Just a week or two ago, I was saddened to learn of the death of Marie-Hélène Rogeon. As the founder of the present-day Les Parfums de Rosine, Rogeon revived the name of fashion designer Paul Poiret's original fragrance house in 1991 and dedicated it to rose-inspired perfumes. Les Parfums de Rosine has been one of my favorite niche scent brands since I first encountered it at Barneys (circa 2005?) and I'm still grateful to Mme Rogeon every time I pick up one of my well-loved bottles.
In light of this news, it seems like an appropriate moment to review Rose Par Essence and Rose Absolument, two new-ish fragrances from Les Parfums de Rosine. Rose Par Essence (in the white bottle) combines a pure rose essence (obtained via distillation) with notes of bergamot, citrus, blue chamomile, Turkish rose, Ambroxan, musk and sandalwood for a sensation of "green and metallic freshness"; Rose Absolument (in the black bottle) features a pure rose absolute (obtained through maceration) for a feeling of "deepness and sensual softness" in a composition that also includes elemi, geranium, Turkish rose, osmanthus, honey, labdanum, patchouli and papyrus. Both were developed by perfumer Serge de Oliveira.
Starting with the lighter scent: Rose Par Essence is indeed a green take on rose that conjures up the flower's leaves and the bitterness of its stem as well as the metallic-smelling oxides of a rose's complex olfactory profile. As it dries down, Rose Par Essence reminds me of Diptyque Eau Rose, although it feels more "outdoors" than Eau Rose's shampoo-clean composition. It actually smells slightly raw, more like an accord than a finished fragrance, which makes sense when it's placed side-by-side with its sibling scent.
Rose Absolument also gives off a stripped-down impression, although it's darker and duskier, with a touch of red wine; it also makes me think of the labdanum note in Les Parfums de Rosine's own Secrets de Rose, framed more simply here. This half of the duo has excellent staying power and above-average diffusion on my skin. I was pleasantly aware of it at various points throughout my workday, although I might have applied it a bit more lightly if I'd actually been headed to the office.
All in all, Rose Par Essence and Rose Absolument interest me most as complementary scents. I enjoyed them independently but liked them even more when I layered them, so I'd probably be tempted to purchase the coffret duo rather than either fragrance as a single, larger bottle. Together, rather than feeling like slightly unfinished versions of "fresh" vs. "rich" rose perfumes, they make sense as an olfactory deconstruction of the legendary flower and its various facets. And, to echo my own remarks about Les Parfums de Rosine's Les Extravagants (also composed by de Oliveira), these two scents "feel more contemporary than most of Rosine's previous catalogue, and they also read as more gender-neutral."
If you're a Rosine fan, have you tried this pair? Or, at this moment when we're remembering Marie-Hélène Rogeon, do you have a favorite Rosine perfume that you can recommend to us?
Les Parfums de Rosine Rose Par Essence and Rose Absolument are available as 50 ($195 each) or 100 ml Eau de Parfum, or as a coffret of two 10 ml atomizers ($145; shown just above). For buying information, see the listing for Les Parfums de Rosine under Perfume Houses.