Round And Glowing – Review: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

I have been working up to this perfume for some time. Tuberose – a note previously shunned has made itself a comfortable spot in my heart by now, by way of several beautiful perfumes, like Mona di Orio Tubéreuse, Aftelier Cepes&Tuberose and By Kilian Beyond Love.

But in my mind the one tuberose to beat them all (that does not include Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle, which is just not on my wishlist and probably won’t be any time soon), was Carnal Flower by Dominic Ropion for Frederic Malle. Reportedly including the highest dosage of tuberose ever included in a perfume, it has always made me curious, but also not a little afraid to try it.

Released in 2006, notes of Carnal Flower include bergamot, melon, camphor, tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange blossom, coconut and white musk.

The name of this perfume contributed to my being afraid of it, but I must say, to me Carnal Flower is not very carnal at all. It stays firmly in a delightfully naturalistic floral arena that is beautiful and highly wearable for me, but does not conjure up any kind of carnal associations. (Any psychological discussion of possible blind spots on my side, is obviously verboten.  😉 )

I had a very wrong impression of Carnal Flower. There was no need to be afraid, it is a very wearable, elegant, beautiful and almost understated floral. It evokes feelings of well being and contentment in me. Tuberose has this knack of seeming like internal sunshine to me. As soon as I wear Carnal Flower it is as if a lamp has been switched on inside.

The opening is strong and sillage above average, but Carnal Flower calms considerably after the first half hour and then starts to be really enjoyable for me. Longevity is excellent.

I feel lush and pretty, very feminine and somehow “round” as in complete, when I wear it. Carnal Flower gives me a glow. Sounds cheesy, probably is, but that is how it feels. You can always try it for yourself…

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72 Responses to Round And Glowing – Review: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

  1. Sandra says:

    SL Tubereuse Criminelle and Carnal Flower are my go to tuberose perfumes! I need to give MdO’s Tubereuse more testing time. Now I just to find the actual bulbs so that I can have the scent in the summer on the balcony! Carnal Flower is such a gorgeous perfume.

  2. Undina says:

    Birgit, you’re so convincing! If I haven’t had personal and somewhat heartbreaking experience with Carnal Flower I would have run for it right now 🙂

    Nevertheless, I’m being persistent: I keep revisiting Carnal Flower once every several months hoping I’d change my mind.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hehe. I like to be convincing. 😉 But persistence pays off, I’ve often been astounded at how much my taste, perception, or whatever you want to call it, changes or maybe develops.

  3. Ahh, Carnal Flower is awesome! I agree that it’s not really that carnal at all, I’d describe it as ‘lush’. I’m glad that you like this one, it really does make you feel that you have a glow, like you say, when you’re wearing it.

    Now we just need to convince you about Tubereuse Criminelle…

  4. andrea says:

    I keep trying and failing to find a tuberose that I love, I liked Mona Di Orio Tuberose but ultimately its just not me and not on my FB list, I tried By Kilian beyond love yesterday and this is a bit more me but I would still not buy a full bottle yet (who knows though after a few more wears)

    I have wanted to try carnal flower for a long time but when I had the chance of complimentary samples from Les Senteurs (I had to make a purchase to get complimentary samples I hasten to add in case anyone thinks they have started giving out free samples willy nilly) Carnal flower was out of stock.

    It is still on my to smell list though, maybe I will have to bite the bullet and order MdO Vanille and get another complimentary sample, extreme??? Not at all me thinks.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Lol, it is an expensive sample that way, but since you want Vanille anyway… (And I’ve done this kind of thing too many times.) 😉

      • andrea says:

        My full bottle list gets longer every day, just when I tick one off another one gets added, I have finally tracked down a sample of Puredistance after reading your review, if I like this one then you really are in trouble as it will totally be your fault 🙂

  5. Tara says:

    I so admire the way your tastes develop, B. I’m sure this is largely due to you never dismissing a fragrance out of hand and continually revisiting (unlike me). I didn’t try Carnal Flower for a long time because I was intimidated somewhat too. It sounded so “womanly”, so very full-on. I have still only tried it once so I have a long way to go, but you make it sound worth the effort.

  6. Vanessa says:

    I have to be in the right mood for this one, as it is relatively speaking, a heavy hitter. I have more problems with Beyond Love, but both perfumes can be a little headache inducing, maybe on account of the coconut?

    But I absolutely agree that this is not a rich accent in the way Joy or Fracas is. It is watery and fresh, like being in the hothouse of a tropical gardens. There again, humidity has been known to trigger headaches, haha.

    I will find my sample and give this another go!

  7. Madine says:

    Dear Birgit, I can recommend a few South African fynbos bulbs for the “Carnal Flower on the balcony experience” 😉 Your blog inspired me to write about these flowers ( and to get a sample of the perfume!

  8. I couldn’t seem to make MdO’s work for me but I ADORE Carnal Flower. ADORE IT!!!!

  9. raab says:

    Birgit, I had fallen in love with Carnal Flower and bought refills in EFM’s store. But, difficult to say it’s a summer perfume, it makes me think about tropical gardens like said before so well, it needs sun, trees……. it’s a very classy tuberose whereas Songes by AG for example, I like too, is creamy and quite screaming, I’m here, I smell beach, coconuts and sun.
    Carnal flower is very feminine and a bit impressive. It can make you addict for a while and, suddenly, you can’t sand it all, but I try again every summer……

  10. Suzanne says:

    I’m not sure who is typing this, because I think I see Suzanne Keller in a dead faint on the floor below me. She does have a rather beatific smile on her face, however.

    Since she seems rather catatonically happy, I’ll just let her be for now. After she recovers, I’ll let her know that it’s true … Birgit and Carnal Flower!!! Andwhen I don’t think she’ll pass out again, I’ll let her re-read your glowingly lovely review. 🙂

  11. parfumistasi says:

    I had same fears as you in the beginning, but found out it is just nicely wearable. I think it was first “serious” tuberose I tried but I had no problems wearing it. In the meantime my love for tuberose has grown and I like the same perfumes as you.

  12. Elisa says:

    Tuberose and rose are constantly battling it out for my favorite floral note.

    By the way, I’ve heard this perfume is named after Candice Bergen’s character in the film Carnal Knowledge — she is not really a sexbomb, but rather a frosty intellectual. Which is very fitting I think!

  13. Haunani says:

    Your experience with Carnal Flower is pretty much exactly like mine. Thanks for doing such a good job putting it into words! 🙂

  14. Warum says:

    Very cool, Brigit, so very cool!
    Because you see, I think I am in a place where you were before. I started out not wanting to wear any tuberose at all, none, no kind, no questions, period. Now I am a bit coming around with tuberose, because of two fragrances (Dee, I hope you are reading this) — a decant of Nuit de Tuberose by Artisans and a sample of Vamp a NY. I even wore the latter in public. Maybe I will like The Malle With a Scary Name after all…

  15. dremybluz says:

    Well ,Carnal Flower is a good match for you. You are both a true beauty with a strong, persitant, lovely, heart. Never forget, that like the perfume, you both bring us some form of happiness with each encounter. Maybe Malle had someone like you in mind when they were creating this glorious perfume.

  16. deeHowe says:

    Oh man, I have an unsniffed sample of this! Need to review my New Year’s Resolutions, STAT!

  17. Marie says:

    Funny that we have both learned to love tuberose scents. 🙂 A couple of months ago the only tuberose I could wear was nuit de tubereuse. By now I appreciate Beyond Love and own the Carnal Flower refill set. It is such a lush an beautiful fragrance and astoundingly easy to wear.
    As you keep recommending Tubereuse by Mona di Orio, I have decided to order a sample of this one today. Very curious about it!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, I seem to keep recommending MdO Tubereuse, it really impressed me. 🙂 It is a very unusual take on tuberose. I hope you like it!

      So good to hear, I’m not alone in my journey towards appreciating the note.

  18. Sugandaraja says:

    I love Carnal Flower. It really is the closest smell to real tuberoses. Closer than raw tuberose absolute, which is saying something.

    Strangely, I wear it fairly seldom compared to my other florals. It needs a specific mood; a quiet mood untroubled by too much introspection. It’s a spa-scent, if that makes any sense!

    And yes, it’s not very carnal. Carnal Flower is a great name, but this isn’t it. Rather virginal, in fact ( something like Olene or Poison is a carnal flower, in my eyes ). Perhaps Nubile Flower would have worked better?

  19. Joan says:

    I like Carnal Flower too. Although on me it does smell big and carnal, at least at first. I think it gets colder in the drydown.

    Glad to hear you’re not a fan of Tubereuse Criminelle. I can appreciate that it’s a creative, very different perfume, but I don’t like it either. We are in the minority here I think.

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  26. ancabalut says:

    I purchased a sample of Carnal Flower and I sprayed some on me today. It was as if I were carrying a light and luminous bouquet of tuberoses on my hands. And, here, in Romania, it’s tuberose’s time, you can see it all around in town. It has a good staying power, I still feel it on me. A very feminine fragrance!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m glad you are enjoying Carnal Flower. I was wearing it just yesterday, it’s a true beauty.
      Lovely to hear that you have tuberose flowers growing in Romania, here they are totally unknown, so I never smelled the real thing unfortunately. 😦

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  29. Kafkaesque says:

    I’m always happy when people previously afraid of tuberose start to enjoy or love it. It’s my absolute favorite flower, in real life and outside the parameters of perfume. I really liked Carnal Flower too (though I will always prefer Fracas). I enjoyed CF’s eucalyptus notes at the beginning quite a bit. But I don’t get the richness and almost pure tuberose that so many others so. I get that more from Fracas. Once again, I fear I’m a bit odd, perfume wise. LOL. Your post made me think I need to put some more on, right now.

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  35. Scentedlife says:

    I got to agree with kafkaescque, I really don’t get the pure tuberose everybody is talking about, but I really enjoy the olfactory and mind experience Ropion and malle let us do, I’m really blown away everytime i smell it, bravi! Take a look at my review on

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