Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Tuberose Series Opener

I'll be exploring tuberose soliflores and tuberose-dominated fragrances over the month of January.  The first review should be posted on Monday, so I thought I'd start out with an overview of the scent note today.  I'd like to point you to Victoria's beautifully-written and thorough article on tuberose at Bois de Jasmin here. 

From Wikipedia: The scientific name of tuberose is Polianthes tuberosa, polianthes meaning gray flower and tuberosa referring to the bulbous, swollen nature of the root system. The flower is pollinated at night by moths, which explains its pale color and sweet fragrance at night.  The plant seems to have originated in Mexico, where the Aztecs called it "bone flower."  Eventually it made its way to other parts of the world, becoming integral to culture and mythology in several places, including India, where it is known as Rajnigandha, "night fragrance," and traditionally used in wedding garlands.  In Singapore and Indonesia it's also known as "fragrant night flower." Tuberose is "Mary's flower" in Iran, and the oil used as perfume.  It's also frequently used in leis in Hawaii, and popular in Mexico and parts of South America.

I just came across this photo of a groom in India, and it charmed me.  I can imagine being this man's bride, and being overwhelmed by the fragrance of his garland.  Just look at the thing, will you? It's almost as big around as his upper arm.  And composed almost entirely of tuberose blooms.  Sigh.  Swoon.  I did a little bit of research on what they make wedding garlands out of in India, and didn't come up with any definitive answers, although I did find a few other pictures that seemed to indicate that tuberose blooms make up the bulk of the lei-type garlands.  And "bulk" is right - apparently, these garlands, which are exchanged by bride and groom as part of the wedding ceremony, are quite heavy.  I'm certain that the fragrance is nearly as heavy as the garlands.
If you're like me, the idea of wearing a tuberose garland is making your toes curl in pleasure.  If you're not like me, you're contemplating a fast getaway already, anticipating having your nasal passages violated by that most heady flower, the Diva Tuberose.

I love it.  I do understand that many people find it too strong and headache-inducing, and I am careful to never wear a tuberose scent in an enclosed space.  No, I'll generally be testing tuberose scents in the comfort of my own home... keeping them all to myself!
First post tomorrow.  I can't wait.

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