Frederic Malle Carnal Flower : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower explores the sensuality of tuberose rendering white blossoms both as if bathed in the sunlight and touched by the evening shadows. In the Victorian language of flowers, tuberose signified dangerous pleasures, while in India young girls were warned against inhaling its aphrodisiac scent after dark, lest it lead them into trouble.

Its herbaceous verdant opening notes interspersed with tart shimmer of bergamot are structured as a crescendo leading to a heady burst of petals. The heart is comprised of creamy tuberose layered with lacy jasmine notes, their richness complementing the unique hot rubber and warm skin facet that hides underneath the white voluptuous petals of tuberose. …

Yet, before the composition has a chance to assume the Fracas-like buttery character, an orange blossom tones down the intensity. Carnal Flower unfolds like a roll of raw silk, warm and smooth, with the coconut lending a milky sweetness to the sumptuous flowers. The fruity notes are present merely as delicate sweet accents, without a tendency to dominate.

Carnal Flower’s creator, Dominique Ropion, has composed some of the most fascinating floral fragrances, such as Une Fleur de Cassie, Givenchy Ysatis, and Givenchy Amarige. Carnal Flower is likewise interesting in its ability to weave notes into a rich, yet soaring composition. While nevertheless opulent, as a proper tuberose should be, Carnal Flower does not end up as heavy and cloying, and its radiance is sustained even into the drydown.

As compared to my beloved trio of tuberoses, radiant Caron Tubéreuse, shocking Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle and hypnotic Robert Piguet Fracas, Carnal Flower presents a perfect balance between opulence and elegance. It is more complex than Caron, yet no less sanguine. Its beautiful form includes both the sensual embrace of Serge Lutens and the narcotic richness of Fracas, yet it seems to be less challenging to appreciate.

As for “Carnal Flower”… Juliet was certainly right when she said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet.” Still, it does not change the fact that in my mind the composition calls for a more poetic title.

Notes include bergamot, melon, camphor, tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange blossom, coconut, white musk. Although currently available only at Barney’s New York, the fragrance will soon be released in Frédéric Malle boutiques in Paris and eventually directly from Editions de Parfums.

Please see other Frédéric Malle reviews:
En Passant
Iris Poudré
L’Eau d’Hiver
Le Parfum de Thérèse
Lipstick Rose
Musc Ravageur
Noir Epices
Une Rose

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116 Comments

  • Judith (lilybp): Sigh–it sounds absolutely beautiful! I will definitely have to get this one, especially since I adore all of your “beloved trio” and am fascinated by the idea of balancing their features. Your review, as always, is wonderful–but I can’t really blame this lemming on you, since I had more or less decided that I needed CF before I saw any reviews; you would have had to say something really discouraging to convince me otherwise. One niggling point (because I’m a niggling sort): Juliet actually says, ““What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other WORD would smell as sweet”–although almost everyone, ironically, gets the “word” wrong (proving her point, I guess)): November 18, 2005 at 7:43am Reply

  • Helena: Lovely review! I can’t wear Fracas because I am allergic to it and I haven’t tried Tubereuse Criminelle. I am glad I can finally enjoy your writing without being tempted! November 18, 2005 at 8:26am Reply

  • Katie: Judith – very funny about the word/name. Heh.

    Another lovely review. And yet another scent I will have to add to my Oxford English Dictionary length list of “must-tries.” November 18, 2005 at 8:35am Reply

  • Christina H.: Thank you so much for reviewing this! I have been hoping that this would be reviewed and I can always count on you to review the newest fragrances available! Well, I also adore Fracas so I’ll be wanting this as soon as they make it readily available for the mass market.Thank you once again! November 18, 2005 at 8:42am Reply

  • Laura: Well, it sounds like it will wow all you tuberose lovers! November 18, 2005 at 8:48am Reply

  • Marina: I’ve been so curious about this one. Definitely a must try. I always say I don’t like tuberose, but out of your 3 favorites, I actually love 2 (TC and Fracas).

    Yes, the scent sound much less “carbal” than the name suggests. What would you call it? November 18, 2005 at 9:53am Reply

  • Marina: I meant “carnal” of course! :-) November 18, 2005 at 9:54am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: E, you are welcome! It is a beautiful tuberose, with just the right balance between radiance and darkness. That rubbery tuberose core is still there, but it seems more subdued than in Serge Lutens. My opinion of Ropion’s mastery with florals has only been increased. November 18, 2005 at 10:46am Reply

  • Robin: Yay, can’t wait to smell it. The Caron was a tad too sweet for me so hoping the CF is drier — would you say? November 18, 2005 at 10:47am Reply

  • Liz: V: Great review, as always! I went through a heavy tunerose period about a year ago, and I have to admit I’m sort of over it at the moment. However, I wonder how you feel about MPG Tubereuse? Buttery and glowing to the extreme. I haven’t smelled the Caron, but of the ones I have tried (Lutens, Jo Malone, Annick Goutal, and of course Fracas), MPG is probably my favorite. November 18, 2005 at 10:48am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, that is a great observation. Coconut, camphor, ylang ylang… Coconut is a very nice touch here. November 18, 2005 at 10:55am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, I am laughing out loud over word/name. Some of these misconceptions are very difficult to root out, and I am guilty of caving in to them. Still, a very amusing point.

    CF would surely please a tuberose lover. It is still different enough from my trio to warranty a purchase. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts. November 18, 2005 at 10:58am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: H, I am glad that I did not manage to tempt you. :) Tuberose elicits very strong responses from people, which can be both positive and negative. It seems to be a love-hate flower. November 18, 2005 at 10:59am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, thank you. On a tuberose related question, I have been sampling Amarige recently, and it strikes me as very different from what I remember it being. It is somehow thinner, with more orange blossom. In fact, it reminds me of Chanel Gardenia! This is odd, because I remember it being a much more expansive, rubbery tuberose. Is there a difference between the EDT and the EDP? Or was it changed? November 18, 2005 at 11:01am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, you are welcome. Do call Barneys to find out if you can receive a sample in the mail. If you like Fracas, I am almost certain you will adore Carnal Flower, although it is decidedly more modern. November 18, 2005 at 11:03am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, yes, you are safe from temptations. It is definitely tuberose focused. :) November 18, 2005 at 11:03am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, Carnal Flower is slighlty less edgy than either one of your favourites, although it is no less unique. It is a very sensual composition, without a doubt, but it is more subtle than Tubereuse Criminelle (definitely not as camphorous). At the same time, it is drier and greener than Fracas. Tubereuse d’Or is what it seems like to me. November 18, 2005 at 11:06am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, Carnal Flower is greener, especially in the top notes, which toned down the sweetness. I love Caron, but it is definitely on a sweet side for me as well. Carnal Flower’s sweetness, in comparison, is more subdued, especially in the drydown. November 18, 2005 at 11:09am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Liz, MPG is another tuberose I like, although it has a musky element present in most of the MPG fragrances that does not agree with me. Yet, if there is a quintessential buttery tuberose, MPG is it. November 18, 2005 at 11:10am Reply

  • Marina: Great name! That completely sold the scent to me. Put d’Or in the perfume name and I am there :-) November 18, 2005 at 11:26am Reply

  • parislondres: Lovely review dear V and I cannot wait to try this.
    I am not certain about the coconut bit though. I love coconut in food and hairoil but not in perfumes as it goes too sweet on me.

    Do you think I would love this (as you know how much I love tuberose)?

    Hugs! November 18, 2005 at 11:59am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I am with you! Anything that evokes a gilded quality is a good thing in my book.

    One of my favourite gilded fragrances is Bois des Iles. November 18, 2005 at 12:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, I think that you will definitely find it enchanting. Coconut lends a certain soapy quality, however it seems to work really well with tuberose, even though I would have imagined the opposite. On the strip, it is sweeter, but on my skin it is less so.

    Do you also find Caron Tubereuse too sweet? November 18, 2005 at 12:17pm Reply

  • mireille: the assemblage sounds so Asian to me somehow … Thai, for some reason. lovely description per usual, V. xoxo November 18, 2005 at 7:30am Reply

  • linda: I don’t even like tuberose that much but I really want to sample CF. I love coconut notes. Are they very pronounced? November 18, 2005 at 1:15pm Reply

  • parislondres: Dear V – thanks for letting me know. I will test anyways before buying. ;)
    About Caron Tubereuse – it is nice but I prefer it layered with Poivre or even French Cancan. On its own, it is a bit linear and therefore less interesting to me. November 18, 2005 at 1:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I notice them, but coconut certainly does not dominate. If you do not care for tuberose, CF may not please you very much, but sure, sampling never hurts. :) November 18, 2005 at 1:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, oh, I now have to try layering! French Cancan sounds especially appealing, since I would love something to boost its floral sweetness.

    I remember that your lady at Caron showed another layering combination: Alpona and something else. I have been trying to remember the other fragrance. Was it En Avion, by any chance? I just recall that it was stunning. I have never thought of layering Carons before. November 18, 2005 at 1:29pm Reply

  • linda: I was hoping it might be a tuberose version of Montale Tiare Intense. It’s the only Montale I like but I can only wear it in tiny quantities. November 18, 2005 at 2:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, oh, they are nowhere alike. Have you ever tried CSP Tiare? It is my favourite coconut/white flower fragrance, however they reformulated it much to my dismay. It was perfect. November 18, 2005 at 2:31pm Reply

  • mreenymo: NEED…TO…TEST…THIS…ONE!!!

    Hugs, rsj November 18, 2005 at 3:13pm Reply

  • Katie: V – I haven’t tried the edp, only the edt version. Sometimes I find the lotions carry the full body of a scent better than an edt. But the Amarige Silk Body Veil is quite nearly singularly gardenia in character, I must admit.

    My older edt Amarige smells tuberosey, slightly smokey, and spicy on me. Not that the gardenia and orange blossom aren’t there, they are, but it’s not the only thing going on. Mine’s now several years old – perhaps this is a very recent reformulation? I haven’t really resniffed Amarige at the stores in a long while now. I just presumed no one would mess with such a classic. I need to make a mental note to sniff it at the counters again.

    If anyone else can weigh in with their own observations, I also would really appreciate reading your insights! November 18, 2005 at 3:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I thought of you the moment I smelled it! :) November 18, 2005 at 3:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, yes, that is how I remember Amarige to smell–spicy and slightly rubbery/smokey. What I have is sweet and floral, with a distinct synthetic thinness. I am very disappointed, however I hope that it is just my bottle. I am going to do some comparisons as well. Like you, I would love to hear other opinions on the difference. November 18, 2005 at 3:47pm Reply

  • Katie: AHA! I knew I had a recent sample of Amarige that I’d gotten with a gift with purchase from Givenchy around here!

    It doesn’t smell too terribly different, but it does seem less “full.” Like you know how sometimes CDs of old albums sound less full than they do on vinyl, even when the record is scratchy or hissy? It’s like the ends of the sounds on the bottom and top have been chopped off, even though you’re hearing the exact same recording. This newer sample I have is a little like that. It’s a tad lighter to me, more white floral than my older Amarige, which is more yellowy floral. I do sniff tuberose, but this does not seem quite as smokey as the older one. Hmmm. I can’t say if this is due to some aging that produced this quality in the older, or if the formula has indeed been tinkered with. Perhaps someone keener than I could tell? GRA! Now I’m feeling like I am going to be all irritable over this if it turns out it HAS been messed with. Let’s just hope that it’s a case of me having a terrible nose for things! November 18, 2005 at 4:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, you could be describing my own qualms with the sample. It is tuberose and everything else the old one had, however it is thinner, more synthetic somehow. Have you seen this at Sephora:
    http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P127400&categoryId=B70

    I might make a trip to check it out and to do further comparisons. Perhaps, the sample are made less concentrated? Who knows… I admire Amarige, and I would be very disappointed if it has been changed. November 18, 2005 at 4:14pm Reply

  • Anya: Dear V, thank you for the review. I have been waiting with great anticipation for this new release. Now I see “white musk” and that stops me in my tracks. Is is the same synth galaxolyde as found in Musc Ravageur? Similar to those in the Ormonde Jayne line? In which case, I will have to pass :-( That stuff ruins so many perfumes for me.

    PS So what’s with using the orchid pic for the illustration? I have tuberose pics galore I could share.

    PPS I just recieved the most glorious, soft, unctuous, non-edgy tuberose absolute from a supplier. I must send you a bit to dilute and wear “straight” or layer. It is very sweet, but I’m sure you’ll figure out how to put a “green” or woodsy edge on it. It is hypnotic, and those Indian girls would be forbidden from wearing it, I’m sure ;-)

    PPS “bathed in the sunlight and touched by the evening shadows.” somebody tell Malle’s writer that tuberose only has scent at night. In the daytime, everyone around it remains virginal, then boom! lust time after sunset. November 18, 2005 at 4:19pm Reply

  • Katie: AAAAAAA! Out of stock???? Why, why??? I NEED this. Like I need it so bad I need it yesterday. GAH! OUT OF STOCK!!! Either you or Sephora is trying to kill me. I had not seen they had it in yet, and… *sobs*. It should be mine already. Now I’m probably going to end up spending part of the afternoon on the phone and the internet looking for it. So shallow and wasteful, I know, but I must get a bottle of it into my hot little hands. November 18, 2005 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Anya: OK, I made a synth mistake — the galaxolyde isn’t the culprit. Still don’t like it, but I can’t remember the white one I detest. Lord, I’d never be a proofreader or fact checker. November 18, 2005 at 4:21pm Reply

  • michelle: Everything sounds wonderful except that I see a melon note listed – and melon tends to do strange and ugly things on my skin – and so I am wondering whether it was evident to your nose, or not. Thanks. November 18, 2005 at 4:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, tuberose picture would be too straightforward, and I could not think of a more sensual representations of flowers than Georgia Okeefe’s! Do not take me too literaly–the fragrance just has both the dusky and the radiant quality, as if you are experiencing sunrays touching your skin, yet at the same time noticing that darkness is slowly creeping in. I must say though that I have to experienced quite a heady scent smelling tuberose in the morning. The blossoms were only partially open, but the scent was still pronouced. At night, it really does turn opulent and heady. Actually, heady does not even begin to describe it! November 18, 2005 at 4:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I think that it is not yet in stock (as opposed to already being out of stock). I also want that special edition Amarige, however now I am obsessed with figuring out whether the sample I have is just diluted or whether the original has been changed. If you find out more, please let me know. I promise I am not trying to torture you! :) November 18, 2005 at 4:50pm Reply

  • Tania: No comment on the fragrance (I’m not wild about tuberose) but choosing Georgia O’Keeffe for a fragrance named Carnal Flower is perfect, given the way her flowers always seem to evoke sexual references. November 18, 2005 at 4:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, oops, sorry to miss the musk question. I do not think it is not Galaxolide, or if it is there, its powdery qualities are not as evident. It is really a combination of different musks to my nose, but it does not have the same sharpness as the OJ musk bases. On the other hand, neither does the metallic, starched linen quality (a la Habanolide) dominate.

    I am very curious about your tuberose absolute. It is difficult to find good quality naturals, especially when it comes to tuberose. November 18, 2005 at 4:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michelle, I was worried about it too, however it seems like a rather subtle note. There is a certain juicy sweetness, but it is not the typical bright melon that was popular since the 90s. November 18, 2005 at 5:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, yes, I was reminded of a few paintings we saw at the MoMa (?), although I could not find the one I wanted (it was a red and white flower, rather abstract). However, I like this orchid painting very much. November 18, 2005 at 5:05pm Reply

  • Evan: I’ll go to Barney’s tomorrow- you know how I LOVE Barney’s- and give this a try. I’m interested, since tuberose is one of my favorite notes. I like the idea of the triumverate of tuberose perfumes: Fracas, Caron’s Tubéreuse and Luten’s Tubéreuse Criminelle. Each gives a unique insight into facets of the absolute. I’ll see if they’ll give me a sample, so I can try it against the triumverate. November 18, 2005 at 5:37pm Reply

  • Campaspe: So happy to read this review. I was clutching my credit card right up to the words “orange blossom.” But I will definitely try it in any case. November 18, 2005 at 5:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ah, Barney’s! I would be curious to hear your impressions when you compare these four fragrances. They all share tuberose, yet their characters are quite different. November 18, 2005 at 5:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: F, you are not safe, because orange blossom is not the dominant note here. :) It simply lightens the floral accord. Sometimes, jasmine becomes much more pronounced on my skin, although the drydown is rather well balanced. November 18, 2005 at 5:56pm Reply

  • Diane: Whew, I can’t stand melon so I’m relieved to hear it’s subtle. All in all, I am positively elated that it is finally here for the testing and based on the following, let us make an educated guess on whether or not I will pull out the plastic: I am mad about Caron Tubereuse, Tubereuse Criminelle, and Fracas parfum. What do you think? :) November 18, 2005 at 8:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I am mad about those too, and I love Carnal Flower! :) So, arguing by analogy, we can say that you might like it as well. Coconut lends a certain soapy tinge though, just to warn you, however I do not mind it at all, even though I tend to dislike anything even vaguely soapy. Here it works well. November 18, 2005 at 8:32pm Reply

  • julien: I have had the chance to test it in advance,thanks to a friend of mine who is journalist about perfumes.

    Well,it is a quite delicate scent of tubéreuse,something green at first,not really creamy,and it goes warming itself when it comes in your skin.

    Very beautiful,but truly not my taste.
    I prefer FRACAS and Tubéreuse Criminnelle.

    Quite a very beautiful tubéreuse yet.

    Kisses,J. November 19, 2005 at 6:13am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, your impressions are similar to mine. It is nowhere near Fracas level of richness. The green quality really does tone it down. I suppose that if one likes very creamy and luxuriously sweet tuberoses, Carnal Flower is probably not the one.

    Do you still like Tubereuse Criminelle? November 19, 2005 at 11:50am Reply

  • Veronica: V, tomorrow, I am going to get my first tuberose, Fracas. Thanks to your blog, I obtained a sample. It wasn’t love at first sight, but I didn’t want to stop sniffing it. About the third time I put it on, I began to make friends with it. After that, I craved it.

    I know that some feel they want to dress up when they wear Fracas. It’s a special scent. But for me, it’s different. I feel very comfortable wearing Fracas (albeit a few drops) while I’m wearing my uniform. (I’m in the armed forces.) It may seem like a great clash, but I feel it is a necessity. I’ve just really begun to pursue finding especially beautiful fragrances, and until Fracas, I had never found a flower that I wanted to wear; one that worked for me.

    I am surrounded by the green of our uniforms and the mindset that comes with it. Fracas is a dark, red oasis to me, no matter the color of the actual flower. Sounds very sentimental, but I remember that I am a woman. Thank you. (Now if I can resist the Loukhoum that will be sitting on the counter, calling to me….) November 19, 2005 at 3:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Veronica, I am so glad to hear this! It is a quintessentially elegant fragrance, and I also often wear it with jeans and other casual outfits. I feel that it dresses me up. I love how you described it as a red oasis. The vision that is painted is quite special.

    I cannot wait to hear about your other discoveries! November 19, 2005 at 3:17pm Reply

  • julien: Hi my dear.
    YES,i am still addicted to Tubéreuse criminnelle,even though i prefer FRACAS or Tubéreuse from l’artisan parfumeur.

    I truly adore tubéreuses but strong ones at least(which in fact includes richness and being creamy in general).

    I guess my nose is accurated enough to recognize CARNAL FLOWER is beautiful but my tastes are really different for the reason i don’t like green scents.

    In addition to that,my skin is very hard on perfumes:they don’t last for me ot get very sweet…samsara in edp is just a little bit of santal on me,imagine!

    Sometimes it is a pity,but for my tastes and skin,the perfume must be strong and the MALLE is not. November 19, 2005 at 6:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, you just reminded me of another tuberose with coconut–L’Artisan Tubéreuse. I really enjoy this fragrance, although there is a sharp elment in it initially.

    Have you tried MPG Tubéreuse? It is very buttery, although it has a green facet that you may not like. November 19, 2005 at 6:58pm Reply

  • Nick: Wonderful review. Sometimes the most carnal scents (the tuberose’s effects on men and women are extraordinary) are better wrapped in more elegant names.

    Why call a carnal flower, a carnal flower? November 20, 2005 at 8:54am Reply

  • julien: Yes i know MPG scent.
    It is a quite rather good tubéreuse indeed.
    Truly,i like it more than the MALLE one.

    Yes it is green,but not a hard green,something i should call more fresh than green.

    I think the MPG one is not famous and it is a pity because they have great scents and this one is great too.
    A kind of tubéreuse butter,yes,after the “fresh and green” part.
    In fact,even more original than FRACAS or l’Artisan parfumeur.

    Talking about Tubéreuse,there are also Tubéreuse Indiana from CREED which is somptuous,an oriental Tubéreuse,sweet and almost gourmand.
    MAHORA,a very luminous and joyous tubéreuse.
    Tubéreuse from CARON,distant and elegant but not a cold one yet…

    For Nick,i have read somewhere that MALLE wanted this name because it was a reminder of a movie or something like that to him.

    I don’t like this name too…i mean,i think UNE FLEUR DE CASSIE is more carnal than the Tubéreuse for it swallows every kind of flower scents categories.

    In fact, MALLE perfumes are very good but they are so intellectual that it is hard to find the right one,i mean,sometimes we just want to feel good in our perfume,not feeling clever or with a good taste. November 20, 2005 at 9:13am Reply

  • ChristinaH.: I was just thinking about Creed Tubereuse Indiana and was wanting to know what you thought of that fragrance? Do you know the differences between Carnal Flowers and Tubereuse Indiana? Tubereuse and Fracas are the only tuberuese scents I have and am curious about Carnal Flower and how they relate. Also, earlier in my post I had mentioned mass market. I’m sorry to say mass market, what I meant was more widely available. I had e-mailed Tiphaine in France on their website and she said she would send a sample when it becomes available to her. Strangely, I have ordered from Barney’s in NY and also ordered directly from France and I swear I recieved my package from France quicker! I know, it’s hard to believe! Thank you in advance for any help you can give to differentiate these fragrances. November 20, 2005 at 10:34am Reply

  • julien: Hi christina.
    Well,to my nose,they absolutely have nothing to compare with.
    One,CREED,is oriental:vanilla and amber gris in the background,a pure joyous diva scent.
    The other one,MALLE,is frsh and green,without sillage,a tubéreuse very pure in skin,getting warm in the skin but just a little.
    Nothing oriental,maybe just a bit musky.

    For my tastes,TUBEREUSE INDIANA is better,yet less subtle.

    I mean,CREED is more a young and happy woman,seductive and open minded.
    CARNAL FLOWER is more “MADAME” for me,elegant and cold.

    I hope my words willhelp you better to have a better idea of the big differences in between them. November 20, 2005 at 10:48am Reply

  • ChristinaH.: Thank you Julien . That has been a great help. I think I must add Carnal Flower to my collection so that I may enjoy all the different nuances! That’s what perfume lovin’ fools do right!!? November 20, 2005 at 11:45am Reply

  • julien: Well,with time i try not to collect,but to only wear perfumes i adore.
    Everyone has a personal way to live his or her passion.
    :) November 20, 2005 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, thank you. I cannot agree more. The name is just too obvious, too predictable. The fragrance is rather elegant as well, which is another reason I think that the name does not fit. November 20, 2005 at 11:53am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, loved your descriptions and comparisons! I find Carnal Flower drier than MPG, so I understand your comparison. I do get plenty of sillage from Malle, however it is not nearly as strong as some other tuberose fragrances I mentioned.

    I have never tried Mahora, but you are making me think that I should. I have no idea how I missed it. November 20, 2005 at 11:56am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, yes, I would agree with what Julien said. Tubereuse Indiana has lots of amber, and it is almost dark in comparison to Malle. Carnal Flower is much greener and lighter. If you like tuberose as much as I do, then you should test both.

    I know exactly what you mean about ordering from Barney’s and receiving your package from France much quicker! November 20, 2005 at 11:58am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, I agree with these comparison, although for me, Creed is Madame too. :) Carnal Flower does not have that ambery darkness that I find in Creed. I agree that they are quite different. November 20, 2005 at 12:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, that is my logic, except that it sets up a dangerous road to follow! :) November 20, 2005 at 12:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, I admit that I hardly have time to wear my favourites these days, between sampling new releases and revisiting the classics. I try to make them for them though, otherwise it is such a waste to have a large collection of perfumes I do not wear. November 20, 2005 at 12:06pm Reply

  • julien: Oh,no problem,i won’t ever judge anyone about it.
    I began a collection,but then i thought it was a waste of time and money if it is only about wearing a few.
    So i have about 10 or 15 perfumes,but i really adore them.

    Guess what?
    In real,i think that if i was richer,i could have more,just for the pleasure!lol

    So i understand very well the will to collect.

    Kisses. November 20, 2005 at 1:25pm Reply

  • ChristinaH: Victoria,
    I must confess that this hobby for me has grown exponentially since reading your reviews. Your reviews are often flat out poetic!!Dangerous for sure!:-) November 20, 2005 at 1:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, you are very sensible. I admire that very much. I really do not collect that many things and I do not have many large expenses, so perfume is a passion I can fully justify. This year has been a bit too dangerous though, with all of the nice new releases. Between Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan, Carnal Flower and Guerlain exclusives, I have been falling in love with one thing after another. Have you tried Osmanthe already? November 20, 2005 at 1:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, oh, I am sorry to be a bad influence. :) I love scent, and if something is beautiful and moving, it is easy to find words to describe it. I have much more difficult time with things I like so-so.

    When you try Carnal Flower, I would love to hear your thoughts. November 20, 2005 at 1:56pm Reply

  • julien: To be honest,i prefer sometimes not test beautiful scents for the reason i know i could fall in love with them lol.

    No,it’s just that i am busy at the time and i never went to HERMES to test all the exclusives.
    I just had the pleasure of smelling the great ambre Narguilé from a decant a friend sent me.

    In addition to that,i know my tastes,except tubéreuse or a chypre like Mitsouko,i need amber in my fragances or it has to be warm…moreover my poor skin is too hard on perfumes,they don’t last at all.
    Just imagine,today i had to put three times in the day OPIUM in extrait to smell it all day long.

    The only perfume that lasts on me,even though it is edt, is ,by some way i will never understand,HABIT ROUGE from guerlain.

    At least i know one thing for sure:i smell good!lol
    ;)

    Kisses dear,and christina is right,you tent all of us but it is always such a pleasure to read your posts.
    I prefer that than another addiction so let me tell you:”ENCORE!”.
    :)

    J. November 20, 2005 at 2:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, thank you very much. You are a sweetheart. :) I cannot say that I have your problem with Opium. A mere drop lasts for ages on me, which is fine as I love the fragrance. I prefer it in the parfum though, because it seems to be softer and smoother.

    I need to revisit Habit Rouge. I have not tried it in a long time. I am also curious about the light version. Well, all in its due time.

    Would be curious to hear your impressions on Hermessences when you get to test them! November 20, 2005 at 2:24pm Reply

  • julien: I promise i will.
    Let’s test them first…i hope i could do so.

    I have so many fragances to try…and others to buy!lol
    Maybe shall we make one day a top ten list of what we wear and another one of what we want.

    Just a question…it is very cold now in France,and perfumes don’t last(well even though for those which used to last on me),does it happen the same for you?I mean,does the weather have an impact on the lasting power of your perfumes?

    Thanks.
    J. November 20, 2005 at 2:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Oh, that is a great idea! I shall definitely implement it.

    Yes, the same thing happens to me. I think that it is because my skin is drier in the cold weather (and it dries out even more with the heaters being on), therefore I have to apply a layer of unscented lotion to hydrate it. It is tricky to find a lotion that would not affect the scent though. November 20, 2005 at 2:37pm Reply

  • julien: Ok…well,if you have a very sensitive and dry skin like mine,try TRIXERA from AVENE,without perfume and paraben.
    :)

    It rassures me to see i am not alone in that case!lol

    Kisses,j. November 20, 2005 at 2:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you for the recommendation. I love Avene products, and I shall look for this one.

    No, you are definitely not alone! November 20, 2005 at 2:46pm Reply

  • Evan: I was able to go to Barney’s last night and try Carnal Flower. Luckily Luis was at the helm at F. Malle, so we talked about it for a while (and also about the party for Malle last Wednesday). I sampled it on paper, on my hand and in one of the “booths” (which don’t do anything for me). I was also able to get a sample to take home. Apparently it’s been very popular; they immediately sold out of the stock that Malle brought with him to the party (in an old suitcase!) and they only have one tester in the shop.

    I would have to agree with your assessment, V. Your description is a very good one, though I was not prepared for how green/herbaceous it is! After the initial green/bergamot burst of the top notes, it seemed to go in the direction of Fracas (the pre-reformulated one) but, as you say, it takes a turn away from the buttery, rising intensity of Fracas, toward a softer, lighter development laced with other white flowers and the coconut and fruit juice quality is muted but still quite discernible. To me it smells like tuberose in the sunlight, with only the slight hint of what happens in darkness. This is a strangely spring-like tuberose that might appeal to people who think of tuberose as too serious and heady for anything but the most elegant and romantic of encounters.

    I was surprised at how light is was, and it did not seem to last on my skin, but was more tenacious on my shirt. As I often do when I am trying a new perfume, after I smelled my hand and a test paper for a while, I sprayed an excess of it on myself (7 sprays) so I could walk around in a cloud of it for a while. It definitely has “sillage”, though I could not properly gauge its intensity because of the surfeit of perfume I was wearing. After I left Barney’s I went to look again at the Fra Angelico exhibit at the Met and in the crowd I heard a young woman say “Something smells really good!” as I walked by her, so that was a good sign! I am much too decorous to say the words “carnal flower” to a complete stranger however, so the identity of the good smell will remain a mystery to her.

    As for the name, I now have less of a problem with its overt sexuality and more of a problem with its accuracy. There is something quite un-carnal about it. It makes me think of tuberose as a green and blossoming plant rather than a fleshy, erotic flower. November 20, 2005 at 2:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Evan, oh, I am so glad to hear your impressions! I was hoping that you might stop by the counter. I was also quite shocked by the green notes of the top accord. It was like a burst, very strange at first. However, I grew to like it, as it presented something else from the usual tuberose interpretations.

    I did not get a feeling that it was an overly sensual flower either. It seems much more subdued, much more gentle, and much more elegant than the name suggests.

    Oh, I am testing vintage Bandit today, and it is incredible. I still love the modern, but it seems so much more gentle in comparison. Those rough smoky notes are much more pronounced in the vintage. I do wonder if it has to do with evaporation over the years.

    Did you stop by the Hermes boutique too? November 20, 2005 at 2:57pm Reply

  • michelle: Am I the only one who likes the name Carnal Flower? For me it creates the anticipation that there may actually be a perfume that captures the deepest, most seductive qualities of flowers – the rich bloom before the fade. There is a bit of romance in the name.

    I guess I don’t think the word carnal is “dirty.” To me, it’s more of a highbrow word for things sexual, of the body, of the world. It denotes some of the more earthy, temporal qualities of life on the planet. I don’t even mind that the name is in English, rather than French.

    I just hope the scent lives up to the anticipation its name has engendered. I am so rarely interested by the names of perfumes – this was an exception. (The fact that it’s centered on tuberose also has much to do with my interest.) November 20, 2005 at 7:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michelle, thank you for a different opinion on this! I can completely see your point. It is just that I find the fragrance not carnal at all. It is a very refined, elegant tuberose. Gilded, radiant, sunny… Those are the words that come to mind. On the other hand, Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle and Fracas are definitely carnal to me. Of course, these are very subjective perceptions in the end, and I would love to hear what you think when you get to try Carnal Flower. November 20, 2005 at 10:05pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., I am going straight to the Malle boutique on the rue de Grenelle tomorrow to smell Carnal Flower — a small step back into the world of luxury after a gruelling month of intensive training to become an English Foreign Language teacher (which is why I haven’t been contributing a word to your wonderful reviews). I’ll re-read all of this and compare notes. I worship Tubéreuse Criminelle but find Fracas a bit too sweet, so though I’m not a big “green” fan I might enjoy this new one… November 21, 2005 at 1:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear D, I am so glad to see you again! I was worried that your job was taking over everything. :) At any rate, glad that everything is going well, and best of luck in your training.

    I eagerly anticipate your thoughts on Carnal Flower! November 21, 2005 at 1:22pm Reply

  • kyahgirl: what a great description V. Now I must try it. I’m not crazy for MPG Tuberose or T. Criminelle, too earthy. I do however love Tubereuse Indiana so I know its something worth checking! :-) November 21, 2005 at 3:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, thank you. I think that Carnal Flower combines wearability with sensuality characteristic of tuberose rather well. It soars, yet it is rich, if that makes sense. I find MPG too buttery to wear often, but this one is perfect. It is also not particularly sweet, which is great. November 21, 2005 at 5:59pm Reply

  • Christine: Now I have to try it! I told myself that I can resist this one, but I am doomed. I should stop coming here. J/K! November 22, 2005 at 1:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, do not stop coming here. :) I love to hear your comments, so once you try it, please let me know what you think. November 22, 2005 at 3:17pm Reply

  • Tara: It has been wonderful reading the review and all the comments! Like Michelle, I was worried about the melon note. But I think I’m really going to like it – which is good because my SO is arriving home from Paris tonight in 6 hours with a bottle of it in his bag! Will post my thoughts tomorrow. November 22, 2005 at 4:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Wonderful! Please do, dear T! I always love reading your thoughts, and since we like many similar fragrances, I would be especially interested to hear your impressions of Carnal Flower.

    Rest assured, the melon is hardly there. November 22, 2005 at 4:43pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., I am back from the rue de Grenelle, drenched in Carnal Flower. Is it my chemistry or the cold, biting Parisian weather? The camphor-menthol scent, though not as “in your face” as in Tubéreuse Criminelle, is still very much with me after three hours, making this a darker scent than what I expected from your description and Evan’s. It does have a very green opening. The white musk powderiness is barely perceptible: it seems like it’s only there to ground the orange blossom. In fact I am getting quite a bit of orange blossom in the drydown, layered with a tinge of eucalyptus. All in all, I would say this is a much more modern take on tuberose than Fracas, more intellectual — perhaps that explains the name: Carnal Flower is a very Baudelairian name, and Baudelaire’s poetry does have that mix of sensuality and austere dandyism which I find in the scent. November 23, 2005 at 10:11am Reply

  • Tara: I very much agree with Carmencanada – I got a strong medicinal top note which persisted for quite some time, a strong green note, then got a lot of orange blossom, with only a slight hint of the melon. Drydown was drier and less sweet than Tubereuse Criminelle. This is a very sophisticated, dark tuberose, yet somehow more airy than TC.

    That said, it will not replace TC in my affections – I am addicted to the wintergreen top note and the sweet heady drydown of that scent. But this is definitely #2 in the tuberose pantheon for me.

    I also experimented with a dab of SL Fleur d’Oranger on one arm layered with CF, and the combination was delicious. November 23, 2005 at 6:24pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I would agree, it has a dark element, however compared to either TC or Fracas, it is light. It strikes me more as an interplay of radiant and dark facets, rather then the dominance of one aspect. The green notes are sharp, and are rather a shock at first. However, they fade on me, merely adding depth and complexity. I think that it is beautiful. November 23, 2005 at 6:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, thank you for letting me know your impressions! Yes, that the exact reason why I like it–it has a dark heart, yet it is airy, suffused with light, rather than hiding in the shadows. Yet, I still do not find it particularly reminiscent of Tubereuse Criminelle, therefore I cannot say that I would pick one over another–they are just too different. I like both.

    Your layering combination sounds wonderful! I will have to experiment myself. November 23, 2005 at 6:55pm Reply

  • Veronica: Oh my! I purchased a small bottle of the Fracas parfum, having sampled the edp. I enjoyed my sample so much that I thought the parfum would be pure magic. I gave my mother the choice of either parfum or edp, and after sniffing my parfum, she chose the edp. My nose is not trained in the slightest; I wish I could be specific about my impressions.

    The edp sample smelled of one substance to me. I knew that there were ingredients besides the tuberose, but to my nose, it was “seamless”. Does that make sense? The staying power of a single drop on my wrist was outstanding; a good 10 hrs. It didn’t seem to evolve, nor did it “fall apart” to something lesser; it remained true and simply faded. The juice in the sample was like a …..a bell. The drop broke the silence and I could return to the same, beautiful sound, again and again, even as the hours went by. The parfum on my skin does not have that beautiful peal; it does not stop time, and there is something in the background that is “fuzzy”. I wish I could describe this better. From the very beginning, the parfum is closer to my skin. Smelling “other things” is not necesarily bad, but the sample was magic, the parfum was not. The parfum on my skin does not have the staying power either. How strange!

    I played with my mother’s edp and it was not the same as the Fracas edp sample either. It is much closer, but the scent was not as true; as clear. It also changed. Sometimes a soapy smell would weave in and out. I plan on purchasing the edp, but all in all, I’m disappointed.

    Has anyone else experienced this? November 25, 2005 at 10:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Veronica, can there be a different between the way you are applying your perfume? You probably sprayed the edp and dabbed the parfum. It can make a difference. The parfum in general tends to be softer, staying closer to the skin. I find it to be the case with Fracas as well. I admit that it lasts really well though. Perhaps, you might like to transfer a little into a spray vial? November 26, 2005 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Veronica: V, my original sample was in a glass vial, so the application is the same. I’d like to think that I just got a bad batch of the parfum, because the thought that I may not be able to have that beautiful scent again saddens me. I’m so glad I caved and purchased the KM Loukhoum that night, else I would have been depressed. The KM isn’t a “Julien scent” (one that I utterly adore), but I do enjoy smelling it. I’ll just cross my fingers that my next purchases will go better. I ::did:: learn that I like lily. I spritzed the AG “Des Lys”, on my arm, and it made me smile. Seemed a little woody and like it had a bit of earth on its roots. Another flower to investigate! November 26, 2005 at 8:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Veronica, I would suggest experimenting further with the EDP, because that is what you seem to have liked at first. The parfum will not have the same effect, because the composition is different enough. Try dabbing the EDP, rather than spraying it from the bottle and see whether you will get the same effect.

    Lily is a lovely flower. I would recommend exploring Serge Lutens Un Lys, as an example of beautiful lily. Diorissimo is a great lily of the valley fragrance. November 27, 2005 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Fragfiend: I’m presently obsessed with this gem that I recieved from my lover. Being a huge fan of FM, he thought it would be a safe bet. The solar quality of this floral makes me think of Tahiti’s beaches, my guru’s ashram in India, or chasing the sunset for hours in a concorde..it stay true to the flower, never heavy or cloying. i find this one very wearable, and unisex. I think the name is perfect. It is very carnal. January 5, 2006 at 12:10am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sounds like a winner! I was very impressed with this fragrance, and I have been wearing it often, since I purchased my bottle. I love tuberose, therefore it is just perfect for me. The green opening is especially beautiful when paired with the lushness of tuberose. Glad to hear that you are a fan as well. January 5, 2006 at 2:35am Reply

  • Juliette: I absolutely love Fracas, and really need advice on how to make it stay on me. I find myself re-applying all day long. I’ve read posts where others say a little bit lasts them all day, but for some reason it only lasts an hour on me. I’m currently using the lotion and edp. I’d really appreciate any advice you can give. Please help…Thanks. March 13, 2006 at 11:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Juliette, are you sure that you are not just getting used to it? I find it very potent. Another suggestion is to apply Fracas on fabric. It also might be that your skin is very dry, and this might prevent the fragrance from lasting on you. I would recommend unscented lotion to moisturize your skin (and then apply Fracas after the lotion has been absorbed into the skin). Hope that this helps. March 14, 2006 at 12:05am Reply

  • juliette: Thanks for the suggestions, perhaps I’m getting used to it and not knowingly re-applying. I did ask my co-worker if my perfume is too overpowering, but she said that it was very nice. That is a good sign. Do you think some of the perfume distributors on-line sell fake perfume? I ordered a bottle of Fracas at 1′st Perfume, and sometimes wonder if it may not be authentic. How would I be able to tell?

    -Juliette March 15, 2006 at 4:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Juliette, I have never used 1′s Perfume services, so I cannot say anything about them. Parfum1 and Scentiments are very good and reliable.

    If your co-worker can smell your perfume, then the issue is that you are getting used it. I would stop wearing perfume for a week and then revisiting. It will make your sense of smell sensitive again. March 18, 2006 at 9:42pm Reply

  • Koray: My favorite tuberose perfume of Carnal Flower. More intense for me to Tuberose Cririminal. Fracas, More fruity and more closer to the skin. One day, I went into the forest and I drove my skin Carnal Flower. I tried to understand. Green, macigal and seductive. I was utterly captivated this perfume. probably, I use this perfume on my life May 23, 2012 at 9:26am Reply

  • Koray: My favorite tuberose perfume of Carnal Flower. More intense for me to Tuberose Cririminal. Fracas, More fruity and more closer to the skin. One day, I went into the forest and I drove my skin Carnal Flower. I tried to understand. Green, macigal and seductive. I was utterly captivated this perfume. probably, I use this perfume on my life … May 23, 2012 at 9:26am Reply

  • Maxine: Hi jasmine ,
    I have just bought frederic Malle 5ml miniature set of 15 fragrances for women , I think I’ve died and gone to heaven , brilliant idea by the company . I’ve tried carnal flower and portrait of a lady , love them both equally . April 8, 2013 at 11:31am Reply

  • Iman: My ultimate favourite special scent that I wear mostly in the evenings (Aromatics Elixir is my every day scent) or when I want to feel awesome about myself. I love this review because its truly worthy of Carnal Flower. I have a weakness towards all white flowers/tuberose scents and this one just shot to the top of my list. Lets just say I panic when I see the juice level drop below half on a 100ml. Tenacious, creamy and yet so green and bright. It stays true from the moment I spray it on, well into next week as it lingers on my clothes and wafts out of the wardrobe when I open the door. Never have I fallen so hard so fast. July 15, 2013 at 3:52pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: Wow! What could I say? This is possibly the most beautiful perfume I’ve ever smelt. And this means a lot since I used to hate tuberose in the past. A SA at Liberty sprayed it behind my neck and I was ecstatic every time I caught a whiff of it from moving my hair. I still have a blotter the SA packed into a sealed plastic bag. I’ll open it in a few days to enjoy that special experience again. If it was less expensive, I would have bought a full bottle right away! October 7, 2013 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: As a big fan of Carnal Flower (to the point that I wore it for my wedding), I’m very happy to hear this! :) It’s really spectacular, and it has few white floral rivals when it comes to quality and the way it wears on skin. It’s strong though, so I do the same thing as you did–I spray it on the back of my neck. October 7, 2013 at 10:02am Reply

  • Bernadette: Thank you V, I have learned so much from both you & from FM’s coffret collection. CF was not a favorite, initially. But I have grown to love it. After a trip to Hawaii, I can say the CF smells exactly like one of the flower leis. Now, whenever I smell CF, I am transported Maui–lovely when snowed in in MN! Your blog, too, has been the very best distraction as I can be transported to many beautiful places vicariously through your reviews. Bless you! February 18, 2014 at 7:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Bernadette! Carnal Flower is the best way to add some sunshine to a gloomy day, and if it makes you dream of a tropical vacation, even better. :) February 19, 2014 at 2:30am Reply

  • Carol Melancon: I bought this based on your excellent review and I couldn’t be more happy! It works wonderfully with my skin, and gives just the impression I was hoping for. I have found, over time, that my garden has evolved to include almost exclusively white flowers – jasmine, sweet olive, magnolia, gardenia, night-blooming jasmine, & paper whites. I just received some tuberose bulbs that I’m so excited to plant; and I have two Japanese cherry blossom trees that are doing quite well.
    Thank you so much! May 1, 2014 at 8:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for letting me know, Carol! Glad that it worked out for you, and I like your description very much. May 2, 2014 at 9:42am Reply

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