Every February, we consumers are reminded in many not-so-subtle ways that the rose is the flower of romance, and that we should be buying roses, giving roses, and wearing roses in all their forms. I happen to believe that rose fragrance is a perfect choice for any day of the year, not just Valentine's Day, but I've decided to wear and review some recent and new rose releases all the same. One is a 2011 launch from the classic house of Caron, and the other is the latest offering from A Dozen Roses, a new niche collection that was itself founded in 2011.
Caron's Délire de Roses Eau de Parfum is described as "an exquisite concoction...redolent of a spring garden in full bloom," with top notes of blended rose petals and lotus flowers, a heart of lily of the valley and rosebush leaves, and a base of jasmine and lychee. It opens with a sheer cluster of rosebuds and lily of the valley, and it eventually dries down to a soft, fruity rose that stays close to the skin. Between these two floral phases, the fragrance's mid-development is warmed by an unexpected salty-amber aquatic note. Since Délire de Roses has a transparent feeling and light staying power, it would work well as a rose fragrance for warmer weather. Other than that salt-breeze heart, it reminds me a bit of Crabtree & Evelyn's Evelyn (now Evelyn Rose), one of my favorites during the early 1990s.
Overall, Délire de Roses is pretty and girlish and bright; it does not evoke an emotional experience the way vintage Bellodgia or Farnesiana or Nuit de Noël does (for me), nor was it designed to do so. It's more of a pop melody than a classical composition. I suppose it's being geared towards a younger audience than the traditional Caron customer base. (Caron is hardly the first perfume house to attempt this strategy, of course.) I do hope that this younger customer, having tried and enjoyed Délire de Roses, might move on to try some of the house's more signature fragrances. (There's also a Parfum version, which I tried once and found more sophisticated, with an intriguing wheaty-almondy note; but it's turning out to be harder to find in the United States.)
On the other hand, we have A Dozen Roses, a new line "inspired by the emotions that only a rose can evoke," and Electron, an interpretation of the rose's "Clean, Fresh, Fabulous" aspects. Electron's notes include green tea, violet leaves, cattalyea orchid, neon musk, and rose absolute. (As commenters Pyramus and 50_Roses mentioned when we first announced this fragrance, there really is a bright-pink rose hybrid called Electron.) Electron begins with an airy blend of rose and green tea; I enjoyed this pairing so much that I was sorry when it quickly faded and made room for a sweeter exotic-floral note that must be the orchid, paired with a nose-tickling sheer musk. There's an elusive fresh-dirt note that was quite noticeable on my skin during one wearing and much more subtle the next time. The rose doesn't re-appear until the far dry-down, when it's a true, if muted, rose note that lasts for a while.
Electron could easily join the ranks of today's "modern" or "updated" rose fragrances: it should appeal to perfume-shoppers who like the idea of roses but fear smelling too old-fashioned. Personally, I wish it delivered more on its promise of an "energizing" fragrance that would give "a shock to the senses." I would have liked some really zingy aldehydes, or even just more green tea. The fragrance itself doesn't really match the colorful packaging, either. (All of A Dozen Roses' bottles feature painterly images of a cropped, single rose on one side and a nature-inspired abstraction on the other side — Georgia O'Keeffe's legacy continues). I haven't tried the other three fragrances in the Dozen Roses collection yet; if you have, do feel free to comment.
For another recent rose-fragrance review, see my thoughts on Diptyque's Eau Rose; for further reading, you can also check out Annick Goutal's assorted rose scents or reviews of fragrances by Les Parfums de Rosine, which hit upon the idea of a rose-fragrance collection a while ago.
A Dozen Roses Electron is available as 100 ml Eau de Parfum ($95) at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Caron Délire de Roses is available as 30 ml ($100), 50 ml ($165), and 100 ml ($240) Eau de Parfum; for purchasing information, see the listing for Caron under Perfume Houses.