Of all the florals at a perfumer’s disposal, tuberose is probably the most potent, intoxicating, and divisive. Depending on how it’s used, it can range from green and fresh to downright exotic and erotic.
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There was a time when the white floral was synonymous with the forbidden and all sorts of carnality. Young women, especially, might be led astray if exposed to the temptations of tuberose at night.
Originally from Mexico, it is now mainly grown in India, Egypt and France. Tuberose absolute is expensive to produce so perfumers will sometimes use a mix of naturals and synthetics to produce a similar effect.
We present the best of the genre, from the classics to more recent releases, in a variety of styles and budgets. And no tuberose isn’t just for women, so we’ve included several unisex options here too.
Where known, the name of the perfumer is included in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
Our Top Recommendations For Tuberose Fragrances
Robert Piguet Fracas EDP (Germaine Cellier)
There are several classic tuberose fragrances on the market, including Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower EDP and Diptyque Do Son EDT. However, Robert Piguet Fracas remains the benchmark against which all others are measured. It was inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Tuberose is known for its intensity and this EDP, which was launched in 1948, takes it to the max in a most elegant way.
Peach and orange blossom notes stand out in the opening, but tuberose takes pride of place in the floral heart of the fragrance, which also includes notes of jasmine, gardenia, osmanthus and narcissus.
The sensuality of the tuberose is masterfully complemented by the base notes of sandalwood and musk.
Madonna took major inspiration from Fracas for the creation of her rather good 2012 fragrance debut, Truth or Dare.
Giorgio Beverly Hills EDT (Bob Aliano)
The debut fragrance from the designer fashion boutique that put LA’s Rodeo Drive on the luxe shopping map was launched in 1981 with a mega-bash suitable for the so-called “decade of excess”.
From the first spray, with its flourish of sweet orange blossom and peach, and even in its current formulation, it’s unapologetically big. Some might even say it’s brash and ostentatious. Apparently, it was even banned from restaurants due to its overpowering style.
Giorgio Beverly Hills EDT is really about its flamboyant florals, with tuberose, gardenia and jasmine leading the opulent white florals charge. Ylang-ylang also makes a fruity appearance. The overall effect is wonderfully optimistic and uplifting.
There’s a lot happening in the drydown. But I can pick out a pleasurable blend of oakmoss, sandalwood and vanilla notes.
More than four decades later and several changes in ownership later, don’t let its banishment to the budget shelves put you off it.
Le Jardin Retrouvé Tubéreuse Trianon EDP (Yuri Gutsatz)
Inspired by a walk in the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, this 1985 release from one of the niche industry pioneers is a personal favourite of mine. I’m always keen to try fragrances containing the white floral and this EDP is one of the best I’ve smelled so far.
It opens with an unmistakable waft of tuberose. Fresh and luscious, it’s complemented by notes of jasmine and ylang-ylang, without smothering them. Hints of raspberry, coconut and coriander add another dimension to the scent.
It’s on the sweet side, but in a most sophisticated way. I’ve been wearing this beauty in the recent sweltering heat here in Johannesburg. It’s the ideal weather to reveal its complexity.
Givenchy Amarige EDT (Dominique Ropion)
This 1991 classic has aged well and still makes a powerful statement. Hard to believe it’s an EDT.
Created by legendary master perfumer Dominique Ropion, it’s one of those big, complex and busy compositions. So I won’t claim to be able to detect all of the notes.
There’s a fruity opening, courtesy of notes of peach and plum. Orange blossom adds to the luxe vibe.
The sumptuous heart is all about florals, especially tuberose and mimosa, their green qualities brought to the fore.
The abundant warmth radiates through to the drydown where tonka bean, sandalwood and vanilla stand out.
While this scent is sweet from start to finish, it’s never cloying. I’m talking supreme sophistication here.
Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds EDT (Carlos Benaïm)
Although she’s no longer with us, Elizabeth Taylor remains the grande dame of celebrity fragrances. This 1991 release is the perfect example of why the genre has much to offer, contrary to the snobs who say otherwise.
An all-time classic, it was inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 2009, the first celebrity fragrance to receive that recognition.
It opens with the distinctive soapiness of aldehydes mingling with the spiciness of lily and honeyed citrus of neroli.
As with many perfumes from that era, there’s a complex bouquet of florals, including notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang and narcissus, to lose yourself in. But the tuberose still shines through with its narcotic qualities.
Settling on a base of musk and sandalwood, it’s gorgeously glamorous and way more expensive smelling than its price suggests.
Jivago 24K EDT (Ilana Jivago)
I’d never heard of Jivago until the Beverly Hills-based company kindly sent me a bottle of 24K to review. This is the EDT version of the debut fragrance created by the brand’s founder, Ilana Jivago. Although released in 1994, there’s something very 80s about it. In that big, bold style, which I’m a complete sucker for.
It opens with a powdery, slightly fruity Bulgarian rose.
There is more florals of the white variety. Tuberose Absolute is the boss here, but jasmine sambac also makes an impact. The effect is intense and animalic.
With its orris note and amber accord, the drydown sees powderiness and earthiness aplenty.
Although it wasn’t created with this in mind, it puts me in rich bitch mode whenever I wear it. You’ve been warned…
L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons EDT (Anne Flipo)
While perfume is not going to solve the world’s problems, it is a reminder of the beauty to be found in it.
We’re all for a floral lift and the wonderfully named La Chasse aux Papillons does just that in such a charming way (it’s inspired by childhood memories of chasing butterflies).
Launched in 1999, this EDT is a straight-up bouquet of white flowers that includes jasmine, orange blossom and especially tuberose. The latter is light and bright, not intoxicating and animalic.
Softly sweet, this enchanting scent is guaranteed to put a smile on your face whenever you wear it.
Diptyque Do Son EDT (Fabrice Pellegrin)
Inspired by Diptyque co-founder Yves Coueslant’s memories of his childhood in Do Son, Vietnam (then Indochina), this 2005 release from the Paris-based niche brand and the perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin captures the idea of the special smell of tuberoses wafting on the sea breeze in a beautifully evocative style.
Orange blossom stands out in the intro, with its fresh and sunny sweetness.
Its animalic qualities are further developed by the spicy take on tuberose, while jasmine adds to the overall depth. A subtle marine mood is discernible in the background.
The warmth of summer is carried through to the drydown, where notes of benzoin and musk are in play.
The 2013 EDP version is also worthy of your attention.
Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower EDP (Dominique Ropion)
This 2005 release makes the most of the floral’s illicit reputation and was apparently inspired by Frédéric Malle’s aunt Candice Bergen’s role in the 1970s film Carnal Knowledge.
It was created by master perfumer Dominique Ropion, who also produced The Night, Promise and Cologne Indelebile for the Paris-based niche brand Frédéric Malle.
Starting out innocently enough with the freshness of melon, bergamot and tuberose notes, Ropion then explores the flower’s more temptatious flipside with assistance from absolutes of jasmine and orange blossom.
A note of coconut adds milkiness to the blend without venturing into tropical territory, and musk wraps up the seductive proposition in utmost style.
While I can’t verify the brand’s claims that it “contains by far the highest concentration of natural tuberose in the perfume industry”, it’s a veritable modern classic.
Le Labo Lys 41 EDP (Daphne Bugey)
Big doesn’t necessarily mean better, but in the case of this 2013 release from the NYC-based niche brand, it’s big and beautiful.
Three white florals are presented in all their formidable glory. While tuberose is the most prominent, lily and jasmine also get their chance to contribute to the sunny freshness.
Although not officially listed, I reckon there’s also some tiare flower, with its fruity and indolic attributes, in the mix.
Madagascan vanilla gives the bouquet a chic creaminess, with musk and woody notes prolonging the olfactory sensuality in the drydown.
It’s truly powerful stuff, so probably not the best option for the faint-hearted. Anyone else will lap it up with vigour.
Nishane Tuberóza EDP (Jorge Lee)
A 2014 release from the Istanbul-based niche brand’s Blossom Collection, Tuberóza opens in bright and light mode, with notes of ylang-ylang and orange blossom.
When the tuberose from Mexico (where it originates from) takes centre stage (can it be any other way?), it’s more fruity than animalic. Gardenia and marigold strengthen the floral ambiance.
The drydown sees the synthetic Amberwood, all musky woodiness, in combo with creamy sandalwood.
This extrait is a surprisingly uplifting take on the genre. The diva is so charming and warm, no wonder all the other actors are more than happy to lend their support.
Memo Marfa EDP (Alienor Massenet)
The Paris-based niche brand doesn’t just produce some of the best leather fragrances in the biz through their Cuirs Nomades Collection; it also has some superb florals to sniff out.
A 2016 release from the Fleurs Bohèmes Collection, this EDP is quite a streamlined affair by Memo standards and captures the nocturnal heat of its desert city inspiration with creative flair.
Notes of orange blossom and mandarin orange create a suitably warm ambience.
Luxuriously creamy tuberose absolute is given more sensual heat with oil of ylang-ylang and its fruity characteristics. An agave accord adds a touch of earthy greenery.
The drydown keeps the creaminess going with sandalwood oil, vanilla and musk.
The bottle with its all-seeing eye design is gorgeous too.
Boucheron La Collection Tubéreuse de Madras EDP (Christophe Raynaud)
There hasn’t been much hype or publicity around Boucheron La Collection, the private range inspired by the memories of the jewellery company’s gem hunters. It was launched in 2017 with seven unisex fragrances created by a variety of top perfumers.
This one opens with an uplifting note of orange blossom and a nice hint of fruity granadilla.
The vivid opening is complemented by the tuberose, with frangipani and ylang-ylang rounding off the tropical white florals effect. It’s not an overpowering, intoxicating tuberose, more of a sunny and reserved interpretation of it.
Vanilla and sandalwood notes feature in the drydown.
Smooth and slightly sweet, Tubéreuse de Madras is refined from start to finish.
Ralph Lauren Woman EDP (Anne Flipo)
Perhaps we can blame it on the success of Gucci Bloom because tuberose has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Launched in 2017, Ralph Lauren Woman is one of the better designer iterations. And that’s because it was created by Anne Flipo (L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons EDT, YSL Libre EDP, Chloé Love Story EDP).
The EDP opens with a fruity combo of fresh pear and tart blackcurrant.
The tuberose that follows is unashamedly strong and animalic. It’s sweetness and freshness are supported by orange blossom and a teeny-weeny hint of Turkish rose.
The creaminess of the tuberose continues through to the drydown where notes of hazelnut and sandalwood are evident.
Ralph Lauren Woman Intense EDP presents a more oriental interpretation of the original.
Gucci Bloom EDP (Alberto Morillas)
A collaboration between master perfumer Alberto Morillas and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, this 2017 release features natural tuberose from India, jasmine bud extract and Rangoon creeper (apparently the first time it had been used in a fragrance).
Gucci Bloom EDP is like being in a hothouse – wonderfully intoxicating or get-me-out-of-here suffocating, depending on your mood.
It’s been a resounding success for the Italian luxury fashion house, as five years after its original launch, we’re already onto the sixth flanker. I recommend the 2018 addition, Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori EDT, for its green freshness.
Vilhelm Parfumerie Moon Carnival EDP (Jérôme Epinette)
There’s something fabulously festive about this 2018 release from the NYC-based niche brand by the French perfumer Jérôme Epinette.
The opening has the fresh spiciness of notes of freesia and bergamot, with a tinge of tropical passionfruit.
Tuberose is paired with gardenia for a lush floral display that’s intoxicating in all the best ways. Perhaps the floral’s reputation is deserved, after all.
The powdery drydown features a playful mix of marshmallow and vanilla notes, without taking the scent in an obvious gourmand direction à la Ariana Grande.
Bvlgari Splendida Tubereuse Mystique EDP ( Sophie Labbé )
Some tuberose fragrances take no prisoners. They’re so heavy, they’re the equivalent of a floral nuke. Sophie Labbé is too good a perfumer to resort to such aggressive methods (she’s also created Patchouli Tentation EDP and Jasmin Noir EDP for the Italian luxury jewellery company’s Splendida Collection).
The opening of this 2019 release is fruity-green, thanks to a combo of davana and blackcurrant notes.
The titular tuberose (exclusively sourced in India), all creaminess, is given plenty of room to breathe, without dominating everything else in its immediate vicinity.
That creaminess is further developed in the drydown with vanilla, while myrrh brings a gently sweet spiciness to the EDP.
Gabrielle Chanel Essence EDP (Olivier Polge)
As with its predecessor, Gabrielle Chanel EDP, this 2019 release is inspired by the maverick spirit of Coco Chanel.
It isn’t a radical departure from the original but, like any worthwhile flanker, offers something different in its own right – a richer and denser character.
This is a white floral fragrance when the heart notes come into play after the citric and fruity intro.
Olivier Polge hasn’t skimped on the quality ingredients, which include jasmine, ylang-ylang from Comoros, Tunisian orange blossom, and an exclusive variety of Grasse tuberose.
Together, they create an enticingly luxurious effect with just the right amount of sweetness. The tuberose is the centerpiece, but it doesn’t detract from the other florals. It’s typically creamy but with a refined freshness.
That elegance carries through to the drydown, where white musk mingles with sandalwood and vanilla.
Giorgio Armani My Way EDP (Carlos Benaïm & Bruno Jovanovic)
The Si range has made a whole lotta money for Giorgio Armani and L’Oréal Luxe. And while it has not run its course quite yet, it was time for something new from the Italian designer brand.
Enter Giorgio Armani My Way EDP. This 2020 release is already a hit and bagged a Fragrance Foundation Award for 2021 Fragrance of the Year in the Women’s Prestige category.
It opens in fresh style, thanks to notes of Calabrian bergamot and Egyptian orange blossom.
Tuberose then makes its presence felt. Compared to many of the tuberose-heavy scents of recent years, it’s there, but not in-your-face there. It’s partnered with sunny jasmine. Neither of which are particularly animalic to my nose.
The drydown sees a smooth combo of vanilla, musk and cedarwood in play.
This is not an exciting, blow-me-away kind of perfume. But it is stylish in a familiar and safe way. And nothing wrong with that.
The first flanker, Armani My Way EDP Intense, ups the tuberose factor.
L’Interdit Givenchy EDP Rouge (Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo & Fanny Bal)
Some franchises are more rewarding than others.
Since the 2018 re-launch of L’Interdit Givenchy (the original Givenchy L’Interdit was created for Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s), I’ve learned to put any purist tendencies where they belong – in the past.
The range has been proceeding at a steady pace, with a new interpretation every year. L’Interdit EDP Rouge (2021) is my favourite so far. The sexy bottle got my attention first. The scent did the rest.
The opening is all spicy warmth, with notes of ginger, blood orange and pimento leaf.
Floral notes of jasmine and orange blossom increase the sensual vibe. Although not officially listed, there’s definitely some animalic tuberose lurking in the bouquet.
Creamy sandalwood and spicy patchouli feature in the drydown.
Bloody good stuff, I say.
Who would have thought… Britney’s latest fragrance, Blissful Fantasy, has got me feeling all philosophical.
There’s no light without the dark, as the pop star knows all too well. This 2022 release is decidedly cheerful, from the bottle and the juice to the price.
It opens with the fresh fruitiness of melon (probably the synthetic Calone at work). The freshness is accentuated with notes of lily and freesia.
There are more floral notes – tuberose, jasmine and tiare flower – for summery creaminess that’s carried through to the musky sandalwood drydown.
For some reason, this is not easily available in the United States, so get a good friend to buy it for you when they’re abroad in countries such as the UK.
Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.