Friday, January 8, 2010
Tuberose Series 4: Carnal Flower
Carnal Flower gets a lot of positive attention from perfume fans, and deservedly so.
Perfume Review: Frederic Malle Carnal Flower.
Date released: 2005
Perfumer: Dominique Ropion
Sample provenance: sample from The Perfumed Court, 2009
Created with M. Malle's aunt, the actress Candice Bergen, as inspiration, Carnal Flower is something of a contradiction in terms. Like Ms. Bergen, whose onscreen persona in the movie Carnal Knowledge is both warmly maternal and icily aloof, Carnal Flower is both cold and warm. Other than that reference, I find the name "Carnal Flower" rather inappropriate - this perfume does not smell in the least like a boudoir to me.
Notes for Carnal Flower:
Top: green notes, camphor, citrus
Heart: melon, tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, ylang
Base: coconut, musk
I do not smell melon, or at least I don't smell what I think of as perfumery melon, a la DelRae Emotionelle or Parfum de Therese, neither of which I like. If there really is melon here, it's more like a crisp, barely-ripe honeydew, all sweet green. And the coconut is merely a hint in Carnal Flower; you will not be thinking of piña coladas.
Lasting power is less potent for this scent than for many other tuberose scents on me. I was getting three hours' worth with hefty dabs, and it took pouring my sample vial into a small spray atomizer to change that experience. If sprayed according to my usual formula, I get four hours, which is a little light for an edp. On the other hand, longevity is often the downfall of all-natural perfumes, and there seems to be a large percentage of natural ingredients in CF. Also, it's a very beautiful four hours.
Sometimes I associate a particular scent with a piece of music – for example, Apres l'Ondee is always Debussy's “La Mer”, while Attrape-Coeur is “Nessun Dorma” – and such is the case with Carnal Flower. What I'm hearing while wearing it is Brahms' beautiful “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place,” from his German Requiem: a clean white light, a longing sweetness. I may find a more beautiful tuberose, but I may not. At the moment, this is the most lushly ethereal thing I've ever smelled.
The Bottom Line :
Quality A Smells natural; seems coherent with good flow.
Grab-scale score 9 If not higher – I'm leaving myself a little wiggle room!
Short description Ethereal green tuberose.
Earns compliments: Yes. Even Bookworm, who tends to dislike tuberose, calls this one "pretty."
Scent presence Slightly less than average (2 spritzes last 4 hours), moderate sillage. Will not get you lynched at the office.
Review Report: Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Perfume-Smellin’ Things (by Marina), Perfume-Smellin’ Things (by Donna), Aromascope.
Top image: Carnal Flower from fragrantica. Middle image: Mexican tuberose by jelens at flickr. Bottom image: Tuberose The Pearl by nipplerings72 at flickr.