In the emails I receive from readers I am often asked questions about rose fragrances. These requests make me realize that despite the fact that many people might think rose fragrances are a bit passé, not original enough harking back to the days of yore when women wore flowery hats and scented their kerchiefs with violet and rose scents, that in spite of that stereotype there are many amateurs of rose perfumes.
I also realize that the slight prejudice that exists against rose fragrances amongst people who seek rarer scents may stem from the fact that many rose fragrances smell a bit dull and conventional to the nose or appear to never smell as enthralling as the natural flower. A recurring request is that the desirable rose scents smell both natural and have an interesting touch to them.
Oftentimes I find that rose scents strip down roses of their character, their earthiness, their verdant freshness, their aqueous quality, their woodiness, in other words, of their complexity. Too often we are reminded of the flattened unidimensional scent of a rose soap. In this manner a rose scent can easily be perceived to be boring due to its enduring popularity and typification......
Therefore I was pleased to discover A Rose by Inis, the latter being a little-known brand of Irish perfumes. A Rose is both a very pretty and interesting rose scent and I think fits the bill.
Added 2010/03/03: The fragrance was composed by former in-house perfumer Arthur Burnham who passed away in 2007.
Top Notes are Sunny Sicilian Lemons and Bergamot, palest pink Geraniums, Cyclamen and Muguet (Lily of the Valley). Middle Notes are Pink May Rose from Grasse, White Rose, White Damask Rose Absolute and traces of Turkish Rose Attar. Base Notes are Penang Patchouli, finest Mysore Sandalwood, Vanilla from Madagascar, Incense, Tonkin Musk and Atlas Cedarwood.
The scent starts off fruity and woody and then unfolds into a greener bouquet of sensations. The slightly indolic and overripe fruity rose undertone accentuates. A nuance of pencil shavings comes into play lending an unconventional touch to the perfume.The drier woodsy aroma slowly evolves into an accord of discreetly powdery rose lipstick. Finally, the aqueous quality of roses surfaces mingling with the very discreet and sensual feminine powder.
The perfume evokes to me a nature morte of sorts. It conjures up the image of a recently abandoned rose on an old-fashioned school desk next to a freshly sharpened pencil and perhaps not far from a rose-scented inkwell of violet-colored ink. An overripe apple inside the desk brought by a pupil for the school teacher and forgotten there is mingling its aroma with the woods and the rose. The illusion would be complete if we were to smell notes of chalk. As it is, we know that this mental picture is but a representation from the past as the scent of a lipstick reminds us that it is a woman who is imagining the scene while powdering her face and putting some lipstick on.
If you like fresh rose scents that smell more natural than perfumey then you will probably love A Rose. It offers interesting and even unconventional olfactory nuances while ending up smelling very fresh. I find that the scent can get a bit heady if applied too liberally so apply lightly. I would say that it is definitely worth a sniff for rose perfume aficionados.
A Rose by Inis retails from $30. You can find it at Fragrances & More. Readers of The Scented Salamander get a 10% discount off all of their purchases when using the coupon code Salamander10 at checkout, no time limit. I am told that The Energy of The Sea by Inis is one of their bestsellers; it does smell very good and fresh.