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  1. #1

    Default I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    I've been trying perfumes for a while without feeling that fervor or spark return that I experienced the first time I tried scents like Ambre Sultan, some Kilian stuff, JAR's Bolt of Lightning, many Comme des Garcons fragrances, the first few Montales, and one's first foray into L'Artisan, etc. It's like opening the door to a strange abandoned house and you don't know what you'll find. The feeling of newness, like how you feel about the city you move to before it becomes part of your ho hum daily routine. There is that sense of adventure and the little butterfly feeling you get when you bring your nose to something for the first time and it just blows you away. I love it and have missed it.

    I've been trying a lot of the offerings from newer niche houses and haven't felt that "wow" factor often, and because of so much "newness" I abandoned my exploration of Serge Lutens prematurely. Whether you like them or loathe them, they certainly rarely make you go "boring." There just a very few that have done this to me in the past year, two notable ones being Rien and Vierges et Toreros by Etat Libre d'Orange and Carnal Flower by Malle. Taking a cue from the fact that I realize I might be one of those guys who likes white florals, I ordered Tubereuse Criminelle after having read about it since I started this journey in scents a few years ago.

    It is fantastic. It is gripping, and it is strange... well, at the beginning. The blogs, the reviewers here: believe them when they tell you that it's a fragrance that elicits a response and seems to cast a spell. It's almost eerie.

    Everyone loves taking his or her turn deciding what the strange opening notes of Tubereuse Criminelle remind them of. To me, it is most akin to the dull powdery blue mint taste in some gums. It's not spearmint or peppermint or winter green, but something else. What it does is give a sense of odd realism to the experience. In my opinion, it seems like the opening oddness everyone talks about is a necessary evil(?) in order to create that exact moment in its development when it fades just enough to create the incredibly real sensation of smelling a fresh flower. It's strangely fresh but also a bit cold. To me, this moment reminds me more of the smell of a fresh lily, just temporarily, until the opening subsides completely and the most beautiful, rich tuberose smell emerges.

    The thing that is so fascinating about Tubereuse Criminelle is that it seems that everyone ascribes it a sort of mystery, something "bad," or "dark" and it's definitely there and it's not just because the word "criminelle" is part of its name. It's like a black lace bra peeking out from behind the prim and proper librarian's neatly pressed blouse, or a tattoo lurking behind clothing that no one wants you to know about. It's a juxtaposition, something jarring, something strange, something completely unexpected matched with something so natural, unadulterated, and beautiful.

    It's been a while since a fragrance really grabbed me and I just had to share the experience here. I'd also love to know if anything has grabbed anyone else in this way lately or what you think about this one. By the way, I'm expecting JAR's Jardenia tomorrow... Can't wait to see what that does for me!

  2. #2

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Reading good reviews, I was very eager to try some Lutens concoctions.
    I have experience with Ambre Sultan, Chergui and Muscs Kublai Khan.

    In general I am quite disappointed.

    MKK is to dirty for me and hard to pull off in public.
    My favorite is absolutely Chergui. It's just delicious. Absolutely blew me away.
    I was quite disappointed with Ambre Sultan.

    The big problem with Chergui (and Ambre Sultan) for me is the drydown.
    They both become almost sickly sweet, with the sweetness overpowering all of the spicy goodness.
    Does Tubereuse Criminelle also have this "problem"?

  3. #3

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    I'd say it's sweet in the way one would expect a white floral fragrance to be sweet but it's not a sugary sweetness as in Arabie, Chergui, and Ambre Sultan. I'm not sure I could pull this off in public either. I'd like to say I don't mind wearing florals like this but I think I might be a little uncomfortable. Just being honest. Ya never know though. I've worn Carnal Flower out before but for some reason the freshness there makes it feel less "pretty" than the drydown of Tubereuse Criminelle, but these are just sort of initial reactions.

  4. #4

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    nthny, I would suggest you to certainly try l'Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer Perfumes, if you haven't already.
    It does have something Lutens like to my nose, but the sweetness for me has the right balance.
    A must try.

  5. #5

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    I have a small decant of L'Air and love it

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Quote Originally Posted by JBL View Post
    ...The big problem with Chergui (and Ambre Sultan) for me is the drydown.
    They both become almost sickly sweet, with the sweetness overpowering all of the spicy goodness.
    Does Tubereuse Criminelle also have this "problem"?
    No. The drydown on Tubéreuse Criminelle is entirely unlike those of Chergui and Ambre Sultan, and not nearly as sweet. More of a woody-crisp and non-confrontational soft musk combination. Other Lutens offerings that eschew the syrupy sweet drydown are Sa Majesté la Rose, Fleurs de Citronnier, Gris Clair, Iris Silver Mist, La Myrrhe, and Sarrasins.

  7. #7

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Quote Originally Posted by Off-Scenter View Post
    No. The drydown on Tubéreuse Criminelle is entirely unlike those of Chergui and Ambre Sultan, and not nearly as sweet. More of a woody-crisp and non-confrontational soft musk combination. Other Lutens offerings that eschew the syrupy sweet drydown are Sa Majesté la Rose, Fleurs de Citronnier, Gris Clair, Iris Silver Mist, La Myrrhe, and Sarrasins.
    Thank you sir for your post.
    Your reviews in the directory are great and really helpfull.
    Respect to you! You are without a doubt one of the top reviewers.

    I will certainly avoid the syrupy sweet Sheldrakes.
    Although I'm going to retest Chergui quite some times, as I really like this one.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Nice to see you back posting nthny, you've been missed

    Yes, Tubereuse Criminelle is all that, isn't it? The opening notes remind me (mostly) of gasoline, which I love the smell of. And then, frozen tuberose flowers. Huge ones.

    Don't be afraid to wear this one out of the house nthny - I wear it to my office many times and noone's ever made me cut off my balls because it smelled too feminine. No seriously, it is a straight up floral but it is nothing like Fracas or A La Nuit. I find the sillage very conservative, for a prominent floral.

    I need to get more - my decant is almost all gone. Thanks for the reminder.

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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Apart from the top notes, its a conventional but quality tuberose fragrance, ranked alongside the other top tuberose fragrances on the market.

    But Ambre Sultan...not so much ...
    -

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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    What's this? A Tubereuse Criminelle thread? Well of course I have to give a shout-out to my number one frag!

    I agree with many of the observations on this fragrance expressed here. To my nose it's a tuberose soliflore with a spicy-wintergreen top and musky-vanillic drydown. It's unique, but not too weird: bold, but not cloying; rich, but not drowned in Lutenesque syrup. I love it, and it's my go-to fragrance for an experience I'll reliably enjoy, despite wearing many other fragrances.

    Happy to see another fan!

  11. #11

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Hey guys, thanks for contributing to the thread. Mike thanks for the kind words And yes, TC is incredible but you know, after wearing it yesterday, I felt strange, like I was living in someone else's skin. I think that's the issue more than the fact that its sort of "feminine" beauty. For some reason I don't feel this sort of cold detachment from Carnal Flower (I've never worn Fracas, just sniffed it).

    Sugandaraja, I thought this thread would draw you out Anything else I should be sniffing? Like I said, Jardenia should get here today!

  12. #12
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    I wish I knew what you've already tried! Shame the wardrobes are down.

    An obvious choice for me is Parfumerie Generale's Tubereuse Couture, which pairs a faint bit of the spiciness in Tubereuse Criminelle with a sugar cane note ( it really smells just like sugar cane juice, with the curious grainy-molasses note that has ) balanced against ylang-ylang and tuberose. It's very sweet but somehow fresh and transparent, too; lighter than Criminelle.

    Another good one for bold tuberose is Parfums DelRae's Amoureuse, a powerful green tuberose with a spicy side. It has my favorite top notes of any fragrance, a just-right balance of cardamon, citrus, and tuberose.

    I found the ELDO scents you mentioned too dry and clinical, but if you love them you might like Thierry Mugler's A Travers Le Miroir. It's a cold, steely fragrance theoretically based on tuberose. I can't stand it, but it's certainly unique!

    Sarrasins doesn't have the same "cold" vibe Criminelle has at first, but it is a pleasantly cool jasmine from the same line. Certainly it's another high-quality floral in the same line. And, if "Lutens does weird" appeals,Iris Silver Mist and La Myrrhe should be on your to-test list!

    On the general subject of odd florals, I'll also put in a word in for Comme des Garcons Guerilla 1, Stephen Jones, and Daphne ( in descending order of oddity ); Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras and Une Fleur de Cassie ( ditto ); Caron Tubereuse ( it's... creepy ), Neil Morris Gandhara, and Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia. Some I love, some I hate, but all out of the mainstream.

    It's strange to say it as they smell nothing like TC, but I get a similar "feel" to TC from Kouros and L'Anarchiste, like they share similar textures ( similar underlying musk meets spiciness, perhaps? )

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Jardenia!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Profumum Volo AZ 686 has a very odd and unexpected mentholated opening. But then it turns into a nice creamy scent of gardenia, coconut and vanilla.

    I really like it. But then again I have been told I like "weird sh*t".
    Please feel free to check out my Swap Thread - Patou pour Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain PH Extreme, Dior Homme Intense, Pure Malt, Pure Coffee and many more! Click Here For My Swap Thread

  14. #14
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    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    Profumum Volo AZ 686 has a very odd and unexpected mentholated opening. But then it turns into a nice creamy scent of gardenia, coconut and vanilla.

    I really like it. But then again I have been told I like "weird sh*t".
    Thanks for alerting us to that one! It flew completely under my radar.

  15. #15

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    IMO, it's all in the name. We feed our perceptions with fantasy and we drift.
    I chased Serge in Marrakesh a few years ago. I was obsessed with the maestro. I still hold most of his (and of course Christopher Sheldrake's) creations in highest regard, but these days I'm less ardent and I try not to drift.
    To me, today, TC is not dark the way it's being depicted. Fracas remains the real dark tuberose scent of all time. You'll need a torch (hehe drifting, I guess).

    TC comes way behind Carnal Flower and the seemingly optimistic Jardins de Bagatelle. My nostrils call a spade a spade

  16. #16

    Default Re: I've been ensnared - Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

    I'm excited to try all of these. Sugandaraja, I just read your post in the "similar threads" section below. Great to read! I think the Profumum Volo AZ 686, Stephen Jones, Caron, and Guerilla I might be in my next sampling batch. Also, if you read The Guide by Sanchez and Turin, the description of Annick Goutal's offering "Tubereuse" sounds incredibly intriguing. I believe they describe it as "rubber tires, steak tartar and Chinese muscle rub." I'm wearing Carnal Flower now and it just seems more friendly all around but the handling of the tuberose seems brighter and sunnier, whereas Tubereuse Criminelle seems not darker, but richer yet somehow cooler. Again, those contrasts make for a fascinating fragrance at the very least.

    For some reason the Kilian tuberose Beyond Love doesn't do what these others do for me, though undeniably beautiful.

    p.s. Jardenia is... interesting. Not sure what else to say yet It's definitely a JAR that's for sure.

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