Tuberose is going through something of a mini revival. If the press notes are to be believed, it forms a significant part of Chanel's new Gabrielle (consider me unconvinced on that specific point, although overall, the scent is pleasant enough), it makes a curious companion with ginger in Twilly D'Hermès (about which I shall try to write more soon) and it tries to restore a brand's beleaguered fragrance reputation in Gucci's Bloom (their first half-decent feminine for ages). That's all well and good. In fact, it's almost a cause for excitement. But then along comes something from the less fearful, more free-minded independent sector, and suddenly the mainstream contenders fade into the background. Cue: Isabelle Doyen's Nuit De Bakélite for Naomi Goodsir, the brand's fifth addition to a consistently solid collection.
Inspired by Goodsir's love of vintage, Bakelite jewellery, it is one of the most convincing, three-dimensional tuberose compositions I've had the pleasure to experience for quite some time. Undaunted by the likes of Malle's Carnal Flower or Lutens' Tubereuse Criminelle, Doyen has made the white blossoms all her own, emphasising their bitterness with angelica and artemisia, their dreamy, cream-laden qualities with musks and ylang ylang, and their unquenchable optimism - the characteristic which makes them such an obvious choice for the garlands you see in India - with cool green notes.
Some may complain that there aren't many claws in sight - this is certainly no Fracas - but that would be avoiding Bakélite's uniqueness: it grants tuberose its requisite, horizon-filling size, but it also makes it wide-eyed, friendly and approachable. After all, assertiveness doesn't always have to be frightening.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Naomi Goodsir in 2017]
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