Ingredient of the Week: Tuberose

One of the heady scents of summer, tuberose is voluptuous, so voluptuous. Intoxicating, so intoxicating. And expensive, so expensive! It takes over 3600 kilos of flowers to produce just half a kilo of tuberose oil, with its sweet, exotic, complex, velvety floral opulence. Happily, it’s so concentrated that only a small amount need be used (although several very sophisticated scents do ramp up the tuberose, as a ‘star’ ingredient).

But in truth, the tuberose used in perfumery nowadays is often a synthetic copy – not just because of the price, but because through manipulating the aroma particles, it’s possible to bring out tuberose’s creaminess, or its more ‘camphor’-like side. Reminscent of jasmine, gardenia and orange blossom, tuberose is often blended alongside those other white flowers.)

The Polianthes tuberose plant is related to the lily – you can almost tell that, from smelling it. (Do please completely ignore the word ‘rose’ in its name.)

Known as ‘the carnal flower’ (Roja Dove also calls it ‘the harlot of perfumery’), tuberose’s blooms are so powerful that just a few stems can fill a room with their headiness, pumping out their scent for days or even weeks.

In Victorian times, tuberose symbolised ‘dangerous pleasure’ and voluptuousness – and that’s pretty much what perfumers are aiming for, when they use it. In India, meanwhile, it’s known for its aphrodisiac powers (young women are advised not to breathe its scent, after dark.) Innocent, tuberose most definitely is not…

Smell tuberose in:
Annick Goutal Tubéreuse
By Kilian Beyond Love
Calvin Klein Beauty
Caron Nocturnes
Chanel Gardénia
Clive Christian C for Women
Dior Poison
Dior J’Adore Dior
Diptyque Do Son
Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia
Floris Tuberose
Frederic Malle Carnal Flower
Givenchy Amarige
Givenchy Organza
Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle
Jean Patou Joy
Jo Malone London Tuberose
Jo Malone London Tuberose Angelica
L’Artisan Parfumeur Tubéreuse
Lanvin Arpège
Madonna Truth or Dare
Nasomatto Narcotic Venus
Robert Piguet Fracas
Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle

Read about hundreds more fragrance ingredients on our site here

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