Histoires de Parfums : Tubéreuse 2 Virginale

Photo by Peter Lindbergh

Photo by Peter Lindbergh

Created by : Gérald Ghislain

Date : 2009

Genre : Effortless tuberose

Concentration : eau de parfum

Do you know who styled the above American Vogue photo?  The great Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele.  Of this photo, she said :

So, we shot this in L.A. The girls looked, I mean, divine… divine! EASINESS! RRRREAL! Real. This can be today.  Is no season. STYLE DON’T HAVE SEASON! Nothing is démodé when it is great pieces. NOTHING,  NOTHING,  NOTHING IS DÉMODÉ!

The same applies for perfume.  Great perfume never goes out of style and “easiness” is important.  I mean why wear a perfume over and over again trying to get used to it.  If it isn’t easy and you don’t love it after a few tries, give it to a friend… or an enemy that you see only rarely!

Of all the tuberoses I have tried or smelled, I would say this is one of the easier ones.  It is very well balanced with jasmine and vanilla giving it an almost “bouquet” feel.  There are other notes listed on the packaging, such as frangipane, but I wasn’t able to distinguish the famous almond paste, nor was I able to distinguish the patchouli in the bottom notes.

Tuberose is almost always paired with some fresh topnote like the menthol in Serge Lutens’ Tubéreuse Criminelle.  In this case, Gérald Ghislain has paired the tuberose with an ultra-fresh cherry note with a camphorous facet.  It reminds me of those cherry-flavoured cough drops that my mother gave me as a youngster when I had a sore throat. Personally I love what the cherry does to Tubéreuse 2 Virginale but if you don’t like that note, it doesn’t last very long, maybe 20 minutes, unless you spray it one fabric in which case it will hang around a bit longer.

If you are familiar with Germaine Cellier’s Fracas, I find this tuberose fragrance easier to wear… it certainly is fresher and it doesn’t have that butter note.  As I’ve never tested Dominique Ropion’s Carnal Flower on skin, I’m not sure how it would stack up but the odd time I sprayed it on a scent strip, it seemed to me quite a bit heavier than this one. Same goes for Dior’s Poison.

Both men and women can wear it… but go easy on the atomizer.  My concentration is the eau de parfum and it is tuberose afterall.  One spray too many and you might regret it.

Here is a photo of the “easiness” girl herself.

Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele

Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele

Madonna : Truth or Dare

Created by : Stephen Nilsen

Date : 2012

Genre : White floral (tuberose)

Concentration : eau de parfum

I couldn’t wait to go to work Friday morning because I wanted to wear Truth or Dare by Madonna.  I’m not sure why I had such a reaction to this perfume… I think it’s because I’d been looking for a wearable (and affordable) tuberose for many years now and the current offerings out there are either over-the-top tuberose or over-the-top expensive!  Fracas is too buttery.  Tubéreuse Criminelle and Dior’s Poison have too much menthol.  Carnal Flower is about the best out there (although I haven’t tested it on my skin yet) but as an everyday scent, it’s expensive.  And so when I heard that the material girl had come up with a tuberose-gardenia accord dedicated to her mother, well… I just wanted it.

It intrigued me that Madonna chose a tuberose note for her first fragrance.   I know about her mother wearing tuberose and gardenia scents and all that but let’s face it… young women are not wearing tuberose perfumes.  Celebrities are still doing basic fruity florals which are big sellers because they’re easy to like.  But tuberose?  (Read this great article in The Guardian for an interview with the perfumer.)

In short, Truth or Dare is a well-constructed, synthetic tuberose with a woody/ambery base.  The vanilla notes keep it from getting too dry (such as Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Fragile) and some fruit (red berry?) kept it mouth-watering for me… but there are no berry notes listed anywhere so that’s just me.  In the middle notes, I had the impression of a raspy nutty/tobacco note but as soon as I identified it, it disappeared.  Truth or Dare is lush and it’s fun to wear but because of its synthetic makeup, it didn’t evolve much after the first hour… however, on the bright side, the longevity is impressive!

I’ll wear Truth or Dare again and again and I look forward to wearing it in sweltering, humid Montreal nights.  If you like tuberose scents, give it a try.  Somehow I suspect that the quality of this one could sink over the coming years and I also predict a glut of mediocre-tuberose-celebrity scents so… I would buy this one now if you are the least bit interested.

To resume, Truth or Dare is a beautiful, wearable and affordable tuberose and so thank you, Madonna, for giving us a tuberose option.

Here is a glimpse of the launch at Macy’s in New York…

Have a nice week everyone!

Addendum : After publishing my post, I read on another blog that Madonna’s Truth or Dare was more truth than dare… and that disappointed the blogger.  This is true.  This fragrance is not her trashy, crotch-in-your-face, stage persona… it’s her off-stage persona that always takes my breath away… great hair, great make-up, great clothes… classy, ultra-feminine Madonna.  Well… Truth or Dare is just that… classy and feminine.  I wore it again today… very nice.

Top image : Sarah Bernhardt by Georges Clairin (1843-1919)

Estée Lauder : Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia

Created by : Harry Frémont

Date : 2007

Genre : Gardenia soliflore

Concentration : eau de parfum

The first potted plant I bought when I left home was a gardenia.  I still remember that fresh, heady scent and I bought it because I had seen Lady Sings the Blues and I was fascinated by Billie Holiday.  She often wore gardenias in her hair and although Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is not as true as a real gardenia bouquet, it comes pretty close.

I wore Tuberose Gardenia regularly to the office a couple of years ago and it was addictive.  I loved wearing it and while researching this post, I wasn’t surprised to read that it is attributed to Harry Frémont because I also love his David Yurman rose chypre.  The man can put a fragrance together!  And Aerin Lauder, Estée Lauder’s granddaughter, was behind this one which is proof positive that good taste is genetic.

Luca Turin says that “women have no business smelling like flowers” but Tuberose Gardenia makes a very convincing case for the contrary.  In fact, TG is so beautiful even men should wear it.  Anyone who doesn’t like this fragrance probably hates flowers… and kittens.

As for the tuberose… it probably represents 20% of the bouquet.  It adds a creaminess to the fragrance… not the full buttery note found in Fracas but just a warmth with a contrasting, transient vein of menthol giving the overall effect a green tinge.

Whenever I feel that there’s just too much crap out there, I spray Tuberose Gardenia on a scent strip and remember beauty is never far away.

Buy Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia even if you never wear it.

Image : Jeune Tahitien or Jeune homme à la fleur (1891) by Paul Gauguin

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