Five of the Best Rose Perfumes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn order to round off the month of February with its romance intact, I decided to write a couple of lists, one for the best violet scents I know, and one for the best roses.  In order to be fair and to make life easier for people who may not have smelled some vintage wonders, all my picks are still in production.  I’m not recommending something you just can’t come across, and one-at least- will be in the under fifty dollar range.  We must have some mercy upon our wallets. 

1) Guerlain’s Nahema: This is still one of the best and most interesting perfumes out there if you like roses not photo-realistically portrayed.  Nahema is a beautiful abstract impressionist rendering of roses, a glorious splat of rosy pigments on an outsized canvas. The fragrance has big lift, lovely enveloping sillage, and is not a scent for the shy and retiring. A great big pink/peach greeting to the atmosphere.  You really need to smell it at least once in your life.

2) CBIHATE PERFUME Tea Rose:  This is a very affordable option at 25.00 for 2mls of the extract, Christopher Brosius gives you real rose, the clarity and sweetness of which tends to clear your head.  He points out that people often think they know what rose smells like, only to discover they were familiar with synthetic roses (soap, tissue, and toilet paper scents) until they try this perfume.  He’s got a point.

3) YSL’s Paris Premieres Roses: This is not straight rose, even the original Paris was always a mixture of flower scents, principally violet, but this one with its freshness and slightly green inflection is a winner.  People tend to love PR and re-purchase it, the hallmark of a successful fragrance.  At the price worth trying, the best of the Paris flankers, and that is saying a lot. This perfume is out in a new Limited Edition this spring, you have your chance.

gel pinks for Nahema 4) Parfums de Nicolai Musc Intense: This constitutes a bit of an upset.  I had been going to say, conventionally, that Serge Lutens’ Sa Majeste la Rose was the next on the list, but I find this perfume slightly less than wearable.  Musc Intense though nestles happily onto skin and despite its name, is more rose than musk, although the musk is discernable, peaking out at intervals from its flowery environment, like a brawny repair man at a garden party.  The scent is very highly colored, in overlapping gels of hot pink and crimson, an effect of the Turkish rose, which gives the perfume a slightly oily transparency, and the aldehydes, which also give it a translucent rather than an opaque quality.  This perfume reminds folks of White Linen, though it reminds me of Guerlain’s own Rosa Magnifica, being a rose aldehyde.  This too is a reasonably priced scent at 65. 00 the oz.

5) Strange Invisible Perfumes Black Rosette : This is my one great sin against economy at 385.00 for 1.7oz.  Therefore it is chosen because Black Rosette is stunning.  Perfectly unisex, a very elegant leather/rose fragrance that is entirely natural, lasting and un-stodgy.  I prefer this even to Frederic Malle’s hit Portrait of a Lady.  This is very sexy, and very opulent and does make you smell completely different from any mall-crawl trawl you may ever have carted home with you.  Black Rosette may or may not be for the 1%, but it certainly is for perfume connoisseurs, just like the Guerlain Les Deserts series.  I don’t own a bottle because I can’t afford it-but it is that good.


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19 thoughts on “Five of the Best Rose Perfumes

  1. Arrrgh. I still refuse to try Black Rosette, because I really cannot afford it.

    But a very nice list. I confess that I cannot smell Nahema. Don’t know why… could tell that there was SOMETHING on my wrist, but could not actually smell it. Perhaps I should try again. Tea/Rose is quite nice.

    I have a bottle of Paris Pont des Amours, and it’s lovely. I would probably love Premieres Roses as well, but I still have about 2/3 of my PPdA bottle so there’s very little point at the moment.

    And yes, Musc Intense is very very rosy. A lovely thing that despite the aldehydes I was not tempted to buy, not sure why… I have a vague memory of there being quite a bit of vanilla in there as well.

  2. I can’t remember now how I came across Black Rosette since normally something so expensive causes me nosebleeds, but anyway, BR was the goods. Wish the Strange Invisibles would consider a smaller size?

    Musc Intense is really nice, I find it almost addictive, and her Rose Oud is primo too, not particularly original mind you, but very good. I think there is strawberry in the Musc Intense, which is very curious-but it succeeds.

  3. I admit to having quite the lech for Kilian’s Rose Oud. I have, like, four of those mfr 2ml spray samples. No, three – I killed one.

    I’m not sure what I’d come up with if I were limiting myself to five. Five widely-differing ones? Hmm. Must ponder.

    Possible list:
    YSL Paris (yes. the original. c’mon, if you can take Nahema, which I hear can be stunningly loud, Paris shouldn’t kill you – especially these days), or one of the LE Printemps flankers

    L’Arte di Gucci – or Olympic Orchids Ballets Rouges because the Gucci’s d/c (big lush rose chypres)

    DSH Rose Vert (all-natural, and I don’t normally go for those because they tend to be so short-lived, but this one lasts a long time and is lovely, very green and citrusy and uplifting)

    Amouage Lyric Woman (which I find very meditative)

    Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete (pretty much yellow roses, pretty much perfect)

    However, I wish to report that I am grumpy at leaving off BK Rose Oud, the first Ines de la Fressange, Silences, MDCI Rose de Siwa (I only have a sample. I lust for more), Soivohle Rosa sur Reuse, #19 EdP, Tauer Une Rose Vermeille…

    Gah. it never ends.

    1. Your list reminded me of all the things I left off mine: the whole Rose de Rosine line, the Serge Lutens kit and kaboodle, and Rose Vert, which I’ve loved and worn, and makes people step in closer to smell you, funny to watch. I once had a cashier breathe in and ask what was that wonderful smell? That was Rose Vert at work folks.

      On the other hand, yeah the original Paris is pretty good, and I wonder is it a re-do of the old Coty Paris?

      1. There are some congruences. I have a small bit of the old Coty, and of course it has probably suffered from age. Its topnotes are wonky and it has very little staying power. Old Coty Paris is rose and violet and lilac, some aldehydes, not much green. Powdery like the YSL, but powdery from violet and aldies, none of that polleny mimosa thing. I describe it to myself as “a handkerchief scent,” and now am struggling to translate that concept for people who didn’t have grandmothers or mothers who always had a cotton or linen hanky in their purses.

        1. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard pick up on the mimosa in YSL Paris. Didn’t get it myself until just the other day, checking out my Mom in Law’s bottle.

          Coty Paris is dry, and does have aldehydes going on. Linen hanky is about right, but HOW to explain this to the Kleenex generation? Don’t think my daughter’s ever seen a handkerchief.

    1. Nahema, was beautiful in the 90’s version I briefly wore-however too loud for me. On the other hand I literally had women following me around asking me what I was wearing and where they could get some. Never happened before or since to me 😉
      Black Rosette is really good -very expensive leather smelling- and I think Patty at Perfume Posse likes it a lot too.

  4. ‘Mall crawl trawl’ – love it! Know exactly what you mean. Of your list I really only know Musc Intense, and it has a pear note in it that I find hard to deal with. But I’ll take my sample out for another spin – thanks for the reminder. .

    Often rose fragrances seem to sour and wine-y to me. Recently a kind perfumista friend sent me a generous sample of Hermes’ Rose Ikebana and I’m liking it more than I expected. Yes, it smells similar to Kelly Caleche, but with without the leather note that has often bothered me. I took Rose Ikebana out for its first airing today and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. (Its longevity was better than I expected too, sillage for about 3 hours or more, and lasted all day on skin.) So now I’m in that dilemma you get into with a pretty, understated fragrance – it’s lovely but is it worth all that money? It seems overpriced, but what if Rose Ikebana is the THE rose for me? Hmmm …

  5. Rose Ikebana is very lovely, a scent even non-rose lovers seem to like.

    One to try if (you haven’t already) is Parfum d’Empire’s Eau Suave which is a fruity rose chypre. De Nicolai’s new Rose Oud is pretty fruity too, a lot of davana and something that smells like dried fruits to me, but then there is the oud. Always a problem if you’re not an oud lover. They should be easier on the wallet 🙂

    1. I like Kelly Caleche in the edp, not in the edt. I like Eau Suave. Haven’t gotten my nose on the PdN Rose Oud. (Yet. Am avoiding another possible lemming.)

      But I disliked Rose Ikebana very much… too cologney, too light, and way too spendy for such a thin wash of something. IMO. 😀 (Not much of a JCE fan, me.)

  6. I love Nahema-ultra rose, then that wonderful passion fruit note. It’s amazing, and can we talk about the bottle? Glass, covered by the King Tut gold enclosure!

    I also like the Annick Goutal Rose scents-but I bought them a long time ago, when they were not as expensive. I have the famous Creed Fleur de tea scent-lovely and clear. I wish it was still available.

  7. Nahema did have a grand bottle, and as for the passion fruit note, yup, I remember it and liked it too, the rose hyacinth was another startling element.

    Did you have the AG Rose Absolue? That was one of the very first rose soliflores you could get outside of the aforementioned Creed. Saks NYC used to have a bottle or so for maybe five minutes every November and sell out before I could scrape together the money to buy one.

  8. Yes, i did (and do ) have it. It’s so feminine. I had the body cream, too-was it called creme splendide? It was in a beautiful frosted glass bottle. It was a very extravagent product. I love roses, especially the wild ones. I also have a black tea with rose petals-it’s delicious!

  9. The packaging for the Annick Goutals was so French and so feminine with all the gilt-you had to love it coming at a time when everyone else was selling Eau d’Issey in minimalist cones.

    Roses are pretty great as products and I’m always surprised at the numbers of people who say rose goes sour on them. Maybe they are smelling Damascenones or something because Rose Otto is very sweet and never goes sour on me at all. In fact I put rose otto on as my face “serum” 🙂

  10. Musc Intense is beautiful especially if you are also a musk lover. Curiously, I think it’s just a tiny bit fruity-floral too, as there is a strawberry right in the beginning before the rose unfurls!

    1. Really liked Musc Intense, almost wished it had been called something else,because it’s a scent for rose lovers too, but a beauty, no doubt about it.

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