Fracas Vintage Parfum (Robert Piguet)

Have you ever, in a moment of self-pity or ghoulish glee, planned your own funeral? Ostensibly, what happens after we evanesce heavenward is out of our control. But the temptation to stage-manage it is irresistible-- especially the part when you assemble a deathbed playlist. (Mine includes Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, Sigur Ros, and of course the voice of Vedder carrying me home to Valhalla.)

To me, the idea of being embalmed and displayed like a ventriloquist's dummy in a satin-lined box is thoroughly repugnant. I personally always wanted to be laid out in the wilderness and devoured by ravens, but I don't think my spouse would be too keen on this concept. The alternative is to be cremated as quickly and cheaply as possible. Commit my ashes to the wind and water off Cattus Island, and send no flowers, please.

Especially not tuberoses.

Monolithic, carnivorous, chilly, morbid, waxy, bloodless, deathly sweet, overpowering, vegetal, funereal, unnerving. With these words, I have drawn past portraits of Polianthes tuberosa. Those who favor it use adjectives like buttery, creamy, opulent, velvety, voluptuous, luxurious, heady, sexy-- but to me, tuberose will always be the queen of the coffin, traditional witness to a million eulogies.

A recent gift added a few choice descriptors -- narcotic, menacing, masterful -- to my list. As we speak, I'm wearing two precious, golden drops of vintage Fracas, one on each wrist. They come from a thumbnail-sized bottle bestowed upon me by Toni, who IS a tuberose lover and cares not who knows it. I suspect that the ghost of Edie Sedgwick (whose favorite perfume Fracas purportedly was) whispered in her ear that I needed a crash course in classic BWFs. Or perhaps this is no mere apparition we're dealing with. Edie would make one hell of a vampire... with a perfume to match.

So often does one find tuberose swizzled up with coconut cream and white musk that it ought to come with a free tiki cocktail. Fracas, on the other hand, has never seen the sun; if she ever trod a white sand beach, it was by the rare light of a super blood moon. "Buttery", true; these petals come richly sauced. And yet this is no comfort food for the nose; Fracas' unsavory effect reinforces my disbelief that any consolation could be found in these blossoms. Sex and death, yes; sympathy, perhaps not.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, mandarin, tuberose, hyacinth, gardenia, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, orange blossom, neroli, narcissus, violet, rose, iris, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, musk