I’m BACK! Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse 1 Capricieuse Review


“Did you miss me? Did you miss me? Did you miss me?”

“But he’s dead, you told me he was dead… so how can he be back?”

Fans of the hit BBC series Sherlock will immediately get the reference to the return of Moriarty (Sherlock’s arch-nemesis) at the end of the final episode of Season 3. I do suppose I should be allowed to provide this ‘spoiler’, seeing as how the episode came out at the very beginning of the year in January, so fans of the show would already have known about it. In any case, it feels good to be back. A number of reasons have made it difficult for me to blog about perfume for some time now:

  • I’m a graduate student now. And part of being a graduate student means having lots of work and non-stop essay writing. That has certainly taken away some of my writing mojo when it comes to writing about perfume, since I don’t particularly feel like writing when given that rare occasional break from my studies. But then I remind myself how carthartic writing can be (and especially perfume writing, which is good for one’s spirits!), so here I am again. I suppose I do also need to learn to better manage my time, since The Smelly Vagabond is something that I want to be committed to.

Life as an economics graduate student

  • The lack of access to perfumeries in New Haven. Now this is one rather large obstacle that I face. How does one write about perfume when there isn’t any perfume to write about? I mean, sure, there were the 10 decants that I brought up when I first moved to the US. But I’ve written about most of them, and do require new ones that tickle my fancy in order to write about something. Now, you might say, “Surely you could just take a train down to New York, where perfumeries abound, and have a blast of a time in any of them!”, to which I’d nod emphatically in agreement, following which I’d have to hang my head in shame, because I’ve been to New York on only one of the weekends in the 3 months (gasp! time flies!) that I’ve been in the US even though I would have loved to go every single weekend. And that time was with friends who weren’t particularly interested in anything remotely perfume-y, so traipsing off was a no-go – we ended up doing some of the touristy things such as visiting Times Square, catching the Staten Island ferry to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, etc. but still none of that can compare to visiting a perfumery – which speaks volumes of how much of a nut job I am 😀
  • The solution, I’ve found, is really to get on eBay. Now, eBay US is nothing short of a treasure trove. In general, I’ve found (based on my personal experience) that prices of fragrances on eBay US tend to be higher than those on eBay UK, which suggests that US eBayers do know the value of their fragrances better than their UK counterparts, or do more market research before listing their perfumes on eBay. As a result, it’s been a lot harder for me to snag crazy deals like I used to be able to in the UK. On the plus side, however, the range of fragrances that goes on eBay US tends to be much larger than in the UK, no doubt due to the much larger market here. Thus far my best find would have to be a lot of Estée Lauder miniatures, including some extraits, which went for just slightly over $20. But I haven’t been having much luck with the full bottles. So there are pluses and minuses. And then there are the online perfume retailers such as LuckyScent, BeautyHabit, TwistedLily, Fragrancenet, etc. etc. (not a plug for them, by the way, I’m just listing what I know!). Prices aren’t as good as compared to eBay, but there are many things on these sites as compared to eBay. The perfume I’ll be reviewing, Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse 1 Capricieuse, came from BeautyHabit, and I bought it when they had a promotion offering a voucher and a gift with purchase. I often find myself reluctant to purchase at full price (for good reason – I’m a poor student with far too many fragrances already), but at the same time, I’m also easily sucked into purchasing when there’s a sale. I wonder if I’m the only one… Let me know in the comments section if you prefer eBay or an online perfume retailer, and why! I’d say I’m a bit more of a “whatever gives me the best deal” kind of person – it helps that I’m generally rather patient with purchases! (except for the Frederic Malles that I’ll have to panic buy now that Estée Lauder have bought over the brand – yes, I am keeping up with fragrant news!)

This describes how I shop online frequently – at present I’ve got over $200 worth of fragrances in my Fragrancenet cart, which I haven’t checked out… yet.

  • Lack of inspiration – ah, the bane of every writer. I would describe myself as one of those creative sorts who can’t write without inspiration. I can’t just sit down and crank out words. I’ve tried that before, only to end up spending an hour staring blankly at the computer screen. I suspect this lack of inspiration is somewhat linked to my lack of reading anything that’s not a textbook and recent non-consumption of movies.

All that said and done, I’d like to apologize to those of you who’ve hung around on the blog for the lack of updates, and to thank you at the same time for sticking with me. Although it’s been a rough patch, I’m definitely in this for the long haul 🙂 So, on to perfume reviewing!

source: fragrantica.com

Smelling Tubéreuse 1 Capricieuse (T1C for short) for the first time, one could be forgiven for thinking that it should have been called Suede Crusade instead. Honestly, it smells further from tuberose than any other tuberose fragrance that I have, and it is in fact a lot less tuberose-y than its counter parts Tubéreuse 2 Virginale (a fruity tuberose in a similar vein as Juicy Couture) and Tubéreuse 3 Animale (a dark, dense and smouldering tuberose shot through with immortelle). Rather, what we get is a rather strong blast of suede right from the outset that is paired with dry, dusty saffron, and strangely the sum of this unlikely combination is that of linoleum. I have no idea how I got there, but T1C really does smell remarkably like the linoleum I used to work with in art classes when I was younger. Linoleum is one of those materials that is highly reminiscent of rubber, though it is more pliable and can be cut fairly easily with a regular pen knife. Here’s an example of a linoleum cutting:

source: rverdaguer.com

Another image that flashed in my mind as I smelt T1C was that of camels wearing leather saddles bearing saffron across the desert. Once again, I have no idea how that came about – it just did!

So it really is quite a bit of a misnomer for T1C to bear the name it does. But I’m not too bothered by the name (although I sometimes hold double standards when I rant about the lack of coherence between Le Labo fragrances and their names), because T1C really is quite gripping. Case in point: an iris note soon evolves, itself grey, austere and dry, and it is this very iris note that sings in perfect harmony with the suede and saffron. For me, T1C is an excellent study in blending ingredients that tread the very thin tightrope between dryness and creaminess – it never veers into territory that is coarse, boorish or ‘outdoorsy’, which I often find to be the case when a fragrance employs birch tar (not that being coarse, boorish, or ‘outdoorsy’ is a bad thing in any way, it’s just a different mood for a different time), and yet at the same time it doesn’t veer into suntan territory or ‘loud white floral of the 80s’ territory either. My guess is that the tuberose plays the supporting role in suffusing the composition with a butteriness that prevents the composition from turning bone dry.

Over time, the suede becomes less prominent, and T1C becomes a dusting of powder and soft musks that evoke for me the shifting sand dunes in an empty desert, long after the camels have walked away.

For some reason, I’m not sure that T1C will find itself many fans, seeing as it doesn’t play to conventional stereotypes, but I personally find it compelling and intriguing, and I do prefer it to its sister Equistrius, by Parfum d’Empire, whom it shares a few similarities with. A captivating beauty indeed.

Since I haven’t been around in a while, please do comment do let me know how you’ve been and what fragrant business you’ve been up to! In particular, what was your last online purchase? Did you buy from eBay or some other online perfume retailer?

~ The Smelly Vagabond


26 thoughts on “I’m BACK! Histoires de Parfums Tubéreuse 1 Capricieuse Review

  1. Thanks for your fine review. I enjoy this house’s fragrance and was curious about these tuberose releases, I hope you’ll review the Animale version soon, since I’ve heard a few people rave about it.
    I began my fragrance addiction by searching Ebay, but lately I’ve sampled many niche fragrances that aren’t readily available there. Which means I’ve racked up some big orders from LuckyScent over the last few months. It’s such an expensive hobby/obsession!

    • Dear Deb,

      I do have a travel spray of the Animale version, but that’s back in Singapore (my home country), so it would have to wait till after June! Off the top of my head, and from what I remember, the immortelle is definitely very much present, and gives the fragrance that boozy, honeyed tobacco smell that is somewhat similar to what one would experience with Chergui, but which is built on top of creamy tuberose. I’d say that it’s more of a bombshell that Capricieuse, and I’m not sure I’d ever get a full bottle of that one just because it’s not easy to wear.

      I wish I could adopt the philosophy that others do, which is to part with bottles that are unloved, but I’m far too much of a pack rat to ever want to get rid of perfumes that I almost never wear, on the off-chance that one day I’d want to wear them. Definitely an expensive hobby!

  2. I certainly missed you. 🙂 I’ve been off blogging and perfumes for a while for a personal reason but I did check your blog from time to time.
    My latest online purchases were L’Agent, Boucheron, Galanos, La Violette and Mandragore but Galanos got spilt in transit…
    I enjoyed reading your article in ODOU, by the way.

    • Dear thinkingmagpie,

      Thank you very much, you have been missed as well – I hope you’re feeling better these days, and I’m sorry about your late husband. Lots of hugs and much love for you ❤ ❤ ❤

      You must let me know what you think of your purchases, I think of that list I've only tried Boucheron and Mandragore, and I'm curious to know what you think of the rest. And I hope reading the ODOU article made you laugh! 🙂

  3. I do miss you. But I’m also happy for you being such a good student…
    T1 is one I really like, it has the right amount of tuberose for me: basically untraceable. But I find it slightly more ‘giddy’ and ‘girly’ than Equistrius and it’s a scent that makes me smile.

    • Dear Sabine,

      Oh, how I wish I were back in London and able to pay you visits/go perfume shopping with you whenever we wanted! Truth be told, I’m very London-sick, and that has contributed to my lack of inspiration. You’re right that T1 is slightly more giddier (headier?) and ‘girly’ than Equistrius – I preferred T1 because it went less gourmand for me.

  4. I love TC1- saffron, iris, cocoa and a bit of tuberose to make it edgy and special. LOVE.
    And I know how you feel, no perfumeries here either. Last perfumes were swaps MDCI Vepres Sicilienne, and HdP Moulin Rouge 😀
    Good to see you back.

  5. I checked in every week, then saw you pop up on FB! I know what you mean about having to write when the muse strikes me. And maybe online samples are the way to go to stay in touch with the ‘scent scene’. This perfume intrigues me from your description, though I nearly switched off at linoleum. Then the suede and saffron reeled me in, and muted tuberose is always good.

    • Dear Vanessa,

      Wow, that was very dedicated of you; I wish I could say the same of myself for my own blog! Even with samples, though, I do sometimes find it hard to write a full review – most of the time, I write after having lived with the fragrance for a LONG time.

      Btw, I think linoleum smells fantastic. But then I have a strange liking for the smell of rubber/vinyl etc. I’m a strange person 🙂

  6. I adore this perfume and wrote a way over the top review of it if you want more love for this delectable saffron suede.

    I’m the same as you also re the inspiration. It either comes or it doesn’t; you can either write or you can’t, but I know that when you do finally get to spend a weekend properly nosing around the perfumeries of NYC thou shalt be in heaven.

  7. Hey Smelly, Let me know what’s on your Fragrantica cart via PM…I may be able to send you a care package. It’s silly to spend $$$s for samples (they’re samples, right?) if you have perfume friends willing to share :-). My last FB purchase was Bvlgari Man in Black at Sephora using a 20% off coupon. I love “bargains” or at least, not paying full price.

    • Dear hajusuuri,

      You are far too kind! I’d be more than happy to swap samples with you (I’ve accumulated a few since coming here, but it’s nothing compared to my sample collection back home in Singapore) – I’ll drop you an email soon 🙂 I think for me, just knowing that I’m not paying full price makes me far more likely to want to buy something, even when it’s just slightly discounted. But of course, the better the deal, the happier I am!

  8. Nah, I didn’t miss you… Just kidding. But I do see you on Facebook so it didn’t feel like a real absence. Though I’m glad you’re back here.

    Histoires de Parfums is one of the brands that hasn’t grabbed me with those perfumes that I managed to get to try so with my dislike of tuberose I don’t think this one will be for me.

    Don’t buy samples! Save your money for the next trip to NY (you just have to go there at Christmas time!). Meanwhile let’s find you something to write about. Send me an e-mail and we’ll check if I have something you haven’t tried yet.

  9. Pingback: MiN New York | The Smelly Vagabond

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