Happy Valentine’s Day this weekend! This seems like a good opportunity to write about one of the rose-y fragrances I have discovered recently, given the association of red roses with Valentines (and the bouquet of them I was given yesterday! yes, that was early, because my husband is one of those delightful men who can’t wait to present a gift once it is in his hands).
Where to start? I think with Rose d’Amour, by Les Parfums de Rosine. Les Parfums de Rosine is a French perfume house, based in Paris and revived by Marie Helene Rogeon, a descendant of perfumers. It was originally founded by the legendary Paris couturier and designer Paul Poiret in 1911, who named it after his daughter; Mme. Rogeon’s great-grandfather was a perfumer who worked with M. Poiret. The perfume house did not survive the Great Depression; Ms. Rogeon brought it back to life in the 1990s. All of its modern perfumes have a connection with roses, and Fragrantica lists 33 different fragrances under its brand.
Rose d’Amour is the only one I own, and it is lovely. Top notes are aldehydes, ginger, galbanum and bergamot; middle notes are iris, jasmine, rose oil, red berries and narcissus; base notes are nutmeg, oakmoss, pepper and vetiver. It reminds me of a bouquet of red roses, made piquant with unexpected herbs and spices. The version I have is the discontinued one, launched in 2006 and not to be confused with the newer Rose d’Amour Edition Limitee, still available through the company’s website.
Tanya Sanchez and Luca Turin classify it as a “rose chypre” in “Perfumes: The Guide.” If you are a perfume newbie like me, you may be wondering what that means. A chypre is a classic perfume structure based on bergamot, labdanum (or sometimes another resin) and oakmoss, with a floral heart. The blog Perfume Shrine explains its history and construction very well. In Rose d’Amour, the resin galbanum stands in for the labdanum and provides a greener note.
To my nose, Rose d’Amour starts off with a pleasant zing from the top notes, which include aldehydes and ginger. The rose emerges quickly, with a noticeable hint of earthy iris and narcissus. It is a rose that includes the scent of leaves and stems, more green and herbal than the lush, pure rosiness of, say, Taif Roses. The notes of “red berries” are not sweet; rather, they are somewhat tangy and remind me of fresh cranberries with their slightly astringent, slightly bitter, herbal notes.
I don’t pick up much of the jasmine note at all, but I know it’s there, if only because the floral heart of Rose d’Amour is not a soliflore at all, and in addition to the iris and narcissus, there is an underlying sweetness that must come from the jasmine. As it dries down, the base notes of oakmoss and pepper are the ones I smell most, with a hint of vetiver and an even slighter hint of nutmeg. The rose starts to fade into the background with the other flowers and the fragrance takes on a woodier scent.
The fragrance comes in a very pretty bottle, like all the perfumes from Les Parfums de Rosine. It is frosted glass, with a cursive R engraved in the center and a colorful tassel of red tied around its neck. The bottle has a nice heft in the hand and is softly curved, a pleasure to hold. I plan to explore more of the fragrances from Les Parfums de Rosine; their ingredients seem to be high-quality and they are clearly crafted with care.
Rose d’Amour also reminds me of the quirky, beautiful floral dresses I saw on my first (and only, so far) visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower show. My amateur photographs don’t do justice to the many marvels of that show; Flirty Fleurs has a beautiful gallery of images.
Victoria at Bois de Jasmin also wrote about Les Parfums de Rosine for Valentine’s Day, but focused on rose fragrances for men:
Aren’t roses just for women?
François Robert, the “nose” behind the niche line Les Parfums de Rosine, doesn’t think so. Les Parfums de Rosine is devoted to fragrances based on rose and it includes a dizzying array of roses in all guises, including ones for men. Rose d’Homme (£84 for 100ml EDP, first picture) is a rose in soft focus blended into leather and patchouli. Rossisimo (£84 for 100ml EDP) wraps the red blossoms around a zesty accord of bitter orange and verbena, with a dash of white jasmine for a cavalier spirit. Both fragrances require a willingness to experiment, but the classical masculine scents such as leather and citrus take so well to rose that the outcome is refined rather than radical.
This versatility reflects the multifaceted nature of rose essence. When you smell it pure, you notice not only the heavy, fruity notes and honeyed sweetness, but also the bright citrus accents, along with green and metallic nuances. While research has yet to determine all of the components in rose essence, perfumers have discovered that it can shine in a variety of compositions.
The rose certainly shines in Rose d’Amour. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Featured image: Moyses Stevens.