Recently, I got my hands on a sample of L’Artisan Perfumeur’s Nuit de Tubereuse (Night of Tuberose). I was expecting something heady and floral, until I had a realization: I don’t actually know what tuberose (pictured at left) is supposed to smell like. Does it smell like a rose? Like tubes? Was it one of those things where the name has nothing to do with the scent? I consulted the expert noses over Basenotes.com. “A very strong, sweet, exotic, gardenia,” one poster wrote. “The initial impression I had of the ingredient was that it was dark, imperious, and yet overwhelmingly familiar. There was an almost wine-like sweetness to it, but the impression was that this was the sort of wine you’d suck right out of the earth,” wrote another. Those were both evocative, but I was more confused than when I started. Then I consulted my trusty coworkers. Here’s what they had to say:

“Alcohol mixed with fresh soil.”

“Orange? Orange and clove. Maybe not clove.”

“A more musky version of Love’s Baby Soft.”

“Just… floral. I don’t know what else to say.”

“Orange peel?”

“A perfume I once got in a goody bag. I don’t remember what it was. Something floral.”

“It reminds me of this giant pink powder puff my mom had when I was a kid.”

“Flowers!!!”

And there you have it. We may not have come to office consensus on precisely what tuberose smells like, but Nuit de Tuberose is floral, light, and vageuly citrus-inspired. All in all, our respondents agreed that it was an excellent summer scent. Which is good, because by the time everyone in the office had a spritz the whole place smelled like tuberose.