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In the realm of fragrances, certain scents possess an unparalleled ability to captivate the senses, transporting us to enchanting landscapes and evoking emotions long forgotten. Tuberose, with its heady, narcotic fragrance, stands as an exemplar of such olfactory magic. The intoxicating allure of tuberose has made it a coveted note in the world of perfumery, a timeless ingredient that weaves tales of passion, elegance, and sensuality. For a long time Tuberose wasn’t used in perfumes because of its strong scent which was difficult for perfumers to ‘tame’. This article explains what Tuberose smells like, where it is grown, and recommends the best Tuberose perfumes.

The Origins of Tuberose

The long stem of Tuberose
The long stem of Tuberose

Tuberose is classed as a ‘white floral’ like Jasmine and Orange Blossom, and they are often found mixed together in the heart of floral fragrances.

Tuberose is technically classed as a plant and it has a large bulb that grows below ground. A long stem grows from the bulb which produces a long flower in a tubular shape, with a star shaped flower.

Tuberose blooms in the summer into the early Autumn and is native to India and Mexico (the Aztecs used Tuberose to scent chocolate). It was brought to Europe in the 1500s by the French who called it ‘Hyacinth of the Indies’ where it has been grown in Grasse ever since.

Tuberose is currently grown for perfume in India, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and China.

The History of Tuberose Perfumes

Louis XIV of France planted 10,000 Tuberose bulbs and used it to scent his Versailles palace.

Unlike delicate white florals like Jasmine, Tuberose has an incredibly strong scent which lasts up to 48 hours after its picked. Because of its intense scent, Tuberose has often been seen as a highly provocative fragrance note. In Italy during the Renaissance young girls weren’t allowed to walk in gardens at night in case the smell of Tuberose led them astray. Louis XIV of France planted 10,000 Tuberose bulbs and used it to scent his Versailles palace.

Harvesting Tuberose

Harvesting Tuberose

Tuberose flowers are picked by hand in the morning when their corollas open. The flowers are then soaked in solvents which extract the fragrance. The by-product is combined with alcohol to create Tuberose Absolute which is used in perfumery. It takes 600 kilograms of Tuberose petals to create 100 grams of Tuberose Absolute.

What does Tuberose smell like?

Tuberose is one of my favourite floral scents because it has great lasting power and feels very modern yet feminine. Tuberose can have a fruity, almost sweet feel to it, or a milky warm tone. I’ve even smelt Tuberose perfumes with earthy, green notes. Here are some of the best Tuberose perfumes available today.

Giorgio Armani My Way

My Way is a gorgeous Tuberose fragrance with undertones of Orange and Orange Blossom. It’s great for lasting, feminine without being too ‘flowery’ and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

Giorgio Armani released the original My Way Eau de Parfum unfortunately in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even more unfortunate was the fact that their marketing campaign was all about travel #ArmaniMyWay #IAmWhatILive. However, I really do love the campaign as it’s all about an independent woman and the scent she embodies.

My Way is available in the UK here, in the US hereCanada and Australia. There are two other versions of My Way which are compared in my article on the range.

Parle Moi De Parfum, Gardens Of India

Parle Moi De Parfum are a French niche fragrance brand. I’ve loved their Gardens of India perfume from the moment I first smelt it. The scent is a tropical, green Tuberose which reminds me of the lush gardens you only get in tropical parts of the world; you can almost smell the humidity.

AERIN Premier Collection Tuberose Le Soir

Given the name, and the heavy use of Tuberose in the marketing materials, you’d be forgiven for thinking AERIN Tuberose Le Soir was a strong Tuberose scent.

Although it does indeed have Tuberose as the main note, I find that there is also a strong citrus opening, and a sweet Ylang-ylang which are equally present.

In addition, the use of vanilla in the base makes the Tuberose quite sweet. Super feminine and pretty, this is an innocent scent.

Check out my article on the entire AERIN perfume range.

Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower 57

Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Jasmine and Magnolia make Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower 57 a classic white floral perfume. The Orange Blossom note is reminiscent of Ellie Saab Le Parfum although it isn’t as strong. 

Vanilla and Nectarine add a sweet fruitiness to the dominant white floral notes. In general I find Kayali Déjà Vu White Flower 57 isn’t particularly strong; most white floral fragrances are quite strong so this is great if you’re looking for something more subtle.

Check out my article on the entire Kayali perfume range.

Soki London

Sophie is the perfume enthusiast behind Soki London. She reviews the latest perfumes and entire perfume ranges on her YouTube channel and website.