Le Labo Tubereuse 40 ~ fragrance review

Le Labo Tubereuse 40

Tubereuse 40 is the latest release from the New York-based niche line Le Labo. It was created by perfumer Alberto Morillas, and the notes include bergamote, neroli, petitgrain, citron, rosemary, orange blossom, tuberose, rose, jasmine, mandarin, mimosa, oakmoss, benzoin, cedar, sandalwood and musk.

Tubereuse 40, like many of the fragrances in the Le Labo line, isn't a fragrance that highlights the note in the name; in other words, this isn't a fragrance about tuberose at all, although tuberose is one of the 40 ingredients. What it is, instead, is a lovely take on a classic citrusy cologne, with lots of orange blossom and neroli (I would have called this one Fleur d'Oranger or Neroli, but Le Labo has already used those names) accented by jasmine and tuberose and resting on a mossy-woods base. The citrus notes are almost incredibly round and full, and they are still round and full a good hour into the experience; Le Labo used a 30% concentration of oils (a dosage higher than many extraits) and it shows.

As with a classic cologne, Tubereuse 40 can be worn by either sex, but it departs from a classic cologne in its excellent lasting power. If you get it on your coat, you'll still smell it several days later. And what better to smell on your coat in mid-winter than a whiff of orange grove? I usually pack away my citrusy scents in the fall, and then start reaching for them again during the January blahs; but by and large, that is the product of desperation. Few citrus scents are really robust enough to really stand up to winter. Tubereuse 40 is robust enough. L'Artisan's Fleur d'Oranger, lovely as it is, seems pale and wispy in comparison, and it fades to nothing while the Tubereuse is just getting started.

Now for the bad news. Tubereuse 40 is the first in a projected series of city-exclusive fragrances. You can buy it in New York only, at the Le Labo boutique in Nolita or at the in-store boutique at Barneys. In person, that is — no telephone or internet orders. The price is $230 for 50 ml (*weeps*) or $360 for 100 ml (*weeps harder*).

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely agree that this one is robust and round, I really like that quality in fragrances, and in a “cologne” it is especially pleasant, because unexpected. I am weeping with you and treasuring my little sample spray.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Will be interesting to see what we get for Dallas, which I'm guessing will be the next city exclusive, although they say they are also opening in Los Angeles & Paris soon. Also wondering if anyone has tested this — that is, actually called Barneys to see if they'll ship it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    OK, with these can't-have-it perfumes, there's always the struggle of working out whether you're taken by it because it's really really GOOD, or whether you're being seduced by its unavailability. (I have a JAR sample that twists me in knots over this question.) Do you reckon it would be just as attractive were it widely available? If the answer is 'yes', I am going to start crying, as the chances of me making it to NY from Britain are nil!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I do think it is really good, and I am not at all seduced by its unavailability — I go to NY several times a year, so I can buy it if I want. But, it isn't my absolute favorite from Le Labo, and I wouldn't pay the price for it unless they are releasing it in one of the little travel sprays. I am way too cheap to spend $230 on 50 ml of anything. Obviously I will never own a JAR, LOL…does JAR even make anything less than $250?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Huh. I think Judith and I got more tuberose than anyone else (the LL fragrance names are often misleading, I agree!) I would have liked more neroli, BTW — I didn't like their actual Neroli as much.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I didn't care for Neroli or Fleur d'Oranger. Both were very clean & fresh. In general I like the LL stuff for men much better than the rest (the Rose, Patchouli, Vetiver, Bergamote). Although maybe Neroli was for men too, can't remember…

  7. Anonymous says:

    R, I don't want to even think how much the JAR would cost! But it really is good – if I had that kind of money it would be worth every penny. However, £140 for 50ml is A Bit Much (although somehow £180 for 100ml of Fleur de Narcisse seems worth contemplating – LOL).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Luckily for me, I didn't much like Narcisse, although I haven't yet tried on skin. That packaging is beautiful though!

    Which JAR are you loving, by the way?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Diamond Water. *sob*

  10. Anonymous says:

    That is a very pretty scent. The one I want is Bolt of Lightning, which I believe is the most expensive of the bunch, something over $700. No chance. I wish they'd give out samples, LOL…

  11. Anonymous says:

    I thought that it was pretty for the first 30min, but that the base was much less interesting. Not sure if I would spend that kind of money on it though.

  12. Anonymous says:


    I admit that after yesterday I kind of never want to see the words Le Labo again, but I'm still very intrigued by this line and this one in particular sounds tempting. Shame about the exclusivity and the price though (typing that sentence I might as well have been talking about SL, JAR, etc. which is usually whom LL try to avoid seeming like (or at least, that was my impression) — so hrmph!).

  13. Anonymous says:

    Is this in a splash or spray bottle, and if spray, is it screw on or crimp?
    Just wondering as that has a lot to do with the potential longevity of the citrus notes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This one might be my favorite from Le Labo. The opening is 100% 4711 Cologne on me, which I found both amusing and interesting, and then it takes on this “wet garden” thing that I just love – freshly cut stems, flower petals and wet roots, with the citrus still hanging around. I am posting my review of it tomorrow.

    And since I live in NY, I have no reason to be offended over the no-ship policy, though I expect to feel terribly affronted when the other city exclusives make their debut. :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    V, I won't spend the money, but I've liked it more the more I've worn it. Still like Bergamote better though!

  16. Anonymous says:

    A, I saw the big blowup on civet on MUA, and actually wouldn't have posted this today because of that except that I had nothing else to post. I don't like the exclusivity thing either. It doesn't seem to be done in quite so snotty a way as JAR & SL, and I do sympathize with the idea of not wanting your whole business to be done in some faceless way on the internet. More than that, I just like the line so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt I guess.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A, the only bottles of LL that I have are the small travel bottles. They appear to be crimped — I can't open them, at any rate.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes, if Dallas gets something fabulous, I am going to be mad. If Paris gets the best, I'll be even madder.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit that I really love this. I bought the 1/2 oz. size, which is about $90.00–overpriced, and ridiculous in its exclusivity–but lovely nevertheless.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Glad to know there is a 15 ml available, I wasn't sure…this is the one I will end up buying eventually!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have issues with this fragrance. The bottle design is terrible! Furthermore, since when did living in the United States but outside of New York, exclude one from a fragrance. There are a lot of great fragrances out there (Un Lys, for example) to be excluding those outside of New York.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I finally was near the LeLabo boutiques today and got to smell this. Very nice and REALLY long lasting. I sprayed it on my wrist at about 11:30 this morning, and I can STILL smell it at 8:46 PM! The cute lil 15ml bottle went up in price to $104. I would have purchased it in the discovery set size of 5ml but they did not offer this scent in that size. Afterwards, I went to Bond 9 and Aedes. I was going to buy the Doge, but they were out of it. :-(

    Oh, almost forgot…I got my Pacifica TMT today…LOVE!

  23. Anonymous says:

    ACK — is it $140 for 15 ml?? I'll have to stick with the lovely Pacifica.

    If you're determined, bet you could get the Doge at Lafco.

  24. Blimunda says:

    Oh man, this was available in London for one month at the end of last year – and it is my favourite from their entire line. It is radiant. And Perfect for the January ‘blahs’ as you so descriptively put it! I’m partaking of its uplifting shine this very January, in fact, and it is the perfect Winter antidote!

    • Robin says:

      It is perfect for January — need to pull out my decant!

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