Ooh-la-la Tabu! I remember buying a little violin shaped bottle when I was a teen-ager in one of the better drugstores in my town that actually had a cosmetics section with a sales associate just for that department. She would help the ladies (and teens too) with their beauty purchases. She was a wonderful person that would make you feel so grown-up...(smile). Such business they did because of that wonderful, caring woman.
Tabu, so much has been written here, and the history is correct. A perfume/cologne that has withstood the test of time since 1932? That should tell you something. If it's good, it better be good, or it just won't sell. The name has something to do with it, yes, but it's the scent, the illusion, the violin-shaped bottle all wrapped up into a neat package.
The scent-you'd better be prepared for it. It's heady,musky, alluring, sexy, a scent that a woman who knows who she is would wear. It's glandular, it's patchouli, it's thick, it's for you when you want to wrap yourself in a thick white cable sweater and a pair of jeans with a pair of librarian glasses and surprise the hell out of someone or if you're into these type of scents then it will just become one of your staples. It's not meant to be worn to a club/affair when you want to be sexy. If you don't understand the concept of Tabu, then it's not for you. You see, Tabu is sex personified when worn on the right woman.
It's the kind of scent that makes other people get a whiff and wonder just what is that woman wearing-but don't put it on heavy because then it will overpower others. It does turn heads. If Tabu cost five times what it did, its fans would still purchase it. And others would clamor to buy a bottle. People today are so caught up in designer names and their fragrances they don't get what fragrance is all about. It's about making someone feel good about themselves. It's about walking by someone and that other person smells something good but doesn't realize it's you. It doesn't matter the cost, what does matter is that it puts a smile on your face and power in your step. That's what Tabu was originally meant to do and it still does for women. Originally designed for a whore (‘un parfum de puta’), Jean Carles Tabu was created as sensual, shocking and yes, "Tabu", or "Tabou".
It begins as oriental with fresh citrus and spice, down to mid-notes of jasmine, narcissus, rose and ylang-ylang. The warm oriental base includes amber, resins, civet and precious woods – sandal and patchouli.
There is an incense tone to it that no one can resist and it is definitely not for immature women. It's spicy, animalistic, bohemian, wild, complex, brooding, decadent, mysterious, fierce, cozy, self-indulgent, non-conformist, serious, ruthless...well, you should get the point. You'll be remembered for wearing it if you are the right type of woman that knows who she is and what she's about. If you're just that wild, Tabu might just be for you.
I loved it as a teen, and I love it now. I wear other scents too, such as Shalimar, Opium and Pink Sugar, even straight Patchouli. Every woman wears what her body chemicals allow her to. That's what you have to remember. You can only try different fragrances and find what works for you.
Mmmm… this is YUMMY! Who the heck doesn’t like root beer float anyway? :-) I have never sniffed the original/vintage & the new cologne is definitely on the ‘gourmand’ side of the spectrum rather than ‘whore’ (what a stir the original must have caused back in 1932!), but still, even in its current synthetic, chaste incarnation, Tabu is flat out A ZILLION times better than the boring, oh-so-predictable sugar bombs/fruitchoulis/fruity florals cluttering the perfume counters these days. If Tabu were the last surviving perfume on earth, I would wear it with pride. The fact that it was composed by the great Jean Carles (whose other masterpiece, Miss Dior, I will forever regard as the gold standard of the perfect floral leather chypre… & whose utter ruination by the evil IFRA I will forever mourn), makes me love this drugstore classic even more. And hey, Gloria Swanson & Ava Gardner reportedly wore this, which is good enough for me! Wonderful. Simply wonderful.
Note: I have the 45ml Pure Spray Cologne in the cello/violin-shaped bottle. I don’t know how it compares to the regular cologne.
*From Michael Edwards:
Fragrance Family: Rich Oriental
Top: Terragon, Lemon, Basil, Bergamot
Heart: Heliotrope, Rose, Ylang-ylang, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine
Base: Musk, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Benzoin, Patchouli
This is one of my all time favourite fragrances, and no doubt it's one of the most astounding bargains of the fragrance world. The reason it polarises opinion is that it is so much more assertive than the sheer or foody scents of current perfumery.
This one's for a woman who is not ashamed of being one; it's classy but not insipid or overly appropriate--there's a bit of brash sexiness here for sure. Tabu brings to mind old Hollywood, a smoking Lauren Bacall, a jazz club, gutsy generations of women that came before us and approached life with courage and style.
What I get from Tabu is orange, cloves, narcissus, incense, amber and a balmy, honeyed note. It's sweet but not candy sweet, has fruit notes (think mulled wine, not Koolaid), but is always tempered with smoky dryness. This fragrance is simply alive once it hits your skin and goes through always interesting progressions throughout the day. Oh, and it lasts. And lasts. And lasts--and this in the cologne version (!)
If Tabu were rebottled and adorned with a fancy label by a fashionable design brand, it would sell for ridiculous prices. As it is, Tabu remains an affordable treat that reads like a luxury.
ive been wanting to try this for the longest time and finally did. It reminds me of opium but less spicy and strong smelling. Its a pretty warm floral oriental that does not smell cheap at all. My only gripe is the fact that it doesnt last very long and you may need to reply throughout the day. This is one classic scent that will be in continous rotation for me.
Oh, I love Tabu. I discovered it last winter, and bought one of those two-packs at Walmart for $6. I love a lot of "retro" scents, and I definitely love heavy, musky orientals - like Obsession for example. On me, Tabu is pure sexy deliciousness. Smooth amber, smoky incense, sweet syrupy almost-cola notes. This is so cheap but smells amazing, it's now one of my favorites in my huge perfume collection. It is perfect for fall and winter - goes well with a cozy sweater and jeans, but you can dress it up, as well. I'm in my mid twenties and do not consider this to be "old lady" at all - I think young women these days consider any fragrance that doesn't smell like a cupcake or fruit basket to be old lady. I have been told I smell "beautiful" when I wear this. I can see myself wearing this for many years to come.
I'm so going to date myself here, but Tabu is about history to me, and it has a long one. My mom use to wear this is the 70's and I loved it as a kid. It was so grown up-warm and sweet. She would waif in after a night out, with the scent of leather, marijuana, tobacco, and Tabu. To me she smelled the divine hippie chic with her long black hair and crocheted sweaters.
The when I was in high school and experimenting with clove cigarettes, it reminded me of her Tabu perfume. I didn't want to get get caught smoking (she grew out of hippie chic) so I would steal her Tabu and douse myself with it to cover up the clove scent. Worked like a charm!
Now that I'm in my 40's and my (and her) rebel days are over I still have fond memories of Tabu. I'm too conservative to wear it now (I'm a boring Philosophy girl now) but every now and then I'll spray my only bottle I've had for years into the room, and take a little mental vacation to those old "devil may care days"
That's Tabu. Mysterious, heavy, sweet, sexy, independent.
I originally bought this for my mother. I saw a gift set with packaging clearly from the late 70's or possibly early 1980's, that reminded me of packaging and scents my dear mom wore back then. The set came with a med sized thin spray bottle of the scent and a very large gold toned locket with the solid version inside, strung on a black silky looking, thick cord. The locket now hangs in my bedroom and when left open scents the air, you can smell it ever so lightly when walking by it. I have the bottle too. While my mother wore the well known scents of the day back when I was a kid, she was a "Charlie," girl for ex, she found Tabu a little strong for her taste/lifestyle, currently. Hearing that and knowing I love Angel, a strong scent to most, I was excited to try this, also for another reason. No fragrances last on me! Some I love like BBW seem to fade fast on most but really my skin somehow absorbs scent and its like I never applied any. Enter Tabu, it "will not be ignored!" Lol, I like the spicyness of it and yes get a cola vibe. Very decadant! But I like to mainly use this for layering. What I mean is I apply the solid first, then the spray, then sray another scent over this. I end up with a combo so I mostly use sweet, almost foodie type scents that go nicely with the spicy aspect of this. Eventually the sweeter scent fades but Tabu just softens, mellows a bit yet I am still "scented!" I plan to try it alone now that its fall, its good for brisk weather. It stays on me longer than any scent other than Angel so if you're not the shy, don't look at me type and can't get anything to last on you, this may work. I also love the name and bottle design. I assume my bottle is not a newer formulation given the aforementioned packaging. I have friends my age (early 40's, shhh) who want that locket! Its too heavy, large for me to wear personally but like me they appreciate the scents and aesthetics of the 1970's. I plan to try the newer version if I see a sample. I don't get so much musk with this on me and am curious if the newer version is muskier? I think this Is worth trying and am so glad I did.
I have the current formulation, and it smells simply gorgeous on me! There _is_ a possibility that my bottle has gone stale in a way that actually improves the fragrance. That's happened to me before, and I've had to correct a couple of reviews because of it. But whatever the reason, the juice in my bottle is sublime.
First off, here's some advice for any perfumistas out there. Tabu is hands down the cheapest way to find out what cleaned-up civet smells like. Just buy a bottle the next time you're at the drugstore. All you've got to lose is $5.99.
Back to the fragrance itself: Tabu starts off with a sharp, unpleasant blast of citrus and spices. I can imagine someone desperately scrubbing off the fragrance at that stage. But if you patiently wait 20 minutes or so, you'll be rewarded with the loveliest skin-like musk.
Buoyed by the slightest whiff of sweet spices, this animalic musk is rich, yet still polite. No trace of feces, urine, or BO here! And as if that weren't enough, this skin scent courteously stays close to the body, too.
That's not to say it's appropriate to wear to work. (Well, at least not for most jobs.) For an office-ready musk, I strongly suggest Egyptian Musk by Body Time. The Egyptian Musk is beautiful, with minimal sillage. It subtly augments the impression of good hygiene and freshly bathed skin. It's lovely, utterly, and not at all sexy.
Tabu, on the other hand, is _very_ sexy, albeit in an understated way. It's not sexy like a club scent, sweet and loud enough to stand out in a crowded room. No, this is simply an artist's impression of lived-in skin: not dirty or sweaty, but not fresh out of the shower either. Something about it makes me want to call it "golden." A glorious, golden musk.
It looks like plenty of people get a harsh, foully animalic, sickly sweet smell out of this. But if you're lucky, when you try it on you'll know what I'm talking about. continued >>
Wow! It is horrible! I am so disappointed. I have been reading all of these positive reviews and expecting something totally different. It smells cheap, like 80's flea market in Jersey. I am grossed out.
The Tabu I have is a vintage bottle ris -- not ancient, I think maybe the 1990s. Yes, this one is big and not subtle. It means business, but the business is delicious and sexy smelling. I pick up orange blossom, powdery warm musk, and vanilla with a background of deeper warm woddy/incensy notes. It's super, super sexy and honestly too much for most occasions, but on the right occasion it is THE nuclear option.
I said I would not buy this again but that's because I probably wouldn't bother with a new bottle, I would try to find another old one, if I ever ran out which frankly I find unlikely. A dab will do ya. I decanted from the broken bottle into a rollerball vial and touch it lightly -- LIGHTLY -- to the back of each knee and my cleavage. I don't want to suffocate anyone while I'm out.