Rose fragrances lend themselves at times to the gourmand side of things. This is, I suppose a bit counter intuitive for us in North America, but it isn’t at all if you live in the Middle East or in India where rose water in desserts is common (see Lovely Rice Pudding).
It shouldn’t come as a surprise therefore, that some rose compositions have got a definite food element to them. Tumulte, the Christian Lacroix release of 2005, is one such. It is rose nearly all the way through, rosy in its top notes, rose dominated in the heart and even a bit rosy in the dry down.
The effect is rather that of the most delicate rose napoleon pastry you can imagine, filled with heliotrope flavored cream and soused in rosewater syrup. There is no disguising the fact that Tumulte is very sweet indeed, and sounds a bit icky, as though it might require handy-wipes to be worn at all, and might still leave a residual stickiness on your wrist.
This, however, this is not the case. Sweetness, in some ways, is like hotness – once your palate has gotten used to the essential condition of ultra sweetness, just as it can accustom itself to large amounts of capsaicin, and still distinguish particular elements in that medium, so the same phenomenon occurs in Tumulte. You realize that there is more than simple syrup going on here. The sweetness has something creamy, and almost licoricy about its early notes, and it’s so sweet that you think it has almost reached the crystallizing stage on your skin. You keep expecting it to over cook its way into common caramel. But that never happens. Instead Tumulte transforms itself into a less sweet and even more complicated accord, in which that heliotrope makes its presence better known.
The effect is rose pastry, or possibly rose baklava, but baklava from a very unusual bakery, staffed by miniature Christian Lacroixs looking like couture-savvy Oompa Loompas.
OK, that’s just my mental image, you must choose your own.
To wash this down, try a nice rosy – well, quite rosy – wine by Ineke from her Floral Curiosities series, bought at a delightfully low price because Anthropologie put it on sale.
It is a nice unpretentious little bottle. Soft on the nose, with notes of Rosa rubiginosa, black raspberry, spice, black violet and cacao, this is an intriguing rose wine that could use some cellaring to bring out the best of its cacao notes. While I liked it, Briar Rose did not strike me as being a distinguished blend. Briar is something for everyday use, not the grand accompaniment to elegant evenings, more the bottle that gets pulled out for a trip to the BYOB pizzeria, the one with the brick oven and the good salads. I used it from July onwards, and it was a perfect summer scent, not a bad value for money.
While I am on the subject of quality, Undina had a nice post on the merits of presentation in luxury perfumes, which see, and it’s nice to note that although neither of these are ultra niche or luxury scents both are well presented. The Ineke perfumes have always been prettily and even fancifully packaged for their price.
The Christian Lacroix perfumes are also worth owning, frequently for the bottles alone. Consider the unpopular C’est la Vie. This one is not only a worthwhile scent, but a lovely bottle as well. I’m indebted to the charming, cloud photographing Meg for my decant, but Tumulte is happily not that hard to track down, and you get to experience an intelligent, modern perfume in a handsomely designed bottle. That’s getting to be a rare sighting these days.