Review En Bref: L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

As always with my mini-reviews, this post will be a brief summary of my impressions of a perfume that, for whatever reason, didn’t merit one of my full, extensively detailed reviews.

With Sephora now carrying seven L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances, I thought it might Artisan NdTbe time to review one of those: Nuit de Tubereuse. As some of you know, I love tuberose, but I’m significantly underwhelmed by this 2010 creation from the legendary nose, Bertrand Duchaufour. Actually, to be completely frank, I’m not a fan.

Nuit de Tubereuse is an eau de parfum, and Fragrantica states that its notes are as follows:

cardamom, clove, pink pepper, black pepper, citrus, green mango, angelica, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, broom, musks, vanilla, sandalwood, palisander, benzoin, styrax.

Nuit de Tubereuse opens green. It’s green tuberose and it’s unpleasantly medicinal. This is not the mentholated, camphor and eucalyptus green of Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle, but something much more unpleasant, like sulphur. I also have a distinct impression of aspirin, along with an astringent note that strongly calls to mind rubbing alcohol, cheap vodka or cleaning products. Some comments on Fragrantica describe a very similar experience.

For fairness sake, however, I should add that a number of people on Fragrantica seem to like this perfume, in part because it is nothing like traditional tuberose scents like Fracas. There is none of that warm, buttery smell that one finds in the more traditional tuberose scents like Fracas. They find it much lighter and more manageable, though some think that it can be quite masculine. I don’t think it is masculine, but I do find it surprisingly strong for a L’Artisan perfume which — in my experiences thus far — have been rather light, sheer, gauzy and without great projection.

As moments pass, the astringent green tuberose and aspirin is joined by a lot of pink peppercorns, some clove, soapy musk, and a faintly sour, green edge that most reviewers attribute to the mango. If so, it’s definitely green mango. The whole combination sounds a lot more unpleasant than it actually is — but it’s still not a particular joy. The tuberose is cold. Stone cold. About 30 minutes, I smell something that calls to mind fruity bubble gum. In slight disbelief, I look up some other reviews and, yes, reviewers like Now Smell This and a few others commentators have noted “Juicy Fruit.” I sigh, and start to wonder if I actually like Bertrand Duchafour fragrances.

After an hour, Nuit de Tubereuse turns into a jasmine and ylang-ylang fragrance on me. Mostly, it is just plain jasmine, even though that is not actually listed as a note. Yes, there is a faintly earthy edge to the jasmine, but it is nothing like the earthiness mentioned in a number of comments, both on Fragrantica and Basenotes. I had expected quite a bit of it due to the inclusion of angelica. I have a bag of angelica powder for cooking, and its earthy pungency always makes me reel and re-evaluate making that recipe. (Angelica is in Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan and it is, I am convinced, why some find that scent so unpalatable.) In any event, I expected a lot more earthiness in Nuit de Tubereuse due to the angelica and the various online comments. But, no. It’s just plain jasmine with ylang-ylang. It’s nice, but I’m utterly bored to tears. So much so that I’m relieved its sillage is moderate to low (about 30-40 minutes at strength, then close to the skin), and that the longevity is about 4 hours on me, though most report far greater length. I can’t wait to get this off and try something that is actually faintly exciting or enjoyable.

A lot of reviewers have stated that this is not really a tuberose scent as much as it is a floral and spiced fruit scent that just happens to have tuberose in it. I agree. And some perfume bloggers, like The Candy Perfume Boy, have done “a big 180” on this scent and have ended up really liking it. That will never be me, I fear. I’m far too turned off and bored to want to give this umpteen chances until it finally sways or bullies me into submission. In fact, I’m starting to think that I simply do not like green tuberose, or modern twists on tuberose. (Perhaps I was too imprinted in my childhood with Fracas, and can’t move on?)

I can’t decide if I would recommend Nuit de Tubereuse as a starter tuberose to those terrified of the more traditional indolic, buttery, overpowering tuberose scents on the market. Some commentators on Fragrantica think it would be a great way to tiptoe into this floral sub-category. But, after some thought, I don’t think it would be a good idea. That opening is simply too unpleasant; and the rest of the time, Nuit de Tubereuse is merely a linear fragrance that is quite boring. If I had experienced some of the earthly, woody base notes, perhaps I would feel differently.

That said, body chemistry is a funny thing and enough people have liked Nuit de Tubereuse or noted the earthy, woody dry-down for me to suggest that you may want to give this a potential sniff if you happen to pass by a bottle at Sephora. After all, it’s not completely hideous or revolting. But I would certainly never recommend that you blindly spend $120 on a 1.7 oz/50 ml or $165 on a 3.4 oz/100 ml on an impulse purchase just because you think you like tuberose. Please, don’t do it.


Reviews En Bref: L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer & Serge Lutens A La Nuit

As with last week’s rundown, this post will be a brief summary of my impressions of several perfumes that I didn’t think warranted one of my full, extensively detailed reviews.

Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur needs another name. Badly. Alternatively Passage d'Etranslated as “the passage to Hell,” or the “gateway to Hell,” the name would lead you to think this is a scent that is fiery, smoky, and the gateway drug to all sorts of dark things. Instead, it is light, soapy, extremely short in duration, and a floral musk. Apparently, the name really refers to the street on which L’Artisan’s offices were located which is fine and dandy, but then give this name to another perfume! NST provides the following details: “Passage d’Enfer was launched in 1999; the perfumer was Olivia Giacobetti and the notes include white lily, aloe wood, frankincense, benzoin and white musk.”

Passage d’Enfer is a unisex fragrance whose opening is light, fresh, clean and soapy. There is lily and a faint musk. I love lily and its soft touch here, but it’s too soft. Too ethereal for me. It’s also of too short a duration. I also love frankincense in perfumes, but I smell none of it here. I do, however, smell pencil shavings?! I had read that that was a frequent impression of the dry down, but I hadn’t believed it. I do now. And it didn’t require the dry-down for it to appear it, either. I smelled it within the first five minutes! (Just how fast does my body burn through the pyramid notes anyway?!) If forced, I would call Passage d’Enfer an elegantly austere perfume. I suppose.

If I were to be frank, however, I’d call it linear, boring, and redolent of hotel soap. (Definite hotel soap — without question — and not the expensive kind either.) I should probably bite my tongue, but I cannot. The almost antiseptically clean, synthetically soapy scent conjures up the soap bars with their slightly brown, plastic paper wrappings that are so common in cheap, tacky and faintly seedy hotels. And the combination of floral musk with that soap is rendered me faintly nauseous. I know I have a bias against the clean, fresh soapy category of perfumes but, nonetheless, I find this one to be a particularly revolting version of it. So, I take back what I said about the perfume’s name being a misnomer. No, this really is the gateway to hell, and it calls to mind things that are probably better left unsaid.

A La Nuit by Serge Lutens is a lovely jasmine soliflore for women that evokes the bright green of spring.A La Nuit Created by Lutens’ favorite perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake, it was launched in 2007 and contains several different types of jasmine along with green notes and musk. Fragrantica describes it as follows:

Several variances of jasmine are combined in the composition: Indian, Egyptian and Moroccan. The jasmine blend is accompanied by green branches, honey, clove, benzoin, and musk. The composition starts with intensive jasmine notes, warmed and deepened by benzoin in the base. The base notes are surprising here because they are greener and lighter than the central notes, and thus they emphasize the spring-time floral character of this fragrance.

A La Nuit’s opening made me go “Mmmmm” out loud from the sheer pleasure of that lovely, gorgeous jasmine. It’s heady, but it’s not a ripe, overblown jasmine. The green notes give it a lightness and freshness. There is almost a milky element to the greenness that is hard to explain. It’s as if the fresh lightness of the green branches have combined with the honey and faintly musky feel to create a sweetly milky green note. The scent brings to mind a green bamboo candle I have and love it.

I love A La Nuit’s jasmine and I keep putting more on. Mostly, because the bloody scent doesn’t last on me! Within 10 minutes, it starts to fade and become close to the skin. That has to be a new record, both for me and for niche fragrances on me. If I remember correctly, A La Nuit was the third Lutens fragrance I ever tried; its incredibly brief shelf-life was what cemented the impression in my mind that Lutens perfumes were a dubious proposition for my skin chemistry.

I’m obviously a bit of an oddity when it comes to perfume duration and projection but, nonetheless, I was amazed to read the NST review in which the jasmine-loving writer Jasminefound it too strong and too sweet. In fact, her reviewing notes flatly state “your basic death by jasmine.” Her comments may prove useful to anyone considering the perfume:

the top notes […] are as close to being buried alive in flower petals as anything else I can think of. If you don’t like jasmine, it will seem like an awfully long wait for it to calm, assuming you bother to wait at all — I should think a true jasmine hater would find A La Nuit a scrubber. If you adore jasmine, you might find it heavenly. I do love jasmine, but the top notes are SWEET and STRONG, and I find it nearly unbearable sprayed. A little dab here and there is plenty enough heaven for me.

A La Nuit does calm — and doesn’t really take all that long — and then it is even more heavenly: a sumptuous jasmine, ripe but no longer heady. […] The longer it is on skin, the more the lushness fades, and eventually, it nearly qualifies as fresh, but there is fresh and then there is fresh. A La Nuit isn’t at all clean, in fact, it is more than a bit indolic (several reviews mention dirty diapers, or even cat urine).

It is the prettiest jasmine I know, although it isn’t girly-pretty in the least. It is jasmine with attitude, and while I don’t tend to classify my fragrances as for day or evening wear, in this case the name suits. I find that it just doesn’t feel right during the day.

I agree that it is definitely one of the prettiest jasmine fragrances. (I, for one, certainly do not smell cat urine or dirty diapers.) It’s an absolutely gorgeous fragrance that any jasmine lover should try. I don’t think this is a night-time only scent, either. The freshness and the greenness counter that, but I realise that it depends on a person’s individual style. For me, it wouldn’t be an issue for one single reason: A La Nuit wouldn’t last 30 minutes on me, day or night! If it lasted a good few hours, I would be very tempted to buy a full bottle.