Wednesday, June 23, 2010

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

I’ll start by admitting that L’Artisan and me, well, we just don’t see eye to eye on what makes a good perfume. To me, a perfume is an art, a craft, a science and a consumer product all rolled into one. The piece I think L’Artisan misses is the consumer product aspect. They just don’t make many fragrances that last (some, yes, most don't). And if I can’t smell my own perfume, let alone anyone else ever getting a decent whiff of it, then it’s a big fail in my book. Reminds me of the moral of The Emperor Wears No Clothes; or like drinking wine and never feeling a buzz or taking a sleeping pill yet never falling asleep.

First off, Nuit de Tubereuse (NdT) is not much ado about tuberose. So if you’re a huge tuberose fan like me, you shouldn’t expect to find the creamy, sexy white flower we adore. But Nuit de Tubereuse isn’t meant to be a soliflore, you say? Well, correct, you are right, but I really can’t even find a hidden tuberose aspect or a tuberose agenda anywhere in here. It could easily be any white flower, it’s a nondescript floral aspect which could be jasmine, mimosa, gardenia, ylang ylang or a blend of all these. This floral is tropical, it is sweet and sultry and not sharp or heady or cloying at all. I wish L’Artisan had instead named NdT something like Nuit de Fleur Blanc or Encens de Fleur Blanc because this is what it smells like to me. Actually Encens de Fleur Blanc would be perfect. Pardon my French, I have no gift with it, I’m just playing here, so stop snickering in the corner over there.

Nuit de Tubereuse opens with a tropical, sweet, almost candy-like beginning. In essence, it’s a fruity floral. (Just say it with me people, “it’s a fruity floral!”) It’s a fruity floral with heaps of incense and earthy resinous dirt. So imagine a nice fruity floral, with a natural vibe, with about three-quarters resinous incense taking up the composition. You’ll easily recognize this incensey-resinous heart and base, I think Robin at NST has named it “Duchaufourade.” At times there’s a bit of morphing, I smell some vanilla here and there, however I get zero of the green, bitter or vegetal quality others have discussed and I've been looking. On me, this is how I would describe it to give you a reference point: Take YSL Nu edp and mix with a sweet tropical fruity floral and viola you have Nuit de Tubereuse.

Am I a Bertrand Decahufor fangirl? Not really. I think he makes interesting aromas, things that are fun to smell, to sniff for a short while to see how they morph, but I don’t think he makes real perfumes. I just scanned the long list of perfumes Duchaufour has created (thanks to Robin at NST for her amazing ability to keep us all organized and in the know). Of Duchafour’s long list of works, I only have feelings for a few, such as L’Artisan Havana Vanille and Fleur de Liane (a nice green floral), Eau d’Italie Paestrum Rose and I actually like one of his lesser known works probably the best, Lalique Flora Bella. So much of Duchaufour’s work strikes me as interesting aromas but not proper perfumes. For instance, I don’t think of the following as proper perfumes: Piment Brulant, Timbuktu, Dzongkha, the CdG insence series, etc.

You might recall that I felt like the lone dissenter who hated Amaranthine (another Duchaufour creation). Well, I certainly do not hate NdT, in fact, I think it smells quite pretty, but I don’t find it wears like a perfume on me. It lasts about 1 hour maximum and the sillage is nonexistent. I’ve been wearing NdT for 3 days. For three days I’ve applied 4 sprays to each forearm and 2 big sprays to each wrist and then I spray in the air and walk through it. I’ve accosted several household members and asked if they smelled me. Three different family members said they didn’t smell much, one gave me the best she could with “you smell nice, a little sweet maybe?” For me to smell NdT I have to bring my nose to within a 1/2 inch of my arm. You might have noticed that I become extremely frustrated by lack of sillage. As far as I'm concerned, NdT is a consumer product and a perfume needs to last and project a bit. Shouldn’t that be a rule? A LITTLE projection, not Angel projection but just enough?

You might ask “what if NdT had plenty of sillage and longevity?” Well, then, I might like it a great deal more. At least I wouldn’t have anything to complain about and could focus solely on the scent. As I’ve already stated, NdT is a pretty smell, not particularly odd or unusual to me, just a nice fruity floral over an incensey base.

At this moment I feel a bit too practical. I feel like the dissenter, once again. I read others impressions, most are falling all over themselves with adoration of Duchaufour and I just think, “so what? If I can’t wear it like a perfume, then it’s just some sort of aromatherapy.”

Additional reading:
Review at NowSmellThis
Exclusive Duchaufour interview at Grain de Musc
PereDePierre's review
Review at Muse in Wooden Shoes
Review at Ca Fleure Bon
Octavian over at 1000 Fragrances
and the server for Perfume Posse is down otherwise I would link to their reviews (yes, more than one!)


ScentScelf said...

Verrrrrrry interestink.

I'm totally mixed up now. And I consider that a good thing, as I'd rather go in with a variety of opinions than a monotonous chorus.

But your review alone whips my head about: Not really tuberose? Probably a good thing for me, as tube and I have issues. Non-descript floral veering tropical? Not so good. Fruity floral? Bad. Wait, but you mix it with YSL Nu? Nu is good.

I'm also with you on not a fan of aromatherapy sold as perfume...but lasting power is not one of my vectors on which I hang an aromatherapy hat. (Oof! what a sentence. Editor!!!) OTOH, I appreciate lasting power, especially when the check has three digits before the decimal.

If I get Nu, like you, or green vegetal, like others, I would be happy.

So, you've swirled a whole bunch o' things into a mess of "I don't know." For which I say "thank you." :)

Abigail said...

You leave some of the best comments. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much Brian and I appreciate you :)
You bring up the issue that longevity/sillage isn't everyone's measure of a good perfume and I appreciate that. When you try it come back and let me know what you think of my "YSL Nu x tropical fruity floral description!"

Tara said...

I think you are right on target. I really like NdT, probably love, and I do get some tubereuse which is lovely. But on me anyway, the sillage is nonexistant. I would call it a skin scent. To really get NdT you have to use it with heavy hand. Which, you know, is actually kinda fun sometimes to just sprtiz with abandon and not worry that you are going to suffocate someone. I think that NdT is probably the most beautiful skin scent I have ever encountered (not that I am an expert by an means). So to the extent I want skin to smell like NdT (which I absolutely do!), it is a complete success!!

Although I can understand that the lack of sillage and longevity can be very annoying (especially at these prices) for some reason it doesn't really annoy me that much, at least right now.

You should know that I sprung for the 50 ml, which at 8 or 9 sprays a time. I bet I will use it all up soon!

Karin said...

Hi Abigail! I also am not a big BD fan (would love to try Flora Bella at some point, though). All of his scents seem to have a similar vibe - that Duchaufourade - that doesn't work for me. BUT, I recently tried NdT, and surprisingly fell in love! I agree with you on the longetivity, though. I only have a small sample vial, so haven't had the opportunity to spray; but dabbing just doesn't cut it. I don't typically have the problem with scents not lasting like most others do with L'Artisan. They seem to have good sillage and good staying power on me - when sprayed, that is! I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this is also the case with NdT, cause I really, really, really want a bottle!!!

And when you said you like sillage, it reminded me of your enthusiasm for Insolence EDP - next to Angel it's the queen of sillage! I have a bottle myself, and can barely hit the sprayer without fear. Love how LT describes it in the Guide!

Abigail said...

Wow, there is lots of love for NdT out here! Maybe Duchaufour is onto something with an incensey tropical fruity floral.

Tara & Karin,
I just want to clarify that I'm not looking for sillage monsters, (and, yes, Insolence in edp is a big giant perfume), I merely want some sillage. Just "some." To me there's such a vast difference between the longevity and sillage of NdT and Insolence it's as if they are two different species. I pretty much just want a middle ground and become frustrated by this 'all or nothing' situation. I totally understand the fear of spraying Insolence more than half a spray and that's not my ideal either.

I hereby formally request that Duchaufour find a middle ground for his next fragrance :)

Lisa said...

great post I have never seen eye to eye with L’Artisan either

Angela Cox said...

I have to agree that L'Artisan has no staying power . I could use a 50ml bottle in about three days constantly having to spritz again.

Karin said...

I agree with wanting *some* sillage!!! Go sillage! Also love the heavy hitters (in small doses), of course. :-)

london said...

Thank you for providing a dissenting voice. I haven't tried it yet thanks to a rotten cold but just the fact that it isn't a 100% clean sweep makes me more interested rather than less.

chayaruchama said...

I can't tell you all how much I'm enjoying these exchanges !

I, too, like some sillage.
And I also agree that sometimes, it's more fun to simply smell BD's work, than to actually wear it.

Lately, though, I'm more personally satisfied with most of his work-
In terms of being able to wear them contentedly ;-0

[But that's only one broad's opinion !]

Amaranthine is my new BFF, if I were into that stuff ;-)

NdT I really enjoy, once that initial blast behaves itself-
I find the drydown delectable, subtle, and something that frightens neither horses and babies-
Nor my long-suffering DH.

I love the affable differences of opinion here.

[Rest of the community-
Take NOTES !]


ElizabethN said...

You're not the lone dissenter - see today. And I really disliked it (more actively than you!). All I could think about was the fruity, synthetic mango on top. after a long while it was pleasant enough, but not tuberose, at any rate. I wish I had gotten more Nu- might be worth another sniff, but I don't think I want to buy a sample!

Olfacta said...

Now this is just weird. I got a good-sized decant in a swap yesterday. My 1 ml sample was mainly tuberose/white flower and had no sillage or longevity, similar to your experience. Howev-ah, when I sprayed NdT on (generously -- neck, chest, T-shirt) yesterday, not only did it project rather powerfully -- I could smell it all around me -- it lasted. For hours. I did some yardwork in 90 degree heat and it still lasted. It was there when I went to bed and, although I washed before that, a bit of it is there this morning.

This is very unusual. I have a longevity problem in general. Maybe it's a skin chemistry thing?

As far as the scent itself goes, it's mostly white flower with tuberose the star, no vegetal, a slight earth quality, incense-y, not so much fruity as floral.
Not very different from the sample, except in the lasting power. And I've read so many complaints about this scent's longevity. Well, just weird.

Karin said...

Oooh! Olfacta - this is encouraging!!! I'm trying to hold off buying a bottle til there's some sort of promotion or discount, or it shows up on Amazon (beautyhabit and bluemercury both sell L'Artisans on Amazon). I have a $50 Amazon gift cert and am chomping at the bit for a bottle...wondering if I'll have the patience to wait it out, or if I'll end up hitting that purchase button and paying full price!!! As I mentioned in my earlier post, I don't typically have problems with L'Artisans lasting. Spraying, for me, is the fix. Yay!

Le critique de parfum said...

I find it quite interesting. Not very "Nuit" ("Night") but bright and airy more, like a very unusual take on the camphorous/menthol aspect of tuberose.

Abigail said...

Le Critique,

It's nice that tuberose actually registers for you. It doesn't come off as a take on tuberose to me at all. More like a fruity floral over an incense base. Not interesting. I have a tuberose fixation so when something named Tubereuse fails to register as tuberose, well, that's a problem for me. Plus, when there's zero sillage and longevity, well, then it's just a fail.

Nathan Branch said...

Abigail - I love your willingness to climb out on the limb and let it all hang. It makes your reviews worth checking every time, as I know you'll tell it exactly as it hits you without worrying about snagging that next interview with Perfumer Du Jour.

And I agree with many of the comments about the L'Artisan line, and am mostly less than thrilled about Duchaufour's body of work in general, though I've been appreciating several of his recent releases -- Havana Vanille and Al Oudh, especially.

But frankly, I'd kick both of them to the curb for either Sonoma Scent Studio's Incense Pure or AbdesSalaam Attar's Mecca Balsam. The genuinely daring work appears to be coming from the smaller than niche brands anymore.

"I read others impressions, most are falling all over themselves with adoration of Duchaufour and I just think, 'So what? If I can’t wear it like a perfume, then it’s just some sort of aromatherapy.'”


ElizabethN said...

Nathan, I agree with you that either Mecca Balsam or Incense Pure is better than most of what's come out from the bigger houses lately. I do adore Al Oudh, though - it's probably my favorite from L'Artisan, maybe because it is indeed daring. But I guess you would have to like the smell of "a teenaged boy's armpit" (as someone else described it) to appreciate it. :-D

Abigail said...

aw, shucks. I blush (kicks toe into side of desk).
I need to get my paws on some AbdesSalaam Attar's Mecca Balsam! SSS I'm down with, Laurie is brilliant, but AbdesSalaam is unsniffed territory for me ;-0

Nathan Branch said...

Abigail -- You'll definitely need to swing by Perfume Smellin' Things and check out Donna's latest posts on the La Via del Profumo brand, then. She just recently discovered AbdesSalaam's work herself, and has been writing up a storm about it.

And Elizabeth -- Kicking Al Oudh to the curb would indeed be difficult. That fragrance was the turning point for me and Duchaufour, and I still sometimes cradle the bottle in my arms and sing it sweet lullabyes.

The overdose of cumin is fascinating, isn't it?

Abigail said...

Nathan & Elizabeth,
Since you both love Al Oudh I'm just checking like a little mother hen to be sure you both have Hermes Eau d'Hermes? This stuff is cumin-tastic, yet sheer and so easy to love. I found out about it not so long ago and wore the heck out of it this past winter. I mean, I really wore it which is unusual. I'm so often sampling and testing I hardly "wear" scents anymore. Kinda sad. Kinda not. It is fun to test drive...but it's also fun to find something you love and just plain ole wear it for days and days. (imagine a whole week or month? I can't)

ElizabethN said...

Nathan - I would have bought Al OUdh for the bottle alone. I'm thinking of dressing it up with a red velvet ribbon and placing it on my mantle. :)

Abigail - I recently swapped some Al Oudh for some Eau d'Hermès (fitting) and yes, that's a kick in the head of cumin, just like Al Oudh. Love it!

Nathan Branch said...

Oh! There's another wallop of cumin out there for me to try?

*perks right up*

And E. -- I'm loving the idea of a swanky, beribboned bottle of Al Oudh lounging about on your mantel, giving you the sultry eye every time you walk past.