Window wide open: MOROCCAN TUBEROSE by ILLUMINUM (2011)

ImageThe pungent white flesh of the tuberose is a famously love-or-hate-it note in perfumery, but for lovers of the flower like myself, this floral intoxication by Illuminum is a boon: a full-bodied, properly tropical tuberose with all the mentholated salicylates we expect in the top notes – that peculiar rush of wintergreen that life-like tuberose scents must include – yet smooth, enveloping, and wearable. The medicinal top notes are embodied here in the flowers themselves, rather than floating in gasolined ether à la Tubéreuse Criminelle (Serge Lutens); the scent also more sensual than the studied pallor of Editions de Parfums’ Carnal Flower. This tuberose is rich and ylangy, with hints of clove and fruited intimations of banana; but with none of the creamy, buttery elements found in certain types of the genre such as Blonde by Versace or L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tubéreuse. Moroccan rose absolute, and Atlas cedarwood fortify the flowers behind the scenes, adding weight.

While very much enjoying the uninhibited beginning of Moroccan Tuberose, I steeled myself for disappointment, expecting the scent to become overly creamy and extravagant as time went on, but in fact the best was yet to come: the dry down is in fact my favourite stage of the fragrance. A lingering, tropical breeze, as serene as a southern beach hut where you lie, pleasantly exhausted after a swim in the blue, as the sea air replenishes the room. It is an accord I find immensely appealing.

llluminum is an indie perfumery based in London and this is the first scent I have tried from their extensive range. I am now eager to explore further as I am already craving a full bottle.

Coming soon: what happens to the tuberose when it falls into the clutches of Madonna.


Filed under Flowers, Perfume Reviews, Tuberose

13 responses to “Window wide open: MOROCCAN TUBEROSE by ILLUMINUM (2011)

  1. ninakane1

    Looking forward to trying this one. Adore Tuberose. Lovely review. On another note – have you heard Corinne Bailey Rae’s song Are you Here? Something of the tuberose motif threaded through that in atmosphere as well as verse n voice. We await the Madonna review with eagerness! x

  2. ginzaintherain

    The house stinks of Madonna! (And it IS kind of growing on me…..) It is a fascinating concept, as a fan and obsessive, to have a perfume she has helped to mould, as though each molecule somehow has some of her DNA. It would have been amazing though it this Moroccan Tuberose formula had been used instead (which would have sent the price skyrocketing, but even THAT might have been nice. If she can flog concert tickets at scandalous prices, why not a perfume? It would have been so DESIRABLE as an object.

    Will make sure there is some of this sample left for when you get here. I think it is quite a delicious tuberosa, this one.

    Will check out the song you mentioned.

  3. tonkabeany

    what a delicious review. I wonder, as one usually on the wrong side of the fence where tuberose is concerned, whether i might like it, I love the sound of the beachy dry down. I daresay in the beginning though its rich, fruity voluptuousness, would be, absurdly, glaringly out of place on me.

  4. ginzaintherain

    If you joined in at the 3 hour stage you would love this too I think but you would need a nose peg for that initial tuberose I imagine..

  5. Dearest Ginza
    That tuberose does sound quite original. I have a mixed relationship with the note, but since your post on the blooms au naturelle I’ve been intrigued to try more incarnations.
    I rather like Illuminum’s work, which has been to a degree ignored or dismissed by the perfume press (since that perfume for that wedding).
    I’ll be looking forward to your telling the truth if you dare if your next adventure in fragrance doesn’t turn out to be too much of a fracas…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Dear Beau, if it is a fracas, I hope it’s the parfum. Personally I love the parfum, can’t wear the EdP at all. What has your experience been?

    • I agree that Illuminum haven’t had much attention, but they mine, and having seen that thing you put up about the Illuminum lounge I am dying to go there. I think I am an Arab at heart: I like full, delicious fragrances, not ‘edgy’ watercoloured contraptions, and from what I have smelled from this house so far, many of them seem right up my street. And even when I wouldn’t wear them, perfumes such as Black Rose, I can still really appreciate their structure, their fullness. Bravo Illuminum!

      • Dearest Ginza
        “‘Edgy’ watercolour contraptions’. I love it. Though I am occasionally quite enamoured of exactly the kind of scents that draw your ire!.
        Not all Illuminum’s scents are as full and rich as they might be, and some of them are quite impressionistic. Not in a blurry watercolour sense but in that they resemble or call to mind a moment or place rather than being a full three act piece in the Guerlain mode. So Wild Tobacco is my grandpapa in his home knitted jumpers stoking a pipe, tribal black tea and eccentric Raj bred uncle, Piper Leather a fastidious rather camp handbag-making cousin and so on.
        In the main I like them and happy they’re around.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  6. I love tuberoses, and will never forget encountering fresh ones everywhere during a stay in Oaxaca. Tuberose perfumes are a mixed bag for me. Many of them develop a strange hot-plastic note on me (Carnal Flower unfortunately falls in this category) while others are mentholated to a degree that carries the chill of the florist’s cooler and bears no relation to the fresh, never-chilled bloom. This one sounds very worth trying. You also reminded me of Blonde, which I haven’t smelled for years. I need to retry that one, since I love the buttery-creamy elements of tuberose. More on white florals, please!

    • Blonde is great. Portia at Australian Junkies did a good review of that one recently. At the time when it came out I found it strangely shocking, overdone or something, but I think now in this world of stylish perfume anorexia, it would be just full and gorgeous.

      This Moroccan Tuberose, though, I found to be ideal in a way. It is strong enough for you, and the base is just lovely. I could quite happily buy a bottle.

      Did you ever use the gardenia soaps, incidentally? I love using those as a starter point for perfumes like this.

  7. Martha

    I might be late in my reply, but I want to add that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz does one called Tubereuse, and it is a mellow (for tuberose), buttery scent. Very nice and easy to wear.

    • No such thing as a late reply in my book!

      This sounds nice: I am yet to properly try a DSH scent, though. They are starting to sell a small selection in Japan, though, so I would like to see if they have Tubereuse.

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