Monday, December 8, 2008
Deadline for the drawing for “What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life” by Avery Gilbert is midnight US EST, December 15th. Leave a comment – any comment -- and you’ll be automatically entered!
Back in the wonderfulness that is July in the South – July 27, to be precise – I wrote five short reviews of rose-based perfumes here. I was a neophyte then, and like most neophytes was convinced that mine was a fresh and authentic view. “I’ll pass on the rose,” I wrote.
Well, wipe the egg off my face; I didn’t know what I was talking about.
It’s not as though I have had an “aha!” experience. It was more like an “aahhhh” experience. Somewhere, I read about Rosine’s “Folie de Rose.” It sounded intriguing enough for a sample order. You know the rest: (1st spray) “OMG, where have you been all my life?!” Followed by deep, prolonged and frequent sniffing. Followed by wearing it out on the town and introducing it to friends. Followed by searching for, and ordering, a Full Bottle, the fragrance equivalent of a Serious Relationship. Something I never do casually.
To be fair to my neophyte self of last July, I have to say that Folie de Rose is classified as a Chypre, my favorite family. The opening is bergamot and coriander, and the rest is the floral mix of jasmine, Tea rose, Bulgarian rose, Turkish rose absolute, Ylang-ylang and iris. The base notes are the usual Chypre suspects: oakmoss and patchouli. They’re complemented by vetiver, sandalwood and benzoin. I’m not sure I would have identified this as a rose scent at all, especially at the opening, which is high and dry. On wearing, the scent flows around in a subtle cloud. The rose note dominates the mid tones, humming along until the final drydown, when the oakmoss rises.
It makes sense that a house like Parfums de Rosine, which specializes in all the permutations and combinations of the noble rose, would make the one rose fragrance (so far) that has done this to me, made me hunt down the Amex, break into January’s perfume budget (and part of February’s, to be honest.) Eventually, I hope to try them all.
I have tried a couple of other Rosines: Diabolo Rose, which mixes rose with mint, truly fresh and cool, like a rose water and mint slushee. I bet it would be a really good summer rose fragrance, even in our beastly summers. And Rosa Flamenca; I’m having a little trouble with that one. There’s an odd sharpness verging on a sourness, in the opening, possibly some bitter orange pith -- the bitter oranges of Seville? -- but I can’t name it. Not that I’m much good at that.
But it could be, it just could be, that this is something I don’t get yet.
I’ll try again in six months.
Notes for Diabolo Rose (a “fresh floral”) include centafolia rose, bergamot, “peppered mint,” rose absolute, lily of the valley, peony, amber, musk, sandalwood, tomato leaf and mate leaf.
Notes for Rosa Flamenca (a “floral bouquet”) include neroli, bergamot, green orange peel, petitgrain, orange blossom, rose essence, May rose, jasmine, fig wood, sandalwood, white musk and benzoin resin.
The painting is “Abstraction White Rose 1927” by Georgia O’Keefe.