Perfume Directory

Tabu (1932)
by Dana


Tabu information

Year of Launch1932
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 237 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerJean Carles
Parent CompanyPatriarch Partners > Dana Classics

About Tabu

Tabu is a feminine perfume by Dana. The scent was launched in 1932 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jean Carles

Tabu fragrance notes

Reviews of Tabu

Iíve avoided this for years, for various reasons, largely because of my husband, as it has bad associations for him. There are good associations too, but the bad outweigh the good. The good: his mum, who is an awesome lady, used to wear it all the time (and very occasionally will still wear it now), however on her itís really quite sweet, and she tends to douse herself in it. The bad: a lady with whom he used to work, and whom he loathed (with good reason), tried hitting on him a couple of times. She used to drench herself in the stuff, so he was really, really rabidly anti-Tabu for a loooooong time. I wasnít bothered either way myself, so I bypassed it and havenít tried it for at least a dozen years. And yes, there was a teensy bit of perfume-snobbery too Ė partly because of the lady from his work (she really was a heinous witch) and I didnít want to smell like her, but partly because here in Australia itís more often than not on the ď$10 and underĒ table at chemists everywhere, so I equated Ďcheapí with Ďnastyí; again, more of an association thing rather than outright dislike, as I hadnít smelled it in years and wouldnít have known it if it had come up and bitten me. I canít quite figure out why Tabu gets such a bad rap here in Australia, but it does. Anyhow, after reading the reviews on this website, and seeing various comparisons, I thought I really should give it another go. So when I was out at the shops earlier, I spritzed some on from a tester and waited to see how it went. Iím so glad I did Ė this is lovely! This is all musky spice on me Ė I get a lot of clove from this, but thankfully itís not as burny on my skin as some other scents that contain clove can be on me. I get the orange and the amber as well. We have these lollies here called fizzy cola bottles Ė this makes me think of them. Itís a good thing, so donít worry Ė maybe this is the root-beer smell people are referring to? I canít say as I canít think of a root-beer equivalent here in Australia (ginger beer or sarsaparilla maybe?), but I do like it. I now have a tiny bottle, which I picked up at K-Mart for $11. I think layering this with a vanilla scent (such as Reminiscence Vanille) or, as someone suggested elsewhere, a musk (like Jovan), would be rather nice. Three hours on and it had settled into a softly spiced creamy powder. Eight hours on and it's still there, but softer and still lovely. Definitely glad I have this in my stable. And my husband hasnít commented on it Ė I deliberately marched past him a bunch of times after Iíd re-sprayed from my bottle, and gave him kisses, and he hasnít spontaneously combusted (phew!), so hopefully heís over his anti-Tabu phase! Iím not gonna tell him Iíve got it either Ė Iíll just wear it and see what he says if he notices it ;)
01st October, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The opening starts like a tutti orchestra - full there, full presence from the word "go": a slightly spicy clove-infused orange - hints of Creed's Orange Spice but immediately given richness and depth by a smooth, medium bright and creamy amber note. Just splendid. In the drydown a woodsy undertone appears, a smooth patchouli and hints of musk thrown in, followed by a slight floral twist - ylang ylang and jasmine mainly.

The base is a touch darker, owing to a resinous benzoin note, but the comparative brightness of the soft amber with a touch of rose maintain a perfect balance in this overall smooth and, towards the end, a tiny touch powdery, creation.

The performance is absolutely stellar on my skin, with strong sillage, excellent projection and a stupendous monster-longevity of fifteen hours on my skin - an astronomical performance of my dark vintage sample juice.

A deeply sensual, rich, velvety composition, composed of top-quality ingredients and an absolute stunner. 4.25/5.
02nd March, 2016
Tabu is one of my favorite fragrances, and has been since I discovered it in 1962 - yes, I even remember the year! It's that special. Rich, warm, evocative, over-the-top (in the best way) yet perfectly balanced within itself, true to its own character and mission (utter seduction of the senses), Tabu will always be front and center in my collection.

The most recent iteration of the cologne by Dana costs about $12 and is widely available at pharmacies and discount department stores. Like all fragrances - and especially Dana's - it has suffered through reformulation, but it still packs a seductive wallop and is instantly recognizable. It is thinner and less deep than in previous years, but still worth having at that price. Sillage and longevity are enormous on my skin.

If you like Tabu and find a vintage bottle of the extrait, bath oil or cologne, snap it up - the earlier versions are 3-dimensional, and (in my experience) they seldom go off-center if they've been carefully stored. The extrait is to die for, the bath oil is almost as good (and I've never come across a rancid bottle), and the cologne is very nearly as potent.

14th September, 2015

An object of desire,an addictive oriental spicy fragrance.TABU is an elixir of pure seduction for an overwhelmingly feminine and timeless is for those who are dedicated to their passions and interests.a perfect signature classic scent if you like something distinctive that stands out from the modern's orinetal. Exotic,Provocative,Sensual,Rich, Individualistic,Mysterious, Nostalgic and Timeless Classic.

It opens with a bewitching coriander and spices accord that blends together and they explode with confidence and power,over a rich floral heart of ylang-ylang,rose and jasmine.finally civet, musk,benzoin,oak moss,patchouli and amber makes a voluptuous fragrance for heroines lost in the enchanted forest where anything is possible and all tabus evaporate in thin air.the price is great indeed.


Longevity?Very Good on my skin.

02nd June, 2015
I tried the pure parfum and it turned this fragrance into a rich intoxicating, incensy, civet floral. Bold, yes. For evening only, yes. Slightly tawdry, yes. But in the right way, because this one has all the smolder you'd expect from this style, which means it can't be subtle. I tried less rich formulations and found them a little rough and cheap. But the parfum version... it becomes what it should be.
Older fragrances weren't skanky, they sizzled. In our day of sanitized hygiene, a fragrance that smells 'dirty' is daring. In the year Tabu was formulated, a fragrance that was overtly sexual was daring. I prefer this older style of naughtiness, this gaslight-tinged aroma of experience and availability. I think this one is the real deal, as it's able to send its intended message a century later, in an age of relaxed sexuality. Cheap... of course :) We all get its message.

It's longevity as a parfum is good. I think this is the formulation which is best, and probably the only one I would buy.
21st May, 2015
Dana Tabu strikes us by soon for its (immediately detectable) combination of honeyed jasmine, tuberose (not listed), orange blossoms, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, resins, sweet spices (cinnamon for sure) and civet, overall combined in order to project in its background something more obscure (something marvellously spicy, resinous, smoky, earthy and "greedy"), namely the hidden core of this impalpable gem. The note of civet is waving for not more than five minutes as a sort of "stale flowerpot's water feel". Absolutely fleeting the aroma on skin, Tabu lasts infact not more than forthy minutes on my wrist, fading quickly in to a vague linear whiff of honeyed-musky boise jasmine and balmy-spicy sandalwood (something in the same clan with Rochas Absolu and CK Obsession). A pity, really, all that initial marvellous complexity vanished in a flash.
04th March, 2015

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