It would be no exaggeration if I said that there was a time when I considered Tubéreuse Criminelle to be my arch enemy. It stood for everything I did not like. Tuberose – that note alone was enough, once upon an unenlightened time, to put me off, but to open with a healthy dose of mothballs on ice – well, that was it. This Serge Lutens creation was, in my humble opinion, just a sick fantasy of someone not heeding the old Guy Robert adage: First and foremost, a perfume should smell good.
Tubéreuse Criminelle was created by Christopher Sheldrake in 1999 and includes notes of tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, hyacinth, nutmeg, clove, styrax, musk and vanilla.
Apply Tubéreuse Criminelle without any idea what you are in for and you are probably scarred for life. But apply with caution and an open mind and you are in for a treat.
The famous opening of Tubéreuse Criminelle is like nothing else you ever smelled inside a perfume bottle at least. A blast of menthol, a medicinal, icy and rubbery waft of utterly non-perfume like odor holds sway for a few minutes, before like silvery mists parting they start to recede and unveil a tuberose so proud and full and regal only Fracas can stand up to it (and maybe Carnal Flower).
Never, ever would I spray Tubéreuse Criminelle, but dabbed I have grown to LOVE it. Yes, love it. The magical transformation, the receding mists, the incredibly beautiul perfectly petaled flower underneath, is breathtaking. From ugly duckling to beautiful swan, from cold and damp night to bright morning sunshine, from winter to spring – the metaphors are manifold, but they all only barely manage to convey the sensation of change, of transformation, of becoming, of renewal.
Everytime I wear Tubéreuse Criminelle I can’t help but go through the same facial expressions: disgust at first, wonder next, a tentative smile, a full-blown grin.
Tubéreuse Criminelle is a work of genius and while it’ll never be a apply and go perfume for me (way too much action!), I relish to apply a bit in the evening and watch, or rather smell, the show unfold.
Tubéreuse Criminelle is pure entertainment for the olfactory inclined person.