Lately I've been buying tuberose every few weeks to keep in a crooked, blown glass vase on my mantel. The stems are tall and plain, and the flowers look like plump stock or jagged-edged snapdragons. Sometimes the blooms even brown and tumble to the hearth when the night is too cold. But, oh, the scent. Orchids can keep the blue ribbon for beguiling appearance. Tuberose has it all tied up for fragrance.
I want to wear that smell on my skin, but I've had a heck of a time finding a tuberose perfume that suits me. I love the smell of Piguet Fracas, but on me it comes off like a girl scout wearing Versace. Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle is glamour in a silver cocktail glass, but too icy. Comme des Garçons + Daphne Guinness Daphne presents tuberose wrapped in enough incense and bitter orange that I love it, but I want more tuberose. Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is too Ladies Who Lunch. (I haven't yet given Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower a fair try.) So when a sample of Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse 3 L'Animale Eau de Parfum showed up in my mailbox, I yanked up my sleeve and spritzed it on.
Histoires de Parfums' website lists Tubéreuse 3 Animale as having top notes of tuberose, neroli, and kumquat; a heart of tuberose, aromatics, and plum; and a base of tuberose, blond tobacco, and immortelle. I've worn Tubéreuse 3 Animale off and on for a few weeks now, and for all the tuberose listed in its notes, I'd call it an immortelle-tobacco fragrance. In the tradition of the Turin-Sanchez Perfumes: The Guide, I'd label it "Honeyed Mohair."
Tubéreuse 3 Animale is a fairly linear fragrance. On first spritz, the tiniest hint of citrus does freshen it, and as much as I wanted to smell kumquat, the citrus hit is quickly replaced by honey, powder, non-armpit-like immortelle, tobacco, and soft woods. Underneath it all, tuberose struggles to glow. The tobacco sweetens, and with the maple scent of immortelle it steps forward. The tuberose pulses on, but its crisp edge is all bound up in a lap blanket of fuzzy, sweet competing notes.
In the end, Tubéreuse 3 Animale feels indistinct. Almost from the beginning, it smells like the fragrance left over on a sweater the day after it was first worn. In some ways, maybe that's good. For someone who loves the dry down more than the progress of a perfume, the blurred afterglow of Tubéreuse 3 Animale might be perfect. For me, though, it misses the point of wearing tuberose.
So, I'm still on the prowl for my perfect tuberose, the tuberose fragrance that will tune into my inner Rita Hayworth: sexy, warm, insinuating without being cloying. I hear Bernard Duchaufour has cooked up Nuit de Tubéreuse for L'Artisan Parfumeur. Could that be my Holy Grail tuberose? I wait with bated breath.
Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse 3 L'Animale is available in 120 ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Histoires de Parfums under perfume houses.