Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roses, or: Who Wants to Smell Like a Flower?

Years ago, when I was, um, eighteen, I wore a drugstore scent called “Love’s Fresh Lemon.”

Oh, it was wonderful. It smelled exactly like lemon zest, real lemon zest like when you rip up a lemon peel for some summer vodka drink (not that I’ve made any of those lately). I would spray it all over myself and walk around in a state of citrus-induced bliss.

Then my boyfriend, who was somewhat older and more worldly than I was, then, said, “You know, if I wanted to (have Biblical knowledge of) a lemon, I’d (have Biblical knowledge of) a lemon.”

And that was the end of Love’s Fresh Lemon for me. At least when he was around.

But enough about lemons. Let’s talk about roses. Roses are nice. Everybody likes getting a dozen of them. Do we want to smell like one though? Lots of us must, because there are hundreds and hundreds of rose fragrances! Here are five of them, some much more interesting than others.

Eau de Rose by Comptoir Sud Pacifique: It’s an “Eau” so of course I get alcohol at first, lots of it. And, yeah, it smells like a rose, all right. A red one. Dark red, like a Mr. Lincoln. Some sweetness in the mid-notes, and a surprise later: it blooms. Darker, redder, a little more herbaceous. I can find nothing on this fragrance, except a two-line review on Perfume Posse. It came to me as a sample, part of a “perfume introduction” package, as an exemplary soliflore. That it is. It’s a rose, pure, simple, and if I was a bee, I’d love it.

Fleur de The’ Rose Bulgare by Creed: Some say 1890, some say 1959, some say this was made in the late Forties for Ava Gardner (and, if that’s true, it’s worth its own post; I’ll get around to it soon!) Oh, this is nice. Clear and somewhat lemony. Sure enough, the notes include bergamot, lemon, Mandarin, and Bulgarian rose. (Bulgarian rose is a sort of industrial rose, which can be the size of a dinner plate and is used to scent all those rose waters and lotions of the Near East.) Supposedly, there’s tea, which I don’t smell at all, and a base of ambergris, rose (again) and musk. Comes only in big bottles which cost over $300. Well, whaddaya want, it’s a Creed.

Voleur de Roses by L’Artisan: A rose by any other name would smell as…dark? This is a brunette scent; I can’t imagine any blonde in it. Well, maybe Courtney Love. It’s a scary Goth girl in a basement club at 3 am. The notes are: Of course, patchouli. No wonder. Right out front, too. Plum? Don’t smell any, but I’m not in the habit of eating, or smelling, plums (skin’s too sour). Rose – there it is! Sandalwood and amber. Eat ‘em alive. Not for me, but it’ll smell perfect on somebody. Joan Jett?

A Rose Poivree (The Different Company) Jean-Claude Ellena’s take on rose; the Master has a sense of humor! This is Perv Rose.

It starts out with a blast of white pepper – not a pleasant scent, but here it kind of works –
and then a clear, carmine rose. Now, this fragrance is infamous for its skank, supposedly bursting with civet, which is why I own it. It’s rumored to have been reformulated, and, if so, that’s a shame. Wow. Redone or not, it’s right-in-your-face. Wear it to a party, if you dare.

Notes include pepper, Damascus rose, rose bay, coriander (and how!), vetiver, and lots of civet.

Tea Rose: Perfumer’s Workshop: IMO: Yuck. Sharp and sour. Full disclosure: this is a review from memory. I had a big bottle of this that I bought unsniffed at TJ Maxx. I gave it away, to a lady I know who is in her eighties and wore it for years. She was thrilled, and so was I. Classified as a “green rose,” the notes include bergamot, rose, cedar, jasmine, amber and sandalwood. Might make a nice room spray, for somebody, not me, and it’s everywhere, and it’s cheap.

Conclusion: If I had dyed black hair and was and filled with angst, it would be Voleur de Rose; if I was filthy rich it would be the Creed, and if I was just filthy, A Rose Poivree would be just about perfect. Since I’m none of those, I’ll pass on the rose.

1 comment:

bookishredhead said...

I've been wearing Voleur de Roses by L’Artisan for a couple of years. There are days it just fits me. Of course, I do have a bit of the goth girl in me. I think it smells like roses after rain-or rose hips. Someone once described it to me as the smell of roses deteriorating..absolutely true. But certainly not for everybody.