Coming Up Roses

Rose fragrance

Forget all your preconceived ideas about rose fragrances - like the flowers themselves, they can be wildly different. In nature... generally, the darker the color of the flower, the warmer the scent. Red roses smell fairly rich, almost like tobacco mixed with something sweet, such as raspberries. Pale roses smell fresh and kind of earthy. One of the great things about roses is lends itself to being blended with other things.... Think of the great classics - Chanel No. 5, Lancome Tresor, Miss Dior; there's rose in all of them.... Here's how to find a rose scent that suits you.

Excerpts from a fragrance editorial by Frederic Malle, Coming Up Roses.

Rose as the Star

There are two main types of rose fragrances: first, rose scents that are very true to the actual flower - a good, realistic rose fragrance smells simple.

Tea Rose by the Perfumers Workshop

Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop
This is the most classic example of a rose scent that smells fresh from nature. It's rich but not overpowering.

Annick Goutal Rose Absolue

Rose Absolue by Annick Goutal
This blends together many types of roses; May, Turkish, Bulgarian, Damascus, Egyptian, and Moroccan roses. It's heady and smells like crushed-up petals.

Penhaligon London Elisabethan Rose

Elisabethan Rose by Penhaligon's
It's an English garden rose. The fragrance has a nice creamy quality to it, a little like a cosmetics product.

Rose in the Mix

Then there are fragrances in which rose plays a prominent role but is blended with other noticeable accords. Two ingredients commonly mixed with rose are patchouli and amber - the traditional recipe for a true oriental scent.

Knowing by Estee Lauder

Knowing by Estee Lauder
When a rose is combined with potent notes, like the amber and patchouli here, it can be more abstract. This scent is openly sexy.

1000 by Jean Patou

1000 by Jean Patou
This is one of the greats because it has a large amount of rose essence - you immediately recognize the rose in the mix of jasmine, violet, and sandalwood.

Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle

Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle
This is a rose with a bit of violet and musk. You get a powdery, comfortable effect, but the fragrance is still playful and young.

(Malle, Frederic. "Coming Up Roses." Allure Feb. 2011: 64.)

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