Tuberose Series 17: Kate Spade eau de parfum

A kind swap friend sent me a sample of this lovely, discontinued mixed-white-floral scent.

Perfume Review: Kate Spade EdP (Beauty)

Date released: 2002

Perfumer: none listed

Sample provenance: sample from swap via friend’s personal collection

Sub-category: Gentle white floral with tuberose

I’d never heard of this scent before it showed up in a swap bag. I know very little about Kate Spade herself, except that her handbags seemed to be the de rigueur purse accessory for fashionable women over the last decade or so. Since I’m not a fashionable woman, there’s where my knowledge stops.

I had no idea what to expect before I popped open the sample vial and dabbed on the fragrance, but immediately after applying it, I knew I had one of those big bosomy white floral bombs on my wrists. I went straight to Fragrantica to find the notes, which are: jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, honeysuckle, lily of the valley, and coconut. Those are the only notes listed.

And those are the only notes I get, too. There is a faint opening whiff of camphor, and then the scent sort of moves around from white flower to white flower, as if it were a handheld video camera trained on a group of debutantes in white ballgowns, focusing briefly on each girl. First the focus is on Tuberose; her fashionable gown is satin and her lipstick and precision-cut hair are perfectly glossy as she smiles and waves at you. The next ready for her closeup is Gardenia; her bouffant dress is tulle and perhaps a bit too decollete, her hair is down in soft waves and her pink lipstick is smudged, as if she broke off kissing the best-looking boy at the party to come and join her friends. The camera moves on to Honeysuckle, too shy to look directly at the camera; her lace dress is simple and modest, and then we’re on to jasmine. Jasmine is the most conventionally pretty one of the bunch in her taffeta dress, everything about her carefully chosen. Lastly, the camera focuses on Lily of the Valley, slender and regal in a tailored silk shantung gown, with a simple loose chignon and a wonderful smile. She’s got her arms around her friends, chatting happily, and the camera lingers on her, and you begin to realize that the cameraman must be a little in love with her.

The longer this fragrance wears, the less about tuberose and the more about lily of the valley it becomes. It is above all a blend of white flowers, with the lily of the valley keeping the fragrance from being very tropical and perhaps too sweet, but never too antiseptic, as muguet fragrances can sometimes get. It is not linear, exactly, but a panoramic view of a range of white flowers is not going to change all that much, and its character stays a soft floral melange. I actually do not smell the coconut, but it is probably there in small quantities, just to keep the scent from going too bathroom-cleanser (as L’Artisan’s La Chasse aux Papillons did on me).

Lasting power, like most white floral scents, is good on me, about six hours, even dabbed.

Quality: B+ Smells fresh and fairly natural, even the lily of the valley note.

Grab-scale score: 7 If this were still being produced, at the current prices of Kate Spade’s new fragrance, a fruity floral called Twirl, I’d have a bottle.

Short description: White floral blend.

Cost: $$$ or $$$$ Discontinued, and extremely rare on eBay, so that when a bottle comes up for bid, it’s quickly pushed into the over-$100 range, whether 50ml or 100ml. I could “buy it now” for $200, if I were desperate.

Earns compliments? Yes, of the “you smell pretty” variety.

Scent presence: Moderately strong, with moderate sillage. Lasts several hours; after 4 hours, the sillage is much less and the scent stays close to the skin.

Review report: No reviews available, other than brief ones at Basenotes and Fragrantica.

Image of Kate Spade eau de parfum from Fragrantica.  Image of debutantes at the Royal Debutante Ball from Artsopolis.  They actually look quite a bit sluttier than the ones in my imagination.


25 thoughts on “Tuberose Series 17: Kate Spade eau de parfum”

  1. Lovely review Mals, and wonderfully realised metaphor of the debutantes. I’ve never quite figured out who Kate Spade is either. I thought the video ad for Twirl was weird – strangely retro, sort of 1950s. Seems from that ad and your review of Kate Spade EDP like the KS aesthetic is very feminine.

    Did you ever figure out how to get your hands on any Plum, by the way?

  2. I wore this, almost exclusively, for 2 years – still have the body creme, I think. I loved it! Moved on to darker BWFs but every now and then I revisit my little sample. Very cheering!


  3. Great tie in with the debs!

    Not a fashionable woman myself, but am familiar a bit with Kate Spade. My sister-in-law and oldest niece are quite into fashion so I hear and see bits now and then. My niece loves her little rollerball of Kate Spade Twirl and it smells delightful on her. Wonder if Twirl will someday fetch prices like this!

    1. Twirl sounded quite nice for a fruity floral – I’m not averse to the idea of them, assuming that they’re not too sweet.

      Huh. I am inconsistent on sweetness… white florals are sweet, but not in the same way as fruity florals. (The mind boggles, imagining ebay frenzies of the future. SOMEBODY is going to lay down big bucks for Circus Fantasy, trying to recapture her lost youth…)

      1. You know, you may be on to something. Invest now in Circus Fantasy now, reap the rewards later!

        Twirl is very sweet to me but at 16, it’s charming on her. She also got Couture Couture which I like better but it wasn’t as sweet and it wasn’t by Kate Spade!

  4. Okay, you know I really enjoy reading you talk about it, but whenever I hear it mentioned, I still reflexively wince.

    “Tuberose.” ::wince::

    Sand and Sable, anyone?

    1. S, I’m trying to think of a note that makes me wince… oh, got it: Carol at WAFT loves patchouli and is always going on about patchy fragrances. I’ll read, but then just cruise on by without commenting on those days… 🙂

  5. Thank you for reviewing it. This is such a very pretty tuberose-honeysuckle. I like it very much too. Especially nice is a touch of green, which lightens the whole thing. White florals can be so heady!

    1. It is nice, V! And “pretty” is a good descriptor – it’s just, you know, pretty, without trying to be anything else. I try not to underestimate the “just pretties.”

  6. To me it’s a thick, oily tuberose, impolite and wonderful!

    I’m not big on handbags either, but Kate Spade’s story is inspiring. She went to school for journalism, but while working at Mademoiselle she found the bags advertised lacked a utilitarian touch, so she came up with her own simple, sleek design.

    1. “impolite and wonderful”! Love that description… even if it was all cosy-girly on me. It’s long been my theory that there are some people who wear white florals softly – the scent just sort of settles in and gets comfortable – an d that I’m one of those lucky people. (Elena at Perfume Shrine thinks I’m nuts, though, so take with a grain of salt.)

      I went over the the Kate Spade website and picked out a bag for myself:

      This one. In the red, please. It’s even on sale… at more than I’ve ever paid for a purse in my entire life…

      Or this one’s pretty too:

  7. What were THEY thinking, discontinuing this wonderful feminine fragrance??Big misteak, HUGE! Maybe they should have marketed it differently. I can think of several ways.Can’t tell you how many Ladies (yes, some men, too) would stop me to ask my fragrance’s name. Oooo, mind me asking what you are wearing?? and then:” I love it!” The worst of it all, anything else somewhat like it is just a bit too “heavy”, or a bit too “sweet”. Please!!! Bring it back!

  8. I am going crazy!!! Cannot find any of the old Kate Spade perfumes. I have worn it for 5 or 6 years. I always received so many compliments whenever I wore it. I am searching everywhere but I refuse to pay over $300.00 for a bottle that may have been opened before. I cannot find any scent that matches that fragrance. I repeat, I am going crazy. HELP!!!

    1. Welcome, JoAnn! I’m so sorry to tell you that I don’t know of a source for Kate Spade scents. Sometimes you can find discontinued fragrances at the online discounters (Parfum1 and the like), but stocks of this one seem to be genuinely rare, and I doubt that you will be able to find any.

      Some similar fragrances you might try – keeping in mind that nothing is going to be exactly like it – would be Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, Illuminum White Gardenia Petals, Givenchy Organza First Light (not original Organza), Amouage Honour Woman (expensive! but beautiful), or Morgane le Fay Pink.

  9. I had bought Kate Spade online but ended getting a duplicate, Kate Spade tuberose collection is one my favorite colognes, not available in stores or in stores. Wish Kate Spade would continue it again.

  10. My daughter and I adore this fragrance. We also are stopped by strangers who inquire what it is. It is unlike anything else currently available. Whereas…Twirl is utterly forgettable. Kate Spade, look at Beauty selling on Ebay and Amazon for up to $650 and for heaven’s sake reissue this fragrance.

    1. It IS pretty! And there’s nothing else exactly like it, although I would say that Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia has some of the same soft, feminine feel. ELPCTG is perhaps more lush and less restrained.

      Twirl smells like a lot of other things on the market.

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