Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Well if you tuned in last week you will have noted that this weeks review was supposed to be part of that one. But I got so into my flirtation with Fracas that I plum didn’t feel like it. Not that by the end of the week Fracas became cuddly or nothin’- quite the opposite. It was just as Fracas as she wanna be. I think I was just becoming more like it, as scary a thought as that may be, But I did have the sample from StC of Tubéreuse Criminelle, and needed to write something, so onward.

Tubéreuse Criminelle came out in 1999, during what will no doubt be remembered as the salad days of the brand. Another one of Christopher Sheldrake’s creations under the auspices of Lutens, it is perhaps one of the oddest. Lutens website describes it as “a poisonous, carnal and deadly perfume.” Back in the day Patty wrote of it as a “car wreck.” I called it on PST the post-modern Fracas, which may be diminishing both. I like it’s crazed opening of menthol and gasoline, which fades as the tuberose comes forward. While Fracas’ tuberose is warm, buttery and to some overwhelming, Tubéreuse Criminelle delivers it’s white flowers chilled, still with a whiff of menthol and wrapped in a still slightly oily leather. It’s as if Marlon Brando circa “The Wild One” pulled up on his Triumph Thunderbird, still smelling of his Kool, to deliver you flowers. That he doubtless stole from a funeral bower on his way over. But it’s the thought that counts, and it’s 1952 Marlon Brando. In leather. Looking at you like that. Oh my..

Almost 25 years later it hasn’t changed much from what I remember: the mint seems more lasting and that oily opening is a little less so, but that could be the fact that it isn’t 1999 and I know what to expect. I never fell to getting a full bottle of this, when it was an exclusive in the bell jar there were too many others that I’d jump through that particular hoop for first (and did), and when it was in a 50ML bottle at Barneys, er, I was distracted by something shiny. Today? Maybe..

Okay, your turn. Have you tried this one? A favorite white flower perfume you want to tell us about? Does tuberose make you want to run away? Let us know in the comments.

Tubéreuse Criminelle is available at the Lutens website at $375 for 100ML, less at some other online retailers. I got my sample from Surrender to Chance. Photos from Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

  • Sylvia says:

    I really like it! And even better I got the tall black bottle almost free from Costco online! ?????

  • Musette says:

    I absolutely adore Tubey Crim. A.DORE. it. Though, to be honest, I tend to reach more for Carnal Flower – but that may just be habit – I haz a bottle of CF and the body cream…and the hair mist…
    I wear the living snot out of tuberose and ask me if I care. It matches my outsized self, I think. The menthol in TC and CF tips it enough into weird territory that I feel like a TRex could easily wear this.
    So I do.

    I will keep that image of Marlon Brando with the Triumph and the funeral flowers in my heart FOREVER!
    Thank you!


    • Tom says:

      If anyone I know can pull off tuberose it’s you. Of course you are far more Auntie Mame than Maim, but that’s an aspect of the flower too..

  • March says:

    Ooooh! Was never a big fan of this one, you have to really like that open … my more tame “weird” favorite along those lines was Carnal Flower with that florists-chiller smell. But people who like TC LOVE TC. And since I love Miel de Bois I’m in no position to judge.

  • cinnamon says:

    Love tuberose. Really really want to get my hands on a TC sample. Fave white flower perfumes … Malle Carnal Flower and the sadly now gone Hiram Green Dilettante. Oh, and Le Labo Ylang 49. Still frustrated I didn’t spring for TC when it was in the export line and could be had for a song (well, a relative song).

    • Tom says:

      Yeah, I am kind of kicking myself a little that I didn’t get it then. Oh well. I’d only take it out and look at it once in a while anyway I suppose. Or I’d start wearing it out, which may be a bad thing.

  • KayKay says:

    I have a small decant of TC and quite like the weirdness of the opening, that sharp cold blast before it warms up to allow all the buttery loveliness of the Tuberose to shine thru, I definitely get the Wrigley’s Doublemint vibes as others have mentioned. I probably wouldn’t ever buy a full bottle either, unfortunately TCis one of the few Serge Lutens frags that just doesn’t last on my skin. I’m lucky to get 4 hours then its just a whisper and completely gone after 5. I guess I’ll just spritz my way thru the decant and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve sampled TC and really enjoyed the way the menthol cut through the butteriness of the tuberose. Like how salad dressing needs a bit of vinegar or lemon to offset the olive oil, right? But like you, Tom, I never sprang for a full bottle. Of the family of white flowers, I think jasmine is my favorite. I’d put tuberose second place. Maybe gardenia third. Is LotV considered a white flower? If so, then it’s second place.

  • Tara C says:

    I love spraying and re-spraying again to relive that wintergreen gum opening! Probably my favorite tuberose, along with the completely different Amouage Love Tuberose.