Anyone who loves Le Labo and loves tuberose would naturally be intrigued by Tubereuse 40 (around $300, if I remember correctly). My quest for my bottle earlier this year was epic. I had ordered and loved other Le Labo fragrances, and I really wanted to try Tubereuse 40. It's a Le Labo city exclusive, meaning that the only place you can purchase it is in the boutique in its city. Le Labo will not mail it; you must go to its city to buy it. Le Labo is a New York exclusive.
@Glowyjoeybunny, who lives in New York, went to the boutique, hoping to get a sample for me. She was told there were no samples. I really couldn't believe it, so I called the Le Labo boutique manager, who kindly explained that since they make their bottles of fragrances by blending the individual ingredients "on the spot" to fill an order, and since there are 40 different notes in Tubereuse 40, it would be impossible to create a little sample vial of it. He said that they usually end up with samples when they have a little bit left over from making up an order, but unfortunately they didn't have any at the time. That made sense. Joey did send me some other samples, and one in particular, Neroli 36, led to a recent purchase.
Then I tried to talk the manager into shipping one to me. It was a no-go. He patiently explained that the city exclusives were "really exclusive" to the city. You had to visit to buy them - otherwise they wouldn't be exclusive at all. He was apologetic, but firm, in telling me I had to visit New York to get it. There I was, still recovering from knee surgery, knowing I wasn't going to take the train to New York any time soon, but really wanting that perfume. Once someone tells me I can't have something, I seem to want it even more.
Before I go further, I will tell you that all of Le Labo's city exclusives will be available in November from Le Labo and LuckyScent, and you can order samples now to prepare. Of course, I didn't know that at the time. He probably didn't either. I went up to my favorite flower shop and bought some tuberose stems. I was distraught.
I hate asking people to do things for me, but I did. I asked my beautiful friend Gaia, The Non-Blonde, to pick one up for me the next time she went near the boutique. She bought one, and she shipped it to me. I was one happy gal! I had it - finally. Did it meet my expectations?
Absolutely yes - and more. Before I had it in my hands, the boutique manager and also a sweet gal at LuckyScent had told me that, despite its name, the fragrance wasn't a traditional tuberose fragrance - normally an intoxicating, sweet white floral, with a characteristic tuberose note and often sultry-heavy. Tuberose has a secondary role in Tubereuse 40. Le Labo does that. A name won't necessarily describe the predominant note in the scent. So, what I was expecting was a light citrus with a white floral accent. The manager had told me to imagine a light, breezy, fragrant citrus grove. The breeze blows in a suggestion of tuberose. You know it has passed by your nose, but it's fleeting. It was a good description. Here's how Le Labo describes it, slightly edited.
The Tubereuse 40, like most of our other scents, barely deserves its name. It is of course full of tubereuse (absolute and nothing less), but what hits you from the get-go is a wave of bergamot, tangerine, and orange flower that yields that surprising “Eau de Cologne” effect (despite its concentration of 30% which transforms this perfume into an extract). The first pschitt is hence pure well-being. The Tubereuse 40 then slowly develops to the woody/floral heart that gives it unique character and comfort. You smell the white florals where the tuberose finally has its say, and the woods (cedar and sandalwood) sing along with oak moss, musks, and ambrette absolute to rock you into a state of intensity, pureness, and bliss. As long as there is light, there is life. As long as there is NY, there will be Tubereuse 40.
The fragrance, according to LuckyScent has notes of ambrette absolute, bergamot, cedar, jasmin absolute, orange blossom absolute, mimosa absolute, oak moss absolute, petit grain, centifolis rose, and tuberose absolute. It's drop-dead gorgeous. Not overly sweet, to me, it's a light, sparkling citrus-floral blend. It's alive, with the joy of many of my favorite notes combined in a way that's unique. If any note takes center stage, it's orange blossom. I know I need a second bottle. Perhaps I'll order it in November, when I won't have to travel to get it (or send a friend out of her way).
Not long ago, I was wearing Tubereuse 40 at Neiman Marcus. A visitor from Guerlain (someone who knows and sells fragrances) complimented me on my fragrance. He smelled it, even though I couldn't (our noses often grow accustomed to a scent during the first hour of wear). I was delighted - not only by the compliment, but also that it came from a fragrance guru. Somehow that validated my love for it.
The Non-Blonde has been featuring the Le Labo city exclusives recently to help you prepare for the golden month when you can obtain them with a simple online order. She hooked me with Aldehyde 44. I received my sample this week, and I'm counting the days until I can order it.
You can purchase Le Labo fragrances in North America at Le Labo boutiques, online, and at LuckyScent - even the city exclusives in November only.
Photo courtesy of LuckyScent