The Steampunk Tuberose – Tableau de Parfums Loretta Perfume Review

She's a Steampunk Girl...
Oh Steampunk Girl, How I Love You With Your Cogs and Your Curls…

Andy Tauer is one amazing dude. Not only is he an incredibly talented self-taught perfumer he’s also a fascinating blogger as well as being a very nice chap indeed. What I love most about Andy Tauer is the fact that he constantly pushes the boundaries with beautiful, innovative compositions whilst staying true to his signature style.

Whether you click with this signature style or not Tauer’s collection, which contains his Classics, Homages, Pentachords and Collectibles, is so diverse that you’d be pretty darn unlucky not to find something to fall in love with. Whether you are attracted to the throwback rose of Une Rose Chyprée or the orange/vanilla supernova of Orange Star you are bound to find something to adore.

Perhaps the most interesting of Tauer’s projects is his collaboration with filmmaker Brian Pera for Tableau de Parfums, a line of perfumes inspired by the heroines of the Woman’s Picture Series. First came Miriam, an impeccable vintage floral and now we have Loretta, Tauer’s ode to tuberose. Andy Tauer AND tuberose?! Surely this could go either way! It could be the amazing tauerade soaked floral I hope it to be or it could be a hot mess.

Described as referencing “the rich spicy orientals and elegant floral classic of the seventies and eighties, with a modern twist” Loretta is unmistakably Tauer but at the same time it feels new, not just as a Tauer fragrance but as a tuberose. It has the striking ability to smell simultaneously familiar yet alien and it is so bold in character that it will easily be one of those perfumes that divide opinion, and as we all know those perfumes are the best kind.

Loretta by Tableau de Parfums
Loretta by Tableau de Parfums

“Like the film, Loretta the fragrance explores the way fantasy and reality inform each other in an interplay of light and dark impulses and energies. In the film, the character or Loretta, played by Amy LaVere, deals with a difficult, mysterious past by transforming it into a dream world of possibility and romantic adventure. The balance between the past and her fantastic reinvention of it is delicate, fraught with tensions, where childlike naivete and adult awareness twist and curl into increasingly complex sensual patterns. Fragrance becomes an important gateway into this transformed world.”

The Notes

Sweet Fruits, Oriental Spices (Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander), Rose, White Flowers (Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Dark Tuberose), Leather, Vetiver, Woody Vanilla and Aged Patchouli

How Does it Smell?

Loretta’s opening blast of aldehydes is big, hissy and steamy. It is coupled with the smell of  sweet fruits and spices in the grand old 80s style of fragrances. What comes next is so unique and surprising one can’t quite work out whether to recoil in horror or smile at just how unusual it is.

Right from the outset Loretta has an unsettling yet attractive metallic vibe. No that’s not right, metallic makes it sound cold, perhaps austere and Loretta is anything but. The smell is that of machinery, of hot engine oil, cogs and dusty metal components. This industrial facet is a marked contrast from the warmth, soft texture and vintage style of everything else that makes Loretta tick and in my mind it conjures up the image of a Steampunk girl – old fashioned yet futuristic, mechanical yet full of human warmth. A kind of vintage style of bionic if you will.

The tuberose itself does not scream its own name to the heavens as so many do, but it’s not subtle either, you’d have to be a fool not to notice it but Tauer has underplayed the carnal aspects of the flower, instead opting to intensify its intense sweetness, which paired with the sticky fruity notes creates a strong impression of sweet, floral nectar that is delicious but not quite gourmand.

In his fantastic review, Persolaise drew a parallel between Loretta and Christian Dior’s Poison, and I’m more than happy to agree. Each showcases the perfect symbiosis of tropical fruit and flowers, but where the two fragrances differ significantly is in the base; where Poison is dark and brooding with incense, Loretta is big bosomed and comforting with vanilla.

Nobody uses vanilla quite like Tauer. It feels to me like a key part of his signature ‘Tauerade’ and in fragrances such as White and Orange Star he manages to turn it into something so velvety soft one feels the strong desire to wrap oneself in it and go to sleep. In Loretta the vanilla is very much along these lines except the sour, astringent quality of the Tauerade is more subdued than in other compositions, allowing for the vanilla to become creamier and boozier with dark, leathery facets whilst it is tinged with the intense sweetness of the tuberose.

Loretta is simply gorgeous and I absolutely will not hesitate to purchase myself a bottle when it becomes available here. Yes I have a billion and one tuberoses but I don’t have this tuberose. This tuberose that smells like the scent of a Steampunk. This tuberose that takes its cues from the big 80s florals yet smells nothing like them. This tuberose that after a week of intense sampling has already crawled under my skin and installed itself straight in my heart, its cogs and components ticking away like clockwork. I adore this little weirdo.


Loretta is available in 7ml and 50ml Eau de Parfum. It is at Luckyscent in the US and Scent and Sensibility in the UK (they only seem to have samples at present. Prices range from $40-$160.


Image 1 Image 2 and quotes via Notes and description via Now Smell This.