Perfume Review: Le Labo Tubereuse 40
I did not want to like Tubereuse 40 at all, just as a matter of principle. It is a first in a series of future Le Labo scents that would be specific to only one location. Tubereuse 40 is specific to New York and can only be purchased at the Le Labo boutique there (sort of like Lutens' "exclusive" concept taken to absolute extreme; only in the case of non-export bell jars, at least the rest of Europe can still purchase them online). Don’t try to order the new Le Labo fragrance over the phone or online. You have to physically be there to be able to part with your hard-earned $230-$360. And if you are in Rio de Janeiro or Vladivostok? Well, apparently Le Labo is “nostalgic of the days where brands and their soul offered authenticity that deserved that little extra travel commitment”. The city-specific fragrances is Le Labo’s “own little contribution to the fight against globalization”. Isn’t it one of the most attractive qualities of perfume that it is a luxury that one can more or less afford? I can’t buy couture clothes, but I can once in a while treat myself to a bottle of something fabulously glamorous. But when a brand forces me to pay the cost of “that little extra travel commitment”, what it is essentially doing is robbing me of the one small luxury I could previously enjoy. And all this somewhat nonsensical, rather obnoxiously elitist concept presented in terms of the fight against globalization quite frankly raises my hackles. If there is one thing that I hate, it is when "politics" is brought into perfume (MoslBuddWhatever, anyone?). They say, revolution, they say, unconventional. I say, pretentious and annoying.
So, yes, I was a little prejudiced against Tubereuse 40. But its beauty broke through the gloomy cloud of my bias like a ray of proverbial sunshine. This is the essence of summer, bottled. Created by Alberto Morillas, the scent was meant to be “a non-heady Tubereuse shaped around citruses and musks that give it an unexpected unisex “eau de cologne” identity despite its impressive 30% dosage of oil in alcohol.” That means that the fragrance has the general feel of cologne but wears like a sumptuous, rich eau de parfum. It is lush, substantial and exceptionally long-lasting on my skin. The top notes of Tubereuse 40 have a slightly chilly, almost mentholated quality that makes the composition immediately uplifting. The citruses are succulent and fresh. Fresh as in freshly picked and freshly squeezed. Lemons, mandarins, bitter oranges are ripe, bursting with juices, their mouthwatering tangy-ness highlighted by the presence of a delicate herbal accord. The orange blossoms, which start to flourish in the heart of the scent, are bright and poignantly summery, their sunny frailty underscored by a gentle mimosa note and beautiful, soft jasmine. Tubereuse 40 is youthful, joyful, lively. It is an olfactory equivalent of sunshine.
And now I am coming to the question of tuberose, which I tried to avoid as long as possible, simply because I don’t know how to account for the absence of the title note on my skin. But the truth is, as far my nose is concerned, there is no tuberose in Tubereuse 40. Or there is so little of it that it is lost under the gorgeous lusciousness of citrus fruits, orange blossom and jasmine. My very humble theory is as follows: like seemingly patchouli-less Patchouli 24 was meant to evoke the dark, velvety essence of patchouli without actually smelling like patchouli, so Tubereuse 40 is not a realistic representation, but an artist’s abstract idea of the flower. This is a portrait of tuberose in its youth, drawn using the brightest of colors, mostly yellows in all possible shades. ...Or to be completely honest, I really have no idea why the scent named after tuberose would not smell like tuberose, not even non-heady tuberose. And I don’t really care. I am not even that big a fan of tuberose. Despite the mystery of the name and the irritating concept, I love this scent. It is going to brighten the dreary winter days ahead like few perfumes can. It will help to transport me from the miserable cold reality to an imaginable place, somewhere in the South of France, where I am carefree and tanned, in a white cotton dress, sitting in a chaise longue, sunshine hot on my face, enveloping my skin, chasing away the cold from my bones…
As I mentioned above, Tubereuse 40 costs $230.00 (50ml)-$360.00 USD (100ml), or $90 for 1/2oz (thank you, Judith!). And that is not counting “that little extra” expense of traveling to NYC.
The first image is from LeLabo.com. The second from Allposters.com.