This post should come with a disclaimer – I am a Madonna fan, or as I put it ‘a royal subject of her Madgesty’. I just can’t help myself – I love her music, I admire her immensely for doing everything a man can do but better (and for getting away with it), for doing a lot with average talent, heck even this blog is named after one of her songs, so yes it is fair to say that I kinda like the Queen of Pop. I am also a HUGE fan of white florals, which may lead you to think that I was destined to adore Madonna’s first perfume ‘Truth or Dare’, I mean after all how could I not be biased when one of my favourite icons releases a perfume that fits very nicely into one of my favourite genres?
The truth is that the release of Truth or Dare was quite nerve-wracking for me. First things first, there have been many rumours about a Madonna perfume over the years and it would be fair to say that she should have done it a long time ago, back when she was more of a leader and less of a follower. Secondly, aside from a few glorious exceptions (Rossy de Palma, Tilda Swinton and Sarah Jessica Parker etc.) celebrity perfumes tend to be naff, thoughtless concoctions created as a quick cash cow for whoever feels the need to put their name to one. But as news of Truth or Dare startled to trickle into the blogosphere my fears were put to rest and I was particularly encouraged by the fact that her perfume would be a Fracas inspired white floral – a genre that she is known to love.
Truth or Dare, Madonna’s first and long-awaited foray into the perfume market is created in conduction with Coty, it is also part of her new lifestyle/fashion brand of the same name and was developed by perfumer Stephen Nilsen (Donna Karan Gold, Hillary Duff With Love). With Truth or Dare Madonna was looking to create something personal that was an expression of herself and her love for perfume, but could also be accessible to others, she wanted “something classical and timeless and yet modern” . It is aimed at women between the ages 25-45, with the main focus being on the 35-45 bracket, a fact that I find baffling seeing as Madonna is currently 53 (at the time of writing). Anyhoo, on to the fragrance…
“Ladies with an attitude, fellas that were in the mood…”
This review has been a long time coming. I have mentioned Fracas on this blog many a time, even going as far as to include it as one of my ‘reference tuberoses’ in The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose, and seeing as I’m a major tuberose fanatic it is almost criminal not to have written a full review.
What’s worse is that I have a confession to make, one that I am deeply ashamed of. Up until a week ago I didn’t actually own a bottle of Fracas. I know, it’s disgusting isn’t it? A tuberose nut like me not owning a bottle of THE most classic tuberose fragrance of all time. I hope that you will able to forgive me.
In my defence, I have owned a small bottle of the Parfum but it got on my nerves because I am not a huge fan of the dabbing…. But you’ll be glad to know that I have seen the error of my ways and there is now a brand new bottle of Fracas taking pride of place on the perfume shelf at The Candy Perfume Towers.
Fracas, released in 1948, was the third perfume to be released by French Couturier Robert Piguet. Like the two fragrances to proceed it, Bandit and Visa, it was created by Germaine Cellier and is considered by many to be the reference tuberose fragrance, the one that all others attempt to be in someway or another. But none, I repeat none can ever live up to Fracas – the diva of the tuberose world.
“Perfume is the first garment we wear on our skin.”
Jean Paul Gaultier
Fragile, the Eau de Parfum, was Jean Paul Gaultier’s second feminine fragrance, it was released in 1999 and followed the phenomenally successful Classique. Created by Francis Kurkdjian, Fragile couldn’t be more of a stark contrast to the warm, powdery oriental tones of Classique.
Where Classique is evocative of Gaultier’s loud, abrasive style of couture, Fragile plays on classic French perfumery. There is nothing ‘boudoir’ about it, it is incredibly enigmatic and feels almost unsuitable for everyday wear. Fragile is a perfume of the night.
Like a lot of the other fragrances in the Gone, But Not Forgotten Series, Fragile was a big love for me early on in my perfume journey. It was also my first tuberose, and whilst it may not be the best example of nature’s rawest and most carnal of flowers, it is lovely and it did kick-start my love for the flower.
Tuberose, tuberose, tuberose, the narcotic Queen of the Night. The erotic, sensationalist flower with a reputation for stealing many a heart and corrupting many a virgin. My love of tuberose is pretty well documented (please see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose) and I’m pretty much happy to try any fragrance that lists it as a note. I was however, slightly sceptical of Vamp À N.Y., but lots of positive reviews and a sample that was very kindly donated by Ines of All I Am – A Redhead led me to try it.
“This is extreme, never lived before, French couture… addictive, sophisticated and futuristic” 
Vamp À N.Y. is part of Honoré des Prés’ ‘We love NY’ collection created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. The Honoré des Prés line prides itself on having perfumes that are “100% natural origin – 100% botanical ingredients – 100% engaged.” I don’t know about you but I’m not entirely fussed about whether a perfume is all natural or not, the art of perfumery, in my eyes, requires a large palette of natural and ‘synthetic’ ingredients. But that’s beside the point, Vamp À N.Y., whether it is natural, synthetic or otherwise, is a very interesting take on my favourite flower.
Rubj The Actress – A talented diva, unconventional in her beauty and full of moxie.
Vero Profumo is the brainchild of Swiss Aromatologist turned Professional Perfumer, Vero Kern. The three Extraits from Vero Profumo are an absolute joy to behold, each one displays a distinct character; Kiki is the cheeky Parisian, Onda is the stoic, yet fragile Matriarch and Rubj is the Actress.
Unusual beauty appears to be a reoccurring theme amongst the three Extraits and none are more beautiful and unusual than Rubj. I see Rubj as an actress, a talented diva, unconventional in her beauty and full of moxie. She is the artist of the three, she appreciates the beauty in all things and whilst she may be hard to handle at times she makes up for it with vivacity and wit.
I think Rubj was always going to be my favourite of the three offerings from this line, I am a sucker for a white floral after all, and Rubj is very different from a lot of the white florals I own, she is much more understated and glamorous. Rubj is proof that amongst a sea of mediocrity within the perfume industry, there are still perfumers and perfumes with the ability to surprise, thrill and move you.
The news of the death of Mona di Orio on Friday was both shocking and incredibly sad, it marked a great loss for the perfume industry and for all within the perfume-loving community. Mona di Orio was an exceptionally talented perfumer, and from all accounts a truly wonderful person, I did not know her personally, nor did I ever have the chance to meet her, I have however, gained a huge sense of enjoyment through her fragrances and I am extremely thankful for her contribution to the perfume industry. The Les Nombres d’Or collection is nothing short of a triumph and her legacy will live on through her perfumes. My thoughts are with her friends, family and co-workers at this very difficult time
I had originally scheduled a review of Tubéreuse for the end of next week, but in light of the recent events I thought it would be fitting to reschedule it and include it here, as a tribute to Mona di Orio’s extraordinary talent.
Finally after lots of hard work, late nights and multiple cups of tea (Lavender Earl Grey if you’re interested) the dreaded University assignments have been completed and I can spend some time on the writing that I enjoy!
Thankfully the kindness of fellow perfumistas will always get you through any situation and thanks to the lovely Ines of All I am – a redhead, who after reading my Guide to Tuberose, insisted that I tried a number of other tuberoses, I have had the opportunity to distract myself from my work with perfume. My ability to procrastinate is rather impressive, in fact it is so impressive I had to include it within the title of this post.
Anyway, on to Histoires de Parfums! Included in my sample care package of tuberoses (and a few other goodies) was all three fragrances in the Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse Trilogy. Now, as you all know I’m a sucker for tuberose so the idea of a trilogy was rather exciting to me, so imagine my surprise when, upon trying all three I discovered that none of the scents were particularly tuberose-centric at all. That’s right, these three tuberoses aren’t really tuberoses, a fact that would be disappointing to me if they weren’t so good, tuberose or no tuberose.
BREAKING NEWS: THE CANDY PERFUME BOY IN TUBEROSE LOVING SCANDAL
OK, OK, so the fact that I love tuberose is hardly a scandal, in fact it is hardly news at all (see The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Tuberose), what is news is the fact that until very recently I had never really paid attention to a tuberose fragrance that goes by the name of ‘Scandal’.
As you probably know, tuberose has a bit of a reputation, she is the bad girl of white florals, she wears bright red stilettos, stays out all night and doesn’t give a damn what you think. So if I love tuberose it is pretty shameful of me not to have paid attention to Scandal, but I do have an excuse, the nearest place I can try Scandal is London and whenever I visit the ‘Old Smoke’ I tend to have a list of about a million things that I need to try, I have tried Scandal but only in passing. Thanks to the lovely Vanessa from Bonkers About Perfume I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Scandal to see what makes it so scandalous.
Scandal is one of three original perfumes created by “fragrance specialist, historian, perfumer”  and the man behind Harrods’ Haute Parfumerie – Roja Dove, the others being Enslaved and Unspoken (great names all round). Scandal was released in 2007, and as the name suggests, this perfume is a shocking floral.
I have always wanted to ensure that The Candy Perfume Boy is a diverse blog that not only features perfume reviews but also showcases interesting articles and pieces on different aspects of perfume/fragrance. One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while is a series of guides to particular perfume notes and genres, including information on the fragrant facets of the note/genre as well as a list of ‘reference perfumes’ that showcase the note/genre in different and interesting ways.
I’m a tuberose freak, so it makes sense that I start with one of my favourite notes. Why do I love tuberose? Well, as you probably know, I’m a bit of a ‘Fragrant Magpie’, in the sense that I am attracted to those perfumes that are shiny, loud and showy and tuberose is most definitely shiny, loud and showy!
Tuberose is a night-blooming white flower, which despite the name, has absolutely no relation to rose whatsoever. The name actually comes from its swollen, tuberous roots. Tuberose has been used in for perfume for many years but it is also used as wedding and funeral flowers in some cultures.
On a side note, Tuberose is a flower that I’ve always wanted to grow, but it is really difficult to find in garden centres over here and a lot of places haven’t even heard of it, which is a shame because I need me some of those pretty white flowers on my balcony!
Tuberose is a complex smell that can be described as; lush, green, cool, almost camphorous and also buttery, rubbery, exotic, sweet, tropical and like white hot flesh.