Sometimes a perfume will simply elude me. That is to say, that one will come along and garner good reviews and I may try it and decide that the scent is indeed a thing of beauty and then for one reason or another, not buy it or not sample it for long enough, and then one day it is gone.
Le Pot aux Roses, Stephanie de Saint Aignan’s rose scent from 2006 disappeared in exactly this way. I had just decided in that long lumbering fashion I have, that maybe Le Pot was worth owning, when out it went like a blown candle. No Pots with Roses in them, scandalous or otherwise, were anywhere to be found; a very minor tragedy to be sure, but still.
Basenotes tells me now that the whole notion of that pot being full of roses was probably an illusion anyway, since the notes they have listed there don’t mention rose. They do include green notes in the head and a midsection of violet and iris over musk, clearly, like Caron’s old Fête des Roses, this was a perfume about a floral hologram. So I had lost a pot of ghostly roses and well, losing something that wasn’t, doesn’t seem like too much of a loss.
Then I came across an Italian perfume from Profumun called Ninfea, and guess what? It is the sister of Le Pot aux Roses.
If this perfume contains roses at all, they are in the first few minutes of the scent, after that the whole fragrance turns once again on an axis of what smells like iris. Though the notes claim it is honeysuckle, to me it smells nothing like that. There is no trace of fruitiness or nectar in this scent, it is instead a desiccated floral presence
Like Le Pot, Ninfea is a powdery thing, with a feathery, faintly nostril tickling radiance. Paradoxically at the end, this scent, stops tickling you, and warms up on your skin like beeswax, or very expensive almond scented face cream. It is preternaturally a creature of the boudoir, far more so than Boudoir, Vivienne Westwood’s odd intermittently animalic creation.
Ninfea is supposed to be all about rose then honeysuckle and finally cut grass. Not what I smell, at all. This perfume is extremely feminine. Ninfea could easily spend its days traipsing about its virtual boudoir wearing marabou trimmed slippers, in just that shade of delicate seashell pink that flatters all starlets, and demi-mondaines, and indeed any woman with a healthy dose of l’eternelle feminine in her soul. It had better have wide appeal too, since Ninfea costs a healthy $225.00 for 100MLS. Pretty stiff pricing for your average boudoir occupant, she might do better to toss some rice powder about and spritz rose water.
This one could be worn by Lana Turner or Marilyn Monroe or even Jean Harlow, but I have my doubts as to its feasibility on anyone who is not- at least intermittently- extremely feminine; the sort of woman who cannot change light bulbs, or prize lids off jars, or pick up a screw driver to do anything whatsoever. This is one not to be shared. This fragrance is strictly for the very girliest of the girls, or anyway, the girls who want to be on the hot pink end of the boy-girl, spectrum if only for one evening. It is of course, to die for pretty, but helpless in any emergency that doesn’t involve a chaise longue.
So all things considered, maybe it was just as well that the Pot aux Roses disappeared, as I can use screwdrivers, and suspect most other women can as well.
(By the way, decouvrir un pot aux roses, apparently means to stumble on a scandal, but more poetic, and the tiniest bit salacious. We are talking about French.)