What does Tuberose Smell Like? All about It's Ancient Alluring Effects
by Alex Copeland on Aug 30, 2019
Titillating news, folks. The Big Mama of white florals has bloomed at last.
I say “titillating” because the scent of this flower has a risqué reputation. The website Fragantica.com describes it as “the harlot of perfumery . . . carnal, creamy and contradictory.”
Tuberose itself, is like the femme fatale of the flower world: so heavenly and alluring it’s dangerous.
The website also leaked that the Victorians (so priggish, they put skirts on their piano legs) forbade young girls from inhaling the odor of tuberose for fear they might have “spontaneous orgasms.”
Whew. We can’t, alas, confirm such an occurrence ourselves (this being a family article) but the online scribblers of such saucy information do make a good point about the scent.
It will truly bend you backwards. It’s certainly on the sexy side: as charismatic as orange blossom or jasmine, yet mixed with something spicier, like menthol. The natural flowers are so omnipotent they can fill a room and continue to exude their scent for days after picking. More on the aroma of this beauty in a moment.
The name is pronounced in two separate syllables, as in “tuber” then “rose,” and it’s a tropical plant, which oddly enough has no connection to roses at all. Designers love them for wedding bouquets and the white, waxy-looking cut flowers are sometimes even available at local florist shops.
The scent is bold and distinctive. In large portions, it can really overthrow the other notes of a perfume, but in small amounts it can lend a nice depth to the perfume without killing the vibe.
I can only describe it as waxy, fatty, and lactonic (creamy, milk-like.) Envision crushing the petals in your hands, but instead of getting a sweet, fresh aroma, you'd get a rich and creamy type of scent. And actually, tuberose smells almost salty in large amounts.
It's pretty much the flower version of creme brulee. It's dense, rich, and not sweet exactly, but very powerful. It smells distinctively tropical and summery. If I had to break it down into non-hand-wavy adjectives, I would say tuberose smells like a mix of salt, creme brulee, honeyed, like beeswax, a tiny pinch of coconut milk, and gardenia.
I must note, as with all white florals, tuberose does contain mysterious narcotic qualites, which causes tuberose to have an over-ripe quality that smells slightly "off" and animolic.
But if you've ever smelled a sexy, dirty human who smelled natural and good, you know that lush dirty notes shouldn't be feared. In tiny amounts, they can add a lustfully magnetic scent component, giving you great balance and interest in what could otherwise be a bland scent.
I think one of the big mistakes people make with tuberose is they expect it to smell like gardenia, which is tuberose's more well-behaved, sweet, prim cousin.
If you go into a tuberose fragrance expecting something unusual and bold, you won't be disappointed. It's one of the most unique and characteristic floral notes around.