The other week I bought a bottle of La Rose Jacqueminot without having tested the perfume. Since it was composed about 1904, I was not certain what kind of perfume I would end up with, this is a Coty after all, and he invented two of the standard scent families of the twentieth century.
La Rose Jacqueminot is unusual. In broad outline it is a rose chypre, but like many of the earliest of those, the formula straddles the line between chypres and orientals. I have only read a couple of descriptions of L R J online and am not sure if my experience of it is similar to others’. Rose can be used as a top note and probably is here, then there is an extended floral section that smells to me principally of rose and violet. The notes are rounded almost three dimensional and even though my bottle was of the 1990s re-issue this is a slow moving fragrance. Original versions of this perfume are described as being rose violet into the dry down with neither flower dominating the accord. In this edp there is a definite trail which smells of musk and sandalwood or a sandalwood synthetic, plus another very dark material, possibly oakmoss. Some people described a tobacco scent. I don’t really catch that here. The rose quality maybe a bit heavier, possibly a rose otto, and the material Rhodinol was used in 1904. Here there are some mulled tones but I smell faint smokiness rather than tobacco.
La Rose Jacqueminot does seem different from most other perfumes I have encountered.That may be due to its earliness. The new rules were not established in 1904, by the next year with L’Origan they began to be. This is a chypre without all the chypre ingredients, and an oriental without much amber. The base is somber with a tinge of saltiness in the far end of the evaporation.
This rose makes no excuses for being both sensual and lethargic. In its original formula I bet it was even more leisurely, stretching itself like one of the Grandes Horizontals, across the hours between five and seven. The base of this perfume is more pronounced than those that came later for Coty. His perfumes are generally rounded and soft with nothing prominent about them. La Rose Jacqueminot has a formidable quality to it underneath the many rose and violet petals, a sort of steeliness beneath the nosegay which is not much like modern perfumes. Most of the time though, this demanding
ending is too muted to unbalance the perfume, but once I showered, and the base washed clean of flowers was rather harsh. Normally it isn’t, partnering the roses and violets to their last molecular trace. Smell this and you smell the end of the nineteenth century. This is horses and carriages and not internal combustion engines.
Despite its clip-clop speed I’d still recommend LRJ. You need to have patience, you need not to mind perfumes that change over time (because it does considerably) and you have to like rose and violet in combination. I think that this particular retro perfume is well suited to men. In fact I would highly recommend this to men who like Rose Barbare, or Rose de Nuit, reminding them that it is slower moving than either of those. LRJ lasts on my skin for a good four to five hours in the edp. It is not as heavy as the Rose Oud formulas. I compared it to de Nicolai’s Rose Oud and found it much more flowery and discreet in its beginning, though certainly with more staying power than you might think and an elegance you might not find in the more heavy handed orientals. This is a very 19th century rose.