Roses de la Saint Valentin - Saint Valentine's Day Roses © 2016 Chant Wagner
Three Rose Perfumes to Love
Rose perfumes are a dime a dozen in the world of fragrances, so how can you orient yourself in this olfactory jungle? On Valentine's Day it seems natural to turn to beloved rose perfumes, ones that have crossed the years and retained their charm, to the nose of this perfume blogger at least.
Let me preface this by stating that I personally think that rose is not an easy note to appreciate in perfumery. It is the perfumery note most susceptible to falling prey to stereotypical treatments lazily relying on formulaic compositions and perhaps a bit too assured in the expected effect that as long as your nose recognizes rose petals in the potion, you will be satisfied - because all you wish for is to transfer that garden rose varietal into your bottle...
A default rose perfume can be a bit like experiencing the scene of an assembly of human penguins, by this we mean a vast group of persons forgetting their individuality dressing alike to project a strange impression of social conformism. They look proper - and that's it.
The rose tends to be a status-quo bloom so it's refreshing when you come upon a fragrance which renews your appreciation for the-still-to-be-discovered beauties of the very ancient rose.
Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne
This is a rose which smells not just of a rose but an era - the 60s-70s - during the height of social contestation in countries like France and the US. From these years, it borrows the idea of enshrining the scent of rose in a Buddhist temple shrine wafting of incense and welcoming to chic hippies. It's very Flower Power stylistically speaking to my nose; it also takes inspiration from Angel by Thierry Mugler to add a bit of a fruity gourmand patchouli kick, which shows you we're well faring now in a post-90s world.
Those who bemoan the disappearance of La Rose Angel might find another rosey Angel in this Rose Anonyme (Anonymous Rose). It has other assets, of which perhaps we'll take time to elaborate on in a longer post.
Idylle Eau de Toilette by Guerlain
I'm partial to the eau de toilette version of Idylle by Guerlain for its unique brand of liveliness as well as for its sparkling personality. I discovered this right rose scent when in Brussels as it is my habit to associate a live perfume to wear with a city. Looking around for a fragrance best able to embody the Belgium capital city of my impressions, I finally happened on this scent and it felt it was the perfect match. I would have to go back to it more in detail to know exactly why I felt that way. I just remember feeling sorry not to be able to find a Belgium brand of perfume. Local brands are great.
Idylle is an ode to the Bulgarian rose beloved by the Guerlain noses. It has a slight leguminous nuance. Perhaps there is in there a Northern touch of pale vegetables.
l'Ombre dans l'Eau by Diptyque
I remember that one time when I decided after smelling the whole library of Diptyque scents on hand in a Boston store that this was the best, most interesting and most poetical of the perfumes lined up on the shelves; my first love from the brand was l'Eau, a completely different bird.
l'Ombre dans l'Eau smells of a ravishing association of Bulgarian rose and cassis buds, a chance olfactory finding by Dido Merwin as she picked cassis leaves and roses in a garden. She was the friend composer of pot-pourris for the house. The scent is fresh, intriguing and gets you lost in its olfactory contemplation, which by the way informs you that freshness is not necessarily transparent but can be misty, vague and Avalon-like. You have crossed the mirror and are in that other world called the invisible world of subliminal landscapes you can't see except in imagination, thanks to your capacity to visualize with your nose.