L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse : Perfume Review

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Nuit de tubereuse

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

The lush complexity of tuberose is bewitching: the intense sensuality of its aroma; the surprising layering of green, mineral and creamy notes; the contrast between wet petally and ripe fruit facets. Although perplexing and challenging, this flower offers a rich source of inspiration to a perfumer. Even a brief glance at the L’Artisan Parfumeur tuberose collection reveals that it can be treated in strikingly diverse ways: as a coconut bonbon (Tubéreuse, first launched 1978 and now sadly discontinued,) an innocent ingénue in white (La Chasse aux Papillons), opulent, with an emphasis on jasmine notes (La Chasse aux Papillons Extrême,) or as a heady, creamy and spicy accord (La Haie Fleurie de Hameau). Nuit de Tubereuse, a fragrance by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and launched this spring, presents yet another tuberose treatment: earthy, musky, with a delicious tropical fruit accent.

In fact, Nuit de Tubéreuse breaks many tuberose rules: it is neither creamy, nor especially heady. It is not even particularly petally. The emphasis on earthy tones makes for a surprising discovery of this facet in tuberose. The characteristic coconut aspect of the flower is toned down, and the lactonic fruity elements are replaced with the piney tartness of mango, which in turn makes for a lovely affinity with the spicy chill of cardamom and pink pepper. The floral heart of Nuit de Tubéreuse takes the direction of sheer rose, laced with jasmine, which gives an interesting classical feeling. Finally, the drydown with its strong accent on green, musky angelica and oriental balsams is satisfyingly deep, dark and enveloping.

Nuit de Tubéreuse is the least characteristic tuberose blend I have encountered recently, and this may be a point of contention for those who love tuberose at its most luxurious and rich (Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Robert Piguet Fracas, Michael Kors.) In the same vein, because of its dark and woody backdrop, it is miles away from airy tuberose compositions like La Chasse aux Papillons, Prada Tubereuse No 6, and Jo Malone Tuberose. It is an unusual tuberose composition, which makes it interesting; however, since I prefer my tuberose to be unapologetically and decadently luxurious, I find Nuit de Tubéreuse somewhat less compelling as a tuberose soliflore. Yet, as a floral oriental rendered in a nuanced manner, it is very successful.

Nuit de Tubéreuse includes notes of mango, tuberose, cardamom, clove, pink pepper, pepper, citrus, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, angelica, gorse, sandalwood, palisander, musks, benzoin and styrax. L’Artisan line is available from Aedes, Beautycafe, Beautyhabit, and Luckyscent, as well as Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Neiman Marcus.

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36 Comments

  • Carla: Speaking of tuberose, I very recently tried Fracas on my skin (at Harald Lubner in Hamburg) and was surprised by how weak it was. I hope it’s just my skin or the weather that day, and not reformulation. Also, at the garden shop, I turned around thinking there was a woman wearing Carnal Flower, and then realized there was a table of gardenias for sale behind me! And, some large lilies a friend gave me remind me of Carnal Flower. I am not yet able to distinguish different white florals, it seems. I must continue sniffing and considering! (Some philosopher said one cannot enjoy without thought, good to remember when enjoying flowers, food, perfume…) September 1, 2010 at 9:02am Reply

    • bluegardenia: so interesting. i have the opposite problem. i’m so well versed in white flower scents (perfumes as well as the flowers themselves) that i barely notice any resemblance whatsoever. i was completely shocked once when someone told me i smelled like gardenias while wearing carnal flower! May 31, 2012 at 5:05am Reply

  • sweetlife: I’m a big fan of Carnal Flower, but as you said, V., I just don’t think of NdT in the same category. Nuit de Tubereuse is just itself and I’m grateful that it is. It took me a long time to make up my mind about it, but I found myself reaching for my decant so often for, um, further study, that I finally had to admit to myself that it had become indispensable to me. I love the rush of it’s peppery/cardamom opening, and the way the understated creaminess of the florals. I love the green mango too, but that was the most difficult part for me to assimilate in the beginning. In my head, it is almost a floral that wears like an incense (without actually being one). It has been the absolute perfect thing to wear in Austin’s hot, swampy, summer. September 1, 2010 at 11:25am Reply

    • bluegardenia: i agree. i now love NdT despite not caring for it at first. and i’m also a carnal flower fan, at least for the fascinating tuberose absolute in it. but i don’t love the never-ending, synthetic smelling white musk drydown that lasts on my skin for days, through bathing even, and lasts on clothes for literally weeks. it’s a bit much, mr. ropion! May 31, 2012 at 5:02am Reply

  • Uella: I loved the initial mango/cardamon complexity however Nuit de Tubereuse turned sour on my skin. I tried it by hot weather and locked inside with AC blasting but kept getting the same sour and screechy woody drydown. September 1, 2010 at 4:58pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: I had heard many wonderful things about the legendary fragrance, Fracas, but when I finally tried it on, I was appalled! I have never had such a viscerally negative response to a perfume before. It smelled like mean, nasty old lady: the distilled essence of bitterness and menopause in a bottle! I must have smelled it once before as a child perhaps on somebody’s grandmother who was rude to me because I swear it made me cringe and scrub it off before it gave me fibroids and made me grow a goatee! And I love tuberose- Carnal Flower, Michael Kors, Nuit de Tuberose the original Oscar de la Renta, are all swooningly lovely, but Fracas was hideous beyond all expression. September 1, 2010 at 6:35pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: ha. i know many people who tell me fracas smells ‘scary’ or ‘putrid.’
      personally i’m obsessed with it, but i can understand your negative reaction based on what family members and friends have said when they’ve smelled it right after i spray it. May 31, 2012 at 4:59am Reply

  • Sergio: Lynn,

    You seem more interested in insulting older women than in perfume reviews. I would like to point out two facts: first, the women you find so repugnant were young and fresh once, and have lived through many things in their lives, and second, you too will be old, sooner than you expect, sooner than you want. Some younger woman may mock you then, and you will deserve it. Try developing some grace, child. September 1, 2010 at 11:39pm Reply

  • Carla: About my Fracas comment, I cleaned out my purse this morning and found the scent strip with Fracas on it. TWELVE DAYS after my visit to the perfume shop, it smells wonderful; it is undeniably the Fracas I wanted on my skin! It just disappeared on me, maybe it should be sprayed on fabric… September 2, 2010 at 2:20am Reply

  • Carla: I just sniffed the Carnal Flower scent strip, also twelve days old. Greener and more lush than Fracas. Then when I moved my nose to the Fracas strip, it was gone. Carnal Flower erased Fracas. It must be what happened on my skin that day, or rather, what happened to my nose. Try CF and then sniff Fracas, it’s interesting. September 2, 2010 at 2:34am Reply

  • Uella: Sergio, in reaction to your comment, because of biology/fertility and harsh competition between females seeking male mates, women have a different perception of time than men. At 35, they’re already considered “older” whereas men are in the prime of life. You’ll hear many “old-lady” comments by younger females, it’s a self-loathing behavior to feel safe and secure and averting the stress of it all. September 2, 2010 at 3:24am Reply

  • Zazie: It’s so wonderful to read your reviews!
    I am a tuberose lover and am VERY angry with Nuit de Tuberose.
    I am angry because, on my skin, one of the most beautiful white flowers notes peaks through in the beginning, teasing me into thinking I will be blessed by one of those tuberose-enveloping experiences that I am so much fond of.
    But the the white petals just disappear… and I wail, and wail, and wail!!!!
    The first time I tried NdT, I was just hit by the mango, and couldn’t bear it.
    Then, on successive trials, I felt I could cope with the mango, but was overwhelmed by the pepper (I mean, I like spices, but NdT has just too much for my tastes). But the main problem is that the drydown is on the wrong side of sweet for me. Too syrupy-sugary. I would try NdT every now and then only for that brief encouter with innocent white petals. But then I know the resinous sweet base will have me looking for some soap and water. 🙁 September 2, 2010 at 4:04am Reply

    • bluegardenia: i had the same reaction initially. i was quite upset by the mango. i couldn’t smell tuberose at all. i didn’t think it smelled bad, but i didn’t consider it a heady floral at all. it was like fruity bubblegum. i didn’t go near it after sampling it when it first came out. but later, months later, i went back to it at the store and sprayed it on myself, just out of curiosity. and over the course of the day, smelling it on myself, i got addicted. i now think it’s a stunning work of art and have a full bottle! May 31, 2012 at 4:57am Reply

  • Sergio: Uella, Of course, your comments are quite true. We are all deeply affected by biological and social influences.

    However, the projection of our fears or aggressive impulses onto others is the root of many evils. To accept, and even condone her verbal nastiness is a mistake by any measure. Would she feel entitled to comment on gays or blacks or people with disabilities in such a way?

    When “the other” becomes a target for hatred, whether because of age, gender, color, religion – any perceived difference, then monstrous cruelties can and do follow. If you substitute a racial, religious, or cultural group name for “old women” in Lynn’s rant, there would be negative, corrective responses by many readers.

    Youth and/or stupidity is not an excuse for bad behavior. September 2, 2010 at 9:01am Reply

  • Zazie: Sergio,
    I don’t think Lynn loaded her comment with such nasty connotations. What I get from her words is just her very personal association between Fracas and a bad experience, which happened to occur with someone of age.
    If you substitute “old lady” with “nasty blonde leader of the cool kids group” you probably wouldn’t have protested – her memory was linking the scent with someone being mean. Old, young, black, straight, does it really matter?
    That said, I find the abuse of the world “old lady” in reference to perfume quite annoying myself, and pretty meaningless too.
    But for once, I think “old lady” here just meant a friend’s mean/bitter grandmother… September 2, 2010 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, I find that Robert Piguet efforts to preserve their heritage have been impressive, but I think that the realities of what can and cannot be used in fragrances are harsh. I have not compared Fracas recently, so I do not know if the reformulation is a culprit here. You’ve inspired me to pull out my bottle though! It is from the 1990s, very nice. September 2, 2010 at 12:47pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: A, incense floral is a good way to look at it. All of those oriental balsams add a smoky, dark, incense-like effect. Very interesting! I also got into it during the latest bout of heat and humidity, so I suppose that the effect is strangely suitable to this weather. September 2, 2010 at 12:49pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: ‘incense floral’ was so brilliant and so true. May 31, 2012 at 5:06am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Uella, while it does not get sour on me, I completely understand what you mean about “screechy woody drydown.” I find that this is very common to sandalwood aroma-materials (and some ambers). One of my perfumer friends dislikes very much most of the sandalwood synthetics for this effect and avoids using them in high doses if he can help it. Just compare the drydowns of vintage Caron Narcisse Noir and the modern version, and you will see what I mean. Or Samsara, even better (even though originally it did have a huge dose of synthetic sandalwood too, but it was layered with naturals well.) September 2, 2010 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Lynn, fragrance is quite amazing in being able to affect us very deeply on an emotional level. I must say that I have not had such a visceral reaction in ages. But I bet that if I were to smell whatever perfume my second grade teacher used to wear (she was mean beyond measure,) I would feel the way you did! September 2, 2010 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sergio, I agree with Zazie below, it does not strike me reading this comment that Lynn meant to insult older women at all. I took it as a visceral recollection of an old, unpleasant memory.

    Of course, I cannot agree more with your point in general. Do you know how many times I hear “oh, it smells like old lady” in some client meetings, and this is coming from women who are not at all young! One might see some irony in it, but to me, it is an entrenched idea of ageing as something awful, scary and a lack of respect for older generation. Insidiously, the attitude spreads in other spheres too– older women complaining of heart problems are often not taken seriously, being thought of as hypochondriacs, etc., whereas men are given proper treatment. September 2, 2010 at 1:01pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, it is amazing how many perfumes smell great on fabric! Not just blotter, but fabric! September 2, 2010 at 1:02pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: i think they smell better on fabric than on skin! the top notes last much longer. i have incredibly sensitive skin but am a die hard perfume lover, so i can only wear it on my clothes. May 31, 2012 at 5:08am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, you are doing exactly what a perfumer student does when doing fragrance duplications. : ) If you were trying to duplicate Fracas, you would sniff tuberose (oil or accord with tuberose that you have created, knowing that Fracas does contain it.) Then you take that blotter, sniff it and move onto Fracas. Now, your scent receptors are overloaded with tuberose and you can smell other notes in the composition. And on and on… September 2, 2010 at 1:04pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: hi victoria! did you study perfumery? you seem to know more about it than anyone i’ve ever spoken to (in person or online)!
      my apologies for so many comments by the way. insomnia, and i guess i just have a lot to say… *embarrassed face* May 31, 2012 at 5:12am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Zazie, that is the reason I would say that NdT might be lacking for those of us who want a lush tuberose fragrance. It gives a glimpse of it, and then it moves into the oriental drydown (and it is on a sweet side, you are right.) That pepper overdose on top was too much for me initially, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. September 2, 2010 at 1:06pm Reply

  • Suzanne: I love the way you describe the scent — it sounds absolutely heavenly! September 2, 2010 at 1:17pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Suzanne, I am glad that you liked the review. Tuberose is one of my favorite notes. September 2, 2010 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Dear Bois de Jasmin Readers-
    I did not mean to trigger so much hostility! And I certainly didn’t intend to demean a particular age group- Boys and girls, I ain’t seen 18 for a whole lotta years myself by now! But I do stand by my response to Fracas and maybe it was more a shady memory of some unpleasant individual who once wore it than a reaction to the scent itself. Perhaps a better description would be: repressed, Victorian, asexual, musty, dusty, decaying (but not decadent!)xenophobic, suspicious, easily irritated, bitter and hateful. C’mon people it smells like shriveled ovaries and over-arching bitterness! The exact polar opposite of Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir, which smells like over-active estrogen and lollipops! Lolita breaking curfew. And neither of these scents has an age limit posted. Again, my apologies if I sound geriatric-phobic, I just object to ossified nastiness, and perfumes that evoke it. If anything, I’d like to find a mature, sophisiticated scent that evokes a Colette novel: the warmth, passion seductiveness, knowledge and allure of a fully-bloomed woman, not a naughty child. Here endeth da rant. Again, my regrets. September 2, 2010 at 8:04pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Lynn, like I mentioned above, certain scents do evoke very strong memories. I once witnessed a perfectly composed, “stiff upper lip sort,” English friend I know break in tears in public when she first smelled Shalimar. It reminder her of her mother who passed away when she was a child. Apparently, she wore Shalimar, which my friend did not know at the time. She just felt that strong surge of emotion.

    Rant away on scents all you want! 🙂 I am happier when perfumes evoke strong emotions than when I see yet another bland, boring “pink fruity floral.” So that being said, I find Fracas stunning, but that is just my subjective opinion. 🙂

    I love your idea of a Colette evoking fragrance. Hmmm, off the top of my head, I would say Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle and also Lipstick Rose by the same house. Those embody such an idea for me personally. September 2, 2010 at 9:13pm Reply

  • sweetlife: When my ovaries have shriveled, my breasts have fallen and I am sporting a dashing goatee, I plan to be a terrifying, unstoppable old lady, of the sort I once saw in an Italian deli, scolding the young man behind the counter until his ears burned, though she was too short by a good 12 inches to reach over the counter. And whether or not I’m lucky enough to be like her, I plan to make the Vol de Nuit parfum I’m hoarding my everyday scent, the wrinkled noses of the young be damned!

    P.S. I like Fracas, but I like it better on others than on myself. (I have a small solid version I wear occasionally.) I seem to run into a lot of surprisingly sporty women who wear it–maybe they are wearing white feather boas on the inside… September 3, 2010 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Carla: Thanks for responding to my comments. Yours is a good explanation! If I concentrate, I can smell other things about Fracas after smelling Carnal Flower, but it’s all very weak. (I put the blotters in a book, they’re now two weeks old.) I also think Carnal Flower may simply have a stronger drydown, or, its drydown is more of the green, wet, lush aspect of tuberose that I was expecting. Thanks so much. September 4, 2010 at 10:51am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: A, I will gladly join you! Your description made me chuckle.
    I had Fracas solid perfume at one point, and it was really wonderful. However, I tried it recently and noticed that it has a rancid, oily note. So, I need to look for a new one, if it is still being made. September 6, 2010 at 8:17am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, you are right, besides all that, Carnal Flower is also stronger. I compared their drydowns, and it lasts much better. They were 24h drydowns, not two weeks, but I got an idea. 🙂 September 6, 2010 at 8:19am Reply

  • Carla: Thanks for the feedback! Carnal Flower is just so gorgeous. What a good choice for your wedding day. September 8, 2010 at 7:03am Reply

  • bluegardenia: i’m fascinated by both fracas and carnal flower. the first is dark and sweet and animalistic and powdery and heavy and loud all at once. a real work of art in a bottle.
    the second is bright and a little fruity and very green and then soft and smooth and white-musky. also amazing but very different from what i always thought of as tuberose.
    i smell raw tuberose absolute quite strongly in carnal flower, along with the white musk. but i don’t smell the absolute in fracas – it seems like it’s blended into such a complex composition i can barely pick out any notes. fracas is just FRACAS, which is amazing.
    i’m also extremely curious about the difference between the smell of tuberose enfleurage and tuberose absolute. to me, the enfleurage smells EXACTLY like the living flower (cold, mentholated, grapey, a bit cough syrupy, fascinating) while the absolute smells like no flower i’ve ever smelled: it’s chemically, bloody, and dark green all at once. is this the hexane i’m smelling? or something else? (the enfleurage i have is from the store enfleurage in nyc, the absolute is from aftelier.)
    neither one smells particularly sweet to me, but maybe i’m crazy? May 31, 2012 at 5:23am Reply

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