Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tabu by Dana: Review

When I first smelt Tabu, I almost choked to death. I am still here to tell the story, but I was too scarred to even try it again. It was vile, brash and complex. A hard core perfume, not for faint hearted, definitely not easy to wear! Never to be tried in an enclosed space, a well ventilated room is a prerequisite! I rediscovered Tabu recently and I am surprised at myself because I survived wearing it and quite liked it too!

Dana Website says "Tabu, the forbidden scent, provokes intrigue at every step. For the woman with an exotic, secret passion for life. Was it your fault he got so close? Blame it on Tabu.
Tabu is the legendary Oriental blend--rich with fragrant essences including: Bulgarian rose, orange flower and jasmine warmed with patchouli, amber and musk notes."

The story behind Tabu is that it was Dana's first fragrance (1932) and Jean Charles was asked to make a perfume for prostitutes. Tabu perfectly translates perfumer's vision into a smell. A smell that is sexy, dense and heady, which quickly drifts away to become vulgar, gaudy and loud! 

I don't mind the reputation of the perfume. But scarred by my first experience, I have always chickened out of trying it. There is also an unshakable association in my mind that it can mask anything, anything! I really had to get over it, so I decided to try Tabu with an open mind. I usually never buy anything for the sake of writing a review on the blog but I broke my rule and bought a little bottle of Tabu Skin Cologne (5% concentration) from Priceline for a few coins.

Tabu is a spicy, warm, powdery, animalic fragrance. There is patchouli in there somewhere. I think it is the civet that makes the whole fragrance kind of crass. It has a great projection and for good or bad, easily identifiable too! It has tremendous staying power, especially in EDT form. 

Tabu is in fact a nice perfume. Tabu is well aged. It seems like it is stuck in time but it is not outdated. It is heavy and cheap but well made. It is the vulgarest of the vulgar and I say it as a compliment! 

I don't LOVE it (yet!) but surely at the cologne concentration, I can stand it! I wore it for one whole day and quite liked it.

Tabu reminds me of many other fragrances. Calvin Klein's Obsession is more floral and less animalic but has the same vibe of Tabu but I like Obsession way better and is more 80's. Revlon's Intimate has the same strength and complexity. Elizabeth Taylor's Passion is similar too. But there is nothing like Tabu! 


  1. It sounds nice, but I'm not a fan of spicier scents! Fantastic review as always

  2. Oh my lord, I remember Tabu. I saw it recently in a chemist and I was surprised it's still being made. I can't think who on earth would wear it regularly.

    1. I would and sort of do. I love it. I can't get enough. I love the sweetness and the spiciness of it. I just recommend that people dab it on very carefully because of how heavy it is. I also love the violin shape of my bottle. Definitely going to get the bigger violin bottle of this at some point. (I play violin. what can I say?)

  3. Thanks Vintage :) It is way too strong for even people who like spicy perfumes!

  4. Dee, apparently Tabu is Australia's No. 1 selling lifestyle fragrance!!!!

  5. I am a new follower found you via Vintage Makeup & I have enjoyed reading your post. Have a great weekend

  6. Welcome to my little blog, Sugarpuffish! I like you name :) Thanks for the visit! x

  7. Argh... Tabu, I know that perfume! I can't stand it, it may be a masterpiece but it reeks! Loved your post :)

    "Was it your fault he got so close? Blame it on Tabu." That made me LOL :D

  8. LOL Angie! I am not sure I'll be blaming it on Tabu :)