Céline Barel: “Tuberose is too often caricatured”

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Céline Barel has been a perfumer at IFF since 2001, creating Aesop’s Tacit, Zoologist’s Squid, Jo Malone’s Vanilla & Anise, and Maison d’Etto’s Canaan and Durban Jane.


Interview from the chapter dedicated to the tuberose, in the book From Plant to Essence – A World Tour of Fragrant Raw Material (see below)

How would you describe the smell of tuberose?
The fresh flower has a narcotic, almost hypnotic and highly complex scent, with sunny, creamy notes reminiscent of coconut, as well as green, fresh, spicy and animalic facets. These characteristics are found in tuberose absolute, along with the slightly medicinal edge which methyl salicylate and methyl benzoate bring.

What is different about Tuberose Blooming?
To produce this LMR-exclusive absolute, the flower is picked at dusk, at peak bloom, when its emission of olfactory molecules is highest. This particular process helps eliminate the traditional absolute’s more medicinal and waxy facets, resulting in an olfactory profile which is much closer to that of the actual flower in the wild. Tuberose Blooming therefore brings its fruitier, lactonic, indolic qualities front and center, as well as highlighting its spicy, clove-like tones, all of which make it a more modern and seductive scent.

How do you like to use it in a composition?
It is a flower with many subtle layers, but sadly, it is all too often treated in the same way, caricatured in soliflores that reduce it to its lactonic coconut aspect, making it a bit “cheap” and obvious. For Canaan, which I composed for Maison d’Etto, I challenged this stereotype by creating a unisex tuberose. I sublimated it by combining it with oud wood, with which it shares camphoraceous, leathery and earthy facets. Wonderfully flamboyant, it is a symbol of power that men can appropriate.

This interview is from:
De la plante à l’essence – Un tour du monde des matières à parfums
From Plant to Essence – A World Tour of Fragrant Raw Material
(Français-English), Nez éditions, Collectif, 2021, 45$/30€

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