A budding trend for wearable, contemporary, even edgy rose scents has turned into a full-bloomed renaissance. Suddenly, rose scents are blooming everywhere, (along with our own late-blooming rose bushes here in the U.K. thanks to the washed-out, dreary Spring!)
Here, we celebrate some of our favourite modern takes on the ‘Queen of the flower’ fragrances…
Not very long ago at all, if you had a sneaking love of rose perfumes, chances are you might keep pretty schtum about it. Despite rose appearing in the construction of the vast majority of perfumes – a pillar, around which other fragrance ingredients entwine – in perfumistas circles, overtly ‘rose perfumes’ were perceived by many as a bit dusty, a bit boring, somewhat outdated, and best relegated to scented drawer-liners and grandma’s dressing table.
Indeed, James Craven, fragrance expert, and one-time archivist for London’s first niche perfumery, Les Senteurs, recalls that many customers who came searching for a new scent would begin their consultation by pronouncing, definitively: ‘Nothing with rose in it’. Customers had a preconceived idea of how a rose scent would smell, he says. But undeterred, and indeed without telling the customer what they were sniffing, James would nevertheless proceed to show them a fragrance with rose as a note.
‘Nine times out of 10, the rose scents would be the one they’d fall in love with,’ he says. (Though to be fair, it would have been pretty hard for him not to, since roses feature in at least 75% of modern feminine fragrances, and at least 10% of all men’s perfumes, too.)
Today, however, there is a serious rose resurgence in perfumery – and we aren’t talking ‘chorus line’ rose notes, but fragrances which put rose front and centre in the scented spotlight, in an utterly modern style. Roses don’t merely have to be seen as a ‘romantic’ scent style, now – or, of course, reserved for ‘feminine’ fragrances. We’re loving the more masculine takes, too.
One thing is perfectly clear – never have we seen so many new overtly rose-centric fragrances being re-embraced in such a flurry. The only problem you have is: which of these blooming rose scents will you seek out to try first…?
Chanel Les Eaux Paris – Paris
Recent recipient of The Fragrance Foundation Reader’s Choice Award, this dreamy rose scent pays homage to, ‘the vibrant and timeless Paris of Gabrielle Chanel; the authenticity of her character and the modernity of her soul.’ Sparkling with citrus and pink pepper, the Damask rose exudes an effervescent, contemporary kind of chic being so perfectly borne aloft on the radiance of those top notes.
£122 for 125ml eau de toilette chanel.com
Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance
A scorching interpretation of rose, in which smouldering leather tangos with rich Damask rose against a vibrantly glowing backdrop of patchouli, amber and warm waves of sensual oudh. Think of a summer party’s bonfire-smoke still clinging to your hair, pinpricks of starlight against a velvety sky and passionate kisses which smoulder nearly as long as this will on your skin.
From £70 for 30ml eau de parfum ruthmastenbroek.com
Memoize Rose Luxuria
Fresh and floral, yes, but with a sultry undercurrent resonant in the burning embrace of the ambreé’s character (which slowly reveals itself as it settles on bare skin). A caress of bright bergamot, lemon and cedar leaf trembles to the bouquet buried within the heart: that coriander-speckled rose rippled with jasmine, lily of the valley, magnolia, orange flower, then dusted with orris before the seductively woody base takes hold.
£227 for 100ml extrait de parfum shop page
Inspired by a small Turkish village famed the world over for its roses, perfumer Christian Provenzano coaxes baskets of the blooms to radiate in the hot sun. Steeped with spices, the nutmeg and oudh sweep in clouds across supple leather (and often, onto the streets, actually wafting from Penhaligon’s boutiques). That distinctive amber woodiness in the base has ensured its modern icon, smash-hit status never fades.
From £95 for 30ml eau de parfum penhaligons.com
Edeniste Rose Fatale
Talking of contemporary, perfumer Aurélien Guichard worked with cutting-edge neuroscience discoveries to create this almost jammy rose essence from Bulgaria that’s spiked with cool nutmeg, textured with labdanum’s supple, leather-like facets and another favourite partner of rose – patchouli essence from Indonesia. Edentiste suggests pairing with any of their ‘Lifeboost’ actives to ‘let your feelings rule…’
From £96 for 30ml eau de parfum shop page
Written by Suzy Nightingale