(Rose 9) Cats, Roses, and Late Summer

The cat, a creature of refined sensibilities, likes to lie under  our rosebush.  There is a small hollow in the cedar mulch underneath it which is her favored resting place, and at first my assumption was that she chose this spot because it provided cover.  Cats, of course, adore near invisibility,  but there are plenty of other places which give her better cover than what she commands there, and so my conclusion is that she chooses that spot based on smell.  Charcoal literally does what the rest of us only dream about. She stops and smells the roses.

Her favorite, perhaps the only rose smell she knows, is a mild damask scent that comes from a single bright pink rose bush that stays in bloom from June through October here in Jersey.  The smell is lacking all the additives that perfumistas love in  renditions of roses, i.e., no incense, no patchouli, no vanilla – just rose.

However if you are like most people as opposed to like most cats, you prefer your rose diluted.  Let me take a minute to lay to rest the vile canard that all rose fragrances go sour on skin.  Only some do, perhaps the effect has something to do with the use of certain rose impersonators.  If you buy actual rose otto or rose absolute, either Rose de Mai or Bulgarian rose, you will not find this is a problem, though I do notice a soapiness largely dependent( in me) on past association. Absent the natural essence, we are back to the thorny question of rose additives.

I’ve found two fragrances that I like for Fall, both overwhelmingly rose. One is Gold Rush by One Dozen Roses, it comes in a chunky looking bottle with a yellow rose on the side. The perfume is a modern rose amber, very rich and long lasting, and reminiscent to me of the quality of the current Robert Piguet production. Rush did not go sour on me at all. What is best about the scent is that it is an oriental rose that wears well in late summer or early fall, and they are not so easily found.  Many of them have no lasting power, or turn out to be predominantly something else and only roses as a sad afterthought.  Gold Rush puts me in mind of the wonderful old hybrid tea rose Sutters Gold named after the famous rush of forty nine.  The rose was fragrant but slightly spicy like this rose, with fruity notes in its bouquet.  I’d recommend it, the perfume that is, the rose is a little prone to black spot.

My second choice, Eau Suave, is one of those fragrances given short shrift by Luca Turin in his guide.  Luckily, other perfume writers seem to think more of it. Consider its appearance on one of Bois de Jasmin‘s recent lists of perfumes for Valentine’s Day.

Eau Suave is one of Parfum d’Empire’s offerings, and was characterized as a green chypre by Sanchez and Turin, but it is really a sort of nexus between green and fruity chypres which makes it an unusual fragrance to my nose and a more modern option than many of the old aforementioned scents. Eau Suave also contains a marked musk note with its roses, raspberries, and peaches, and  is a nice tribute to the Empress Josephine who had a notorious love of musk. All in all, the additions to the old style green chypre formula  update it nicely, and if you haven’t liked green chypres in the past, try this.  Eau Suave is a relaxed  rose dominant scent that lasts well, is not too loud and yet has a pleasing graceful arc of evaporation on skin.

All of the line by Marc Antoine Cortichiato, possibly because it is his own company, seem composed with more than usual care. This is one of the most feminine of the line, and is a fitting perfume to commemorate the creole Empress and her great rose garden at Malmaison.  To smell, it is the child of Coriandre and Parfumier  et Gantier’s Fleur de Comores, and as such, would work well even in July, but there is something about Suave that recalls the last days of summer or the first of fall.

These are two roses that might bloom for you long after the first frost, and still not smell incongruent.  There’s something to remaining seasonal.

I wonder if the cat will learn to nap under the chrysanthemums?

(Sketch courtesy G. Allen)


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2 thoughts on “(Rose 9) Cats, Roses, and Late Summer

    • It occurred to me only after I’d posted, that Eau Suave is a little like Cartier’s So Pretty in structure. The smell is different because SP has this “dewberry note” which is more fulsome than Eau Suave’s peaches and raspberries, but the idea of inserting a fruit note in a green chypre that way is similar
      It’s a good way to tame the shrew.

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