Tubereuse Criminelle by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1999


Post by Trésor


Have you ever in your life encountered a fragrance which so emphatically mirrors your personality to the point that it seems to capture your very essence within those precious drops of sacred aromatic dew? I feel incredibly lucky to say that I have. From start to finish, this wicked brew embodies my identity in a way which no other fragrance I’ve experienced truly has. From the incipient beryl glow to depths of the exquisite drydown, it seems to manifest “me” and coincidentally enough was the very first bottle of niche fragrance I’ve ever bought for myself (unsniffed, no less!). You already know from the title which fragrance I am speaking of, the inimitable Tubereuse Criminelle from our dear friend, Uncle Serge Lutens.

Tubereuse Criminelle by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1999

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Jasmine, orange blossom, hyacinth, tuberose, nutmeg, clove, styrax, musk, vanilla

The opening sequence of Tubereuse Criminelle is perhaps my favourite in the entirety of perfume and also what’s come to be one of the most polarizing among the fragrance community. On my skin the inaugural fusillade is a breathtakingly intense bravura of jasmine petals which have been profoundly doused in densely mentholated gasoline. I’m often told I am rather strange for this, but I absolutely adore the smell of gasoline so this entire progression is a bit euphoric to me. I relate to this genesis so deeply because I feel her and I are so much the same in this way, just a little off the beaten path.

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens Cold_Wind MizuSasori DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

Upon occasion I sense the slightest hologram of orange blossom but if I am being absolutely honest with you I have never been sure if it’s actually there or if I am imagining it simply because it’s included on the list of notes. Beneath the icy petrol fumes lay a tuberose, one who’s beauty beguiles me and leaves me breathless. You can detect every facet, every single atom of her velvet white petals and the narcotic ambrosia bleeding from within. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful realization of tuberose I have found within a fragrance and worth every ounce of praise it receives.

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens Folson St Mendolous Shank FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

As the composition progresses something quite fascinating begins to happen, the tuberose seems to further and further meld with the skin but never loses the depth, splendour and unadulterated hypnotism that drew me in so close before. Around about the fifth hour on my skin I can detect just the most delicate tendrils of softly spiced vanilla rising off of my skin. The note is not confectionary in any way, shape or form but a beautifully Lutens-esque vision of a skinscent that leads the way into Tubereuse Criminelle’s final breath on the skin.

Tubereuse Criminelle Serge Lutens Flower Bomb Tree WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

This isn’t a fragrance that wears a terribly long time on my skin, about 5-6 hours, usually and the sillage is quite moderate. Though not incredibly long, the journey is magnificent and I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world. From the initial glacial zephyr which greets you to her intimate swan song, Tubereuse Criminelle remains a study in the paradoxical nature that defines the very best of the offerings from the house of Serge Lutens.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Australian Perfume Junkies
MeccaCosmetica has $166/50ml (in Australia)
Serge Lutens had €166/75ml
My Perfume Samples start at $3.50/ml up to $10.50/5ml

Have you fallen under the Tubereuse Criminelle spell?
Trésor x

17 comments on “Tubereuse Criminelle by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1999

  1. AllGirlMafia says:

    I sampled Tubereuse Criminelle for the first time two nights ago. I was so impressed by the ‘disgustingly beautiful’ opening that I cared very little about the rest of the perfume. I too like the smell of gasoline : )

    • Trésor says:

      Wow! I am so happy that you enjoyed it, I was so taken with the opening as well! I’m so happy to know I am not alone in my love for the aroma of gasoline. 😀

  2. Yes I love it too. The opening is spectacular and unforgettable. Definitely at this point it’s a love or hate thing. Love the floral mix too. A must smell!
    meganinstmaxime recently posted…Perfume Review : Hedonist : A Golden Peach Of A ScentMy Profile

  3. Anne says:

    My skin eats top notes rapidly so I get about 4 seconds worth of ‘deep heat’ lineament before an expanding, creamy, glorious tuberose. Pity I don’t smell gasoline (I like it) but I quite lile lineament as well. This is one of the few peperfumes that radiate a bit on me… lovely on a hot, dense Australian summer night. Makes me want cocktails outdoors.

    • Trésor says:

      I get a bit of that deep heat liniment fragrance myself, now that you mention it! I find it to be one of the most fascinating pairings I have ever smelled. A true Lutens classic! I love it in the summer as well, it truly does radiate. 🙂

  4. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hi there Trésor,
    I can imagine you wearing nuclear amounts of this one and dancing around your house.
    Quite a picture.
    Portia xx

    • Trésor says:

      You know me so well, Portia! <3

      I do tend to go a bit trigger happy when it comes to anything to do with tuberose and the dancing, though uncoordinated and spastic, is never far behind.

  5. Tara C says:

    I don’t get gasoline, I get a powerful wintergreen minty smell for the first 15 minutes, which I love! Probably my favourite tuberos scent for that reason.

  6. cookie queen says:

    This was my first Lutens. A bell jar. Opening it was like letting a genie out of the bottle. I wish the opening stayed longer. I don’t wear it much any more bit will wear it tomorrow!! Definitely Serge at his best. Hugs. xxxx

    • Trésor says:

      I do as well, that would be my one criticism if I were forces to name one. I could live in those opening moments for an eternity. Wear it in good health and have a beautiful day! 🙂

  7. Yes, I love and love this. The best part of this fragrance for me is the opening. There was a time when I kept wearing this continuously for over a week. That’s quite something for me.
    Thinkingmagpie recently posted…Perfumed Memoirs: Amouage Dia and FrankincenseMy Profile

    • Trésor says:

      Wow! I can do the same with Tubereuse Criminelle, there is something about it which keeps me wholeheartedly captivated and I don’t find myself tiring of it. 🙂

  8. poodle says:

    I don’t get gasoline, it’s more like cough drops to me. Or a flowery Vick’s VapoRub. It’s interesting but it doesn’t make me swoon like I’d hoped it would. I wish I got the gasoline smell instead of the medicinal one.

  9. Azar says:

    Hi Tresor,
    I just love the way you write about fragrance! Your description of Tubereuse Criminelle has convinced me to give my little sample another go, this time with your magical words in mind.
    Azar xx

  10. Odiferess says:

    Hi Tresor,
    I too adore this scent. In the UK we have an antiseptic ointment called Germolene. The opening is pure Germolene, but somehow it still renders me swoonful despite the association.
    Oddly, on the first occasion that I sprayed a little from a sample sent to me by a friend, I ended up in the hospital emergency room where my antiseptic whiff blended fittingly with my surroundings.
    Odiferess recently posted…The Little Cat With A Surprising Belly – Avon Occur, Vintage CivetMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *