Nicolaï Rose Royale (2017) Authentic Rose {Perfume Review & Musings}


Rose Royale eau de toilette is the new fragrance by Nicolaï, which is launched today on the occasion of Valentine's Day. Perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï said that to her rose is an endless motif that she could never tire of interpreting. In this latest opus, the perfumer-composer artfully brings into the world a very authentic rose soliflore...

Oh My! you exclaim. Rose Royale bursts open on an impossibly fresh and aerial rose-bouquet opening. This first remarkable impression is followed by a more metallic, sweet-sticky and dark rose note with precious powdery overtones. The colors of the core rose impression deepen to morph into the range of the tints usually seen in a glass of red wine.

If the initial tableau seemed to be more about the recreation of an atmosphere - that of the garden of the Palais-Royal idealized in the springtime - the ensuing sequence is more about leaving pride of place to the materials: an essence and absolute of Turkish rose smelling both of a scimitar and a jar of rose jam.


Roses of the Palais-Royal Gardens in the Fall © CHANT WAGNER

As Rose Royale develops further its trajectory, the rose note becomes fruitier, less metallic and more powdery - with a hint of animality. This dynamic only gets confirmed overtime. The rose ever deepens becoming darker and darker suggesting not a tunnel vision but a well vision - as if you were smelling a rich rose scent coming from the depth of a well, captive, yet powerfully exhaling towards the surface of the earth. It is a bit like a reverse vision of Alice in Wonderland in which Alice falls into an enchanted subterranean world; here the enchantment comes from below the earth's surface to meet your earthling's nose firmly living on the common, human ground. This, after all, is exactly what takes place with naturals in perfumes: they come from a Vulcan, Persephonic world to exhale in the open air.

If Rose Royale felt impossibly fresh and aerial in the beginning, now the perfume feels impossibly deep and dark. An absolute of immortelle is here to color but not scent. In the long drydown, a light, airy musk, with ambrette, make the scent feel weightless anew. The composition may well be a study of the roses of the Palais-Royal, in its misty, vernal atmosphere as you sit by its fountain, but it is certainly also a study of the sheer, natural power of the scent of rose brought to the world and tamed by the perfumer.

In this type of perfume, where the art of the perfumer leaves ample room for the naturals to express themselves, and in fact accompanies them, harness them, the rose is like a tamed wild horse - and the perfumer is to a large extent acting like an accoucheuse. It's maïeutique for perfumery. Perfumers often explain that it is important to succeed in their craft to be a good listener, meaning usually by that, to people who want to have fragrances made according to their ideas. But you really get a sense here that this good-listener skill is also what you need to "listen to" a rose for instance, to let all its beauty and truthfullness express themselves in full.

Rose Royale is a beautiful rose soliflore with an atmospheric twist. It is not dull because it is so authentic.

Fragrance notes: cassis bud absolute, passion fruit, essence of bergamot, absolute and essence of Turkish rose, coriander essence, ambrette seed essence, immortelle absolute, sandalwood essence, gaïac wood essence and musk.

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