There may be many reasons for that, but the headiness of its white floral, the often commented upon smell of blood, or some people say iron, that is part of the flower, intrigue perfumers, and the result is a parade of scents, everything from Carnal Flower to Tubereuse Criminelle, that attempt to recreate the flower.
But what about tuberose in partnership?
It’s been done, naturally. Tuberose and cedarwood in Cedre, and again in By Killian’s Straight to Heaven. They’re interesting perfumes, but far from the daffiest tuberose bouquets I’ve come across. Those include fragrances by Gaultier, namely Fragile, or Versace’s Blonde, and de Nicolai. One of the weirdest was the now defunct Cococabana, a de Nicolai perfume that cast tuberose in an uneasy wobbly duet with… coconut?
It was a very curious performance, and didn’t quite come off, but the pairing was interesting. Cococabana really didn’t smell like anything on the market back then-that’s for sure. The tuberose kept on melting into a kind of greasy coconut balm, and well, the whole thing came off less as poetry than sun-tan lotion. You weren’t sure that the treatment had done either material much good. Bain de Soleil didn’t have to worry about losing its edge, but the perfume was original.
That wasn’t the last of such odd pairings though. There was another not three years ago when Honore des Pres put Tuberose together with benzoin in Vamp a New York. Wow. Tuberose as floral oriental! Vamp was a peculiar concept and that partnership came off as more somber than tuberose’s collaborations’ generally are. Vamp smelled to me, like the old ballet duo of Dame Margot Fonteyn, with her nervous faded beauty, and Rudolph Nureyev with his tartar cheekbones, and distinctly unfaded allure. Ultimately, benzoin gets the better of tuberose in that partnership, just as Nureyev frequently managed to upstage the dame, but you were still glad of the performance. As time goes on, I think that Vamp a New York may be one of Olivia Giacobetti’s best perfumes, up there with Premier Figuier, and her Iunx work, or her Idole for Lubin.
Then there is one of the Arquiste line of fragrances Flor y Canto. That one pairs tuberose with tagetes, which is marigolds to you and me, and the result is a flashing orange, flamboyant fragrance. It is hard to make stately tuberose get off her tutu and dance a fandango, but that is what Flor y Canto does. Is it wearable? Is it, strictly speaking, in good taste? Who knows, and does it matter? If you like this you have a fiery, probably Latin sensibility, and the perfume will be beautiful and intriguing on you, and false advertising on the rest of us.
Will tuberose tie on her toe shoes again at the end of 2013? Who knows, we will just have to wait and see.