Separate from my sudden, shocking (to me) ardent love affair with big white florals and “beautiful” perfumes in general, we’re in a White Flower Moment in perfumery. Tuberose, jasmine and gardenia must be the new pink pepper. I’m loving L’Artisan’s Nuit de Tubereuse, as well as the heady florals of Amaranthine, Chloe (old school!), VC&A Gardenia Petale, Penhaligon’s Gardenia, and no doubt others I’ve forgotten. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can bust some of them out on a 93-degree day, when they’re really amazing.
So I was thrilled to finally get my hands on Histoires de Parfums Tubereuse 3 L’Animale, the one of the Histoires trio that I thought I’d like the most, based on the notes and early reviews. From Beautycafe: “A floral and tobacco leather scent that opens with a bath of fresh kumquat and neroli and leads into a strong combination of plum, herbs and dry grasses. Blond tobacco and immortelle flower leave intense base notes that linger.” I’d already read enough opinions elsewhere to be expecting more of a cuddly, honey-tobacco-hay comfort scent than a tuberose soliflore, and I love immortelle. Granted, it’s not cashmere-sweater season, but I’m always ready to discover a scent I imagine would fall somewhere in the neighborhood of Amaranthine, Lolita Lempicka L and VC&A Lys Carmin in terms of comfort.
Tubereuse 3 L’Animale opens on a powerful note of … whoa, seriously? Y’all are funnin’ me, right? It’s an indistinct, powdery, musky, sunbaked-vintage aroma that any of us who’ve smelled a lot of vintage perfumes are familiar with. Imagine a bottle of Habanita that sat on your Aunt Edna’s dresser next to the radiator for the last forty years. It smells old. It smells powdery and musty and sour; back in the day it might have been Replique or Mitsouko or Chypre or God’s Gift to All Mankind, only now it smells like you talcum-powdered the back end of an elderly, incontinent housecat. And not in a good way, either.
Patty was actually the generous source of this sample (and isn’t she pleased right this second that she sent it to me?) I was getting ready to email her the first time I tried it to ask if maybe she’d mislabeled some precious, nasty, ancient Guerlain that I’m now ignorantly disrespecting – Ma Entrecuisse, perhaps? – only then the immortelle showed up, so I’m sure she sent me the right thing. It’s not really Mr. Yuck territory. Instead I dug up (so to speak) my old friend Bill the Cat. If you sprayed him with Annick Goutal Sables and then left him in the sun to ripen for the afternoon, he’d probably smell like this thing. Perfume-wise the closest thing I can compare it to is that retch-inducing skank machine from Miller Harris that smells like Jane Birkin dropped her bag in the hog pen. Only, you know, in this case with plenty of immortelle.
So. EPIC FAIL. But really, in its own way, completely enjoyable. It made me laugh. I have no idea why it’s such a trainwreck on my skin compared to everyone else’s, but hey – good news! At least you’re not sitting here with a new lemming! Unless you use me as a reverse indicator. And now I can go back to enjoying my vintage Chamade.
Bill the Cat images: Bloom County. That first one has nothing to do with this post but, having seen it, how could I resist?