Monday, 30 January 2012

Roses part 2

I've finally got around to part 2 of my musings on roses. Last time I generally just rambled on, describing my love for the plant and flower itself and its scent of course, with some very brief thoughts on its use in perfume.

This time I want to touch on specific rose perfumes. I suppose I will be biased and one must realise that this is not even remotely close to a definitive list of rose-centric perfumes. On the contrary, I am still very much on my rose journey of discovery in perfume and I still stumble across perfumes I haven't even heard of, let alone tried, that contain a lovely or compelling rose note.

Nevertheless, let me proceed with my list of rose perfumes, many of which some of you are already familiar with.

Un Rose (Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle) - I start with my favourite rose perfume. Many like to compare or rank this one with Serge Lutens' Rose De Nuit. For me, I prefer Un Rose, but it is a different beast entirely. See my review here. It is a deep, complex 'dark' rose of a scent, continually shifting and developing. A masterpiece in my opinion.

Rose De Nuit (Serge Lutens) - See my review here. I may prefer Un Rose, but this is still a very lovely and complex rose fragrance too. It is slightly lighter, I think, but still has plenty of character.

Rose 31 (Le Labo) - See my review here. This is a perennial favourite among Le Labo lovers and again, it is very good. I almost cried the day I dropped my sample in the loo at work (don't ask) and saw its remaining contents evaporate on the floor. The loo did smell good though!

Rose Poivre (The Different Company) - See my review here. This is very different to the above. It reminds me quite a lot of a very good quality potpourri, and is quite dry and aromatic. Mind you, it starts skanky as all hell.

Voleur De Roses (L'Artisan) - Patchouli and rose. A great combination, and executed very well by L'Artisan. I don't see this one mentioned much anymore but it is a great perfume. Try it if you haven't already.

Paestum Rose (Eau D'Italie) See my review here. My review is very positive and I do think this is a great perfume, but with subsequent wearing it has been a little up and down on my skin. Still,  when it is good, it is great.

Kingdom (Alexander McQueen) - See my review here. I still own a bottle of Kingdom. I wonder how easy it is to find it now? And I wonder since his passing whether the price has gone up significantly. In any event, Kingdom has a very special place in my heart. It is a little trashy in places, and to my nose is a great example of how a rose can smell 'jammy'. I guess this, in combination with the hefty dose of cumin, is possibly why some people think it is too skanky. I personally love it.

Lyric Woman and Lyric Man (Amouage) - I won't post the links to my reviews, but I do love these two dearly. Lyric Man in particular has staggering longevity and it can become a bit too much sometimes, but oh so gorgeous. As for Lyric Woman, some people don't like it but I definitely do.

Dark Rose (Czech & Speake) - See my review here. Onto my first rose and oud combination, Dark Rose is nice, but having tried a lot more in this style since, I find that it holds my attention less these days. Not bad though.

Black Oud (Montale) - same review as above. I could write pages on Black Oud (half the blogosphere and Basenotes has over the years). It is an iconic Western Oud and rose perfume. So strong and long lasting, I do like it, but wish it was toned down just enough so I could see out its development and appreciate its subtleties (if there are any).

Sa Majeste La Rose (Serge Lutens) - this one often gets overlooked in the Lutens stable. Perhaps it is because it seems quite linear and also because it packs a mighty, rosy punch. Still, on a hot summer day, not much beats the smell of this one wafting up from one's body, tinged with a bit of musk.

Agent Provocateur (Agent Provocateur) - See my review here. A good mainstream rose perfume and quite a daring one, I think. 

(Incense Rose) - Andy Tauer. I used to love it, and in fact still think it is a great perfume, but I had to be very cautious when applying. Too much and you're in headache territory. Lovely though.

Portrait of a Lady ( Editions de Parfumes Frederic Malle) - I don't know, I still don't get this one. It seems too strong and loud to me. Plenty of people love it and that's great, but I'll stick with Un Rose any day.

Juliette Has a Gun - Just about any perfume from this line has a strong rose note. They are all quite nice, but with that hefty use of ambroxen, they (or POTL) remind me of the Malle.

So, I've got to the end of my list. I know once I post this I will immediately think of some more rose perfumes. I could go on for ages, but one has to draw the line somewhere. Actually, just writing this, I've thought of another, but I haven't tried it much (I have a sample now, so that will change), Nahema, by Guerlain!

So, please do get back to me with your thoughts on these, and what else you would add to the list....


  1. I love the smell of rose fragrances, but I find that I only own a few and don't even wear those often. Two favorites are OJ Ta'if and Annick Goutal Splendide. If I had unlimited funds I'd spring for a bottle of By Kilian Rose Oud-it's fantastic!

  2. Cym, I quite like the Goutal too, while Ta'if is gorgeous. Thanks to you! I haven't tried the By Kilian. I liked their other oud though.

  3. What is your take on Hammam Bouquet? I like it but feel it's not optimal. Czech & Speake No 88 started off great but i didn't care for the drydown.

    Love Rose Oud by Kilian, but the price is insane.

  4. Willread, I have to be honest and say that while I've tried Hammam Bouquet at some point, I have no recollection of it. C&S No 88 I expected to love and it always leaves me feeling a little, I don't know, underwhelmed. I'm never quite sure why. I haven't tried Rose Oud yet, and yes, the By Kilian prices are very high, but I tend to sample anyway, so not too bad. I do like the By Kilian line, there is some good stuff in there.

  5. God I love roses. A few more to know and love: L'Arte di Gucci, By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuese, Guerlain Rose Barbare, Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose, Tauer Une Rose Chypree, Clarins Par Amour, Sonoma Scent Studio Vintage Rose and her new Nostalgie.

  6. Elisa, thanks for those suggestions. Goes to show how many rose fragrances there are out there. Of those you list, I have only tried one, so plenty for me to go and search out!

  7. Very interesting that you mention Une Rose and Rose de Nuit right off the bat. I blog myself(yes I know v. tiresome) and linked those two in a post I'll be putting up later this month-BUT I thought that Une Rose was designed for men. Meaning better on men than women. I like it a lot but it overwhelms my skin and the Lutens, lower pitched, less stratospheric, works on me. I'd test on my husband but would have to out run him first. Anyway, since you've worn it, what is your opinion about the ideal wearers of Une Rose? Is it possibly a soliflore for men? Blacknall

  8. Blacknall, I'm not really sure of the intention of the creators with regard to Une Rose. I do recall reading somewhere that Une Rose is massively popular in the Middle East, bought often by Arab men. However I can't vouch for that and in fact I can't even remember where I read that. I personally think it is perfectly unisex.

  9. I'm giving Rose Poivre a try today (being a big fan of Ellena's L'eau d'Hiver for Frederic Malle) and I agree, Rose Poivre gets nicer once it dries on the skin.

    Une Rose is absolutely wonderful except I need to be REALLY careful with it. Half a pump is enough to go on for 3 days!



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