Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nuit de Tubéreuse by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This perfume starts out cold and candylike in equal measure. The candy quickly turns to gasoline fumes and decaying roots pulled straight out of the dirt--but not just dirt. Dirt mixed with overturned chunks of asphalt and cement in an abandoned urban lot. Then a cool, slightly weedy, angelica-tinged tuberose steps out of this chaotic scene, like a Hitchcock blonde on a hot, sticky night who mysteriously steps out of a grave, wipes a smudge of dirt off her satin pumps, and fixes her lipstick. Exhilarating opening.

But I should start from the beginning. At first sniff I thought this was going to turn into the vegetal musk of Strange Invisible Perfumes, which I'm sorry to say I loathe. But I tried it again on another night, and find, thankfully, it doesn't get too damp and dank. After that breathless, candy-asphalt-and-decay-opening, it gets softer for a while, then its complexity spirals out into a familiar but still impressive Duchaufour signature incense. The top notes (Robin at Now Smell This attributes them to a spicy mango in her astute review, and I'd agree) of mango mixed with orange blossom gives way to a mesmerizing, juicy floral and wood mixture warmed by cardamom and just a bit of tuberose. Then as it continues to dry down it gets even more familiar to Duchaufour fans (of Timbuktu, especially) with its strangely beautiful, tart incense.

Nuit de Tubéreuse, after living in it for a while, has a most indelible likeness to sweat and skin mixed with asphalt and flowers on a hot summer night. How does Duchaufour make incense that is both ethereal and tartly sweaty? I'm not sure I can wear it, but I can imagine finding it gradually more addictive, like I now find Les Nez's Manoumalia, which I first briefly described as a flesh-eating floral. This is likewise a truly astounding corrupted floral. It may start like the cool, self-possessed Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, but ends more like her good girl pulled over to the wrong side of the tracks by Brando in On the Waterfront.

I obtained my sample from a prize draw hosted by the kind Marla at Perfume Smellin' Things, and you should read her impressive review too.

And if you're yearning for yet more on this truly weird and beautiful perfume, read the fascinating interview that Denyse of Grain de Musc did with the perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour: Parts I and II.

Picture of Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant in Hitchcock's North by Northwest from suspense-movies.com. Picture of Eva Marie Saint and Marlon Brando in Kazan's On the Waterfront from cinepatas.com.

9 comments:

Ines said...

I just know I will love this. Maybe I should wait a bit before trying it, I am trying to save some money after all. :)

Aimée L'Ondée said...

If you love the weirdness of Timbuktu, you'll love this too, is my theory, anyway! But it's kind of a sleeper, so let the weirdness sink in. Get a little sample and try it a few times over the course of several months.

chayaruchama said...

I found this initially candied, but transparent; what drew me in was the drydown-

Quite a different creature.

I get more rooty, woodiness in my drydown-
Still faintly spicy, tangy.
It varies greatly each time I wear it...


Fascinating.

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Chaya, it is indeed fascinating and a shape-shifter!

Alyssa said...

I adore it. I think. I need another sample to find out, LOL. But I MISS it! Dithering over splits, bottles, etc...

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Alyssa, I know, right? This one definitely takes some pondering.

Gillian Andrea said...

Wonderful review! I'm curious to try it...after all, Manoumalia is a well-behaved amber incense on my skin, and Amaranthine becomes a creamy, sonorous white floral, so I'll just have to see if I can tame this one, too!

On a side note, I just moved to Austin. Do you have any recommendations for sniffing and shopping destinations?

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Welcome to Austin, Gillian! Gah, it's really frustrating here. There's Enchante on Congress Ave. downtown (they are a strange little crew, though) and there's Saks and Nordstrom on the schmancy north side of town. I'm getting desperate enough to wanna open my own perfume shop, for pete's sake. Btw, I think Manoumalia may have to be my next purchase!

Rose said...

I only just managed to try this- and I was impressed. I am very cautious about Tuberose and jumping in in general at the moment but this is one I think I am going to keep trying and possibly will end up buying. Duchafour is making some incredible scents at the moment.

Sorry I haven't popped in for ages, lovely to see you blogging