Recently a reader from Greece contacted me to ask for some assistance in finding information about Borsari, a venerable perfume house based in Parma, Italy and in particular about one of its perfumes, Rosa Thea. This person was looking for a full bottle of it, a much more difficult task it seems than finding a miniature version of it. Seeing such enthusiasm for a perfume is always contagious and it made me want to seek out the fragrance and see by myself what all the fuss was about.....
Rosa Thea is an eau de parfum featuring a tea rose and a very natural-smelling one at that. I am handicapped in paying it due homage by the fact that I am not a rose lover per se. There are rose-centered perfumes that I love but I am not an obsessive collector of rose fragrances. However, I do see how this one would appeal to rose connoisseurs. The perfume captures different facets of the tea rose; despite the fact that there is a composition, the scent nevertheless plays the card of pure unadulterated love for a rose found in its raw form so to speak. The love is total and what is loved are the petals, fresh and dried up, the earth that has nourished the rose and contributes to its dirt-smelling facet. It feels like one would have buried one's face in its silken petals and stayed there long enough to live its bloom and decay as some facets evoke a pot-pourri. The scent evokes the soft flesh of a rose, its morning dewey self as well as its more narcotic exhalations.
The perfume starts on a boozy note making you think of overripe liquorishey roses. It then goes on to smell both fresh and heady. There is some spice to enliven the soliflore, possibly black pepper, clove, carnation. At this stage it is reminiscent of the beginning of Parfum Sacré by Caron. Fresh dirt is evoked. The main companion to the rose here seems to be ambergris offering its cool metallic edge and piscean reference. It becomes very slightly powdery. The rose at its height is fruity; I would not surprised if there were a strawberry or raspberry note to reinforce that effect. There are some honey nuances. The drydown is musky and sweet-smelling with perhaps hints of sandalwood and rosewood.
You can find 3.5 ml flacons of Rosa Thea on eBay. It comes in a set of four fragrances contained in a metallic box.
You can read my review of another Borsari fragrance, Violetta di Parma. It is considered to be the violet perfume of true connoisseurs.
Photo is by The Scented Salamander.