Fresh is promoting Cannabis Rose, their latest fragrance release, as the sensual, seductive partner to 2006’s male-targeted Cannabis Santal. When I first sampled Cannabis Santal, I thought of Linda Richman (Mike Myers) from the old “Coffee Talk” sketch on Saturday Night Live, who would have said, “Cannabis Santal is neither cannabis nor santal. Discuss.” Instead, that fragrance was a chocolate-patchouli cousin to Thierry Mugler's Angel, and it sold well with women as well as men.
Cannabis Rose gives a more typically feminine first impression: a winsome burst of fruity rose, similar to many fruity-rose notes on the market today. However, this citrusy floral introduction only lasts for a minute or two. The fragrance’s extended heart is a musky cluster of patchouli leaves. It’s still not a literal translation of marijuana, but it’s herbal enough to feel a bit rebellious. (The promised chocolate note isn’t evident, which is fine with me; without it, Cannabis Rose can move further away from Angel-imitation.) This scent is odder and trickier than its demurely arty packaging (delicate scrollwork, stylized rose blossoms) would suggest. A darker rose note emerges late in the drydown, marrying the patchouli and “oolong tea” in an earthy bouquet with poetically wilted petals.
This fragrance probably won’t appeal to casual browsers in Fresh’s modishly sterile boutiques, or to someone looking for a typical summery floral. However, anyone seeking a “dirty rose” should give it a try. I had expected Lady Vengeance from the niche line Juliette Has A Gun to meet that description, but I finally had to wash Lady Vengeance off my wrist when its berryish rose and soapy patchouli began to drown in a sticky vanilla syrup note. I’m much more likely to keep trying Cannabis Rose, which is rawer and drier, yet light enough to wear in warmer weather. It’s also just refined enough to avoid unwashed Deadhead territory.
The matching Cannabis Rose bath and shower gel is a softly foaming wash, with a simple rose-patchouli mix for its scent. The body cream has a rich, caressing texture without any greasiness or tackiness, and its fragrance is the rosiest blend in the line: its earthiness is fleeting, smoothed out by tea notes. Like other Fresh body products, the shower gel and the body cream are anything but inexpensive, but the high quality of the cream in particular (almost) justifies the high price tag.
Fresh Cannabis Rose was developed by perfumer Jerome Epinette; the notes include Bulgarian rose, pomegranate flower, bergamot, cannabis accord, sheer jasmine, dark chocolate, white musk, patchouli and oolong tea. It is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum ($75), 300 ml Bath and Shower Gel ($28) and 200 g Body Cream ($65). For buying information, see the listing for Fresh under Perfume Houses.