A handful of rose scents, although not all of them are really "about" rose...
Zafferano, by the new-ish men's niche line Odori, opens on an expansive, shimmery-metallic saffron note. It seems to bubble and dance on the skin for a time, slowly taking on raspberry jam undertones as it calms. It's fun — I kept reapplying to do it all over again. The dry down is a more standard-issue rose-saffron combination, very nicely done but nothing terribly unusual, with plenty of cedar. I hardly even notice high prices these days, but at $210 for 100 ml Eau de Toilette, this is a spendy little number. I've yet to top $200 on a single perfume myself, and while I like Zafferano, there's nothing here to tempt me to set a new record. If you like saffron and don't mind the price, do try it (and if you love iris, the Odori version is worth a shot as well). The notes: cedar, saffron, raspberry flowers, wild rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, oriental amber and rosewood.
Miller et Bertaux's new Shanti Shanti is a warmer, drier take on rose. The ad copy calls it "sparkling", but I'm not feeling the effervescence. Relaxing might be a more appropriate description, and since Shanti is a Sanskrit word meaning "inner peace", it's a better fit with the name too. Shanti Shanti is a quietly spicy rose over dark woods, with the iris lending a soft, velvety finish. It isn't as rose-focused as the others under consideration (in the late stages, it's more of a soft, velvety woods scent), and isn't a show-stopper sort of scent in any case. I've tried it several times now, but I'm still torn between "calming and enjoyable" and "perhaps a wee bit too quiet". It's one or the other, you'll have to decide. It's worth a try, at any rate, and it's a comparative bargain at $144 for 100 ml Eau de Parfum. The notes: rose, iris, cardamom, patchouli and sandalwood.
Poor Diabolo Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine has been idling in my purgatory basket since last year. It's a summery rose, with all of Shanti Shanti's lost sparkle, but despite the compelling list of notes (bergamot, mint, tomato leaves, maté leaves, lily of the valley, peony, amber, musk and sandalwood) it simply refuses to capture my fancy. It is meant to be youthful and it is, but it's a very well-behaved sort of youthful. The light, sweet-ish rose with a touch of mint verges on dainty to my nose; there just isn't the zing I was hoping for from the mint and maté, and the bitter green edge I expected from the tomato leaves is prettified by the peony and lily of the valley. Nice, just not my cup of tea. In 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum, but I do not think it has made its way to the United States as yet.
Guaiac, from Red Flower's recently launched organic perfume line, is another for the "spendy" list: $186 nets you a mere 15 ml of "perfume concentrate". As we all know, natural and organic aren't cheap. Luckily there's a 10 ml roll-on in a lower concentration for the relatively bargain price of $48. The opening is bright, with a lovely candied-but-tart grapefruit note. A dewy sheer rose joins in shortly, but the citrus lasts well into the dry down, and for that matter, it stays awfully bright for something called Guaiac — someone looking for lots of deep, dark woods may well be disappointed. For the rest of us, this is a beautiful take on a woody rose, eventually turning drier and duskier, with subtle resinous notes. Just lovely, and the lasting power is excellent for a natural, even in the lesser concentration (a few hours). Notes: guaiac, pink grapefruit, rose absolute, elemi, copaiba and cabreuva.
Sonoma Scent Studio's new Vintage Rose is also described as dusky, and that's exactly what it is. The opening is woody-ambery and rich (notes: rose, plum, labdanum absolute, tonka, amber, cedar, and sandalwood), and think spiced plum wine instead of jam. The dry down is full-bodied but soft, and as much about the woods and amber as it is about rose. It has an appropriately "vintage" feel, but it isn't so skanky or heavy that it wouldn't appeal to modern wearers, in fact, it might be the perfect thing for a fan of Stella McCartney's Stella who was looking for a deeper, sexier alternative. Vintage Rose is available in 15 ($31) or 30 ml ($47) Eau de Parfum, and I'm very tempted by the 15 ml — gosh, I could get the 15 ml plus the 10 ml of Red Flower Guaiac for a mere $80. We'll see how long I can hold out.
For buying information, click on the brand links in the descriptions above.
Note: image is Backlit Rose Interior by audreyjm529 at flickr; some rights reserved.
What a great overview of rose scents-to-try. Many thanks from a rose-lover! I can't wait to try Shanti Shanti … xoxo
Robin, the rose picture is lovely! For some reason, very soothing. Diablo Rose sounds behaved enough for the office, but I prefer “dirtier” roses for evenings out on the town!
M, I forgot to say rabbit rabbit again. In fact, I've never remembered even once
I think I like the MeB Quiet Morning better than the Shanti, but I've only tried it once so far so not sure. Like both better than their last one & can't even remember what that one was called right now…
Oops..and meant to say the picture really is gorgeous. It's amazing what you can find on flickr these days!
Wow, nice review and nice pick of the picture! Have only tried Diabolo and wasn't into it either.
I really like a few of the Rosine fragrances, and am interested in trying their newer Zephir, but Diabolo is not for me
Ooh! So happy to hear your review of vintage rose. I've been putting samples in and taking out of my cart on that site for awhile now. Would you say the cedar dominates in the base?
Do put that sample back in! I notice the sandalwood more than the cedar.
Gosh, that is a gorgeous photo, R!
Anyway, I will be interested to find out how long you will hold out on the Guaiac and Vintage Rose. Red Flower makes some awfully lovely body products.
Rose fragrances don't seem to captivate me these days. I haven't touched my Rosines in months. I have a sample of the Vintage Rose that is languishing somewhere in my cabinets (I'm not nearly as organized as you are!). Maybe I'll test it one of these days.
You know, I'm already talking myself out of the Guaiac because I hate roll-ons & don't want to spend that much and then have to decant it. If they did a 10 ml in a regular bottle, I'd be in. But do try the Vintage Rose, it isn't a straight up rose and I think you'll like it!
the guaiac smells just like the cedar body products you could (and maybe still can, i haven't been there for a while) get at ten thousand waves spa in santa fe, nm. when i first smelled it, i kept thinking i'd smelled it before on a hippy in austin, but then i realized it was the smell from santa fe. the dusky rose scent sounds nice.
Aha, isn't that the place March wrote about recently at Perfume Posse? Will have to go check, maybe they've got a cheaper version.
Thanks for the rec!
I am not a fan of rose perfumes but…. that all changed when I recv'd a sample from Laurie (SSS) of Vintage Rose. I loved it and I am now the proud owner of my first bottle of a rose perfume.
Oh! I just ordered several samples earlier in the week from SSS, and I am sure Vintage Rose was among them….now I am so excited to try it!
Sadly, I was in Sonoma (and visited Healdsburg) at the beginning of the summer and forgot that I wanted to look for SSS. I'm afraid I was too busy drinking too much pinot noir, unoaked chard, and dry rose…sigh…
I have not been in Sonoma in years, sadly…but can understand how perfume slipped your mind while you were there.
I liked the Guaiac so much I braved the dreaded roll-on, so I'm thrilled to see it get suck a great review here. I'm definitely going to give the Shanti Shanti a try!
It really is a great scent, I'd just love to have the concentrated version but $186 is too rich for my blood!
I have been very suprised this year, as I started to adore more rose scents than ever. I've never been a fan of rose, I always thought roses were boring and annoyed me as they were present in most of the perfumes. That was until I received an Anna Sui cheek blush that was scented with her signature rose. I thought it was such a cute item, and the scent of a rose was beautiful and natural. Then a friend of mine fell in love with Bvlgari Rose Essentielle. I enjoyed that perfume very much every time she wore it, and and by then I decided that nicely-done roses are not so bad. But the true love came when I tested my L'Artisan's sample of Voleur de Roses, a perfume that is a masterpiece in my eyes. It is a very mysterious, grown-up, and sexy fragrance.
Great article, Robin! Amazing picture!
Hi Robin. I whipped out my Guaic sample to try after reading your article. At first application…really tart and nice…but it just vanishes off of me really quickly…I would love it if it had any lasting power…same thing with any of the SIP I've tried. I've sampled Zafferano and I liked it alot…just way too expensive…well not really…I just have soooooooooooo many bottles to finish before buying ANYTHING again. Ask Kevin about my “VAULT”….lol. Well thanks for the pleasant read. Ciao!
I'm surprised…it lasts very well on me, and so do many of the SIPs…but for naturals, mind you. They don't have nearly the staying power of synthetics. But of course if you've already got a vault, you don't need to fall in love with anything else!
If you can find some, you might want to try Diptyque's Opone as well. But I think that one is getting hard to find in the US.
I just KNEW you'd dig that SSS Vintage Rose, Robin!!! Whoo-hoo!!!! xo
Woody roses sound great to me, so I must try that Guaiac and Shanti Shanti. I'm not too keen on amber and I went off Stella so I'll give Vintage Rose a miss. I thought Diabolo Rose was one of the nicer Rosines (but not as good as Ete or Ecume and I also want to try Poussiere), but you are right, it is not a particularly exciting scent. I still haven't found the perfect dusky, dark rose scent. For a pretty rose scent Drole de Rose is my favourite.
And you were right on target!
Ecume is still my favorite Rosine.
For dusky, dark, have you tried Annick Goutal Ce Soir ou Jamais?
Definitely try this rose – it is very beautiful – not too dark, a little nostalgic because of the incense, romantic, could be very sexy with the right skin chemistry… It is perfect for upcoming fall weather. When you try Vintage Rose, you should also put in a sample of Rose Musc, which is very similar, but more rose and labdanum. Both are very beautiful – I've tried them all.
My favorites of SSS are Velvet Rose and Rose Musc. Laurie Erickson has a way with roses, and all her rose scents are wonderful – the rose is always center stage, and the accentuating notes just highlight the entire fragrance. Rose lovers will not be disappointed.
You should still try SSS Vintage Rose if you can….I like Stella very much – mostly because I am a fan of lighter, sweeter amber. I am a huge rose fan, but I wear Stella more for the light amber than I do for the rose accord. I don't think that Vintage Rose and Stella are anything alike at all. Just imagine if you will the scent of incense, roses, dried roses, plums, whiffs of cedar, wine…..this is VR. Stella and VR are nothing alike. I can see why Robin thinks someone would like them both, but the amber Laurie uses is dark and dry, not the lighter sweeter amber in Stella.
No I haven't – I will have to check it out! Someone on basenotes said it was a sweeter and less dark version of Paestum Rose, so that sounds promising.
You are right, I probably should try it – the description of a dark, dry scent with incense and cedar does appeal to me much more than Stella. I actually used to love Stella too, but the sweetness of it got a little too sickly for me in the end.
Oh I entirely agree, it is not like Stella and didn't mean to imply it was…but frequently hear from Stella fans who are ready to look for the “next step up” so to speak, and I think this would suit.
The AG has that “overripe rose petals” thing that some people like and some people don't, but it is definitely worth a shot. It's beautifully done.
How about Miller Harris Rose en Noir? A little hard to get your hands on, but its still out there. This is the darkest of all the darks I've tried. I love it. If I could afford a whole bottle, I would definitely splurge.
I also like AG Ce Soir ou Jamais, but it is a bit of a “juicier” dark rose with the pear at the top, but in the dry down it does get a wee bit of a skanky note. This one scores points for me because of its longevity.
Another thought on SSS Vintage Rose – it is a little bit like Montale's Aoud Roses Petals, IF you stripped the aoud out and put in a plum note. It has that similar dark, aromatic rose thing going on.
'A more advanced Stella' is useful as a description: Sometimes to darken Stella up, I layer it with DK Black Cashmere, and it smells very good. And sometimes to sweeten Paestum Rose I add some Fleur de The Rose Bulgare. It would be useful to get a dark rose perfume which I didn't have to layer!
I end up layering my roses a lot to get them dark. I think a dark rose is tough. It's either dark because of the particular rose note or because of the accentuating notes – amber, labdanum, cedar, incense, etc. Depending on which you like the “darkness” can be tough. I put SSS Rose Musc on with a lot of other rose scents to darken them up. This one is great too because I just love the labdanum in it (rather than amber or incense).
Farah, you might want to investigate the dark, earthy, truffle-y world of Frederic Malle's Une Rose if you're leaning towards that side of things. It is definitely NOT a “pretty,” sweet, girly rose. They don't get much dirtier than this. . .and it's got just incredible staying power too. Great bang for the buck.
Une Rose is so gorgeous — and perfectly dirty. I've almost drained my little mini so now I'm rationing.
I adored Miller Harris Rose en Noir at first, but there was that overripe note, which meant I didn't love it enough to get a decant. But it managed to be transparent and dark at the same time time, which I thought was quite an acheivement!
Aoud Roses Petals was nice but too medicinal, which I'm sure was the aoud, so you are definitely selling VR to me.
I've tried lots of dark roses actually: I didn't like SL Rose de Nuit (too civetty), or Caron Or et Noir (too rusty and dusty and reminded me of blood!), or Shiseido White Rose (too peppery) and Czech and Speake no 88 and Lady Vengeance both reminded me of hospital, although I didn't dislike them. I also rather liked SIP Black Rosette and MDCI Rose de Siwa, although Rose de Siwa doesn't really qualify as a dark scent!
Great tips – thank you! It's like getting my own 'Monday Mail help Farah find a new scent' in here
Farah – I like your rose nose! I adore Laurie Erickson from SSS, who deserves more attention, so I hope you will like VR. It does not descend into that over-ripe yucky dark rose accord. She uses very nice, round, smooth rose notes, and achieves the darkness through the accentuating notes – it's all very smooth & dark. The other day I decided to break out my VR sample, and it really is special. It is also different, so you won't smell yourself coming or going. It has nice longevity too.
I am, unfortunately, a little bit incense challenged because of all the years I spent in Catholic school. But I really appreciate what's she's done with VR. If you are searching for something dark, and you like to layer, you may also really be into her Ambre Noir. It features that very dry, dark amber, incense, and other woods, and is just stunning.
Haha I spent five years at catholic school too (although my family aren't catholic in the slightest) and am rather nostalgic for the incense and going to mass! Thanks, I will investigate Laurie Erickson further, although I have yet to love anything heavily involving amber.
If you have problems with anything you would normally smell as amber – any of them – L'Artisan L'Eau d'Amber, hippie amber, AG Amber, Laura Mericer Amber, whatever, you will NOT recognize it in SSS Ambre Noir. It is DARK……..about as dark an amber as you can get. Totally different. She creates it specifically for a niche of amber lovers who want something dark, different, woodsy, etc. It is actually too dark for me. I like the lighter ambers. It's like milk chocolate v. dark chocolate.
BTW – many SSS fragrances have a nice nostalgic incense note, so if it's incense you're craving, you can find it from her!
How odd – I am wearing Ce Soir ou Plus Jamais tonight, and I fear it may be “Plus Jamais” as I am finding it very powdery in a throat- catching kind of way, even several hours in, which I don't normally get with any AGs. The lovely Heure Exquise (Take 2 on a less muggy day!) is positively creamy by comparison, and I would also call that powdery really. Vintage Rose sounds intriguing – in fact I am game to try most roses really as I am totally discovering the category, with particular thanks to Farah and Haunani. My days of dissing rose perfumes as “scented drawer liners” at best are long behind me, I am happy to say.
That was too dirty for me I am afraid, though I appreciated the beautiful, authentic rose notes as they descended into the skanky pit! Haunani suggested trying Poussiere de Rose which I found wonderfully dark and Gothic, without the downright weirdness of Black Rosette, or any old lady powderiness as in regular Agent Provocateur.
Hi all! I'm thinking that a lot of us owe Stella a big thank-you for opening our eyes to the new world of rose fragrances. Of the ones I've tried so far, I love Ecume de Rose (bought a bottle!), Une Rose (which I don't find dirty at all, just beautiful rose and earth – a matter of semantics I guess – GRIN), Velvet Rose (so fresh and real!), Poussiere de Rose (soft and spicy), Rosa Flamenca (warm and a little orange-y),Ta'if (amazing rose w/spices & fruit), and the much-maligned Rose Poivree (sensuous, luxurious and not a bit nasty on me). On my list to try: Drole de Rose (thanks to Vanessa's recommendation), and Vintage Rose (thanks to this conversation!).
By the way, I don't think Sonoma Scent Studio has a physical shopfront or tours at this time. Maybe we should call Laurie and arrange a field trip!
I'll cast my additional votes for Poussiere de Rose, Sa Majeste la Rose, Tauer Incense Rose and Guerlain L'Art et la Matiere Rose Barbare, a creamy rose chypre that is outrageously lovely, imo. Oh, and Rose Alexandrie from Armani Privee, for the prettiest, most sillage-y, linear pink-pink heavenly rose!!!!!
I think beautyhabit still has Opone, also there is a little store here where I live, with some cool exotic candles and a few niche brand perfumes, they also carry Dyptique. So I will be checking it out because it sounds grrrreat! Roses, Saffron, Spices and Wood… just perfect!
How odd – like AnnS, I detect a dirty note to the drydown of Ce Soir ou Jamais – 8 hours in, powder all gone – and blow me if I don't actually find it rather interesting, whereas Une Rose was too skanky.
Does anyone else like PG Brulure de Rose? That's up there with Ta'if, Poussiere de Rose, Drole de Rose, Rose de Siwa and Fleur de The Rose Bulgare. And now there are quite a few more to try! The L'Art et la Matiere one sounds stunning.
Ce Soir, literally, works for me sometimes. Other times, no. Ah well.
I still have not tried the Rose Alexandrie, sounds lovely!
It's very rich — not like Voleur, exactly, but they remind me of each other if that makes any sense.
The RA is a girly scent for grown women, I'd say, R!
And speaking of roses, as luck and good timing would have it, I just tried l'Arte di Gucci for the very first time in my life tonight. OMG. A black rose chypre with a touch of geranium, tuberose and leather. In two words: hubba hubba. A very expensive-smelling hubba hubba, in fact. Damn.
That sounds lovely, and it's another I haven't tried! See, I told you you'd get ahead of me eventually
Received my sample this weekend and tried out the Vintage Rose- My husband says they should call it “Skanky Kitty”- LOL…guess he found it a bit “dirty”
This whole rose conversation makes me very happy because I've been a rose lover since my teens – oh about 20 years now – starting with the ubiquitous “Tea Rose”. There are so many types of roses and it's amazing what can be done. I'm glad that Stella or whatever else floating around like Mille et Une Rose, are helping people get into roses.
Another note about Sonoma Scent Studio (and by now you can all tell I'm a huge fan of Laurie's work), all of her roses layer amazingly with other fragrances and even other SSS fragrances. They work wonders to lighten up or darken down roses or other fragrances. Just today I've juiced up my lovely AG Heure Exquise with her Velvet Rose for this amazing golden juicy rose sandalwood combo. Her rose fragrances – all of them – Vintage Rose, Velvet Rose, Rose Musc – are just beautifully well done. I encourage any of you who are trying to break into roses to try hers out, especially since they layer so well. It makes it easy to adjust them, etc, for those who need some rose training wheels. And for those rose lovers out there, her fragrances will be delightful.
This thread has also given me some more rose perfumes I need to try.
Hey, his skank-o-meter is set too low, LOL…I'd agree it's dirty but it ain't *that* dirty! He's not going to like Une Rose, is he?
Thanks Ann! I “started” with Tea Rose myself, and YSL Paris too I guess.
Helenviolette's husband sounds like my kind of man!
Well I do think he meant “kitty” in the actual sense (not in the ahem sense I haven't tried Une Rose (frederic malle?) yet so he hasn't been subjected to it!
In case my remark sounded indelicate (!), I was referring to the fact that my own “skank-o-meter” is also set very low, hence the apparent affinity with your chap. You may notice that I am forever bemoaning the presence of even trace elements of civet in perfumes. Indeed I would change my user name to “VM I hate civet” if I was choosing it again today.
No worries! I think you two are probably a pair in the civit department….
Rose fragrances are my absolute favorite! I started with YSL Paris. I don't find anything “old lady” about Agent Provocateur. I LOVE it. This one and Black Rosette are my favorite roses right now. I love the turpentine hit at the beginning of BR. Now Une Rose…
When I first sprayed it on I was in love. In fact, I was in love for a few hours, but something happened. Une Rose got really bitchy! She assaulted my sinuses and said, “Just try to scrub me off! I’m not going anywhere! [Evil laughter]”
I picked up my copy of The Guide and found that it was referred to as “angry rose” Yep. That’s her!
The SA at Barneys in SF told me he wears Une Rose and really likes it, but it’s the only frag that he spritzes himself from a distance.
I recently acquired Twill Rose from the Rosine line. I think it's very sexy but does get animalic in the drydown, so VM I Hate Civet should stay away from that one!
Oooh, Black Rosette! I do wish I had a full bottle of that. Une Rose, I think, is somewhat dependent on the weather — I can definitely put it on and decide oops, this wasn't the right day, you know?
Yes, Une Rose was very angry on me too and I deducted a full star for what I described in my notes as a “filthy skanky drydown”! Thanks too for the tip off about Twill Rose – I just ordered a couple more Rosines – Zest and Folie – so I hope I will be safe with them. Just retried Ecume and I now like that as much as Poussiere. Was a bit slow getting into dustiness, but love both now!
Received a sample of Vintage Rose along with my bottle of Velvet Rose recently… had to scrub. I don't know what was in the Vintage that nauseated me, but there was something bitter, soapy, nasty that showed up after about half an hour. (I didn't analyze, just ran for the sink.) All the listed notes are ones that I enjoy, so I don't know what was up with that. Might just be me. Might have to wrest my sample back from my sister to try it again, just in case.
Velvet Rose is amazing.
Isn't Velvet Rose lovely?
In re: to making scrubbers disappear, have you tried deodorant? Works like a charm…..
Deodorant works well, & I also like liquid Tide.
Yep — after reading the basics here on how to get rid of “stinkies”, my scrubber routine is: unscented deodorant (which I use anyway), wait three minutes, then wash with BBW grapefruit hand soap (I find it cheerful, and a good antidote to whatever has made me scrub). If that should ever NOT work, I'll go for the Tide. However, out of the 75+ samples I've tried so far, I've only had three “I-absolutely-must-get-rid-of-this-before-I-hurl” scrubbers. It's too bad VR was one of them… I really wanted to like it. I should probably test it again, just to make sure. I'll just keep the deodorant & soap handy!
I'm still looking for the HG of roses. (Stop laughing.) I really liked PdR Rose d'Ete (I mean it, stop laughing!), but it's still winter, and God knows how I'll feel about it in warm weather. Jo Malone Red Roses wasn't the Holy Grail of Roses. Neither was SSS Velvet Rose, nor CBIHP Tea/Rose, nor Paris, nor… oh, you get the idea. (I can still hear you snickering.)
On the other hand, I've always loved yellow roses best, with their creamy light scent, and I haven't smelled anything else that came anywhere close to smelling like them. Must try more Rosines…
Have you tried Serge Lutens La Majeste?