I know that here at Scents of Self, we sometimes give Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez (the authors of Perfume: The Guide) a bit of a hard time. It’s all in good fun, of course, but I have to say that they make it fairly easy for me by always being wrong. Take their review of Superworld Unknown, which would have you believe that this fragrance is a “classical oriental descended from Emeraude.” Really? Huh. Because I could have sworn that it smelled like gummy bears. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is a solidly three-star fragrance. But it is most certainly not classical or oriental, unless I’ve been eating the wrong kinds of gummy bears.
So what is Superworld Unknown, besides the most ridiculously named perfume since Mariah Carey’s Lollipop Bling? It’s a sweet gourmand fragrance with an absolutely beautiful orange blossom note. This is probably the most I’ve ever liked orange blossom in a perfume, which means that true orange blossom lovers should stay far away from it. I almost never like orange blossom fragrances because I usually find them entirely too syrupy. Unfortunately, this lovely orange blossom does not combine particularly well with the strong lime note that follows. There’s some nice sandalwood in the drydown. It smells a little like being in the bath bomb section of a Lush store (the bath bombs give off a lot of powder).
Like many of Lush’s Gorilla Perfume line, Superworld Unknown is sometimes pretty and sometimes merely odd. Despite the otherworldly name, I don’t find Superworld Unknown to be as evocative or transportive as some of Lush’s other fragrances. To be honest, I mostly wrote this review just so that none of you poor perfumistas would buy Superworld Unknown under the mistaken belief that it was the Second Coming of Emeraude. Oh, Luca and Tania, you crazy kids.
My mother does not wear perfume. She and my father are (allegedly) allergic to it. When I excitedly showed her my new bottle of L’Artisan Safran Troublant last month, her only comment was “It’s not terrible.” (You don’t even want to know what she said about L’Heure Bleue.) My mother has only really connected with my love of fragrances on one occasion: when I asked her to try a discontinued perfume, Guerlain Meteorites. Upon smelling Meteorites, she gasped and said that it smelled just like a violet-scented doll that she had as a child. She even compared it to Proust’s beloved madeleines.
Tuca Tuca will be practically Proustian for anyone with happy memories of violet-flavored confections like Parma Violets or Choward’s Violet Mints. This gorgeous perfume is as instantly cheerful as its name. Violet fragrances are tricky. They tend to be unbalanced, skewing either too sweet, too powdery, or too green. Tuca Tuca skillfully avoids each of these potential pitfalls. Tuca Tuca is one of the very few perfectly candied violet perfumes, and is no doubt the most easily accessible and inexpensive of the lot. At a criminally cheap $29 an ounce, I consider this a must-try for anyone seeking a sweet violet fragrance.
A word of caution: I like Tuca Tuca best in the solid perfume formulation. The liquid version is a little screechier.