Friday, 22 September 2017

Persolaise Review: Nuit De Bakélite from Naomi Goodsir (Isabelle Doyen; 2017)

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]


Please try to tune in to my Facebook page on Friday 29th September at 3:30 pm (UK time) for the next episode of my Love At First Scent series. To watch the previous episodes, please click here.



  1. I'm curious to try this. I've been pondering over getting Carnal Flower (as a summer tuberose) for long enough, though my favourite is Tubereuse Criminelle. Great on cold, cloudy days.

    1. Ani, do seek this one out. Well worth the effort!

  2. I do love this scent. It also opens in the most surprising kind of way, smelling of well, sort of plastic dishes baking in the sun on a summer picnic table.

    Let me take the opportunity to say how much I admire your way of with words - never resorting to bad comparisons like mine above, but always communicating something of what it would feel like to wear that scent. I also wish you'd do more in-depth reviews, and less of the "first impressions" kind of thing. (Although it is always fun to see when a scent for once has you at a loss for what to say - that's perhaps a quality in a perfume, don't you think?)

    Anyway, there's another tuberose perfume - Love Tuberose by Amouage - that you have recently described with very similar words: happy, fairy-tale, gorgeous. Apart from "Bakelite" definitely not being gourmand, could you perhaps say a few more words about how those two contrast?

    1. Sebastian, thanks very much for taking the time to write... and actually, your picnic table image is brilliant, and very accurate!

      How fascinating that I described the Amouage in a similar way. Needless to say, I didn't realise I was doing that at all.

      Yes, NdB certainly isn't gourmand and I'd say its main point of difference is probably what you allude to with your picnic table idea. The Amouage is more rounded, more accessible, prettier, more overtly feminine. NdB is more complex, more surprising, far edgier.


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