me at a lei stand in Honolulu China Town

The strongest flower scent was the fake plumeria piped into our hotel in Waikiki.

But there are flowers everywhere.

Plumeria flowers – real ones – drop slowly onto dense, spongey grass underfoot: big, silent pikake jasmine flowers – exquisitely fresh and coldly hypnotic -lurk in bushes. Inquisitive hibiscus, great banks of birds of paradise ; flowers I no idea of the name.

Tuberoses I haven’t seen in the wild, but they formed part of the lei I was given to wear at my talk at the Honolulu Museum Of Art- as well as puakenikeni and the most intense jasmine I have ever smelled; all placed around my neck in sheer sense derangement.

It was a very daunting, but also very exhilarating experience, that fortunately went well (I will write more extensively when we are back in Japan and I can describe it all more fluidly on my computer). I am way too self conscious to watch this myself, but here is the official link if you are interested :

I met so many great people – also the next day at the workshop in the museum courtyard

all this niche perfume was part of the scent bar during the latter stage of the event and available to be siphoned off in samples as participants desired

The rest was mine : MINE ! to take home with me but logistics make that impossible. We are currently packing and taking back my personal selections : other bottles have been gifted to museum staff (who really couldn’t have been lovelier) and some friends we have here. Thanks so much to the brands for sending the perfumes – I will do more detailed features on the scents that were there later.

This exhibition was all about the flowers though, and it is flowers that I love, so quite obvious that the white florals that were there are coming home with me.

Tubereuse Trianon is a scent I once found at the flea market – a vintage original. This new edition is basically the same with a fresher coriander and rhubarb entree that is bright and head clearing – a good one for spring days.

Matiere Premiere’s Aurelian Guichard has a great predilection for Ambroxan (a characteristic I don’t share), but in French Flower, a buttery tuberose with the texture of Montale’s Intense Tiare, it kind of works. This is sexy and direct, and I might wear it for our last night on the town this evening.

The perfume that has really captured my heart on this trip though is DSH Tubereuse. Unassuming at first, compared to its brasher counterparts, this rich but subtly subdued tuberose accompanied my wrists out on a morning trip to get groceries at the corner store. I couldn’t tell if the flower smell was coming from the trees and hidden flora or my skin; combined with a pure tuberose extract I have been wearing in tandem, this lovely perfume has really got to the heart of it all.


Filed under Flowers


  1. Wonderful! thanks for the images. I can’t believe I used to despise the note of tuberose, now I love it. There’s nothing like the real thing. I managed to grow them one summer in my garden, but they never came back again. Not the right soil or climate I suppose, sigh.

  2. Hanamini

    Oh this is wonderful! Have only watched the first 10 mins and need to go to bed, but will savour the rest when there’s more time! There’s so much to enjoy even in that short stretch; surely you would feel proud watching it. And your description of plumeria falling silently on the spongy grass….I have been there, felt that, and it took me right back. My first tuberose, meanwhile, was Fracas, followed by Carnal Flower; then you got me onto Histoires des Parfums. I have not tried DSH, and now I must. But the Celines made a small hole in the budget (actually it’s all hole, and no budget). I look forward to watching the rest tomorrow.

    • Hope you liked it.

      Being on stage like that was a new experience for me – don’t think I could do it too often but it was kind of exhilarating all the same.

      Which Celines did you get in the end?

      • Hanamini

        Nightclubbing, Cologne Francaise (after disliking it I kept going back to it and ended up in love), Eau de Californie (possibly the marketing worked; I think of sequoia).

      • You are lemming me along now – I will have to go and re-smell all of those again now. In love ? How delightful a modern perfumery cam still do that

      • Hanamini

        All is not lost! I’d use “love” for Puredistance Warszawa and Antonia too, and they are modern, no? It’s all relative, I suppose. Here’s to more modern classics as well as the classic classics. Now if I could only get hold of a fabulous greenish plumeria.

  3. Joan Gillies

    I am sublimely drenched. Highly unlikely to get to Honolulu, apart from my dreams where Danno books me, (5-0 original reference) but I am OK with that. Sssssso looking forward to your reflections. Hope you pressed at least one lei…

  4. Enjoyed the talk! The questions at the end were hard to hear, but I think we got the gist of them from your answers. Glad it all went well! And I wish I could smell the leis!

    • Oh my god I honestly had no concept of how potently floral the smell was going to be. That should have gone without saying but although the tuberose flowers were less heady than I would have imagined, the tight jasmine buds were DELIRIOUS

  5. Joan Rosasco

    It was an excellent interview and, I realize, the first time I had heard your voice. I wish I could have attended the workshop.

    • Glad you liked the talk, and yes – I suppose if you read this blog you are only used to the ‘writing voice’ not the bodily one.

      The workshop was chaotic in some ways but organic and real and I think (hope) that the participants took something away from it. The atmosphere in that tropical courtyard was amazing.

  6. Isn’t Hawaii fabulous? From the balmy breezes to the lush greenery and fragrant flowers, everything is so dreamy. Glad your speech went well, shall listen to it in full tonight.
    I have tuberoses in my garden, they aren’t the most beautiful plant but I love their bold scent intermingling with the night blooming jasmine, Brahma kamal, and moon flower vines.
    I will definitely have to try DSH Tubereuse!

  7. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Flowers Fleurs Bloemen Blume Flores
    There really are no words!
    Plumeria, Tuberose. The names are lovely and evocative.
    And all those other names.
    You really came into your own dear Black Narcissus.
    Now I am going to listen to your tribute.

  8. Iuno Feronia

    You were in paradise! I really love Tuberose, I love the wild one from Serge Lutens or Louis Malle but also the Maroccan Tuberose of Illuminum is wonderful. The scents you described I couldn‘t afford until now maybe one day. I am looking forward to your next post!

  9. OnWingsofSaffron

    Oh how absolutely wonderful: all those exquisite flowers, their scents, the sheer beauty! I hope you both enjoy your thrilling stay in Hawaii!

    • It was gorgeous – if noisy (a pity we can’t drive as then we could have seen more of the divine coastline )

      We got back last night and there is a tropical haze about everything today

  10. Sarah F.

    The talk was sooooo good and the overall vibe of the audience was just so great. Everyone was engaged.
    I had a chance to sniff the DSH Tuberose and found it to be very lovely, although it—of course—doesn’t compare to wearing a fresh lei.

  11. emmawoolf

    Love, love, love. On leave for a week so after some gardening today planting up some spring bulbs I shall sit and watch your talk at my leisure. Very much looking forward to it Xxx

  12. Sharon

    I meant to post ages ago when I watched the link – which I did right away. I loved your talk. You are very funny. May be cooler to say ‘witty’ and you certainly are that (wit defined as nimble thinking) but you really tickled the funny bone . Thank you!

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