More roses

Regular readers will know that I have been on a quest to find my ideal rose: a rose conjured in my imagination by fragrance writer Celia Lyttleton, who remembers her grandmother having worn a ‘rich, peppery rose’. You can go here for my original post, and here for a discussion of the frontrunner so far, Montale’s Aoud Queen Roses. Here in no special order are some mini reviews of the other contenders.

  • DSH Dirty Rose

A rose complete with roots, earth and a tumultuous past. Sadly, DR is fleeting on my skin. A ruggedly beautiful opening fades in less than five minutes leaving a vague earthy floral with a trace of oud as a parting comment. If you have had better luck with DR, do comment.

  • L’Artisan Safran Troublant

I don’t smell much rose at all. ST reminds me strongly of the milk and sandalwood notes in Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, which I adore (and already own as a FB). Unfortunately when I wear ST I find my nose running around like an anxious little dog, peering here and searching there, looking for the sharp green notes that for me feature prominently in Amaranthine. A pity. If I had smelled ST first I might have loved it. But in any case, it is not my ideal rose.

  • Agent Provocateur Agent Provocateur

A beautiful and assertive spicy rose opening had my heart missing a beat: could this be The One? After about ten minutes an annoyingly artificial accord takes over. This accord spoils the whole thing and, needless to say, lingers for hours.

  • Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose

This one offers a sense of lightness and airiness that the denser compositions, including AQR, lack. These qualities are important in my ideal rose: Celia Lyttleton’s grandmother had her fragrance made in Cairo but kept the formula and later had it made again in Paris. In my mind the Parisian perfumer has added elements of his or her olfactory world, lighter and sweeter notes that illuminate the composition with shafts of gentle Parisian light. But unfortunately Paestum Rose for me carries that thin and sour quality that green rose accords sometimes have. Damn. So close!

  • Caron Parfum Sacre

Even closer! This ought to be The One. This is the only contender so far to have a genuinely peppery accord that Celia remembers in her grandmother’s fragrance. On paper this peppery, astringent (but not sour) facet lingers and is joined not just by a strong rose accord but some sweet facets that I also long for. But on my skin these sweet facets run away with almost the whole fragrance. The first time I tested PS properly I found the sweetness cloying, but in cooler weather it has been not so bad after all. So all is not lost! PS probably wears better in the winter. (AQR had better look out: she could be knocked off her throne.) I think I am smelling the EDP. If you are familiar with the EDP Intense, do comment.

Still to come another day: Frederick Malle’s Portrait of a Lady; Le Labo’s Rose 31; Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if, and maybe some Rosines.

Thanks again to everyone who has made suggestions and sent samples. Even if those fragrances are not The One, I’m learning heaps about a whole genre of fragrances I had not tried much before. Fun!

26 thoughts on “More roses

  1. really fun reading your Rose journey! The post about the new Eau d’Italie perfume on NST this week reminded that this line had largely escaped my notice; then I did some reading and became really curious to try the perfumes. And now you’re plugging the rose perfume from the line… Curiouser and curiouser!!

    1. Thanks! I loved that little video on NST, and would ADORE to visit that hotel in Positano. But I’m cross because the Eau d’Italie line used to be carried by a local cosmetic chain here, but they have d/c it. I should have sampled them while I had the chance. I did try Sienne d’Hiver but didn’t care for it.

      1. really, who wouldn’t love to visit that hotel in Positano??? sigh.

        too bad about Eau d’Italie leaving the store near you! I had a similar experience recently with a store near me completely closing with no notice. I’m trying to figure out where I can sample Eau d’Italie now. Luckyscent has them but I’m just wishing there was a way to sample the whole line rather than buying each sample individually…

        1. I have that dilemma all the time, yes. So I’m grateful to the niche places that will sell you sample sets, especially where you can choose what samples you want rather than having to take the whole line.

          Did I maybe see you comment on NST about that perfumery closing down? I think I remember. Specialist perfumeries in Australia must be struggling, I’m sure, squeezed as they are between online sellers on the one side, and large department stores on the other, many of which are starting to stock niche stuff.

          1. Yes, that was probably me over on NST. There was a store in Austin carrying Caron and Santa Maria Novella and a few others, and they closed shop with absolutely no notice.

            I fear that this store was trying to do too much; they carried antiques and home furnishing and had a drapery shop in addition to carrying perfume (!!).

            Can you buy a mixed sample pack from Luckyscent? I’m so clueless sometimes it seems.

  2. It looks like we may have similar tastes in roses, because I love Parfum Sacré, and wore it as my SOTE on Friday. But you’re right, it is definitely a winter fragrance. I haven’t tried the Intense version, but I’ve heard that the older bottle with the black cap is even better than the current formulation (it was listed on the ‘Bay’s Canadian site last year, and I’m still kicking myself for not getting it.)

    I made my very first unsniffed purchase last week (sshh! don’t tell) for a decant of Safran Troublant, so I’m glad to hear you liked it.

    1. We are enjoying the last of the warm weather here in Canberra. When that finishes, as sadly it will any day, I will give PS a really good trial. Thanks for the tip about the black cap – that information is like gold!

      How exciting about ST! I can see why people love it. It is the sort of fragrance to take up and make a part of your life. Good luck

  3. Oh, Parfum Sacre! I do so like it. I have tried the Intense, but don’t have a sample of it on hand for comparison. 😦 I hope someone else weighs in, because now I’m curious.

    1. Thanks Natalie, it was your review of PS that suggested to me that this might be a match for my ideal rose.

  4. Really enjoying your search for the perfect rose, annemarie. Parfum Sacre is the one, along with OJ’s Ta’if, that I think of as a peppery rose so no surprised it cam close. I’ll be excited to see what you make of the OJ.

    Portrait of a Lady was my latest full bottle purchase but there’s no pepper in it as far as I can tell.

    1. No, rose perfumes might be spicy, or dark, or earthy, but genuine pepperiness seems to be less common. I wonder if I would have liked Caron’s Poivre, pre-reformulation? (peppery carnation)

      1. Anne-Marie, someone at Facebook Fragrance Friends is doing splits of all the Le Labos, including the Exclusives (going for $33.79, including worldwide shipping). If you’re interested, I can get you the contact information.

  5. Such fun reading about your rose quest! Paestum Rose is one of my all time favorites, but I hardly think of it as a rose perfume at all, it is much more about the sweet myrrh (what might giving you that “green” note) and the incense. Parfum Sacre, ah, yes. The original incarnation (I know, I know, but it’s true) had a much bigger dose of eugenol, so more pepper bite to balance out the winey quality of the rose.

    *Very* curious to see what you’ll think of Ta’if since it opens with a big burst of pink pepper and has a rose heart that’s quite similar to the one in AQR!

    1. Thanks. Sigh. Ta’if HAS to be the the next try. I have been hesitating over purchasing a single sample, or buying myself an OJ discovery set for my birthday later in the year. Either way, I think I will have to put Ta’if on fast track.

      Wine-y – that was exactly the edge that disagreed with me the first time I tried PS. I wonder if eugenol is one of the materials now restricted?

      1. Yes. Eugenol is on IFRA’s hit list–not eliminated altogether, I think, but highly restricted. As I well know, since many of my big favorites originally had a huge dose of it.

        I have some very old Poivre, by the way, and I can tell you it’s name is well-earned. Holy moly! You can *taste* the peppery clove in the top notes.

  6. Hi girls,
    I LOVED reading this. I have the Parfum Sacre Intense in the 1oz Purple leather and gold cap. I love it and have bought Birgit’s PS from her sell out to cross check. I will give you the upshot as it occurs.
    I did see Parfum Sacre on Amazon in the original black box recently for only $60 but the shipping to Oz stopped me dead in my tracks,
    Portia xx

    1. Oh do report back your impressions! That would be great. .

      I’m in Australia too and I have never bought perfume from Amazon, and indeed it’s been many a long year since I’ve even bought a book from them, because of the shipping. (I do remember when Amazon first got going back in the 90s, and how excited everyone was.) I buy books from now. Free shipping! Yippee!

  7. I like (not love) Safran Troublant, Paestum Rose and Parfum Sacre.

    It’s interesting that you have for “still to come another day” three of my most favorite roses ever. I hope you’ll love one of them.

    1. Uh oh! Pressure is on! But thanks for your comment. 🙂

      I really do want to wait for some cooler weather to try these three, as I am one of those types who has quite a seasonal attitude to fragrance, and those three strike me as more cool weather than warm weather fragrances. But PoaL intrigues me. There was high excitement when it was released, but the reviews were quite mixed.


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