Tabu (1932) Eau de Cologne

Tabu (Eau de Cologne) by Dana
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Tabu (Eau de Cologne) is a popular perfume by Dana for women and was released in 1932. The scent is oriental-spicy. The longevity is above-average. It is still in production.

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Perfumer

Jean Carles

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Spices, Coriander, Neroli, Orange
Heart Notes Heart NotesClove, Ylang-ylang, Oriental rose, Jasmine, Narcissus, Clover
Base Notes Base NotesAmber, Benzoin, Oakmoss, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cedar, Civet

Ratings

Scent

8.1 (188 Ratings)

Longevity

8.6 (153 Ratings)

Sillage

8.0 (153 Ratings)

Bottle

6.2 (146 Ratings)
Submitted by Sani, last update on 12.06.2019
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Reviews

5.0 7.5 7.5 8.0/10
Athenaida

40 Reviews
Athenaida
Athenaida
1
From Teen to Babe and Baby!
From teen to babe & baby!

Am I the only one in here that this perfume smells like a vintage baby powder on me??
Am I so lucky that IT IS NOT THE DIRTY PLEASURE that you all want to hear because of so much hate??

Let me tell you a little story.
When I registered in Fragrantica I was in clouds dreaming of Golden era fumes like Marlene's Dietrich Tabac Blond and Cabochard and vintages and Jungle Gardenia...and suddenly I learned so many things about other categories of perfumes and celebrity's that I'm in the moment somehow...

my first perfume was Wiener Bouquet a sweet, purple-lilac rose.
I wasn't even a teen.
I always liked perfumes and I have a big collection with that dreamy lost treasured bottles from friends and ladies that I always asked what perfume they are wearing.

The first thing I saw in perfume forums was a crazyness, let me say hysteria about a perfume called Tabu.
So good, so bad, a whore fume, a lady one...
I was afraid to smell it until one day.

Before I smelled this perfume and because of all this dirty hysteria in a forum game I written that I imagine Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks wearing this.
That was and is her perfume as I imagine in this cruel story of David Lynch.

A tiny sample came to me and it was a very dark juice but as I recall I didn't give much attention and moved on.

Still this chaos about Tabu.
Every single time I were logging this place someone had always, I really mean always, something to mention about it.

I did not know Dana and her other perfumes but Tabu was written in my head for good,

After 10 years and my strange cravings, greens, vintages, white florals, oriental 3 weeks ago I saw in a perfume site Tabu EDC 125ml with the cameo outside the bottle in golden colour,
12€ I said what the hell the mystery must be solved.

Yesterday I received my bottle.
Nice vintage style.
1st spritz tobacco and baby something.
Second spritz and baby vintage powder, powder, baby...
WHERE THE HELL IS THE SWEATY, DIRTY, WHORE, CHEAP, UNKIND, HATE SMELL??
On me, NOWHERE.

I feel blessed and very happy with a soft baby powder smell on my skin that is and was for TEENS who became babes and babes who became also little babies.

Thank you Tabu.Thank you Dana.
Laura is happy now.

Don't listen just try by yourself and find out how THIS perfume works on you.

1 Replies
6.0 7.0 8.0 8.5/10
Mantus

0 Reviews
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Mantus
Mantus
7
Oriental Attractive Femininity
At first one can perceive an intensive deep spicy note, which gives the top note something pleasantly conspicuous and is to be owed to the coriander.

At the same time the coriander is accompanied by a fine, sweetish fruity note, which ensures that the top note gets something soft and comes from the orange.

These two notes are covered in a delicate flowery nuance, which brings something discreetly herbes with it and in my opinion is responsible for the fact that the top note seems heavy, but at the same time light and comes from the neroli.

In the background there is a subtle citric nuance that gives the top note a very light refreshing touch and I actually picked lemon instead of bergamot.

In the citric nuance there is an ethereal, slightly sweetish nuance which harmonizes very well with the other notes and I suspect tarragon here.

This constellation is noticeable on my skin for 20 minutes before the heart note unfolds.

Now an intense spicy, peppery note reminiscent of pimento is to be perceived, which gives the fragrance a very striking markance without drifting into the masculine and the clove is to be owed.

The clove blends with a very nice strong, slightly fleshy rosy note, which gives the fragrance an oriental and appealing female aura and unfortunately I do not say exactly which rose it is.

These two notes are surrounded by a fine sweetish floral note, which gives the heart note an incredible volume and comes from ylang-ylang.

In the very background a tender light floral nuance supports the other notes and is in my opinion responsible for the fragrance being literally lifted up into the air and coming from jasmine.

The entire heart note is immersed in a creamy aura, so that one can already be a little of the opinion that one has applied oneself the smell in form of a Bodybutter and I here on highly concentrated Iris, instead of on Narzisse have tapped.

Unfortunately I could not see Klee, but I can imagine very well that this component was used for background music.

The heart note is perceptible on my skin for 5 hours before the basis prevails.

The base has a dense sweet, spicy note, which gives the fragrance a wonderfully cuddly aura and is due to the amber.

At the same time, a fine, creamy, vanilla-like note is to be perceived, which btingt a very delicate chocolaty touch with itself and the cuddly aura wonderfully potentiates and comes from the benzoin.

These two notes are wrapped in a beautiful, clear, light mossy note and come from EIchenmoos in combination with musk.

A soft wooden nuance is perceptible in the background, which gives the fragrance something pleasantly smooth and is due to the cedar wood.

These fragrances are surrounded by a beautiful inviting warming note, which acts like a caress and can only be the civet.

Unfortunately I could not see patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver, but I can imagine very well that these components were used for completion.

In total the scent holds 8.5 hours on my skin.

The Sillage is designed in the first hour in such a way that one is clearly perceived to the 1.5 meters and then settles 3 hours on a very clearly perceptible whole arm length, before it reduces until the end of the smell in calm steps.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to our perfume "Zirkeltanz" for the bottling.
2 Replies
jtd

484 Reviews
jtd
jtd
Greatly helpful Review    9
old school
I had an ah-ha moment when I tried vintage Tabu for the first time. Suddenly Youth Dew, Opium and Coco made perfect sense---they were descendants of Tabu. Perfumer Jean Carles approach seems based on the premise that if the oriental genre is built from forceful materials and ferocious tones, why disguise it with tassels and trim? Why try to tame it?

Tabu backs up its vaguely threatening name with a strapping, seductive fragrance. It's an intimidating perfumes. The combination of aggressive, spiced florals and powdered leather is just one example of the hard/soft conflict seeded throughout Tabu. (Spoiler alert: the hard edge always wins.) Tabu investigates olfactory extremes without dicking around with the comfortable center. Vanillic amber oriental perfumes often dive straight for the soft middle ground and wind up a bit eye-glazey. The trap for the perfumer is emphasizing coziness at the expense of spine and coming up with olfactory comfort food.

Tabu’s dense powdery opening is in fact sweet but it’s a red herring. As the sweetness of the topnote settles, the acerbic edge of the spiced resin accord comes forward to create a fascinating counterbalance. The powder lasts well into the long-arc heartnotes and the way that it’s cantilevered off the bitter base of resins focusses attention more on texture than aroma. The cinnamon-clove spices have a similarly tricky balancing act. They alternate between hot and cold without ever dwindling to lukewarm. Carles seems willing to concede the aesthetic middle ground, finding more value at the ends of the spectrum. Tabu is technically an oriental but had as much in common with the big tobacco and leather perfumes of the 20s and 30s as it did with the recumbent Shalimar. No fear of lack of spine here.

Jacques Guerlain’s Shalimar is considered the superlative oriental perfume, and for valid reasons. It has superior form and elaborate, sophisticated style. It also has a larger-than-life Auntie Mame quality. Next to Shalimar's layered, accessorized style, Tabu cames off as starched and corseted. Carles’ style was less opulent than Guerlain’s but not a bit less complex. Carles differed from Guerlain in that he found that the richness of the oriental was not in the drape but in the tailoring.

(from scenthurdle.com)
6.0 10.0 10.0 10.0/10
Sorceress

213 Reviews
Sorceress
Sorceress
Helpful Review    6
A Bodacious Perfume For The Ages
There is a history behind Tabu perfume that some say is a myth and others hold steadfast to. Whether you believe it or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Tabu is known as the Mother of oriental perfumes dating back to 1932. I don’t know if the story was a marketing ploy or not, but Tabu has become a classic and stuck around for all these decades.
Funny thing to me is that if it was marketed to hookers, ladies of the night, and let’s say, more sexual women back then, and if you now look at reviews by the younger generation, why do so many trash it? It has such an interesting story. You’d think such a historical perfume with such a bodacious and lascivious past would draw interest and it does, but unfortunately, the interest seems to be negative if Tabu is not given a fair chance.
So very often, reviewers will trash it as a sexual grannies nightmare. Yet, the same generation will take the Agent Provocateur line, for example, (if you haven’t seen the commercials, youtube them) and write glowingly about these “sexually provocative” scents. It makes my head spin. Marketing again. What is supposed to be “sexy” changes with the decades. And certainly, what every generation of men and women see as sexy, most definitely changes with the decades. Sexiness may change, but seductiveness doesn’t.
Perhaps because it’s sold in places like the Marts and drugstores now people discard it as a perfume not worth their while? That’s their mistake, certainly. Drugstore perfumes can be wonderfully delicious and economical finds. To turn up one’s nose at a fragrance because it’s sold in a drugstore is a terrible form of snobbery and a bigger loss to one’s education of perfume.
I always loved the picture of the woman in the gown, the little violin and everything behind it. The picture is the 1901 painting Kreutzer Sonata by Rene-Xavier Prinet. I always loved the little violin bottles with the beautiful painting reproduced on the bottle. I saved my baby-sitting money and purchased those little bottles quite happily.
So what does it smell like? What makes Tabu a love/hate relationship? It’s a perfume heavy on spices. Orange tickles your senses for a few brief moments before the cloves hit strong, along with coriander, benzoin and civet. The woods, vetiver and oakmoss lay the foundation. This is an enormous oriental that will fill a room and choke the inhabitants if you over-spray. The cologne, which is the mildest form of perfume with the least concentration of perfume oils, is still that strong. Wearing it, you’ll feel luxurious, wrapped in a cloak of mysterious oils, sensual and earthy, living in another time period.
An oriental can do that. It’s a rich, thick perfume. It envelopes the wearer. It cloaks you with mystery and an aura. It entices. Not a day-time fragrance, it’s perfect for night, in cooler weather, when the snow falls around you. Tabu is not meant for hot summer days when the sun is blazing down. It’s a cloying perfume. Spray it on a scarf and the scent will last for a week at the minimum. When you spray it on yourself, it lasts all day. It’s that strong.
I always recommend buying the vintage version of a perfume because I feel the stronger, natural oils were still used. I’d still recommend purchasing the vintage version of Tabu but, if you’ve never smelled it before, knock yourself out and venture into a Mart or drugstore and buy a new bottle for a few bucks. It’s that inexpensive. The new version won’t be as strong, but believe me, it’s still going to knock you down and do a Linda Blair on you. I own 5 bottles of Tabu, dating from the 1960’s to today. They all smell incredibly ambrosial, absolutely delectable and yes, depending on the decade, they are different in the dry-down.
The older the bottle, the quicker the veil of Tabu will envelope you. Should you purchase a newer bottle of this oriental floral, wait some time to understand what this perfume is about. You’ll get a root beer effect to start out before the true magic begins. If you enjoy it, then spring for a vintage bottle, they’re still inexpensive. Some say that Tabu chooses its victims, in other words, she doesn’t agree with all. Should you be lucky enough to wear her in all her glory, wear her proudly. Jean Carles would be proud.
DorothyGrace

72 Reviews
DorothyGrace
DorothyGrace
Very helpful Review    5
Pretender to the Throne
If early Tabu is king the modern Tabu is a vile imposter, a pretender to the throne.

Thin, watery, bitter, lacking in substance, the superficiality of its resemblance to early Tabu brings tears of loss to my eyes. Had I never owned an early and a 60s', 70s' version then what would I think of this one? But I did, and so I feel the modern version is in dire need of some beefing up with real floral essential oils. It needs a great big injection of jasmine, rose, hyacinth, ylang ylang, sandalwood, carnation, oakmoss, vetivert (lots of vetivert); in short it needs to be sent on its way and the old formula brought back.

My friend and I bought this when we were around the age of 14 (my friend later bought the matching hairspray but I never wore hairspray so I let that wonder slip me by). There was nothing tacky about Tabu; it was a rich, heady, spiced floral that blended so well with pure woolen jumpers, silk blouses, hot jazz clubs filled with smoke, and the late night walk home down roads lined with trees and front gardens filled with the earthy smell of hydrangeas and shrub roses. Tabu mirrored the night out, starting bright and lively, becoming dark and confident, then warm and tired, before fading overnight to a scented memory.

Each perfume has an environment in which it shines; Tabu shone with us and with a tiny dab we shone with Tabu.
5.0 7.5 7.5 4.0/10
AmySourbutts

84 Reviews
AmySourbutts
AmySourbutts
Helpful Review    3
Super Intense Spiciness
This, like Youth Dew, is just too intense for me. I know it's meant to be seductive, spicy and sexy, but it's just too much of a good thing on my skin. I think it might be the combination of clove and civet that offends my nose. I respect this for being a classic, and I've smelled several vintages, but this doesn't suit me at all.
1 Replies
6.0/10
Dulcemio

34 Reviews
Dulcemio
Dulcemio
Helpful Review    6
a little difficult and cheap
Take Obsession, remove the vanilla and ADD DIRT. Yes, yes, I know, Tabu came first, but doesn't it seem like Calvin Klein was at least inspired by Tabu? (I haven't done my research, so maybe he was, I don't know.) Inhaling Tabu only reminds me there is something similar, but richer, sweeter and much more enjoyable on my dresser: Obsession.

Yes, perhaps there's a little streetwalker in this one, or perhaps someone's middle-aged auntie with a smokin' hot bod, false eyelashes, a bad gambling habit and a cigarette darkened voice, wheelin' around in a 1960 Cadillac convertible circa 1970.

Thankfully the civet used these days is not natural civet (for anyone who doesn't already know, civet glandular secretions were obtained extremely cruelly, and the cruelty was not just for the brief moment of extraction, but for the lifetime of the poor caged animals subject to awful, awful, hell-on-earth type cruelty, really! Okay, rant over.)

Tabu turns my personal space into a bit of a hostile environment, I'm afraid. Not a scrubber, but definitely a looking-forward-to-taking-a-shower-later.
1 Replies
Coutureguru

223 Reviews
Coutureguru
Coutureguru
Very helpful Review    11
Skank-O-Rama
Where to start??? This one holds a great many memories, not all of them fond. Firstly, the manager of a super fragrance outlet near me has become quite a good friend. She too is a fragrance junkie and has been in the industry for some 35 years. I pop in when I am in the area, as I did today, and we spend some time shooting the breeze and testing frags :o). The topic of Tabu came up (we were talking about Orientals and the demise of the once incredible Opium) and although it's been unavailable in South Africa forever, she pulled out a tester of Tabu from the dim recesses of a cabinet. We both took a spray ... UMMM ...
I started singing at a very young age and by my mid teens still had a very good mezzo soprano going on. My voice coach was an elderly woman of ample propotions, who in her youth had sung Opera all over the world. Tabu takes me back to her placing bricks on my chest and then having to exhale without them lowering ... all flavored with the rich, ripe stench of Tabu!! Even I reeked of it when voice coaching was over LOL.
There is a scene in a movie called "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" in which a sultry Halle Berry struts into Otto Preminger's office with a red rose tucked behind her ear and declares "I am Carmen Jones". If movies had "smell-o-vision" ... this is what she would have been wearing. This is probably what many a brothel has smelled like :o). Delightfully common and a whole lot crass, Tabu is not for everyone and certainly not for me. I do, however, admire those who can pull it off without coming across as a two dollar hooker or an elderly voice coach :o).

Update 29 Sept 2012

I have just tested an extremely vintage version of Tabu. My intense hatred of reformulation has in the last few minutes been exacerbated to the n'th degree!! Vintage Tabu is rich, warm and sophisticated ... how sad that cheapening is allowed to happen!!
3 Replies
10.0 10.0 5.0/10
Sherapop

1239 Reviews
Sherapop
Sherapop
Very helpful Review    6
The Trail of a Civet Cat in Heat Howling in the Distance
What is that distinctive smell? Could it be the trail of the civet cat in heat I hear howling in the distance? No, it's Dana TABU.

With all of the lively controversy circulating about, I'd been wanting to try TABU for quite some time. Happily, a fellow fragrant traveller sent a sample my way. What can I say, really, that has not already been said in one way another by both fans and detractors alike? The designer really did manage to produce a "let's get down to business" brothel-ready perfume! I'm impressed, in some sense.

Thick, brash, and in your nose, there's no beating around the bush with TABU, an animalic oriental much more blunt than Bal à Versailles, which by comparison seems like a genteel Victorian perfume perfect for prudes!

I cannot say that I dislike TABU. On the other hand, my civet needs will be covered for the foreseeable future, and certainly this lifetime, by a 2.5oz bottle of JOY edp, which sits undisturbed, in all its beauty, in my armoire.
7.5 7.5 7.5 6.0/10
Lola82

362 Reviews
Lola82
Lola82
Very helpful Review    6
Tabu
When it was first released in 1932 it shocked and 80 years later since it's
release it stills managed to shock it achieved immortality in a roster of classics like Chanel no 5 L'air du Temps
Joy Shalimar L'Heure Bleu & youth Dew.

If you want a perfume that makes you want
to stand out and take control this is the one this is not a shy meek little
wallflower of a scent it's Assertive
Loud Demands your attention in a dry spicy and smoky kind a way of if your a
person who is or likes perfumes that does not want to make a wave skip it!.

when first sprayed to my skin i find a
lot of Patchouli in a spicy fragrance
which is a bit interesting and makes it dry and smoky but i really like is the
Sandalwood mingles with orange and spices with the dry down of coriander
for it's powder texture and of curse i can smell Mr Civet with all his Animalistic Glory. i bet June Miller
wore this while seducing the Authoress
Anais Nin.

the drydown becomes more earthier with the presence of orris patches of musk and mossy undertones of Oakmoss

but i admire is the design with it's
noirish deco goth Logo TABU Channels
Bogart to it finest the flacon simple
and elegant i love the color of the liquid it reminds me of a evening sunset
over Los Angeles in the 1940's.

this perfume is rich & luxurious But i
don't understand why is it so cheap on the price and made it in to a Drugstore
scent this perfume deserves to be expensive
2.5 7.5 10.0 5.0/10
Missk

1165 Reviews
Missk
Missk
Very helpful Review    6
Spice market
This is a fragrance which I happen to see quite often while I'm out shopping or browsing in the stores. With its distinguishable black, white and red bottle and the matching talcum powder in its box not far away, this is one inexpensive fragrance many seem to avoid.

I was surprised to find this fragrance in my mother's bedroom, covered in dust and pushed to the darkest part of her closet. It was obviously my father's attempt at buying my mother a fragrance, but trying to do it on the cheap. I found myself reaching for this bottle and dusting it with a tissue, only to spritz a small quantity onto my wrist.

Seconds later I was met with a wonderful and totally unexpected, warming scent. It took me to a place where I had visited so many times as a child; a quaint, little store filled with incense, tiny trinkets, tie-dye saris and colourful wind chimes. It had such a carefree, quirky and unique style. Such a sensual and warm fragrance.

I promptly asked my mother to give it one more try, upon which she discovered what had captivated me only minutes before. Never again will I judge a fragrance solely on its price tag. This fragrance is a true gem in the world of inexpensive scents.

Statements

Catarina 135 days ago
Spices & amber with civet.... and a dash of everythingh else! Glorious perfume! Insane performance! I am going to buy a 6 pack!+4
6.0
10.0
10.0
9.0
DorothyGrace 3 years ago
Black bottle is very pretty. The perfume behaves well on my skin. Not the original but wearable and enjoyable. Oh for the good old days.+2

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