Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A rose by any other name

Having written about Rose 31 yesterday, I felt the urge to try two more rose-focused scents. I'm a sucker for roses - I love them both as a flower in my garden and on my skin, but although I adore the purity of a rose in nature, when it comes to perfume, I prefer a bit of a twist, a dark shadow over the brightness that this note often evokes.

So first up is Rose Poivre, by the Different Company. Having browsed through some reviews, it seems there is a view that this has been reformulated and that the current version is not as skanky as the original. I don't know - I'm almost certain I must have a sample of the later version. Rose Poivre opens with an alcoholic blast, perhaps a smidgeon of citrus and then the rose quickly asserts itself. This is not a fresh rose though. It is quite dry and earthy and reminds me of being in a rose garden, soil freshly dug, with the rose bushes full of buds, not yet quite open. As the top notes fade, there is a rather aromatic accord, almost like potpourri, but not sickening in any way. Then it becomes spicier as cumin kicks in and this is quite a powerful cumin. Its vaguely animalic to me, a bit like dusty rugs or furs. It does sweeten a bit but the rose never asserts itself like one might expect. It's in the background, but as the scent progresses, the rose stays more like dried rose petals, aromatic and I never feel that that potpourri smell is too far away. Far into the dry down Rose Poivre still retains a hint of spice and cumin and stays subduedly dusty. I must say, I really like this one. It is unique in my opinion and I like how it never follows that rose route one might expect. It is slightly offbeat and has a hint of beast about it and I can highly recommend trying this if you are looking for a rose with a thorn and a twist.

On my other wrist is Un Rose, by Frederic Malle. This is parfum strength and it shows. It has great tenacity and lasts on my skin for ages. This perfume surprised me though. it starts off citrusy, with what I perceive to be a very brief prickle of aldehydes. Very quickly a gorgeous rose note seeps through, bright and pure. This phase is uplifting and powerful and excuse the hyperbole, but feels radiant to me, like warm sunshine. There's a sappy greenness here too, like a bruised stem and bud. Then the scent does an about turn. Just as you think it might stay joyful, a rounded sweetness emerges and the rose deepens and loses its youthfulness. It only increases in richness now, becoming spicier and resinous. There is meant to be a truffle accord in here. My association with truffle is a mushroom-like smell, peppery, a bit like fresh olive oil, so I don't quite know if I'm identifying it here. Perhaps the smooth, earthy richness I refer to here is meant to be that accord, I'm not sure. Into the drydown and the fragrance hums along like a Rolls Royce. There is a slight sourness, which could be the wine-dregs accord Edouard Flechier was trying to achiever. Is there civet in here? The richness of this perfume and its depth seem to hint at this, although looking at the notes I see Castoreum is listed. Perhaps this is it. In any event, I am moved by Un Rose. It truly is also unique and shows great depth and imagination by Mr Flechier.

Well, you may ask, which one of these would I buy? If I had the money, I would buy both. I think they both are unique and interesting and could appeal to either sex. I could see Un Rose perhaps appealing more to a woman and cumin-phobes might not appreciate Rose Poivre. So if I had to choose between the two? Without hesitation I would take Un Rose. It is da bomb!

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