Non Rose Perfumes that Smell of Roses

From The A reconstruction of Arcimblodo's Spring

From The A reconstruction of Arcimblodo’s Spring

It appears that I have not done a “list” post in a very long time.  I really hate to do these at the end of a year, but once in a while there is a little space and time to do one and if you can’t re-live rose perfumes in February-when can you?

They do some pretty good best of lists over at Perfume Posse, but I am a fuss pot about roses because I grow so many, and like my perfumes to be really evocative of the real thing, thorns and all. So no Stella, no Diptyque Eau de Rose (only rosy for five minutes anyway- subsequently dryer sheets) and I find the Early Roses of Teo Cabanel to be too timid .  If you want exhaustive lists of the real thing  Undina’s Looking Glass has a really long one.

So my criteria are that the perfume must be pretty much a rose soliflore and must really and truly smell of rose or some version of rose. The kicker is I don’t care if there is any rose in there or not.

  1. Actually vegetable carvings

    Actually vegetable carvings

    A Rose that is not a rose, namely Iunx’s L’Eau Frappe and there are only four notes none of them rose:lemon, citron, lime, and salt.  The composition smells exactly like a fresh rose and there is none of that sourness that comes from roses (which is pretty amazing isn’t it when there are no roses in there?  A must try for rose fanatics. My sample courtesy Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume

  2.  In this same curious category I have to place CBIHATEPERFUME’s Gathering Apples.  This smells of apples but apples and roses belong to the same botanical family and therefore if you detect some rose in apple and vice versa you’re not far wrong. This one does smell of apples but also like a number of roses which mimic apples such as the old sweet briars that have apple scented foliage Meg Merrilies for instance).  It’s also beautiful layered over favorite rose soliflores
  3. Guerlain’s Nahema This one was widely reputed not to contain any rose. I’ve read lists of notes that included rose, and lists that didn’t, but never mind, because the combination of passion fruit, pink hyacinth, and peach does a fine job of counterfeiting a rose, and is also a perfume with great presence and panache. Nahema billows around you and is lovely and exotic while doing so. Absolutely unforgettable this one.
  4. Dovana from Sylvaine Delacourte, this is a pretty sly joke but a good one.  Rose is absolutely allowed to be at its soapiest in this little composition.  It’s very
    Rose carved from soap from

    Rose carved from soap from

    understatedsudsy and polite but what do all that rose and vanilla and sandalwood remind you of?  Some white milled bar that slipped out of your hand in the bathtub?  Take a guess?  And yes this does remind me of another Delacourte hit Cruel Gardenia, only without the gardenia.

  5. Geranium Bourbon  As you might expect from the name this one is primarily geranium but it is such a good rose imposter that you really don’t mind the slightly masculine beginning to the fragrance. This one, with the palmarosa opening, and the slightly booze influenced mid section is fun and easy to wear.  The rose here is minimal, but who cares?
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4 thoughts on “Non Rose Perfumes that Smell of Roses

  1. Great illustrations!

    I tried your #3 & 4. I heard so many times that Nahema is rose perfume that I’ve never doubted it but since I didn’t like it when I tried it I don’t remember now how it smelled. As to Dovana… I have to try it (again?). Ironically, I got that sample set because Denyse (Grain de Musc) mentioned in her Top 10 2016 post that another one from the line – Florentina – “crosses the angora-kitten softness of L’Instant or Cruel Gardenia with the iris and carnation wistfulness of L’Heure Bleue” but when I tried it I didn’t smell anything like my favorite Cruel Gardenia.

    1. I always thought the critics were too hard on Cruel because the gardenia came in at the end-or at least that was where I smelled it- as I used to stop by the Sak’s Guerlain counter and wear Cruel Gardenia to shop 🙂 Good times.

      Anyway Dovana is closer to Cruel Gardenia than Florentina which is another LHB modernization.

      Dovana differs by making a rose the floral in the mix rather than gardenia. I don’t get any gardenia in Dovana. That’s kind of too bad, there are no affordable good gardenias out there. Neil Morris (yes I’m smelling a lot of his lately) has Intimate Gardenia, but that is gardenia for twenty minutes. Maybe Ineke did about the best with Hothouse Flower.

  2. What an interesting idea for a post, and I must say that I didn’t realise those scents were roseless. I agree that Eau Frappee does a spectacular job of smelling like roses – I imagine yellow ones in my nose’s eye.

    1. Oh yellow roses-yes that’s what EF makes you think of…and I haven’t planted any! (Wailing in background because around here we get the dreaded black spot rose disease and yellows are very prone to it!)

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