect tuberose for me. Flowery, lush, just on this side of buttery.
What all of those have in common is the absence of That Note. I will describe it to you. It’s like rancid butter and maybe a touch of pee? But it’s not ‘bad’. Just …unsettling. The first time I smelled it was in I Profumi di Firenze Tuberosa Autonno. I wrote a little about it here in my Great White Fight post ( I am the Go-To Girl for Tuberose) – it’s been described as a gateway to Tuberose Criminelle but I don’t see it. Tubey Crim is cool and a bit slicey – Tuberosa Autonno is way warm and has a bit of that rancid bite to it, much like my pal here. All my research for the notes gives me is: Italian Tuberose. Well, thanks!
Serge’s Cedre. It. Has. That. Note. What the hell IS that note. Messes up an otherwise excellent scent.
Skirting the edge of That Note (and the reason for this post): Andy Tauer’s Majestic Tuberose soap. I got it as a gift. Sniffed it. Jumped back – ‘that note!’ – but decided to give it a try – aha! in the shower, That Note got washed away – but not completely. There’s enough left to make the soap …….interesting. And…wait. It’s Beautiful! Hmmm… Fracas soap isn’t interesting…maybe I need just a touch of That Note? But only in the soap. I have not smelled Loretta – talk to me, people!
The other skirt: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Tubereuse. Dang. soooo close…hey, wait a minute. Do I smell coconut? Maybe that’s the note? Coconut? or does tuberose actually smell of coconut and in particular scents there’s just more coconut than in others? I feel like I’m in Chinatown (the movie)
L’Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons. Right on the edge. It’s not got that rancid note (lord that sounds awful – but I can’t come up with another word for it) but it feels like it might want to, if you got on its nerves enough….
Do you guys think it might be coconut? I’m not a huge fan of coconut in fragrance – it’s …oooh! you know what? That is the very same note that’s in Sand and Sable (can you tell I am typing this as it comes spilling out of my sieve-like brain. This is what chatting with me is like, which is why Caller ID is so important!)…….I just thought of that. Awhile back I wrote a review of Sand and Sable, which I love…but it has That Note. As if you just put your Hermes beach towel down near a spot where somebody took a whizz…..yesterday. And guess what? It’s a Tuberose! It smells very similar to Autonno but I give S&S a pass because it’s from my wild youth. Though I can’t wear it anymore than I can wear Autonno.
Help! What. Is. That. Note?