40 Days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Notes: Rose
Everything's Is Coming Up Roses
by Patti F
My relationship with the rose had a rocky start. My next-door neighbor, many years ago, had asked me to come to dinner with her and a few other ladies, and I accepted gladly. That is, until I got in the car with her. I asked her what fragrance she was wearing, and she happily said "Ombre Rose." I was nauseous before we even got to the restaurant. I figured I hated rose scents and that was that.
Fast-forward about twelve years. My sister was in New York City with 40 of her fashion merchandising students from Indiana University. She asked me to meet her there, and I was privileged to tag along to some of their scheduled events. We headed to Bloomingdales one afternoon to meet Mary McFadden in the lingerie department where she was launching her new line of sleepwear. On our way to the escalators, a fragrance SA asked if she could spray my wrists with their newest scent, and I said yes, it seemed so chic to me and I was so caught up in the whole experience that I did not even stop to ask what it was.
We met Mary (charming! Bloomingdales would not allow us to take photos, even though Mary had given her approval) and ooh'd and ahhh'd over her pretty designs. When our event was finished, we headed back down to the beauty floor. And I headed to the SA to purchase whatever she had sprayed on me, I smelled divine. That scent was Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, and I had no idea what was in it, but I had to have it.
I was now a rose scent lover. And for the last 28 years, I've worn and loved Paris. I have used up more bottles of Paris than any other scent I've ever had. I continue to love it so much that it delights me now as much as it did that first day. I wear the Springtime editions too, and I especially love the pretty bottles. Nuit De Fete is what you see in the photo, my favorite of all.
Of course, being a fragrance lover, I wanted to try other rose scents. The failures were many. Nahema by Guerlain, Lutece by Houbigant, and Tea Rose by The Perfumers Workshop were all too pungent and bitter for me, as was Guerlain's Rose Barbare. Others were too green, like MAC Dejarose, Jo Malone Red Roses, and Creed's Fleurs De The Rose Bulgare. Some were more of a floral blend than a real rose scent, like Quelques Roses (another Houbigant) and a few of the Rosines. I liked Caron's Rose but not enough to have it in my collection. I was thinking maybe Paris was the only rose scent I would ever really love. And then, in 2000, at the Lancome counter at our local department store, my SA showed me a pretty teardrop-shaped bottle and insisted that she try this fragrance on me. She said she'd never smelled anything like it and that it was a rose scent. I bought the bottle that day. The next day I went back and bought a second one. That scent was 2000 Et Une Rose, and was a limited edition to commemorate the end of the 90s and the beginning of a new century. (Yes, I know, technically it was the end of the century.)
2000 Et Une Rose is a magnificent, full-bodied, luscious rose scent with a peppery note that has never been duplicated. Nothing else smells like this scent. It is spicy and mysterious, memorable and incredibly satisfying. And gone from the counters within a week. I rationed myself with my two bottles, only an ounce each, and treasured them as long as I could. And then, in 2006, Lancome relaunched the fragrance with the new name, Mille Et Une Rose, and offered it for a too-short time in a beautiful 1.7oz Eau De Parfum along with several other older Lancome scents. Of course you know I repurchased. More than one and that's all I'm saying about that. The love affair continues.
Now, in my pursuit of rose scents, I've discovered so many more, that my friends now consider me to be "the one who loves rose perfumes." They send me sample vials of rose scents and tell me about new launches. I'm happy to show you a few that I love right now. Bond No. 9 has three of my favorites, West Side (a sophisticated rose blended with sandalwood and peony,) Harrods Rose (with a touch of narcissus and tuberose) and Saks-En-Rose (voluptuous rose with spices, woods, and amber.) I discovered the fabulous limited edition Givenchy Harvest 2006 Very Irresistible Rosa Centifolia at Nordstroms and have loved its unusual balance of soft rose petals and deep woods. That one came and went so quickly that it is almost impossible to find any more. And subsequent rose "harvests" have never made it to the perfume counters in our area.
Lately, some perfumers are blending the rare oud note with roses. They balance well with one another. Bond offers their Signature Perfume and the new New York Oud, and from Kilian, the gorgeous Rose Oud that captivated me so instantly that my wrists were barely dry with the sample vial dabs that I was already on the computer, making my purchase!
I'm always on the lookout (or is it sniff-out?) for new rose scents. Of course, not all of them are going to end up on my dresser tray, but after my Paris encounter at Bloomingdales, I know I'll try every rose scent that I can. Maybe some day I'll fall that fast in love again with another rose. In the meantime, I'm happy to wear the beautiful rose scents in my collection.
Tell us which rose scent is your favorite!
Disclosure: The reviewer has purchased the perfumes mentioned in this post. Some might have been gifts.