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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rerun: Tubereuse Criminelle

By Tom

I 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. 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.

Originally this was a bell-jar only fragrance, but it's making a special guest appearance at the usual suspects, $140 for 50ML. My decant was purchased from the Perfumed Court

Originally published in 2006.

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OpenID skybluepinkish said...

I had this a while back and eventually sold it. It is like Marmite you love it or you hate it and I veered between the two like a drunk bouncing off the walls.

4:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Koki said...

One of my top 3 scents. Even my teenage daughter likes it on me and she doesn't like much these days! That opening note somehow smells on me like honeysuckle still on the vine, and reminds me of my grade school days eating said flower in my secret hidey-spot on the playground.

I do not apply Tuberose Criminelle with a heavy hand.

11:28 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love that description!

11:52 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's gorgeous. But it's not me at all

11:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Great review! I love this perfume to distraction - it's the femme fatale I will never be, and wearing it gives me just a glimmer of what it must be like to have that kind of appeal - at least in my own imagination!

7:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Eclectic Musings said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger I Love Perfume said...

Oh this sounds amazing. I love complex scents that can't be tucked away into a single category very easily. Love the ones that make you think, and I even love the ones that make you wonder, "Do I *really* like this? Or is it just that I like its weirdness?" I'll have to check this one out. Any idea of how it compares to Tubereuse Indiana Creed for women? Some people say that one has a vintage feel to it, too.

11:16 AM EDT  

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