Monday, May 2, 2011

"Tubéreuse Criminelle" by Serge Lutens

This one I've been looking forward to try. I've heard so much about it, it has quite a reputation, I badly want to form an opinion of my own.

First, a huge blast of...what? When I close my eyes I can almost believe I'm in the midst of a tropical night garden with big juicy clumps of flowers hanging all around me. But behind those flowers there is a hint of nasty. It reminds me of public rest rooms in Thailand. Not the piss and shit part but they use these little camphor smelling tablets to repel insects that live in the pipes, mostly roaches and silverfish. The smell of those tablets is lingering in the background. And there is gasoline, I repeatedly caught myself thinking: "I really shouldn't be inhaling this".

As the scent develops the flower part turns more toward jasmine and hyasinth. I'm also getting moththballs and lots of menthol. And orange flowers. Normally I hate orange blossoms. On me they smell dirty and remind me of tooth decay and unwashed bodies. But in Tubereuse Criminelle they fit in, making their contribution both to the flowery part and to the skanky underbelly.

Some hours later things have calmed down. There is a strong note of generic "white flower" that sometimes turns into Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum. There is also a note of mint intertwined. The mint has an interesting physical effect. As I'm not used to smell it in a setting like this I sometimes get a cold little shiver down my spine, or feel slightly unsettled by the cool sensation of it. Like I'm smelling all this flowery sweetness but I know somehow that there is something very very wrong with it. I love how the play with hot/cold adds an extra dimension to the scent.

Some associate this scent with vampires, some with a blond bombshell out of a 30ies movie. Impeccable dressed up in a black tight dress, shiny red lipstick onb but just wait for a while and out comes the machine gun. For me, I think of Snow White in her glass casket. When you come closer she opens her eyes and beckons you to open the lid. When you do, you realise there is no girl there but just a mass of crawling maggots reaching towards you. An olfactory representation of a beautiful shell with very nasty things going on on the inside.

To be honest, even if I was looking forward to trying this one, I didn't think I'd like it. There are white flowers, which I'm not to happy about, and orange blossoms that I seriously dislike. But I love it. Somehow the ugliness of each one (as I perceive it) comes together and builds a very unique and interesting whole. This is not a scent for everyday wear, it's a scent that tells a different story to every wearer. I'm rating it 5 out of 5.


  1. I love this review! You systematically break down how much it disgusts you, and then build it back up again to convince me that you love it. Sounds like a really fascinating scent journey!

  2. Thanks :) It's such an intriguing fragrance, I'm by no means done with it yet and I'll probably change my mind about it again and again.