The opening so often described as "gasoline" or "rubber" seems to me a strong dose of eucalyptus, wintergreen, camphor, or menthol. It's cool, sharp, and bracing, like a good slap in the face with a frosty mitten. Pairing these sinus-clearing top notes with the voluptuous sweetness of tuberose is a stroke of genius - perhaps even the cleverest thing Sheldrake has done.
On its own or in combination with other white flowers, tuberose can be positively oppressive. Cut it with clear camphor, and it's outright refreshing. Unisex, too, as far as I'm concerned. Tubéreuse Criminelle wears closer to the skin than some other tuberose scents, with moderate sillage and projection. It lasts a solid six hours on my skin, with a creamy vanillic drydown. The persistent cool menthol notes make this the first tuberose scent I turn to in hot weather.
Tubéreuse Criminelle is not the same kind of room-filling diva as Fracas, nor does it share the soft, unearthly luminosity of Carnal Flower. It is very much its own animal. It's surely not for everyone, and it probably takes some nerve to wear, but if you can get into its peculiar groove the rewards are rich.
Pharmaceutical floral for alpha males!
Tuberose - lots of those
The opening is a bit sharp, nigh tyre-rubbery with orange blossom, but soon the almighty, dark and foggy tuberose takes over, only a little bit brightened up by glimpses of a nice hyacinth shining through. Clove and nutmeg give it death and spice, and styrax and a dark musk a certain smokiness. Great silage and projection, with a criminally good longevity of over eight hours. One of Mr Sheldrake's most convincing offences.
A blast of contradiction to my nose and my thoughts
Well when I first came to Tuberose Criminelle I was just shocked by the contrasts of its opening, the camphor and nutmeg and someking of "frosted" orange blossom is just superb and this disorienting and a-la-coturier touch basically is a carrier to the super comfortable heart of tubereuse and jasmine which is what I would call cute and nice and cocooning. What I love the most about Tubereuse criminelle is that you really can't relate this to all those others tubereuse out there, especially to Fracas, this is a totally different take that manage to almost risks to betray its name because it makes you forget for a while about the tubereuse and the fragrance, and just takes you deep into the concept behind it. This is like a Zaha Adid architecture, is not about the building, is about the concept. Great intellectual effort Serge and Sheldrake.
Pros: Great "cultural" effort behind this project, a super modern take on tubereuse even after almost 15 years from its launch
Cons: Somehow even if it's a pretty noticeable fragrance,Low longevity: it lasts from three to four hours which is not what you expect from your tuberose
I love the opening blast of wintergreen which then settles into a fab tuberose. I'm not a fan of rose perfumes and although knowing tuberose was different, had avoided it up till now! I'm in love! Interesting so is my 5 year old daughter who declares it's her favourite!
Good perfume - and good staying power
The Tubereuse Criminelle starts off with a blast of winter green and then turns rather sweet before it winds down to the core scent which is similar to Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens. I love FdO so this is good news for me, though I would have hoped that TC would be more unique. It has good projection and lasts long.
I prefer wearing the freshness of FdO when moving around in the city and then save the sweetness of TC for evenings at home where I sit in my tropical garden sipping coffee, surrounded by treejasmine, frangipani and champaca trees.
13th December, 2012 (last edited: 29th December, 2012)
I like this insane, really it's not criminal this is just insanity in a bottle. But a little bit of crazy keeps things fun and interesting. The same applied to the treatment of Tuberose. In general I like tuberose and what various perfumers do with it. But, sometimes you get a bit bored of the buttery quality that tuberose scents can have. It all becomes more of the same.
This tuberose doesn't become buttery and think it has to do with the shock to your sense opening. The menthol freshes the whole thing up and prevents the tuberose to become that nice buttery fragrance that you find so often. No it stays cold, distant and ethereal.
Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens - I own and enjoy this composition which mirrors a phoenix, the tuberose, rising out of a flood of camphoraceous petrol, to reveal its dark and sensuous qualities, magically subduing those that care to inhale.
first contact- menthol, toilet bowl cleaner, fake flowers- cannot get my nose far enough away from my wrists
after 10 min- lilacs and tuberose on me, smells like a very strong yankee candle version of those scents
after 30 min- creamier, deeper, much nicer (although my spouse liked it better at 10 min)
after 1 hr- starting to get a bit shrill. Not sure how to describe this. Maybe I'm just getting sick of it.
after 3 hrs- excellent longevity, still very much a presence, but more green and likable now. If it started and ended like this I'd get a whole bottle.
Agree with everyone else the opening is strong, almost headache inducing for me, but the mellow version that follows is wearable by anyone who likes Tuberose. This will never be one of my favorites, but I'll indulge in the sample now and again just to revisit the scent.
As much as I love challenging fragrances, it took me several tests to completely get Tubereuse Criminelle. The first time I tried it (on paper) I immediately dismissed it as it was too camphoraceous, too thick and even a tad too loud. I decided it was not for me but, while visiting a major department store a few monthes later, I got a mouillette from an SA and, again, it immediately striked as too mentholated to my taste. The third and final time I got in contact with Tbereuse Criminelle was during a visit at Palais Royal in Paris where, after a purchase, I got a bunch of assorted Lutens samples including this one. When I got back home, I decided to give TC a test on skin and, with my suprise, something finally clicked.
Yes, the fragrance is still pretty thick and loud but there's something perversely fascinating in it. The opening mentholated accord is paired to a rubbery note and an overall vibe of turned flowers. There's something extremely wrong with Tubereuse Criminelle. So wrong to cross the border of mere ugliness and go far beyond towards something completely compelling. The fragrance slowly takes form and morphes into a magnificent floral concoction where tuberose is surely the main star but it's very well blended with other florals to create an extremely elegant composition. Surely not for everybody and still one of those fragrances that need to be properly tested before coming with a final virdict but, with some passion and patience, you will discover one of the closest thing to a masterpiece.
If we could compare fragrances to music, Tubereuse Criminelle would definitely be the most distant thing from pop-music.
Together with ISM and MKK, at the top of my favorite Lutens.
This is certainly a divisive fragrance, but I'm happy enough to be on my side of the divide because it means I'm not likely to meet another woman wearing it. I LOVE it: I love the opening blast that repulses so many, I love the unfolding of it, and I love its surprisingly whispery drydown. The beginning is wintergreen on me: Sweet, dark, icy. . Then the tuberose really unleashes its seductive glory, and I'm reliving tropical nights. Truly unique for a fragrance is that it's cold and hot at the same time.
07th May, 2012 (last edited: 24th May, 2012)
One of the strangest openings out there...
Thumbs up AFTER a start of pure Pepto-Bismol. Is what follows worth that being sucker punched up front with a whole load of what-the-hell? Yes, albeit an odd introduction on the order of Petruchio meets Kate, leaving you to wonder just who was tamed after all?
But, oh, that after all. Buttered tropical flowers. To me this phase is a dead ringer for Tuvaché Jungle Gardenia, so I'll put up with that perverse start to get there, relieved to find what I want for once in a fragrance still in production.
Much has been said already about the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle.
In my view there are two ways to interpret the opening of TC. There is something of camphor, menthol, wintergreen, eucalyptus. I have seen it said that it smells like Dettol or TCP. I think that it is closest to Germolene. If you are familiar with Germolene you are with me, if not, stick with a disinfectant smell.
Or is it.....is it really? There is another way to interpret this extraordinary opening. Have you ever had a pot of hyacinth bulbs in your house, or in your garden, a vase of longiflora lillies maybe, some jasmine? Have you ever smelled them when they are at their most redolent? I once had a pot of tiny narcissi which filled a whole room with a heady, almost overwhelming, fragrance. At their most fragrant stage these flowers are approaching the boundary of what could be considered to be pleasantly floral. On the breeze they are intoxicatingly lovely. Close up they are pungent and challenging. We can read the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle in this way. It is very clever.
Sugandaraja describes it as having "a lively cooling sharpness". Yes, that is what I experience, not gasoline or rubber. The first time I smelled it I almost recoiled in surprise. Very soon, I came to crave it.
I know that many of you will be thinking Indoles, why hasn't she mentioned indoles? Well, I have, but just not by name. I don't like the association of indoles and feces. There is no fecal aspect to this fragrance. When the flowers come they are stunning. They are not pretty flowers. A friend of mine swears that at night, longiflora lillies, cut and in vases, turn their heads and spit. Yes, these flowers are of that ilk. Intoxicating, narcotic, but not stodgy or overbearing like some Tuberose fragrances are. They are cut with that cooling menthol effect. The mid development and the drydown are very closely intermingled. I have never smelled a real Tuberose. I can only tell you that TC smells something like a hyper realistic bouquet of hyacinth, jasmine, lily, gardenia, perhaps even a little carnation, with some ultraviolet light thrown in. But then, finally, as if they have spent themselves, a somehow appropriate, softer, creamier, floral and vanillic ending brings the show to a much quieter close.
After waiting two weeks for a partial bell jar from TPC, I just got it today. I had a set of the wax testers from SL and was quite surprised at the difference. At the first blast of wintergreen, I thought there must be some mistake. I'd heard about the rubber tire, but this was a poke in the nose. Ten minutes later and I am in love. It is ethereal. This is much nicer than Carnal Flower. I just ordered Cuir Mauresque (not from TPC- I'm too old to wait that long again) based on the wax samples and I hope that there isn't a similar shock at opening. I think the wax samples lose the lighter, more volatile aspects of a perfume but are true for the dry down.
Danced around this for a long time before buying as I was drawn into the allure by such juxtaposed comments on it. Seems to be amongst the most revered and most hated in the comments made in Reviews. Having previously purchased Un Cedre I surmised I'd like it because I liked Lutens tubereuse tack on that.
TC is however a very different beast. Where I had to sell-on Un Cedre due to it being a bit too feminine for a guy, IMO this is to me immensely more suitable for a man to wear. The opening medicinal note that so many seem to hate is the element that lends it's masculinity. I'm no wallflower and could care less about what others thoughts on my fragrance are, but I'd be fibbing if I said I didn't think some fragrances are just a bit too feminine for a guy. (JilSander No 4 and Une Rose are personal favourites in this vein).
For all you guys out there Tubereuse Criminelle is a real winner. NEVER had as many good comments about any of the myriad things I've previously flaunted.
Odd, initially heavy, alluring, very classy (in the A di P Colonia and Fleur de TRB vein) but soft, understated and subtle when it settles. Buy it now. If you ever get to Heaven this is what they'll be wearing.
Unfortunately.......Serge is not paying me to say this. Honest. lol
Well, I'm not gonna rehash the notes in Tubereuse Criminelle as everyone is well aware of them by now. I'm just here to give this one two thumbs up. I personally LOVE the wicked camphor/wintergreen blast, so refreshing and different from any other treatment of tuberose that I've ever smelled. Good longevity and reasonable sillage, you won't suffocate your co-workers with this one. Truly a masterpiece in its own right.
Tubéreuse Criminelle is my new tuberose love. After the aldehyde bomb of Fracas and chilly synthetic of Vierges & Toreros, I was starting to become wary of one of my favorite notes, but this has reaffirmed my faith in the beauty of tuberose after so many have failed to live up to the real flower.
The top notes are lovely. I really don't smell the whole gasoline rubber camphor menthol nails-on-chalkboard note many smell in this. No violence here, just a lively, cooling sharpness that modifies the floral bent of this fragrance - wintergreen, to my nose, though there are a host of other notes I that linger on the edge of identification.
When I applied lightly the top notes faded quite quickly; fifteen minutes or so. In the second wearing I I used a heavier application that resulted in them lasting much longer; around two hour hours.
This is quite a sillage-heavy fragrance, so be cautious about how much you apply. Throughout its development the sillage never diminishes, smelling just as strong twelve, even twenty-four hours after application.
Needless to say, the longevity is likewise Herculean. Tubéreuse Criminelle will be with you until you wash it off.
Though the tuberose is always present, as the the top notes give up the ghost the flower really comes into its own.
I find it interesting to compare the note's treatment here with Frederic Malle's Carnal Flower. Before Tubéreuse Criminelle entered my life Carnal Flower was the tuberose in my life, and the only one that could truly satisfy my tuberose hunger. Confronted with Tubéreuse Criminelle I had to ask myself - how could something that smells so different from Carnal Flower smell equally, if not more, like the real thing?
I think a few fellow of my fellow Basenoters - purplebird7 mentioned this a couple reviews before me - are on to something when they talk about real tuberose being rubbery. I don't smell tuberose or tuberose absolute that way but there is a certain something about tuberose; a richness; a heaviness; a hidden depth. Something that adds almost an animal element to an entirely botanical scent, and something that Tubéreuse Criminelle emphasizes in a way that makes it smell almost more real than the living flower.
The tuberose in Carnal Flower is the fragrance of tuberose carried on the evening breeze; the tuberose Tubéreuse Criminelle is a bouquet of tuberose blossoms inhaled deeply.
There are other differences in treatment, too. Carnal Flower has a luminescent transparency; cooling and green. Tubéreuse Criminelle on the other hand, is smolderingly warm and rather oriental in style while still being a soliflore through and through. It's impossible for me to choose between the two when it comes to accuracy, but Tubéreuse Criminelle suits my tastes and aesthetic sensibilities more.
For someone wanting to experience tuberose, try either - and avoid synthetic monstrosities such as Fracas.
Getting back to Tubéreuse Criminelle's development, the drydown is dominated by the tuberose note I just elaborated in detail upon, but there are subtle modifications, including a distinct vanillic base and a gentle whispering of spices. The official notes are listed as "tuberose, orange blossom, hyacinth, jasmine, musk, vanilla, styrax, nutmeg and clove", but other than tuberose, vanilla and the not-listed wintergreen, I wouldn't be able to identify what exactly is in Tubéreuse Criminelle.
Can a man wear this? If he's comfortable smelling like tuberoses, why not? If you love white florals, go and sample this, whatever your gender.
If I ever return to Europe, you better believe I'll be coming home with a bell jar of Tubéreuse Criminelle. Until such a time, I'll just have to make due with decants of this ravishing elixir.
Tuberose is a very interesting note. For a long time, I thought it was a piercingly sweet floral, and perhaps the flower is extraordinarily sweet in real life. Not so real tuberose absolute. Rather, it carries a heavy aroma like rotten flowers and rubber. Perfume being what it is (a recreation of natural smells) the method for putting the sweetness into the tuberose absolute is to add it back via chemicals--or the few sweet natural substances that are strong enough to compete with it. That is why perfume that uses tuberose absolute is always sweet. Without these additives, it would be ghastly. No one would wear it. No more deviating from the point, on to the review of Serge Lutens Tuberose Criminalle. My favorite aspect about this house is that the perfumers often avoid side-stepping the natural smell of the main accord. Instead, they ramp it up with supporting notes. This perfume is no exception. Dispite all other notes, it still smells like natural tuberose absolute. Another beautiful example is Iris Silver Mist, which smells very nearly exactly like orris butter. So, if you like tuberose, you must try this one before you can claim any familiarity with the note. Either that, or buy a sample vial of the absolute--but you'll never wear it.
In the very first moment of smelling it i would run away like a cat would when sprayed insecticide on the nose.... yes it most smells like insecticide to me. But it goes away just in five seconds and then comes an earthy summer flowers (sorry no tuberuse yet) but pallensis and dandelion and many from Chrysanthemum family. then to the end yes a bit like tuberuse or Hyacinths but sweet and powdery. Excluding the first moment this is a very nice experience and should be lived....
Vibert's commentary on this fragrance is stellar! A masterpiece indeed, but let me interject....
I will never wear this scent. It is not at all what I wish to smell like. A thumbs up though, as it merits applause!
At first it smells like gasoline + Ben-Guy rheumatism ointment. But after a few minutes I can scent a beautiful chewing-gum-like fragrance, reminding me of bird cherry flowers (Prunus padus), which have so unique, narcotic, "indolic", deep aroma. Love it so much!
I love this one, but it's out-of-character for me - a huge, rich femme fatale tuberose, earthy and sultry. I hate BWF's (those big voluptuous florals give me a headeache), so why not this one? For me it's because this floral lives in the earth and doesn't try to breath air. I still don't care for the menthol/rubber opening, though it does set your nose to accept what's coming. I was so relieved when that heavy black note dissipated, I eagerly, almost greedily, devoured the comparative sweetness of the tuberose. Before I realized it, I was mesmerized by the heavy, indolent earthiness of this unapologetic mud flower.
I tried Chanel Gardenia next to it - no contest. Fracas - nope. SL's Datura Noir - no. The Frederic Malle tuberose, and several others with formidable reputations. They were all debutantes playing at being femme fatales next to this true lady of the night.
An interesting note: I was playing with my essential oils, and accidentally put together a rubbery 3-note accord similar to the opening of TC, which involved oakmoss, hyssop, and ylang-ylang.
I don't know if a guy could pull off this one- the Tuberose is quite ripe in the drydown. And you'd have to be a very, er, singular type of girl to pull off the opening- a fire at a tire plant being fed by Vicks Va-Po-Rub. It's brilliant, and in it's way beautiful, but more performance art than perfume.
Yes, I'd still wear it!
Knize Ten/Etro Gomma on acid in a wild tango (or pogo if you like) with Commes des Garcons at an underground party in an abandoned garage. If you are an adventurous type, this one's for you. Rubber and rose somehow make a perfect match, with the tuberose note actually cleaner, sharper and truer in my opinion than in most other tuberose scents my GF has worn (Caron, Malle and Piguet) except maybe Creed's Indiana, which is equally impressive in its own right but not as intriguing. The only Lutens I've been tempted to wear.
I've heard much about this one, especially about its topnotes. Gasoline. Rubber. Menthol. Asphalt. Anyway, I ordered a bottle... and: everything is true. The weirdest topnotes I've ever smelled. Imagine you're filling the tank of your truck at a shabby petrol station... the smell of burnt rubber, hot asphalt and gasoline all around... in your truck you have one of those cheap air refresheners that smell of spearmint mouthwash. That's how Tubereuse Criminelle starts. Now I understand why it's called "criminelle" - it has a dark, strange character. Just shocking. But then the tuberose breaks through. It pushes the strange odor of gasoline away and you get the irradiance of an incredibly beautiful floral scent. The tuberose in here is powerful, but not creamy and damp - it's bright, juicy, uplifting and refreshing. Truly wonderful - and the only tuberose-centered fragrance beside Carnal Flower that's totally suitable for women and men.
For sure, a somehow eccentric scent, but totally addictive and at least worth a try. Normally, I wouldn't give "thumbs up" for a fragrance with these awful topnotes, but the heart and the base make good for the beginning. A masterpiece.
An alarming hospital top note makes one panic , long before the flowers appear. It is so akin to anti-bacterial disinfectant or mouthwash as to scare away most people. I am convinced not many stake it out for the drydown. But it’s their loss.
Because after that phase soft flowers emerge not with the piercingly sweet nature of most tuberose fragrances , nothing like Fracas( although I appreciate the blending ) or Blonde or Herrera , which is good in my book as I get suffocated by them. Also lily is evident? That probably accounts for the softness and butteriness , I guess. And there is warmness too. A sensual drydown that is most unexpected after the initial blast.
Like Marlen Dietrich’s name according to Jean Cocteau , but in reverse : it starts with a whip stroke , ends with a caress.
For sadomasochists and people appreciative of The Agony and the Ecstasy
a cold sharp metallic pharmaceutical start silenced by a cold tubereuse shy to show its true colour. a Masterpiece