Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle
Review by Tom
I usually try to pretend to myself that there is no practical reason for a man not to be able to wear what has been considered usually a woman's scent. I usually just figure that one applies with a much lighter hand, say one touch of the perfume on the sternum rather than under each ear and on the wrist. Usually, I think that men can get away with this with
practically any note but one: tuberose.
Unlike Joe Gillis in "Sunset Blvd" I am not at all averse to tuberose, as a matter of fact it's the main note in one of my favorite women's scents Fracas. Fracas is not the scent for the young, the inexperienced, or the timid. It's the scent that an old-time movie star would wear- you can imagine that the scent that wafted off Joan Crawford or Barbara Stanwyck as they slung their mink onto the chaise while on their way to seduce, or shoot, or both their co-star. Fracas is the lady in the parlour who's a whore in the bedroom. Fracas is dangerous.
Tubereuse Criminelle is the post-modern Fracas. It defies almost every convention of conventional perfumery that you can imagine. It has an opening that almost defies you to loathe it; a strange, almost sickly mentholated, smokey, leathery accord that also has whiffs of something very much like gasoline. (While writing this and re-reading it I realise that the only way I could make this read less appetizing or pleasant is if I wrote that it smelled of road kill and fruit loops). It's not as strong as I had been lead to believe by other reviews, but it's distinct, different and disconcerting, as if serving fair warning that this is not you mother's tuberose. It's also not entirely unpleasant, and fairly fleeting, as the tuberose starts to take over almost immediately. The tuberose becomes more and more distinct as the scent becomes more and more warm, with the cool menthol fading to the background. There's a rubbery accord stays muted but discernible, mainly reminding me of the actual feel of the flower: the slightly rubbery feel of the bloom, and the musk adds to the skin-like feeling of the scent. I also smell hyacinth, jasmine and vanilla, but they are distant seconds to the wonderfully seductive tuberose- and there's the leather. This is tuberose in bondage. If Fracas would be the scent that Joan Crawford would dab on before plugging Sydney Greenstreet, Tubereuse Criminelle would be what Uma Thurman would dab before opening a heaping helping can of whoop-ass on David Carradine.
Needless to say, I would never wear this one out of the house. This is for you ladies only.
As one of the exclusives, it's available only as a bell jar at the salon in Paris. Were I female, this and Muscs Kublai Khan would force me to hock my kidney to finance that trip. As it is, the tiny decant I have I will be happy to open on occasion and sniff away.