First off, my apologies, but this is not the Tabu that you can currently buy at CVS. My bottle of Tabu is vintage, a gift from a girl who was happy to be rid of her grandmother’s “disgusting” perfume. While many today would call Tabu an “old lady” perfume, back in the day it was a scandalous little somethin’ somethin’. Tabu’s perfumer, Jean Carles, was given very specific instructions: make a perfume that a prostitute would wear. Tabu is no virginal floral, that’s for sure.
The notes, from Now Smell This, are: bergamot, coriander, neroli, orange, spices, clove bud oil, clover, jasmine, narcissus, oriental rose, ylang ylang, amber, benzoin, cedar, civet, moss, musk, patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver. Tabu is both sweet and spicy, giving a strong impression of incense and cloves. This is some potent stuff; one tiny drop is more than enough. According to Now Smell This, the current version is even heavier. I can’t even imagine.
So did Carles succeed in his assignment? Well, back in 1932, any woman who did much more than “lie back and think of England” during sexytimes probably could have been considered a prostitute.
I will say that I think Tabu would work best on a self-assured, sexually confident woman, like famous Tabu-wearers Dorothy Dandridge and Ava Gardner. Now if only we could actually convince those sexually confident women to wear this instead of whatever Victoria’s Secret is selling these days.
Disclaimer: My bottle of Tabu was a gift. The current formulation is sold in drugstores.