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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.
10th January, 2009