Place a few sprigs of fresh tuberose in a vase and they will fill up your room with their intoxicating, earthy and utterly voluptuous aroma for days. Such is the potency of these white flowers. Tuberose, or Rajnigandha as we call it in India, is a sweet, exotic and velvety floral note in the world of perfumery. The scent of tuberose, in olfactory terms, can be linked to that of green budding gardenia and orange blossom with strong hints of mud or earthy notes. The truest scent of tuberose is obtained by enfleurage, however, it is very time consuming and hence these days the absolute is widely used in perfumery. It takes over 1200 kgs of buds to give 200 gms of tuberose absolute, making it one of the most expensive raw material for a perfumer.

This flower has such a sensual and sultry character that there is much folklore around it. Victorians forbade young girls of inhaling the scent of tuberose in the fear they might have a spontaneous orgasm. Similarly, years ago young maidens were prohibited to help in the harvesting process as the lingering smell was so sensual that it could entice the men on the fields. Not sure how much of this is true, but its aphrodisiac character is undoubtedly potent. Tuberose finds its way in many perfumes as besides its sensuality, it is a nerve-calming, feel-good ingredient. It checks in negativity and induces a sense of abundance and joy.

Usually, in floral fragrances, just a small percentage of tuberose is used in classical feminine fragrance. One needs a sophisticated composition to carry tuberose as a star ingredient. So when I thought of Lolette, a fragrance that evoked style, sensuality, and cheerfulness, I chose to work with Indian tuberose as the hero ingredient. The creamy, solar, indolic, powerful menthol like tuberose is mixed with jasmine sambac and pimento to create a sensual carnal accord for a mysterious fragrance. When this fragrance was tested, it gave a very polarising response with either women loving it or hating it. A few classic fragrances which contain tuberose are L’Heure Bleue (Guerlain 1912), Fracas (Robert Piguet, 1948) & Oscar de la Renta (1977).

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