Voleur de Roses (lit. Rose Thief or "Stolen Rose" per L'Artisan's translation) was created by perfumer Michel Almairac in 1993 for L'Artisan Parfumeur. In the recently published 22 parfumeurs en création by Clara Molloy, the book opens on his interview, one of the most interesting, humane ones in it, and the one leaving one of the more lasting impressions despite the fact that you read it before all the others, as they are organized alphabetically. What makes him stand apart from the rest of the perfumers is that he reveals somewhat of an unexpected rebel's personality, not easily satisfied with his corporate lot. He acknowledges the fact that he stands firmly on the side of the raw materials themselves rather than the concepts presiding over them. This position is commonly seen to be that of the Grassois school of perfumery, which is perhaps usually less publicly articulate about its preferences than the more intellectualist one working with ideas or stories as points of departure. Hence, a sense of difference that is more marked in the current media context. Last but not least, he is the only one who confesses publicly and candidly to having been "hurt by a perfume", Minotaure by Paloma Picasso, which was not successful commercially, for reasons that are hard to decipher.
His creations are wonderful and we can particularly call attention to Gucci Pour Homme, Burberry London/Classic, Rush, and Saks For Her. He himself says that of his own perfumes two that he can say he "adores" are Burberry London/Classic and Rush. He likes Casmir a lot and he likes Zino by Davidoff.......
Voleur de Roses is a poetico-realistic earthy rose perfume based on a rose, plum, and patchouli accord. It immediately evokes roses half-covered with damp fresh soil, as if a hasty hand, that of a thief -- perhaps an allusion to the masculine theft of a rose which usually is seen as belonging to the realm of femininity -- that would have stolen beautiful pink roses from a garden and made for an escape with these roses still covered with a rich fragrant earth, a bit muddy and dark. The patchouli here has been worked so as to reveal its freshly-moved soil nuances; it is almost mineral in its veracity.
Although next the roses are made to smell fruitier and rounder but also a bit décalé thanks to a plum note that feels Japanese, the overall impression is one of a masculine rose scent given the sobriety of the composition and its accent put on earthy, woodsy facets. Woody camphorous nuances further make the roses feel dry and non-sweet. The dry-down is a bit fruitier, sweeter, and more aldehydic with a light rose chypre personality. The longer dry-down is musky.
As we smelled it, it felt somewhat familiar. It is a precursor or a kin to a scent like Kisu by Tann Rokka (2001).
Depending on the type of application, the scent can disappear more quickly than average or linger a bit more if more heavily applied, but glaring tenacity does is not its forte. This is a reproach that is frequently made regarding L'Artisan fragrances. In some cases, it seems to go well with the personality of the scent, in others, like here, one wonders whether a robust smell like that of fresh soil ought not have lingered on longer and the sin of stolen roses felt to be more burning. The perfume seems to go more for an interpretation as that of a stolen moment or that of a long subtle spell following the first rush of sensations. It is undeniably elegant but feels also a bit like the figurative motif vanished too quickly.
Notes are bergamot, rose, plum, patchouli.
You can read the rest of the Valentine's Day-Rose-Challenge posts here.