Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ways of Love and Roses



One way I know that something is going to be good – irritate, challenge and finally enchant me – is that I can’t stand it at first. This applies to music and art, and sometimes people. I’ve learned, finally, to embrace this odd form of judgment, to trust it, because it doesn’t fail me very often.

There was a time I thought I hated rose, even as an ingredient. But I thought I’d give it one more chance. I’d read about the Les Parfums de Rosine line, and, strictly at random, I ordered a sample of Une Folie de Rose.

I know that many, perhaps most, of you have had the experience of fragrance-lust at first sniff. (Others haven’t been so lucky, yet, but keep trying. I wish it for you.) I’d only had it once before, several years ago, with Bulgari’s Eau Parfumee au the Vert (which I now know contains rose). You know what I mean. When you just have to have it. For me, sniffing Folie was like falling hard.

I sampled on, and found one other Rosine I craved, Poussiere de Rose. By that time, I had been around the Rosine block, so to speak, with a glittery little organza bag full of samples. My initial love for Poussiere wasn’t quite the all-encompassing passion I’d felt for the Folie. It was more…comfortable.

Une Folie de Rose is a Chypre. I don’t know what it is that the Chypres do for me, or why, but it is the combination of sharp, sweet and finally bitter-edged that appeals to my senses like no other fragrance family. The odd thing about my instant had-to-have-it impression of Folie is that I had no idea it was a Chypre. My power of analysis disappeared with first sniff. Without going into romance-novel prose, it was a lot like that stranger-across-a-crowded-room phenomenon we all know and, like the reasons for other choices of that kind, never really understand. In other words, I wanted the Folie. I didn’t give a damn what was in it.

With the Poussiere, I wanted to know. It was a different kind of attraction, the kind that is, well, smarter, but maybe not as much fun. I found out that “Poussiere” means “dust.” I even figured out how to pronounce it. I researched the notes and the fragrance’s history. I studied the plummy, lush top notes and considered similarities to perfumes I already owned. I even ordered a second sample – I had to be sure – and then I started shopping for the best price. I ordered the 50 ml bottle instead of the Folie’s 100. When it arrived, I didn’t rip the package open and spray madly, as I had with the Folie. I tried bits here, a little there. Tried it on skin, fabric and even my hair. I got to know it gradually. Then I put the seat back and got ready for a nice long ride.

It has occurred to me that these are the two polarities of loving fragrance – and of love.

I have a bunch of other Rosine samples and I plan to write about them. But these two will be the bookends.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



I’d love to know what your first gotta-have-it fragrance was. Tell me in the “comments” and I’ll do a drawing: one lucky winner will get samples of “Une Folie de Rose, Poussiere de Rose” by Les Parfums de Rosine and “Eau Parfumee au the vert” by Bulgari. Deadline is March 1st, midnight U.S. EST.

The illustration is a photo composite of the Georgia O’Keefe painting “Abstraction White Rose 1927” with an overlay of red silk, by (you guessed it) me.

The notes for “Une Folie de Rose” are those of the classic Chypre: coriander, bergamot, ylang-ylang, jasmine, iris, sandalwood, oakmoss (listed as “evernia prunastri extract” on the box, which I believe is real oakmoss), vetiver and patchouli. The rose notes are tea rose, Bulgarian rose absolute and Turkish rose absolute.

The notes for “Poussiere de Rose,” classified as a “Woody Floral,” are plum, apricot and ylang-ylang, rose, incense, tea, cinnamon, sandalwood, cedar, opoponax, benzoin, amber and musk.






30 comments:

Perfumeshrine said...

The first fragrance I feel hard for was before my teens and it was Opium. I had to have it, I saved to get it and wore it with much aplomb (still do) I love it to bits although so many sirens call out to me: it's both the one I've grown up with and the one that has me quivering with desire when I forget about it for too long. \
Aren't I a romantic!

I enjoyed reading your Rosine escapades :-)

Olfacta said...

Hi E!

I also love Opium and have a new-ish bottle of it. I've also discovered that, when mixed with a little unscented oil and warmed in a diffuser, it makes the most beautiful room scent you can imagine. Just gorgeous.

Good to hear from you!

fountaingirl said...

Oboy. I've been obsessed with smells since I had to have the BIG (like two foot big) bottle of Jean Nate when I was four. But the first 'real' perfume I had to have was Nikki de Saint Phalle when I was 12.

I just get haunted. Right now I'm starting to fall hard for Miller Harris' L'Air de Rien.

bookishredhead said...

I think my first gotta have it was Paloma Picasso in high school. Or maybe- and I shudder to admit it Tea Rose in jr. high school.
I've always loved Chanel #5 because my mother wore it and it smelled like maturity and class.

I love the painting. And as usual, your blog. :)

~katie. said...

Yikes, Angel. And still, sometimes nothing else will do!

I, too, am starting to love the rose-- thanks to Paestum Rose-- deep, dank and dark! Still haven't tried any of the Rosines, although I've been eyeing them for a while. Happy sniffing in the rose garden...

Olfacta said...

Hi Fountaingirl --

Very precocious! I had the Jean Nate too, when I was about 13 I guess.

Thanks for your comment, I'll enter you in the drawing...

Olfacta said...

Hi M -- I still love the Paloma, gave the Tea Rose ($14.99 at Maax) away, still wear Ch No 5 sometimes.

Thanks!

Olfacta said...

Hi ~katie --

Good to hear from you. I don't believe you've left comments here before. Welcome!

Amanda said...

My first "gotta have it" was Hypnotic Poison...it's true love.

judith said...

Hypnotic Poison was my first "have to have it" bottle. The most recent was Byredo Green,after sampling for two months I purchased a bottle this morning.

I didn't realize it until recently but rose is in nearly all of the fragrances I own.

I too love the Rosine sampler,wish more lines would offer them!

March said...

I love your idea of the room diffuser with Opium!

My first gotta-have-it fragrance back in the day was ... YSL Paris. Hmmmmm. For someone who's always whining about how I hate rose, that's rose isn't it? I should resniff.

Ines said...

Hey
I'm usually just lurking here but I can't ignore the possibility of a draw. :)
My first love was Very Irresistible by Givenchy (I've actually grown out of it, but I fell hard then). :)

Olfacta said...

Hi Amanda --

Ok you aren't going to believe this but I don't think I've ever smelled Hypnotic Poison. Will have to fix that.

Welcome!

Olfacta said...

Hi Judith --

I was telling Amanda, whose first was also HP, that I don't think I've ever smelled it. Don't know how I missed that one. I'll get some.

Welcome!

Olfacta said...

Hi March!

I don't think I've tried Paris, although it's on my get list. I was at a flea market today and scored some vintage Rive Gauche cologne, although I'm not sure exactly how vintage, but it does smell like what I remember -- which I hated, btw. Really interesting fragrance. It's supposed to be a "rose," too, but there's a real metallic note.

The diffuser is a great way to use perfumes, you know, when you have just a few too many. I'm going to try L'Air next. Have my house smell like the harem's wing of the Alhambra ;)

Olfacta said...

Hi Ines --

Haven't tried "Very Irrestible" but I will put it on the wishlist.
Thanks, and welcome!

Aparatchick said...

L'air du Desert Marocain. I fell head-over-heels in love. LOVE! I still feel that way every time I wear it.

I had to same reaction to both Parfums d'Empire Ambre Russe and Kenzo Jungle l'elephant.

In all three cases I had ordered full bottles before the sample had worn off!

March said...

PS I forgot to mention -- Rosine Rose d'Homme is lovely, I hope it's in your bag! That and Ecume are probably my favorites.

Elizabeth said...

The first fragrance that I had to have as a perfumista (that means starting last year!) was L'air du désert marocain. It remains (and always will, I think, a holy grail, though I wear it only a few times a month (to keep it sacred). There is nothing like it.

As a teen, I had to have YSL Paris, and my father bought it for me at Lord and Taylor for Christmas. I have no idea what happened to that bottle, but I wish I still had it. :-(

elle said...

The got-to-have-it for me was TOVA.

Olfacta said...

Hi Aparachick and Elizabeth --

Yes, L'air -- forgot to mention that one -- shame on me. There was a mad rush to order a FB at first sniff for me, too. And it's such a delight to introduce friends to it. I've made more than one decant as gifts.

Thanks!

Olfacta said...

Hi March!

I don't think I have the Rose d'Homme (I haven't ordered samples for the whole line yet). Will get some, thanks for the tip!

Olfacta said...

Hi Elle --

I haven't smelled TOVA, but went to the blog to read about it. The notes sound great. I'll try to hunt some down one of these days...

Trish/Pikake said...

Beautiful post Olfacta! I have a sample of Ecume de Rose coming to me in the mail and I very much look forward to it.

Lucy said...

Beautiful post, and I dearly love that illustration composite you put together, really striking!

Anonymous said...

Still no "have to have it" at first sniff, but back in the 80s I had that experience of falling madly in love with a scent that at first put me off: Chloe, the original version. It was too overpoweringly floral for me at first, and would probably seem so again today-- but we had a long affair. May I be entered in the drawing? Maybe a Rosine will be my love at first sniff. Thanks, Gretchen

mark42 said...

Hello again,

Good old Blue Stratos is a fragrance that I have never been without since a teenager - though it is getting a little hard to find now. A long term love affair LOL.
But the first real swoon moment I guess would have been smelling Dzing for the first time. I still remember the revelation that happened with that sniff - it opened my eyes and cemented a lifelong passion!

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