“The fragrance is the result of a quest for the overwhelming addictive intensity of female sexual power”
say Nasomatto about Narcotic Venus.
How’s that for a mission statement?
I tend to find tuberose more than a little overwhelming. I feel like it’s trying to dazzle me with its intensity rather than gently beguile me with its seductiveness. It can also have buttery overtones which make my stomach churn and a camphorous quality that literally leaves me cold.
It’s precisely that bold character which makes tuberose so divisive. It’s a love it or hate it kind of note. If you love it, you probably have more than one tuberose perfume in your collection. If you hate it, you probably don’t like to even see it mentioned in a note list.
I am trying to admire it, or at least develop a healthy level of respect. So let’s see how I get on with Narcotic Venus…
The brief list of notes is as follows; tuberose, jasmine, lily and spices. The perfumer is Alessandro Gualtieri who has done a number of perfumes for Nasomatto including the jasmine loaded Nuda.
I don’t hold back when first testing my sample. I apply 4 hefty spritzes to my arm and let it settle for a moment. When I go in for a tentative sniff I’m relieved not to be repelled. This is good news considering Narcotic Venus doesn’t break you in gently with anything as wimpy as a citrus top note.
The tuberose is upfront, loud and proud (as ever) but the lily and jasmine flank it nicely. All three work in harmony and it has quite a mesmeric effect. A heady mix for sure but it also has a lush freshness. Imagine a giant floral arrangement of recently cut flowers, radiant and fragrant.
It’s not too sweet or at all indolic, which definitely helps. As for the spices, they are either so well blended or muted that I can’t pick them out.
I’m not about to become a tuberose convert but I do find it wearable at this point. I assume it’s made of good quality materials because it’s smooth and doesn’t screech. It is a little buttery and there is something faintly medicinal, but both of these classic traits are low-key.
The sillage is not nearly as huge as I had anticipated. After about an hour the cold store freshness fades and it becomes warm and sensual, slowly turning into more of a skin scent. The bottle is labelled “Extrait de Parfum” and the lasting power is excellent.
From this stage on it remains linear and gradually it starts to get to me. It goes to my head, mimicking that feeling of oppressiveness you get in very high humidity.
It’s not an obvious man-eater like Fracas or a cold bloodied shocker like Tubéreuse Criminelle. Narcotic Venus takes you over by stealth. Those flowery fumes seem innocuous at first but then you suddenly discover that you’ve been overcome.
It does what it sets out to do. It surreptitiously delivers a steady stream of hypnotising tuberose and watches as you sink slowly to your knees.
I say this to all you tuberose lovers: knock yourselves out with this one.
(For some reason it is now listed as Narcotic V. on the Nasomatto website.)