December 14, 2009

Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle/Dominique Ropion


It might seem counter-intuitive to wear Carnal Flower, the tuberose and cut-grass extravaganza, in the depths of winter, but the darkest days highlight its brightness and light.  It's a lifeline to the energy of green sap flowering into thick white petals that truly enliven the grayest of days.  My rather simple and dark winter wardrobe is enhanced by contact with it because it has enough body to cling to natural fibers and give a lift when next I put on the scarf, sweater or coat, plus the ultra-smooth freshness is a neat contrast to the woolen thicknesses and the winter air.  It also hangs in the humid air of summer with loads of redolent grace notes unfurling slowly around with a delicious headiness that does not cross the line into too much in any sense.  Instead it invites you to keep reaching for more while keeping its distance enough to stay interesting to the nose without exhausting it.  It pulls off an appeal that is both primitive/instinctual and refined/elegant, which is not a trick well-played very often.

It's a surprise to find I am so enthralled because I've never been a fan of tuberose as a dominant note. So often it has affected me like the cloying, overwhelming quality of a lily in a closed room. Still, long after getting to the end of a small sample I found it lingered on my mind, so I got another, larger sample, and now realize it's one worth aiming for in full size, costly though it is.  This one is worth it, as a great example of the perfumer's art.  I see from the list of perfumes composed by Dominique Ropion that tuberose seems to be a predilection of his, a type of material that is both naturally dominant and malleable to subtle pushes in different directions that will directly lead into other notes of a perfume's composition. 

Editionsdeparfums says that Ropion used head space technology to capture and then analyse the formula of real tuberose, which must be why that sense of a living flower is rendered so realistically.  He then exaggerated certain aspects and married them to a soft musk that weds the perfume to the skin.  That is probably what keeps the tuberose from taking over and becoming overwhelming as it is often wont to do.  Instead it combines with an individual's skin tone in such a way as to bring the liveliness and grace of a heady floral into the personal envelope of warmth and character of the wearer.  Other very softly rendered notes, melon and coconut among them, act as stepping stones leading down to the musk.  Since this perfume came out in 2006, many have written about its particular lyrical beauty and addictive quality, and now I know from experience everything they say is true.

Above Blue and Green Music by Georgia O'Keefe

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I had this experience once. I was at a concert of experimental music, we were all standing around and at one moment I got captured by an amazing tuberose scent I was speachless, I was really striken somewhere, deep in my heart, the only words that came into my mind were Carnal Flower that's it! I remember the back of the woman that probably was wearing it leaving the hall. I thought I must get a tuberose scent for me! I tried Fracas, Carnal Flower, Tuberose by Profumum a very sunny tuberose, and also Miller Harris, Creed, Beyond Love .. I am so perplexed by it! It's the most enchanting scent, I think it makes an impressive blooming on me and then it goes away quite soon .... Someone said to me that women who work on tuberose fields have to be kept away after working for several days cause the scent is very seductive and men overreact to it......... I don't know if this is true, but I am not a man and it got me somehow!!! :-)

Lucy said...

Anon, your enjoyment of this note is a thing of beauty in itself, and I am glad that there are a number of perfumes which extend the experience for you!

Scent Hive said...

Carnal Flower truly is a lovely fragrance and I agree that it can bring comfort and coziness to the dark winter hours. Have you tried the Carnal Flower body butter? It is sheer luxurious decadence!! I have a tiny sample pot and have been coveting a full jar for months now.

~Trish

Lucy said...

Yes Trish, I have heard about it and it sounds really delicious. A wish list item, for sure.

chayaruchama said...

Ah, Lu.
Smitten ?

Trish is quite naughty- the body butters are as luxe as one could dream of....

I'm grateful to scented wonders like these, that lighten our winter load ;-)

Lucy said...

C, the body butter seems almost too too decadent but I can always find a way to force myself...

Nasir said...

nice...its great....Specially pict awesome ....

Perfumaniac said...

The tuberose is indeed alive and kicking in Carnal Flower. incredible! And I agree with you — it's addictive!

Lucy said...

P/B,

Yes, I have tried it again and it really send me! I wonder what the cassis butter would be like -- next time!