Roses, roses all the way! It's the annual spring rush of my favorite flower in fragrance. I've recently reviewed L'Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée and Aerin Rose de Grasse, and today I'm taking a close sniff of Maison Francis Kurkdjian's À la Rose. Yes, it's another "ode to femininity," another homage to the rose fields of Grasse, another pink juice...but I'm still not tired of roses, so onwards we go.
In À la Rose, "an eau de parfum that evokes the crisp tenderness of rose petals and a radiant aura" as well as "a free-spirited elegance," Francis Kurkdjian has brought together notes of Damascena rose, Centifolia rose, bergamot, orange, violet, magnolia blossom, cedar wood and musk. (As Robin earlier noted, the fragrance was inspired by Marie Antoinette's love of roses and the painting Marie-Antoinette à la Rose by Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.)
Like Parfums DelRae's Coup de Foudre, À la Rose is a sheer, well-made rose soliflore in an elegant modern bottle. It opens with a burst of sweet-tart bergamot before it segues into its rosy and, yes, "radiant" floral heart. If these roses evoke a garden, it's a carefully cultivated one (like Marie-Antoinette's gardens at Versailles?); if they suggest a florist's shop, it's an uptown florist that imports high-quality blooms. The magnolia note helps to keep everything light and youthful; I don't detect any violet. À la Rose gradually deepens and warms just a tiny bit, into a base of very sheer woods and moss. The dry down is not terribly distinctive, and it makes me miss the roses of the composition's earlier phases.
I've heard that À la Rose was created with the Japanese market in mind, and that makes some sense. It could also serve as a "gateway" fragrance for women who are just starting to explore Maison Francis Kurkdjian and aren't quite ready for some of the line's richer scents (although they could also give Amyris or Féminin Pluriel a try). It's very pretty, very fresh and bright, and surprisingly long-lasting. It just doesn't capture my imagination as much as some of Maison Francis Kurkdjian's other scents.
In conclusion: I like À la Rose more than Aerin Rose de Grasse and last year's Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile, although not quite as much as L'Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée. If I had about $250 to spend right now (!), I'd rather acquire a more distinctive rose from Frédéric Malle or Serge Lutens, or a bottle of Kurkdjian's earlier creation MDCI Rose de Siwa, a beautiful feminine rose that appeals even more to me, thanks to its powdery violet and hawthorn notes.
Do you have a favorite pick from early 2015's crop of rose perfumes? Feel free to share in the comments.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian À la Rose is available as 70 ml Eau de Parfum ($245). For purchasing information, see the listing for Maison Francis Kurkdjian under Perfume Houses.