Smelling of Red Roses in Snow {Ask Chantal-Hélène}


A reader, E., sent me both a very interesting and moving question: "I am looking for a spicy rose scent for fall, heading to heavier rose in winter. Think headily fragrant red roses in snow." It is an interesting question because it pushes you to think in terms of finding a specific red rose note - possibly cooled down and purified by a snow accord - as opposed to any beautiful rose scent in general.

It is moving because, as I learned later, the reason E. is searching for that scent is that it is linked with the affective memory of the garden of her mother who passed away last summer. I hope you will be able to help her as well. May I add that E. hopes to find that rose scent that will make people say "I just smelled roses".

Here's my answer...

Dear E.,

There are few rose scents that I really like because I am not a die-hard rose fan and asking for a red rose is even trickier for me but also very interesting. The first thought that came to my mind when you asked me about a spicy rose scent was to think of La Rose Jacqueminot by Coty. It is discontinued but although rare it is not impossible to come by it. OK, but this not very practical advice. A modern perfume that is close to it is Rose d'Eté by Les Parfums de Rosine but it is based on a yellow rose. The whole line of Les Parfums de Rosine is worth exploring for you since all of their perfumes are based on a rose theme.

The Jo Malone red roses cologne will satisfy you in the top notes and middle notes because it smells very much like the flower itself but I find the dry down a bit lacking in body and depth. These colognes are supposed to be layered with each others so you might want to experiment a bit by yourself and see if you can create your perfect combination.

Garnet by Sage is based on a Moroccan red rose; The King of Hearts by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a red rose note; Burberry Brit Red by Burberrys too; Ava Luxe has a new perfume called Roses and an older one called Bohemian rose. I would try them if only because her perfumes are usually good.

Paestum Rose by Le Sirenuse is spicy.

A heavier rose scent that I like very much is Le Maroc pour Elle by Andy Tauer. You could also try Sa Majesté la Rose by Serge Lutens. [...]

You can find the scents I mentioned to you at Aedes, Luckyscent, Luscious Cargo (all are online retail spaces for niche scents), Jo Malone is at Neiman Marcus. You could perhaps try ordering a custom-made scent from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz or Ava Luxe or Susanne Lang at Saks 5th Avenue (the latter is a less elaborate process than with the two first).

If I ever come across a rose scent I think you might like, I will let you know. You have actually triggered a curiosity in me for finding that very natural-smelling (red) rose scent. Perhaps readers will make suggestions too.

One of the only rose scents that I have ever liked is Paris by Yves Saint Laurent. He also has summer editions each year that are a bit different.

Now I remember there is Ava Luxe's White which has a snow accord. Perhaps you could try layering it with a red rose scent and see how it turns out.


Photo is called Snow Brave Red Roses and is borrowed from

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17 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I think Caron's Or et Noir is definitely a nice, rich, intense rose that is perfect for fall and winter.Also, to be considered, Caron's Rose which is a little bit lighter but I certainly love it too.Another suggestion is Guerlain Nahema extrait.

  2. Yosh made a fragrance called Winter Rose, but I haven't smelled it. You might also want to try Caron's Parfum Sacre which has rose and spices. Lorenzo Villoresi makes a fragrance called Teint de Niege which has rose and powdery notes. You could also layer two scents by Les Bains du Marais, Rose Confiture and Musk Blanc, to evoke roses in winter. And lastly, Santa Maria Novella has single notes that can be layered, including Rosa, Musk, Iris, etc. I enjoy a lot of rose scents!

  3. Ditto on Or et Noir. Also Lancome's mille et une rose is a lovely, fresh rose, but not a winter one.

  4. I'm not a huge rose fan, either, but here's my two scents. Back when I was easing into them, some bloggers suggested Creed's Fleur de The Rose Bulgare as the most naturalistic scent (NOT Creed's Fleurs de Bulgarie, different scent!) I was underwhelmed somehow, but others I've sprayed it on love it. The other one was Malle's Une Rose, which is interesting because half the folks seem to find it dark and perverse and artificial, and the other half (including me) find it almost hyper-realistic. It is extremely easy to over-apply, though, in which case you are dead. Not sure if this gets you to "snow", though -- it would be interesting to layer with one of CB's snow accords, like Winter 1972, or he has one that's just called Snow. In fact, I may have to try that myself! Winter would take some of the sweet off.

  5. Great suggestions! I can't believe I forgot to mention Nahema.

  6. Allcross,

    That Winter Rose sounds quite alluring. Teint de Neige is a very delicate powdery scent that I love and that may evoke winter now that I think of it.

  7. Patty,

    Or et Noir sounds like a must-try. I tried Mille et Une Roses but didn't find it to be my cup of (rose) tea.

  8. March,

    Sounds like the chilly months ahead will be a good time to explore all these marvellous concoctions that make you think even more of winter and capture its spirit better.

  9. I second the Nahema, and as far as a really vibrant, deep red rose goes, the Serge Lutens Sa Majeste de la Rose is unbeatable. As "rosy" as it is it never smells like a cliche'.

    Un Folie de Rose by Parfums Rosine is a perfect spicy rose, in my opinion. It has a rose-chypre depth that is very welcome, and of course a "leafy" quality as well. I find it highly wearable.

  10. The rose to beat them all (Lord of the Roses?) is, in my opinion, Czech & Speake's Dark Rose, but I would hardly call that (or Andy Tauer's Le Maroc) a "roses in snow" scent. Sa Majeste comes across cooler, and I would suggest Etro's limited edition "Via Verri" for a scent that makes you look for that rose that HAS to be blooming out of season somewhere near you (by the way: I had a similar reaction when trying a sample of Annick Goutal's Creme splendide....). For comfort: Annick Goutal's Ce Soir ou Jamais, especially for bed. Like sleeping in a bouquet of roses..... And Rose d'Argent (Parfums de Rosine) for a slightly melancholy, frosty rose....

  11. Tricky. I think a spicy rose and a snowy rose are opposites, since I tend to think of spices as warm, but for a warm, spicy rose I'd recommend Rosier ardent from Nez à Nez. It's a rose scent I think I'd love if I liked roses at all, which I don't.

  12. Flora, Dinazad, and Solander,

    Your latest perfume recommendations make me feel like the rose continent is worth exploring. I think I just have never felt a very strong emotion vis-à-vis a rose fragrance. The only types I really like is a fruity if possible over-ripe rose note or antique-smelling natural rose. I am sure all these interesting suggestions will awaken interest for rose scents.

  13. Just remembered, because I'm wearing it today: Schiaparelli Shocking. Starts out as gleeful sugared roses and ends up as a smidgen of honey with a hint of rose petals. And generally I prefer my roses on a bush.... but one should never say never, should one ;-)?

  14. Dinazad,

    I also have Schiaparelli Shocking and I must say that I haven't been able to conquer it completely yet because it's hard for me to go past the hefty dose of honey and aldehydes I get from the perfume.

  15. Hi!
    Good work!
    I have a suggestion for your friend that hasn't been mentioned; she can combine Jo Malone's Roses with Malone's 154 (a woody blend) . The resulting scent is a trapped under cool foliage rose. Very nice!

  16. Hi Helg,

    Thanks. It sounds very nice indeed. I am curious to try that combination myself.

  17. Hi everyone,
    I also have the desire to find my rose scent, but unfortunately in my city (Russia, Tomsk) it will be difficult...
    And what I wanted to ask - what about Rosarium (Shiseido)? I heard the most natural roses are there


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