Cleopatra Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema (1836-1912)
Roses have been used for perfumery for thousands of years and is the flower most associated with romance and seduction. Cleopatra famously carpeted her boudoir with rose petals while entertaining Marc Antony, so he would always think of the Egyptian Queen anytime, anywhere he smelled a rose. There is a rose fragrance for everyone…vintage, gourmand, photorealistic, soliflore, fruity, modern, spicy, sophisticated, jammy, oudy, chypre, Oriental and downright dirty. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the ÇaFleureBon team chose the rose perfumes that are closest to our hearts. It’s time to Stop and Smell the Rose Perfumes.
Lady Dacre 1633, Sir Anthony Van Dyck
Rose Etoile de Hollande, 2012 is the culmination of Mona di Orio’s study of a special Rose that climbed the walls of Maison Sainte Blanche in Cabris, France. A defining release after her loss to the perfume world. A seminal work imparted in her Nombre d’Or Collection, this Rose is as effervescent and as alluring as a Rose can get. From virginal sweetness to carnal abandonment, this is an unavoidable seduction. My face is buried within the petals of one flower. Fresh verdancy of rosebud on the opening, elevated high by a peach note that catches me completely off guard, I am intrigued. There is a time lapse quality, the Bud’s unfolding mirroring the perfumes evolution on flesh. I must remain with my nose firmly welded to my wrist so as not to miss a moment. Powdery and creamy notes give the sense of never being able to inhale enough of this sublime addiction. Amongst the glorious effusiveness of the full blown Rose’s, full of spicy attraction, my senses are eventually returned to the image of crystal candlesticks and discarded silk.-Contributor Danu Seith-Fyr
Marc Chagall. Bouquet with Flying Lovers Bouquet with Flying Lovers c.1934-47
Amongst my friends in the fragrance community, I’m known to be a charter member of “Rose Ho’s Anonymous” a non-existent group of rose perfume lovers. I probably have more rose-centric scents than any other, and around Valentine’s Day they get a lot of play. Here are two of my favorites:
If you haven’t had the opportunity of trying Christi Meshell of House of Matriarch’s’s spectacular ode to the blue rose, you’re in for a real treat. Kazimi (a medieval astrological term meaning “in the heart”) was voted one of Cafleurebon’s Best of 2016, and is a depth-plundering dive into the liquid pool of complex Oriental rose fragrances; deep and spicy with wood notes, marine saltiness, green and bitter moss and above all rose and lots of it. Five different rose accords make this one of Christi’s finest, and that’s saying a lot for a line that produces one spectacular natural scent after another. Kazimi is perfect for ending a night of love in the best possible déshabillé way!
Aether Arts Ginger Rose Perfume (Amber Jobin) 2014: Amber Jobin, 2014 Art & Olfaction Winner and founder of Aether Arts is one of my favorite indie perfumers who has created perfumes that I haves reviewed and raved about (Touchstone from the 2017 Cafleurebon “Talisman” project, Pince-Nez, and Perfume 420), but Ginger Rose, another spicy and rose-centric perfume is one that is very dear to my heart. I love vintage perfumes and like a blast from the past, Ginger Rose with its bubbly, dusty opening of aldehydes is a tribute to the great florientals of the 40’s and 50’s made contemporary and “Au Courant” for a new generation. I love ginger as a note, and combined with rose, orris, jasmine, and carnation, Ginger Rose Perfume becomes nothing short of a floral wonder. The structure is beautifully supported by frankincense, cool sandalwood, and the meaty and furry vibe of beeswax and indoles, creating another Aether Arts slice of perfection that straddles generations. Magnificent! –Robert Herrmann-Senior Editor
Vintage Ad Coty La Rose Jacqueminot
Coty La Rose Jacqueminot (1904, 1986, 2004):The deep red rose 'Général Jacqueminot' was the prototype of our long stemmed florists' roses and ancestor of many of today's modern reds. The amateur French hybridizer Roussel created this extremely fragrant Centifolia Hybrid Perpetual in 1853 and named it in honor of the Napoleonic General Jean François Jacqueminot (1787 – 1865). For over fifty years 'Général Jacqueminot' remained the world's most popular rose. In 1904 -1906 François Coty launched a perfume version of the flower – La Rose Jacqueminot, based not only on the specific fragrance of the 'Général Jacqueminot' rose, but also on a bouquet of other Centifolia hybrids, Damasks and Tea Roses. This heady garland was accented with aldehydes and orange blossoms, spiced with nutmeg, cardamom and clove supported by iris, violet, ylang ylang and jasmine, and grounded in oakmoss, ambergris, sandalwood and musk. I have fading memories of the original but I am very familiar with the 1986 re-release of La Rose Jacqueminot. Even though the newer version was revised for 1980's tastes (and is less full-bodied and romantic than its predecessor) it is still an amazing fragrance. In 2004 Coty re-created a very limited edition of the original La Rose Jacqueminot, which is one of my most coveted of rose perfumes.
Is it possible to breathe new life into an old rose? In 2012, with the creation of Olympic Orchids Ballets Rouges, 2 x Art and Olfaction Winner Ellen Covey did just that, imprinting her olfactory signature on a familiar genre and infusing the profile of the rose chypre with a new depth and 21st century unisex vibe. To accomplish this Dr. Covey created her own vintage style rose accord placing it at the heart of a classic chypre (bergamot, aldehydes, florals, patchouli, oakmoss and musk). The new, old-rose accord,along with rose de mai absolute and ylang- ylang fill the fragrance with luscious warmth. Red thyme and mandarin add fresh herbal fruitiness to the opening while labdanum suffuses the entire composition with a smooth darkness and depth that give Ballets Rouges a velvety quality all its own. Ballets Rouges is, for me, much drier and woodier than a traditional rose chypre and exemplifies my roseate ideal of rose perfumes, a perfect neo-romantic rose. Gail Gross – Senior Editor
Nick Knight Flora
Last weekend I was in my grandparent’s garden when my sister asked if I could make her a perfume if we picked the roses. She was astounded when I explained it would take almost half a ton of rose petals to make a small amount of extract. I didn’t get into the detail of the expertise required (which I don’t have) to extract the fragrance. Made up of more than 300 odorous molecules, the fragrance of a rose is complex and perfumes that are rich in natural rose essential oil or rose absolute are still a true luxury. One of my favourite rose perfumes is 2008’s Lyric Man by Amouage. Lyric Man opens with the angular scent of rose oil. This is enhanced with a hint of green galbanum. As the fragrance unfolds the sweet scent of rose absolute blooms with accents of lychee and Turkish delight. Vanilla, spicy saffron and sandalwood provide a warm, luxurious backdrop. Amouage’s Creative Director Christopher Chong and perfumer Daniel Visentin have created the perfect ode to roses.– Guest Contributor Clayton Ilolahia of What Men Should Smell Like
Coco Rocha editorial for L’Officiel Italia
Rose Perfumes make up a substantial portion of my fragrance collection, and even though it is hopelessly cliché, I love to wear rose perfumes on Valentine's Day. With dozens of beauties to choose from, I have never felt the need to tie myself down to any one in particular, but over the last year or so, I seem to have wandered in to the once unimaginable status of fragrance monogamy with Parfums M Micallef Rose Extreme. Released in 2013 and signed by perfumers Geoffrey Nejman and Jean-Claude Astier, Rose Extreme is an exquisite rose essence, showcased in a flawless setting of succulent peaches and velvety, apricot-laden osmanthus. Silken ribbons of iris are woven into this opulent bouquet, leaving whispers of powder in their wake and adding a great deal of chic elegance to the fragrance. This gorgeous, rosy elixir is infused with the incomparable warmth that makes all M Micallef fragrances seemingly meld perfectly into your skin. As a very wise man once wrote "I have found the one my soul loves" I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world when I wear Rose Extreme. – Tammy Schuster, Sr. Contributor
Senior Contributor Sebastian Jara of Smelling Great Fragrances Tom Ford Noir de Noir mini review
Miller Harris Rose en Noir and Photo by Bekah Jenkins for Fashion Canada, Oct 2012
Miller Harris Rose en Noir (2006): Fragrant, dark magenta roses clambered up the side of the house I grew up in, but never thought I’d find their heartbreaking beauty realistically captured in a perfume – let alone one with a dark sense of humour and affection for raspberry tart. Miller Harris’ gorgeous, brooding Rose en Noir would qualify as a goth perfume if it wasn’t for a cheeky, juicy raspberry that smiles its way right through the middle. This is Morticia Adams one moment – all lush dark petals, turned earth patchouli and smoky tobacco – and then Wednesday playing at afternoon tea with raspberries, pepper and bitter oranges to serve to her headless Marie Antoinette doll. Darkly naughty, elegantly lovely, unique; Rose en Noir is my favourite rose perfume of all time.-Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
Maria Callas, late 1950s
Neela Vermeire Creations 2014 release (Le Bertrand Duchaufour) Mohur Extrait is among the finest rose perfumes one may ever encounter. Nestled within its exquisite wine-hued columnar flacon, Mohur Extrait embodies a celestial union of East meets West. While it echoes the Mughal Empire's Mohur edp, my first NVC love among Art and Olfaction 2014 winner Neela Vermeire's fragrances (exhibited in NYC at Elements Showcase years ago) – the extrait possesses an intensity and depth which smells even richer, more enigmatic than its marvelous predecessor. Roses and oud take on a different visage in extreme concentration: they are flanked by piquant spices, silvery tones of iris, carrot seed and ambrette, cooing woods and milky almond, vestiges of glove leather, violets, jasmine and deeply resinous elements. This is a memorable marriage both classically Neela and undeniably Duchaufour which performs like a champion in any climate. Wear it and leave a trail of broken hearts in your wake.
Roses perfumes are among my best-beloveds; picking only two rose-centric fragrances is agony (it's precisely like asking a singer to choose a favorite song). Give me veracity or give me nowt. Eau de Plasticky Dolls' Heads I leave to others. I fell in love with 2010’s Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Absolue Pour le Soir the moment I set nostrils upon it: it coiled itself about me with unmistakably serpentine decadence. Rose honey, cumin overdose and a plethora of spices seduced me, sultry woods and resins only upped the ante. Even dabbed it radiates off my skin with a dulcet, throaty growl – bridging the floriental and animalic with sophisticated élan. It's an absolutely (sic) Ida perfume. If you desire girly froufrou, look elsewhere – this is for adults only. –Ida Meister, Senior Editor
Elizabeth Taylor early 1950s promo photo
One of the first niche rose fragrances I bought was Rose Ta'if composed Geza Schoen for Ormonde Jayne. It was released in 2004 and only available at the shop in London. Creative Director and founder Linda Pilkington kindly sent me a sample for an article I was writing at the time, and from first sniff I was and still am smitten. I know it is ridiculous to think that this is more a brunette's perfume than a blonde's and I am sure going to hear it from our blonde readers (remember the hair color you were born with first), but the warm, voluptuous quality of this amber tinged rose is more Dame Elizabeth Taylor than Princess Grace Kelly. Tumultuous and temperamental, with an edgy combination of spicy saffron and sweet dates afloat a orange blossom scented sea, Rose Ta'if is a "dessert rose" not a desert rose. If you want to blend in at a party, this is not the perfume to wear…it is audacious, opulent and sweeps into a room like the star it is.-Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Stop and Smell the Roses by Michelyn
For our Stop and Smell The Rose Perfumes (there are 9) Draw
WORLDWIDE: Thanks to the continued kindness of Maison Mona Di Orio for 75 ml of Rose Etoile de Hollande
WORLDWIDE: Thank you to the lovely Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne for 50 ml of Ta’if
WORLDWIDE: Thank you for your generosity Amber for 5 ml of Aether Arts Perfumes vintage style Ginger Rose
WORLDWIDE: Merci Neela Vermeire for 2 x8 ml Mohur Extrait to two readers
WORLDWIDE: With gratitude to Olympic Orchids 30 ml spray of Ballets Rouges
WORLDWIDE: From the ever generous Christi Meshell of The House of Matriarch 15 ml of Kazimi
WORLDWIDE: Merci M.Micallef for goldtone travel spray of Rose Extreme
USA Only: Thank you to Europerfumes, the US distributor of Amouage for 50 ml of Lyric Man
To be eligible for our Stop and Smell the Rose Perfumes draw, you must be a registered reader. You can register here. Please leave a comment with which of our favorite rose perfumes appeal to you (including those not for draw), list as many choices as you would like to win (country eligibility), and where you live. Draw closes 2/10/2018
Art Direction-Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief/ All rose perfumes from our own collections
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