Comme Des Garçons Red Series: Rose (2001): A Hyper-Realistic Rose {Perfume Review} - {Smell-The-Roses-Till-Valentine's Day Challenge - Day 1}



Rose is part of the Red Series by Comme des Garçons and was composed by perfumers Yann Vasnier and Françoise Caron. For those who are interested in the subtleties of authorship in perfumery, one can read about Françoise Caron declaring in the recently published book comprising 22 perfumers' interviews edited by Clara Molloy, 22 parfumeurs en création, (also available in English) that Yann Vasnier could have created Rose without her and that she just "guaranteed for it", a little bit like it used to be in a Renaissance painter's workshop.

Being part of the Red Series in a creative-to-experimental line like Comme Des Garçons means that, Rose is not just about the scent of a rose but a systematic study on how to translate the red tonalities of a natural aroma so that our olfactory representation of a rose -- that indeed reveals itself to be red -- is different from a pink, yellow, or blue rose (one can dream). In this sense, Rose does not hold any surprise or drama; its name does not disguise any more complex bouquet of sensations. Even more remarkable a trait is that the perfume succeeds in creating the representation of a soliflore that is a literal soliflore, suggesting to the perfume wearer the vision of a unique stem of rose abstractly pinned to the air. If it smells red, it is because the illusion of the rose scent never feels disconnected from the color we naturally associate with it. The rose smells of red thanks to it offering lower tonalities, a certain ripeness, fruitiness, and the right degree of sweetness with an undercurrent of ruby red wine coloring the sensation......


The team of perfumers has signed together a composition that is both realistic and stylized like a photograph taken up close of a single red rose with the lens guiding the eye or rather the nose here towards a macro vision of a crunchy and juicy red rose petal. The mind found its hook; it rests on the edge of the crimson rose petal and wonders what there is beyond that edge, below especially as all the composition is extremely focused on the rose itself leaving little room for the sense of a larger environment.

The petal is dewy, satiny, fresh, and would probably feel as crunchy and a bit hard as fresh lettuce were one to masticate it now. The impressions unroll, succeeding themselves in an orderly fashion seemingly entering the frame of the imagination one by one.

In fact it seems that the method used here has been to add a light, abstract suggestive facet like a drawing trait that enters the scene then is erased but leads the mind to compose the realistic red rose one by one. Here comes the suggestion of fruitiness and then it passes, a touch of green, then it goes away or melts into the drawing, then comes in the suggestion of metal, and then it fades away and here comes the evocation of the earthiness of the rose followed by a touch of powder. All these touches are light, very economical, and abstract. All these different facets appear and are assembled to create a red rose in 3-D.

The perfume becomes more perfume-y with time with some sharp notes of aldehydes and vanilla and amber becoming more present. The resolution of the scent or dry-down is fresh and clean, a bit soapy and spicy. It is quite tenacious, tending to become once again less powdery and more fresh overtime.

As a perfume to be worn it is very much like a simple soliflore and would please lovers of red roses. As a perfume to be smelled it is interesting to experience as a photo-realistic red rose unfolding its planes into space. If the volumes and spatial definition of this rose as well as its pigmentation are truly enjoyable to experience as an illusion, it lacks perhaps a certain vibration and movement. A rose with a movement? Yes. Like the wind making it waver, like the time that passes and bruises it a bit. Rose is a picture-perfect red rose that is picked up and worn later on a lap or corsage (it is a unisex perfume and feels neutral enough) of someone dressing up for the evening (cosmetic powdery notes) and we do not really know what happens afterwards, except maybe that it was replaced in a glass of water after being worn.

Notes: essence of Moroccan rose, absolute Bulgarian rose, pink peppercorn, raspberry pulp, geranium.

It is available at Luckyscent, 100 ml for $92, 1 ml sample for $3.

Image: Jupiter Images 

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