Ok, so I will be happy to admit I sometimes purchase women’s fragrances under the guise of believing all fragrances are unisex and genderfication is simply a marketing tool. I am not entirely convinced of this as (excuse the irony) it takes some balls for a guy to wear such a heady floral as Tubereuse Criminelle. Tuberose is my favourite flower and I am always keen to find the scent bottled. Due to the cost of extracting the flower’s aroma and the process destroys many of the subtle trace elements that help create its beautiful scent, almost all tuberose perfumes are more an impression of the flower rather than created from the flower’s delicate absolute. This leads to a number of interpretations, from Fracas’ heady bubblegum-like flower, to Diptyque’s buttery orange blossom hybrid. Most perfumers pitch a tuberose note somewhere between jasmine and orange blossom with the additional of other naturals and synthetics. Serge Lutens’ tuberose is a phenolic white floral. Lutens added Tubereuse Criminelle to his exclusive collection of salon eau de parfums in 1999. Online responses to the fragrance are often not so flattering. Comments of rubber, gasoline and disinfectant are commonly associated with the fragrance. It is this dark, almost ugly side of the flower that attracted me. On days I am feeling less daring, I layer it with Hermes’ Eau d’Orange Verte.
Tubereuse Criminelle’s top notes are laced with phenols. These aroma chemicals have a waxy disinfectant smell often connected to the scent of narcissus. Jasmine and orange blossoms are combined with tuberose to create this floral monster. Whilst hyacinth is cooling, styrax resin, vanilla and spices add warmth. After some time the skin is left with buttery tuberose, vanilla, resin and musk. Stunning!
I am undecided as to what type of man should wear this fragrance. I would consider myself adventurous in my fragrance selection yet even I am a little shy when it comes to using this one. Often it will find its way onto my wrist during the weekend purely to have the scent of tuberoses near (the flower is currently out of season). Perhaps men, who are looking for a floral masculine, may wish to try this eau de parfum, layered with other fragrances. With a traditional eau de cologne the orange blossom notes are enhanced, creating a crisp clean citrus floral. Or you can pair it with a woody oriental provided it doesn’t already have too much going on in the floral department. It is worth some experimentation. If you find the cat is confusing you for a litter box, simply try another combination until you get it right.
Heeley Bubblegum Chic, Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse, Robert Piguet Fracas.
Perfumer: Christopher Sheldrake (Givaudan – Quest)
Bottle designer: Serge Lutens
Release date: 1999
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Floral