“Nuit de Tubéreuse – Evocative of stifling, humid Parisian nights.”
In perfume nothing is certain, tastes change and develop, and those fragrances we once loved can quickly fall out of fashion and become yesterday’s news. Just as we can lose love for fragrance we once admired we can also find love for those that we’ve hated, ignored or felt unimpressed by. I like to call this big perfume turn around ‘The Big 180’ as in the big ‘180 degrees turn around’.
I’m sure many of you have experienced the big 180 before, we’ve all had that moment where you pick up a sample or tester of a fragrance that you have smelled a million times before, knowing full well that the juice inside has failed to impress, or even disturbed you in the past. But this time something between you and the fragrance just clicks. Suddenly you understand the fragrance in a way you never did before, stars aligns within the universe and a new found appreciation is formed.
I had a big 180 recently with a perfume I genuinely disliked, namely Nuit de Tubéreuse by L’Artisan Parfumeur. I’m a HUGE fan of tuberose (see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose) and everything about L’Artisan’s most recent tuberose offering offended my nose; I found it to be sour, almost sticky in texture and unpleasant. It just so happened that another L’Artisan fragrance, the upcoming Séville à l’aube that led me to revisit this maligned tuberose and that’s when the big 180 happened.
“Nuit de Tubéreuse is the scent of luminous Parisian nights, narcotic and unexpected, romantic and compulsive. A feminine woody scent glorifying every facet of this sensual flower” 
Top: Cardamom, Clove, Pink Berries, Pepper and Citrus
Heart: Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Angelica, Gorse
Base: Sandalwood, Palisander, Musk, Benzoin and Styrax 
How Does it Smell?
Bertrand Duchaufour is well known for his exciting creations that, for the most part are refreshing takes on classic genres. Just look at the ‘corrupted’ white floral he did for Penhaligon’s (Amaranthine), or his modern take on the fougère for the same house (Sartorial) and even the exuberant yet classy fruity floral he did for Neela Vermeire Creations (Bombay Bling!) for proof of his talent for rehashing the most staid and over-exposed of genres. Nuit de Tubéreuse is no exception to this rule, it’s a tuberose like no other.
Part of my initial problem with Nuit de Tubéreuse was that I expected a new Fracas/Carnal Flower/Tubéreuse Criminelle/Insert name of epic tuberose fragrance here. But Nuit de Tubéreuse is not simply ‘another tuberose’, not at all, instead it is a wonderfully unusual take on the flower. I look at it this way – Nuit de Tubéreuse is a floral not a tuberose.
Nuit de Tubéreuse opens fresh and green with the tickle of pink pepper and the sour, sweetness of mango. The opening is discordant and troubling, almost as if danger lurks behind the fresh, green stems of the tuberose flower. Mango has an almost sulphuric smell to it that in an albeit quite light dose, adds to the discord in the beginning, but it’s the discord that brings the interest.
The tuberose unfolds more with time, but it never quite feels like a full tuberose. There is a hot, steamy quality to the flowers, which includes the tuberose’s supporting acts; jasmine ylang-ylang and orange blossom, that is incredibly evocative of stifling, humid Parisian nights. The only time I have been to Paris was during mid-summer and there is nothing quite like those humid nights in the city of lights.
The working title for Nuit de Tuberéuse was ‘Belle de Nuit’ (Beauty of the Night), and I think it is more fitting for a fragrance that feels like an exciting, yet dangerous encounter with a beautiful ‘lady of the night’, roaming the streets of Paris and anticipating the the pleasures that the evening brings.
Nuit de Tubéreuse is a perfume of two halves. Hot, tropical flowers are tamed by the impression of cold and aloof incense. What is most intriguing about the incense is that there isn’t any within the composition at all, it is rather the impression of incense, cleverly created by the pairing of the pink pepper and mango . This impression of incense adds a dry, earthy facet that pairs perfectly with the sweet tropical nature of the florals.
The base is, unsurprisingly for a Duchaufour creation, full or strong dry woods and despite the fact that they do add a hint of warmth to the composition it still feels surprisingly austere in the dry down. The sweetness of the tuberose lasts all the way through to the end and the remnants of this narcotic flower leave a trail, a mere hint of the pleasures had the night before in the stifling heat on the streets of the city streets.
It is fair to say that Nuit de Tubéreuse is not your typical ‘heavy-hitter tuberose’ that we are used to seeing, it’s actually quite light, although I would never describe it as ephemeral, it is something else entirely. Nuit de Tubéreuse stands unique amongst its tuberose counterparts, and whilst it may take a little persistence to understand and love, it is absolutely worth the effort.
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose
Nuit de Tubéreuse has been entered into The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose as a reference tuberose with the title of “The Labyrinthine Tuberose”.
Nuit de Tubéreuse is available in 50ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum, prices range from £65-£88 and it can be purchased from the L’Artisan Parfumeur website.
This review is based on a bottle of Nuit de Tubéreuse from my own collection.
All links are for information only and I am not affiliated with any external parties.
Image 1 via Kay Gaensler on Flickr
Image 2 artisanparfumeur.com