I have to admit that I didn't recognize Tadashi Shoji's name when I read the press release for his first fragrance release. After a quick bit of research, I learned that he's a Japanese fashion designer best known for his special-occasion dresses. His designs have gained an ardent following of women who love their floral prints, embroidery and other embellishments, and figure-flattering cuts, and you may have seen some of his dresses worn by such prominent women as Michelle Obama (multiple times), Octavia Spencer (for her 2012 Academy Awards win), Katy Perry, Christina Hendricks and Paris Jackson (yes, Michael Jackson's daughter).
Eau de Rose was developed for Shoji by consultant Ruth Sutcliffe with perfumers Jacques Chabert and Nathalie Koobus, and it was reportedly inspired by Japanese gardens and Shoji’s love of roses: “When I smell rose, it’s calming and makes me feel so happy."1 It has top notes of bergamot, lemon, mandarin, grapefuit, rhubarb and blackcurrant; heart notes of rose, jasmine, osmanthus, lily of the valley and cedarwood; and base notes of musk, frankincense, patchouli, rose and oud.
I try to sample as many new rose scents as I can, since rose has become something of a scent specialization for me; sometimes I'm disappointed, and sometimes I'm able to add a new recommendation to my list. I like Tadashi Shoji's addition to the rose genre: it's not your average pink-tinted peony scent masquerading as a rose perfume, and it feels like something made for adult women. It starts off with a distinctive tart rhubarb note. (If you have fond memories of Comme des Garçons Series 2 Red: Rose, you might enjoy Eau de Rose's top notes.) It's not just a fruity rose, either, though: it has an intriguing edge, something aromatic and almost minty, yet dark.
The rose in the heart of Eau de Rose is wine-y and a touch jammy, and the tanginess of the rhubarb and other red fruit notes keeps it from turning too sweet. For a while it reminds me of Keiko Mecheri Damascena, an old favorite of mine from the early 2000s, but tonally it continues to deepen. Its base is lush, with waves of incense and wood under the rose and that mysterious aromatic note (something to do with the oud?). Eau de Rose is a "dressy" rose fragrance, with too much sillage and drama for the office. Instead, it would be just right for a cocktail party or some other evening out (worn with one of Shoji's dresses?).
I'm always happy to come across new rose fragrances with presence, from Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme to Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose to this one. My only question is why it was given the somewhat dull name of Eau de Rose. It deserves something with a little more texture, maybe even with an allusion to dressmaking — Brocade Rose? Rose Illusion? In any case, if you're a rose-lover, and you do come across this fragrance, stop to smell it.
Tadashi Shoji Eau de Rose is available as 50 ($110) and 100 ($135) ml Eau de Parfum. A 9 ml rollerball ($27) and matching body cream are also offered. Available at Macy's, Lord & Taylor and the brand website.
1. Allison Collins, "Tadashi Shoji Launches First Fragrance," Women's Wear Daily, March 1, 2017.