Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Tabu by Dana

Total Reviews: 82
I had an ah-ha moment when I tried vintage Tabu for the first time. Suddenly Youth Dew, Opium and Coco made perfect sense---they were descendants of Tabu. Perfumer Jean Carles approach seems based on the premise that if the oriental genre is built from forceful materials and ferocious tones, why disguise it with tassels and trim? Why try to tame it?

Tabu backs up its vaguely threatening name with a strapping, seductive fragrance. It's an intimidating perfumes. The combination of aggressive, spiced florals and powdered leather is just one example of the hard/soft conflict seeded throughout Tabu. (Spoiler alert: the hard edge always wins.) Tabu investigates olfactory extremes without dicking around with the comfortable center. Vanillic amber oriental perfumes often dive straight for the soft middle ground and wind up a bit eye-glazey. The trap for the perfumer is emphasizing coziness at the expense of spine and coming up with olfactory comfort food.

Tabu’s dense powdery opening is in fact sweet but it’s a red herring. As the sweetness of the topnote settles, the acerbic edge of the spiced resin accord comes forward to create a fascinating counterbalance. The powder lasts well into the long-arc heartnotes and the way that it’s cantilevered off the bitter base of resins focusses attention more on texture than aroma. The cinnamon-clove spices have a similarly tricky balancing act. They alternate between hot and cold without ever dwindling to lukewarm. Carles seems willing to concede the aesthetic middle ground, finding more value at the ends of the spectrum. Tabu is technically an oriental but had as much in common with the big tobacco and leather perfumes of the 20s and 30s as it did with the recumbent Shalimar. No fear of lack of spine here.

Jacques Guerlain’s Shalimar is considered the superlative oriental perfume, and for valid reasons. It has superior form and elaborate, sophisticated style. It also has a larger-than-life Auntie Mame quality. Next to Shalimar's layered, accessorized style, Tabu cames off as starched and corseted. Carles’ style was less opulent than Guerlain’s but not a bit less complex. Carles differed from Guerlain in that he found that the richness of the oriental was not in the drape but in the tailoring.

02nd March, 2018
Wowsers! In high school there was a rubric by which you knew what kind of girl you were/were dealing with: girls who *wouldn't* wore Chantilly or Love's Baby Soft, girls who *might* wore Ambush or Woodhue, while girls who *did* wore Tigress or Tabu.

Tabu was and still is a highly provocative perfume. Wear it with caution and little else!
01st October, 2017
I’ve 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 it’s 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 wasn’t bothered either way myself, so I bypassed it and haven’t tried it for at least a dozen years. And yes, there was a teensy bit of perfume-snobbery too – partly because of the lady from his work (she really was a heinous witch) and I didn’t want to smell like her, but partly because here in Australia it’s more often than not on the “$10 and under” table at chemists everywhere, so I equated ‘cheap’ with ‘nasty’; again, more of an association thing rather than outright dislike, as I hadn’t smelled it in years and wouldn’t have known it if it had come up and bitten me. I can’t 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. I’m so glad I did – this is lovely! This is all musky spice on me – I get a lot of clove from this, but thankfully it’s 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 – this makes me think of them. It’s a good thing, so don’t worry – maybe this is the root-beer smell people are referring to? I can’t say as I can’t 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 hasn’t commented on it – I deliberately marched past him a bunch of times after I’d re-sprayed from my bottle, and gave him kisses, and he hasn’t spontaneously combusted (phew!), so hopefully he’s over his anti-Tabu phase! I’m not gonna tell him I’ve got it either – I’ll just wear it and see what he says if he notices it ;)
01st October, 2016
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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
One of the most gorgeous complex spicy-animalic intricacies in perfumery (even more than Coco, Cinnabar and Youth Dew). Austere, dry-spicy, earthy-smoky, incensey and mystic. A kind of sacramental elixir. 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". Fleeting the aroma on skin, a pity, Tabu lasts infact not more than forthy minutes on my wrist, fading quickly in to a vague whiff of honeyed-musky boise jasmine and balmy-spicy sandalwood (something in the same clan as Rochas Absolu and CK Obsession). A pity, really, all that initial marvellous complexity vanished in a flash. Anyway, the beauty of the first stages deserves a thumbs up.
04th March, 2015 (last edited: 18th January, 2017)
Of course I had heard about Tabu, who hasn't? However it is only recently that I have actually smelled it, and you know what? I love it! I cannot see any reason why a man (me) could not wear this, and to prove it I have.

It reminds me of a dusty old Indian head shop from the 60s; the place where you went to buy your tiny vial of Patchouli oil, your joss sticks and your scarves, Maybe, one of those strange statues? The place where you first heard Indian music. It is an Oriental to die for.

I'm not sure how old my version is but it reeks of Nitromusks , Patchouli Jasmin and Orange Flower. I can see why a Spanish company would have made this, but it does smell like the Indian ladies you meet on the bus. It goes on forever, and I am so glad it does. I can see where Youth Dew and Opium came from; a noble mother.
03rd December, 2014 (last edited: 18th March, 2015)
The great granddaddy of all amber vanilla patchouly scents, Tabu comes on strong and does not give up.

Turin, who gave it only three stars and called it a "cheap oriental," correctly names it as "the Ghengis Khan of orientals."

Barbara Herman tells us that Dana told perfumer Jean Carles to "make a perfume a prostitute would wear." I believe he has succeeded.

This warm, amber, rich, vanilla/cinnamon scent fools one since there is no vanilla or cinnamon in it.

Roja Dove tells us that the overdose of patchouli (10%), combined with the clove note of carnation creates the effect. The vanilla is actually produced from the benzoin resin of the styrax tree, as Barbara Herman informs us. Add oak moss and you have a four powerhouse note scent that was unique for 1932.

Derivation is the sincerest form of flattery in the short memory of the perfume world. Tuvache copied Tabu in 1948 with their Tuvara, softening and rounding out the notes. It had another incarnation in 1952 when Estee Lauder created her most popular scent, Youth Dew, also a copy of both Tabu nd Tuvara.

Top notes: Bergamot, Orange, Neroli, Coriander
Heart notes: Carnation (Clove Bud), Jasmine, Ylang, Rose, Narcissus, Clover
Base notes: Patchouli, Civet, Cedar, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Benzoin, Amber, Musk, Oak moss.

This is one to definitely try, but be warned, a little bit goes a long way.

Of the three my favorite is Tuvara - I find it warmer than either Tabu or Youth Dew and it has softer edges. To each his./her own.
10th October, 2014
I love this one! I have the cello bottle EDC from Walmart. I have to watch it that i do not drown myself in this one as I will assault everyone around me with the fragrance cloud i exude!!! lol
22nd July, 2014
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
I am not sure about recent versions of this, but the old stuff was amazing. Warm and sultry in a way that still--just barely--remained ladylike. I read somewhere that "to appreciate Opium, you have to understand Tabu" and I think that that is right--it laid the groundwork for so many ambery, animalic orientals that came later. A lady I knew--sadly gone now--always wore this as her signature--a true lady in every way (a grande dame, really), she always trailed a cloud of rich, sultry Tabu--completely at odds with her correct and proper image. She could afford any perfume she wanted, but loyally stuck to Tabu even as it became a drugstore scent. One of the truly great perfumes and while clearly not for everybody, for those it suited, it became a hallmark. Wonderful advertising over the years, too.
11th December, 2013
This is an excellent fragrance for the women who love bold scents!

Tabu, ah, how memorable you are.

When I was eleven, my mother came across Tabu in the local pharmacy and bought it for me, despite me not really much enjoying spicy, wood scents (I'd always preferred floral), and I used it till the bottle was empty. While I grew to like it, much to my overall surprise, I didn't purchase it again till today as I felt the scent was too 'mature' for a girl of eleven, or even to a girl in her teens. Aside from that, every pharmacy in my area suddenly stopped selling Tabu. I couldn't restock, even if I wanted to. However, upon moving to a new town (which to my delight, sells Tabu everywhere in truckloads and in many different forms, such as a shampoo and shower gel, EDC and EDT, bodyspray and talcum powder at a VERY affordable price), I've been able to rediscover it and appreciate it, as a seventeen year old.

The EDT scent on me is very warm, smooth and rich, and seems to stick very easily and linger on everything, and lasts for a good amount of time. It smells, to me, of amber, sandalwood and patchouli, and has a musk hint to it, but very little, if anything at all, of orange as quite a few seem to have described. However, I can certainly smell spice in the top notes, and the slightest hint of rose and ylang-ylang, but only the slightest. It's a very womanly scent and when I wear it, I feel confident as it has a very classy aura to it I don't get off other perfumes that I've owned, or do own. The perfumes I currently own are fresh and youthful, which I enjoy, but Tabu has a dark charm to it that personally makes me feel grown up and mature, and it makes me feel like I can command anyone! Really a confidence lifter. If you're bold, go for Tabu!

25th October, 2013
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I'll keep it short as others have written so much of interest here. My bottle is a vintage cologne (handsome bottle) much like the image presented here. It is old and it is a cologne, so I am making some allowances that there are elements that are missing in its structure. What I get: Sex on Rootbeer. Or maybe nutmeggy sex. Or maybe excitable extroverted rum times. There's a booziness and nitromusk all sending a vibe of easy ripe warmth. This is no means an intellectual perfume, but I have found myself putting a lot of thought into it. How does it speak to the name, the context, the concept? It seems to just grab your skin spread out and send its message. In a heated booziness.
I am reserving judgement because I think my cologne is not quite the old time real deal. I just don't know how close it is.
11th April, 2013
to oversimplify this from the start , vintage Tabu edt smells like sweet Bal a Versailles without so much civet and powdery notes,

It opens up with some fresh citrus notes and clove note beeing the most dominant through all stages of development, its sweetened by creamy sandalwood and amber-benzoin notes, that at some stages it reminded me either of some therapeutic special honey sirup, or some cinnamon mixed with honey, this is definitely spicy floral perfume with just a hint of civet note, and the dry down gets just a touch powdery, more creamy, it develops beautifully on the skin, but
This is very much classic perfumery , carefully built and done, that to my modern nose ismells like a picture with many brown colour shadings layered one over the other, showing some melancholic autumn scenery, its warm, yet bit sad:-) its from the old age, just as Bal a Versailles, i suppose what made them think of woman of the night is this extremely sweet note, for that age i think this was considered as lust:-) , unlike today, every perfume would be considered for women of the night:-)

I like it but i almost got an headache, so from my personal taste i must go neutral:-)

15th January, 2013
I like to sniff tabu. Every now and then I need to sniff tabu. I was so proud when my sister brought me a bottle from Usa (in Italy you cannot easily buy it in parfumeries). I don't like to wear it. It make me feel old and dirty. I wouldn't mind to smell old, but I mind smell dirty! A pity because the dirt note I detect in tabu is what makes this parfume standing out. I like the idea that was designed for a prostitute. All these contrasting ideas make me think that tabu is really a great parfume, something you love or hate, like a strange object repulsing and facinating at the same time.
18th November, 2012
Amazingly I wore this as a very young woman.

For me it is still the best of the oriental-sexy perfumes (I think of Youth Dew & an oil I own called "Opium", not the same as the perfume). I like it best because of the orange note, woven into incense shadings & amber.

I sent it in an envelope with a little of my hair to my first husband before we were married.....

Now, fifty years later, I don't wear Tabu but I still like it.
23rd June, 2012 (last edited: 01st July, 2012)
Here's an interesting story, and an important detail, both of which seem to make Tabu somehow still more bewitching. While it is not at all probable Jean Carles was in reality asked to create a perfume for Ladies of the Evening, as goes the fable, according to all and sundry, he most definitely did not fail to achieve something remarkable, and lasting: "Un Parfum Eternel." My experience with Tabu is limited to the following story: My mother took a young girl under her wing when this poor orphan had lost her own mother in a very sudden and tragic accident. This young girl had not had an easy life, having been sexually abused by her older brother since she was 6, and on top of all this misfortune was not exactly "Spoiled by Nature" as the French would say. (She was not, externally, a Beautiful Girl.) This girl, who by happenstance came to be a kind of zany, unpredictable sister to me, ever the buttoned up scholar, grew into the fiercest of rebels, and not at all in the usual manner popular at the time. She was very much her own creation, and followed no form of eccentricity previously known. She was, and deserved to be, an Individualist: A whilwind force to be reckoned with. For all the years I knew her, which were many, she only ever wore Tabu, and professed an undying love for it: I would buy her huge, screw-cap bottles of it for Christmas. My memories of the scent have the universal theme of: Incense. Everything about this girl smelled like incense. After my mother passed away, we remained staunch friends and allies. Naturally, my true blood sister detested her, and many in my family found her odd, to say the least. True only unto herself, she continued to have a strange life. For 22 years, I lived in Paris, and she lived in California. We would write each other letters, as people did back then, and I would always know I had one in my post box from her before even opening it because I could smell it through the grate of the metallic compartment. She visited me several times in Paris. The first time, she made a sweaty, trembling entrance into my apartment, which is a kind of penthouse on the 8th floor (7th per French standards) and declared herself to have been so traumatized by the journey that she barely left the apartment for her entire sojourn, which, if I recall, was a lengthy one, over the course of which she would sit for hours, entire days, on my rooftop terrace, entertain my dogs, let my canaries out of their cages, scour and clean every inch of the interior, and read. All kinds of strange things happened to her. Another time she visited, we got locked into Pere Lachaise Cemetery and had to spend the night hiding in one of the vandalized crypts for fear of being attacked by the vicious guard dogs who roam the vast terrain after hours, ready to kill. She only enjoyed things that were tainted with tragedy or sadness. She was blessed with the analytical mind of a true intellectual. At one point, near the end of our relationship, she had been living in a ramshackle shanty town type clapboard house in the hills outside of Los Angeles, not far from where the Manson Family famously converged. Upon moving in to this house, which was a weekly rental, she found in the kitchen cupboard on an uppermost shelf a box of ziplock bags left behind by the previous tenant, which she left undisturbed and had been using off and on for quite some time, straining each time to reach it and swipe out a bag as It was one of those heavy and enormous "supersized" 1000 count ones that you can find in the US, until one fateful day, she reached up to grab a plastic bag, and found that there were none, yet the box was still heavy. Removing it from the shelf she found it to be tightly packed full of bank stacks of $100.00 bills, totaling close to $50,000.00. Very diligently she made inquiries to find the previous tenant, who had been evicted, and never succeeded. After two years, with this money, she bought a small plot of land in the desolate, dry hills outside of Los Angeles, and built a kind of tree house on it, where, to my knowledge, she still lives, unless she finally drank herself to death, or committed suicide; two gestures that had been veritable plots over the course of her life. When I think of Tabu, I think of her, and how, wherever she went, or whatever she touched, would afterwards smell of incense. The interesting detail about Tabu that nobody here has thus far pointed out is the French play on words inherent in it's title. Jean Carles, Dana, and the entire context of this perfume is French, so we must assume that the choice of this piquant, cheeky title, now legendary for all the wrong reasons, was then lost on no one, as it appears to be today, which surprises me. The word "Tabu" in French is spelled "Tabou." The pronunciation of this word is very distinctly different and not at all subtle when compared with the French pronunciation of the written title of this perfume, which, in the spirit of Emile Zola, has become so tainted by phantasms of drunken, smoky debauchery. When spoken in French, the title "Tabu" sounds perfectly identical to an accusation, equally salacious and befitting of it's dark reputation: It means, very simply, "You've been drinking!"
05th March, 2012
Tabu, vintage extrait (came in 1/4 oz. screw top bottle, lovely presentation, no 

This puts a bright smile on my face! So, picture this scene:

Woman in her early 40s, truly a full-blooded woman with all the right curves and sex-appeal, has 
lived the highs and lows of love and sex life, always taken good care of her appearance, facial 
skin and expression are soft. She's got taste - not the big splendor or the maxime in elegance, 
but it fits her, her personality and her budget. Now, she is to meet a young man in his end 20s, handsome, thin guy, the type of worrier and thinker, maybe with little experience in his life so far.
They meet and he gets intoxicated by her very present perfume, sweet, alluring, haunting, sexy 
and slightly dirty. Most important, it fits her style and is in harmony with her gesture and expression. The intentions are clear... 
When you wear Tabu in its vintage extrait form, I think the message is rather 'agressively sexy'... 
let's have a little talk, we both have our wit and brains, but sleep with me afterwards. 
The talking continues, laughing together and she knows very well to play the right cards at the right moment - seduction by a full-blooded woman! A thin line towards ridicule, if not played masterfully by the right woman. 
The evening turns to night and her perfume is getting sweeter, honeyed and slightly spicy. The looks thrown to each other get deeper, playful and the aura around the two is heated, the outside world fades and their looks focus on each other's eyes, attention turns to alertness and every move and facial muscle contracting is noticed. 
No more words need to be spoken and the rest if the story is up to your imagination...  
That's Tabu!
Its effect is masterful and timeless, an indepth analysis otiose! 
03rd September, 2011
Orangey,spicey ,ambery,goodness with some animalic oomph to it .(Tabu puts the PURR in Perrfume!)Tabu reminds me of Bal A' Versailles and Opium - or what would result if the two were crossed.
Ideal for either gender as long as you love oriental scents.
27th August, 2011
Ah...the unmistakable deep, dark, seductive, " Black Velvety" sexiness of Tabu!!! I love it, but have to be in a "Tabu" mood to wear it...and a drop goes a loooooong way! Apply too much and people will smell you before you enter the doorway. :)
01st June, 2011
This is a fragrance which I happen to see quite often while I'm out shopping or browsing through the stores. With its distinguishable black, white and red bottle and the matching talcum powder in its box not far away, this is one inexpensive fragrance many seem to avoid.

I was surprised to find this fragrance in my mother's room, covered in dust and pushed to the darkest part of her closet. It was obviously my father's attempt at buying my mother a fragrance, but trying to do it on the cheap. I found myself reaching for this bottle and dusting it with a tissue, only to spritz a small quantity onto my wrist.

Seconds later I was met with a wonderful and totally unexpected, warming scent. It took me to a place where I had visited so many times as a child; a quaint, little store filled with incense, tiny trinkets, tie-dye saris and colourful wind chimes. It had such a carefree, quirky and unique style. Such a sensual and warm fragrance.

I promptly asked my mother to give it one more try, to which she discovered what had captivated me only minutes before. Never again will I judge a fragrance solely on its price tag. This fragrance is a true gem in the world of scents.

26th April, 2011
Tabu, Have been excited about this little gem for a while. Somebody compared it to Givenchy Ange ou Demon, but I've later came to find out it's nothing like it but rather a dirty strong classical fragrance which got me even more excited. I expected something similar to obsession, vintage shalimar, or kouros. And I finally found a reasonably priced vintage violin bottle. I spray this little baby on, and my nose is met by mild floral notes of coriander, rose, neroli, and other flowers I can't distinguish, on top of an oriental background. Though I really HATED something about it. I was trying to figure it out, is it the floral notes? No, they're too weak. Is it the typical vintage make-up note? no I detect no powder or iris in it. Is it the Musk? this is hardly musky. Is it the Civet? No, no pee or poo notes.

Then, it finally hit me. The root of all evil notes, the sinister goblin that ruined so many orientals for me, the sacrilege of so many supposedly ambery or musky fragrances that I would've purchased otherwise.

PATCHOULI! How could I have not thought of this before? But why? And why is this considered a classic from the 1930s? I thought patchouli's hyped started in the 70s? but maybe my bottle is from the 70s, I'll never know or care to know. I hate patchouli and this fragrance was disappointing. The top notes did have a classic floral blend in them, but they were light and fleeting. You end up with a typical dusty patchouli past the first 10 minutes. If that's your thing then great, but I can't grasp why this fragrance is a "classic" or how it ever became a top seller, it smells and looks cheap. And did I mention it's a sticky fragrance? It is very sticky.

The dry down isn't that terrible though, very similar to naga champa, but I don't want to smell like that either. Montale's Patchouli leaf and PG L'Ombre Fauve are much better takes on Patchouli, and I'll pay the price difference for them despite my dislike of Patchouli.

This should be a Tabu to wear indeed, in a bad way.


Presentation: 4/10
Uniqueness: 4/10
Value: 4/10
Longevity: 6/10
Projection: 6/10
Scent: 3/10

Overall: 3/10
02nd March, 2011
Rich, sensual and exotic!
Rich also in strength! This is nothing like your modern wishy washy flowery artificial fragrances you have to use liberally to get a few hours of staying power and sillage. this is maximum strength and need to be applied molecule by molecule! If I am very careful my man who likes very few perfumes likes it!
Luckily I am wholly unbiased about Tabu. I don't think it is worn a lot in the Netherlands so I have never sniffed an old lady wearing it. Nor do I know what root beer is so I don't have any of these associations. My first smell was from a vintage bottle I brought on e-bay after reading about Tabu here on basenotes.
I get a 70s feeling because of the patchouli, but I mostly get a lot of dark mysterious oriental magic!

Now we all know it was supposed to be for a 1920s '''puta'', but I do not see a modern street hooker here.
I see the 20s Femme Fatale, a dark bobbed beauty, with magnolia white skin and black khol around her sultry eyes, black lace and beaded dress with a deep cleavage and bare back, she lures in the men like a fatally beautiful black orchid, smelling of magic, mystery and luscious erotic sex.
They are mesmerized.
They are hers...
They are lost...
And then she is gone, and the world will always smell cold and grey...
21st February, 2011
This smell like a light and glamorous version of an incense stick. The type of smell Cleopatra could have used.

Tabu is a fragrance so underestimate, people must realize this parfume has over 70 years in the market, just incredible!! and this is the reason why we should give tabu a chance, forget prejudices and the old lady tipe thing, we are talking about the fragrance that later will inspire Opium, Youth Dew, Obsession.

I liked a lot and people need to know this is a cologne, tabu doesn't smell as overwhelming as I read in some comments. I think is Soft, powerful and lasting.

¿Perfume para una Puta? Al fin alguien se atreve a decir la verdad. Es mas que sabido, que las fragancias muchas veces apuntan a lo mas animal y sexual del ser humano. Tal vez la palabra puta es muy fuerte para las sociedades, pero todos somos seres de deseo y sexuales, de eso no cabe duda. Me parece muy original inventar una fragancia a raiz de ese pedido, es mas, muchas mas se hacen en funcion de esa idea, pero no se dice.
28th January, 2011
When it was first released in 1932 it shocked and 78 years later since it's
release it stills managed to shock it achieved immortality in a roster of classics like Chanel no 5 L'air du Temps
Joy Shalimar L'Heure Bleu & youth Dew.

If you want a perfume that makes you want
to stand out and take control this is the one this is not a shy meek little
wallflower of a scent it's Assertive
Loud Demands your attention in a dry spicy and smoky kind a way of if your a
person who is or likes perfumes that does not want to make a wave skip it!.

when first sprayed to my skin i find a
lot of Patchouli in a spicy fragrance
which is a bit interesting and makes it dry and smoky but i really like is the
Sandalwood mingles with orange and spices with the dry down of coriander
for it's powder texture and of curse i can smell Mr Civet with all his Animalistic Glory. i bet June Miller
wore this while seducing the Authoress
Anais Nin.

the drydown becomes more earthier with the presence of orris patches of musk and mossy undertones of Oakmoss.
but i admire is the design with it's
noirish deco goth Logo TABU Channels
Bogart to it finest the flacon simple
and elegant i love the color of the liquid it reminds me of a evening sunset
over Los Angeles in the 1940's.

this perfume is rich & luxurious But i
don't understand why is it so cheap on the price and made it in to a Drugstore
scent this perfume deserves to be expensive.

09th October, 2010
Ha, Ha... Well, I guess this is where I won't stay 'hooked on the classics'. I've tried and tried, but I just can't abide Tabu.

Yes, there is something like 'root beer' in Tabu. But the vibe I really get, and the thing that actually makes me feel a little queasy sometimes., is the similarity to the way a vat of beer smells when the barley is being boiled (long before the yeast goes in and fermentation starts). It's compelling, but not beautiful. And it's strong and penetrating, but not pleasant, even in very low doses.

I have the creepy feeling that Tabu is what evil smells like in eveningwear. To me, there's nothing else quite like it. I guess the world only needs one.
03rd October, 2010
calero Show all reviews
United States
If Tabu was placed in a Serge Lutens bottle and sold as one of the non-exports with a name like "Bois de Boulogne," I dare say many Basenoters would sweat over it.....

I smell similar notes of patchouli a la Borneo 1834, as well as hints of Chergui and some of the skanky drydown of Miel de Bois.

Into it.
19th August, 2010
Smells like an old woman in church with musk perfume on wearing a filthy wet , mouldering fur coat with a smidgen of cat pee on it. Horrid. I got this new at a discount store to try it since I had heard it was a classic, my husband said it smells like a bottle of s*&%! I love Opium and other orientals but this is absolutely vile.
05th July, 2010
I have worn Tabu my entire adult life and pray it is always available to me for if it were not to be, I would be greatly saddened. I know everyone is different but it surprises that anyone would consider this perfume to be "cheap" smelling. I have had more compliments from this perfume than all others I have ever worn combined. In fact, I cannot count the times I have had men stop me in a store to ask what I was wearing because they liked it and wanted to buy it for their wife or girlfriend. Considering the fact that most men really do not like perfumes at all, I think this says alot about Tabu as a fragrance.
23rd April, 2010 (last edited: 02nd August, 2015)