In its promotional description of Coup de Foudre, Parfums DelRae promises that "regardless of your previous 'rose' experience, it is 'love at first sight.'" I'm always a little amused when new rose-inspired fragrances take this slightly defensive stance, as though we all carry negative preconceptions of rose perfumes and need to be reassured that this flower is actually very beautiful, sensual, and yes, "modern." I wore my first rose fragrance when I was about eight years old — it was Avon's Roses, Roses and it was memorably contained in a pig-shaped bottle — and I've never turned away from roses, so Coup de Foudre is preaching to the converted, in my case.
Coup de Foudre starts off as a just-picked rose and then turns gently romantic. Parfums DelRae mentions its use of true Rose de Mai from Grasse, in a composition that allows the raw material to shine through, and the natural rose note is definitely evident. It's bright and clear, with hints of lemon and mint. (If you've recently tried an all-natural rose scent like Strange Invisible Perfumes Prima Ballerina, you'll recognize this note right away.) Citrus and peony notes complement this fresh-from-the-garden effect. In its second hour, Coup de Foudre stays nearer to the skin. It feels softer and warmer, and more discreet — not that it was particularly bold to begin with. A few whispers of moss and jasmine emerge in the base; you'll need to get very close and concentrate to find them.
When the launch of Coup de Foudre was announced, a few of us speculated that it might resemble Creed Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare. I think Annick Goutal Rose Absolue would be a more apt comparison. And I haven't tried the entire DelRae line yet, but I was surprised to find Coup de Foudre so demure. I have friends who love and recommend Parfums DelRae's Amoureuse and Bois de Paradis, but I somehow can't pull off either of those fragrances; I end up feeling that they're wearing me, rather than the other way around. Coup de Foudre, on the other hand, is a sheer veil of scent that doesn't announce itself prematurely or linger when it's not wanted. (And its staying power seems light for an Eau de Parfum at this price level, but perhaps that's due to the large percentage of natural ingredients.)
Overall, Coup de Foudre is well-crafted and well-mannered. I enjoyed my sample vial, but I already own so many different rose fragrances that I can't quite justify purchasing a full bottle of this one for myself. If I'm in the mood for an airy, green-tinged rose, I reach for my Les Parfums de Rosine Diabolo Rose or Six Scents No. 6 (Teen Spirit); if I want a lusher rose with added sweetness or depth, I can wear Yves Rocher Rose Absolue or Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose. If, on the other hand, you're feeling the need for a rose soliflore in your collection, you may wish to take time to stop and smell Coup de Foudre.
Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre was developed by perfumer Yann Vasnier; the notes include baie rose, lemon, pink grapefruit, rose de mai, peony, jasmine, magnolia, tonka bean, vetiver, white moss and velvet musks. It is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum ($150). For buying information, see the listing for Parfums DelRae under Perfume Houses.
Note: upper left image is Rosa centifolia foliacea by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759 - 1840) via Wikimedia Commons.