For all the complaining that perfume consumers do about the industry these days, one thing is inescapably true: there’s more variety. Once upon a distant time, Perfumer’s Workshop produced Tea Rose and Houbigant sold A Rose is a Rose.
That was about it in 1976. Now you have entire lines devoted to the flower in all its variations. Les Parfums de Rosine is one such house, and besides its twenty or so perfumes, there’s a slew of mainstream releases popular with the public such as Stella, or Valentino’s Rockin’ Rose.
The particular selection I made, which barely scratches the surface of what’s available now, still highlights as many different aspects of the rose as I could think of in a month. Next month no doubt, perfumers will have expanded the repertoire.
In the meantime and broken down by the categories of smell I think they fit into best, here are all the rose participants in our recent line up:
American Beauty- Dawn Spencer Hurwitz- A long wearing largely natural rose. Rose Opulente-Maitre Parfumier et Gantier- Elegant light rose. Tea Rose-Perfumer’s Workshop- A reliable rose perfume, very inexpensive. Tea Rose-CB I Hate Perfume- A more natural version of the tea rose. Very crisp.
Diva-Ungaro- Maybe not as good as a decade ago, seek out older bottles. Ecume de Rose – Les Parfums de Rosine- A beachy green rose with watery notes. Gucci III -Gucci- Similar to Coriandre, less strident. Knowing – Lauder- A beautiful formula these days marred by a synthetic dry down. Maroc – Revlon- Another Coriandre clone but quite reasonably priced. Norell II – Ultima II – Very hard to find. You have to troll Ebay. Sinan-Sinan – Again, hard to find, containing a marked geranium note. Prima Ballerina – Strange Invisible Perfumes – Part green, part soliflore, all natural. Coriandre – Jean Coutourier – The original loud green chypre, no longer its old self. Corps et Ames – Parfumerie Generale- A truncated but affecting green chypre.
Gold Rush – One Dozen Roses-The notes say blackberries and they’re prominent. Eau Suave – Parfums d’Empire- Less a green chypre than a fruity rosy bouquet.
Cimabue – Dawn Spencer Hurwitz- A complicated rose Kheer. Long lasting. Rose Kashmirie – Les Parfums de Rosine- Saffron and roses and sugar, lovely. Saffran Troublant – L’Artisan Parfumeur- The name says it all but omits the rose. Shakespeare in Love – One Dozen Roses- Pure rose, then pure rose jam, delightful.
Rose de Nuit- Serge Lutens- A green rose cocktail, sophisticated drinker. Une Rose – Frederic Malle- A tremendous rose soliflore, not for the timid.
Mouchoir de Monsieur-Guerlain- Jicky containing rose, exceedingly urbane. No 89 – Floris The ne plus ultra of Edwardian dandy scents. Very Bond Street.
Bellodgia – Caron-The original chic rose-carnation bouquet, never equaled. Joy – Jean Patou- Roses, jasmine, civet and utterly classic, perfume to live in. Trois Fleurs – Parfums d’Empire- Three flowers, but rose rules the roost. Paris – Yves St. Laurent- A rose bouquet that smells like a soliflore, but always performs.
And so, let us thank all the lovely rose performers, and hope that somewhere, they’ve passed an audition on someone’s skin.