June is National Rose Month and, just in time, the New York Times has published this: In Fragrance, Rose is the New Unisex. I love roses — flowers and fragrance — almost as much as I love lilies of the valley. More, in some ways, as the flowers of roses are so varied, much more than lilies of the valley.
David Austin of England, pictured above meeting HRH Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Chelsea flower show (where he won another gold medal at the age of 90), is a giant in the world of roses. He began his ambitious rose hybridization program decades ago, to bring back to modern roses the strong fragrances and softer shapes he knew from the roses of prior centuries. David Austin English Roses are the happy result — and they do make me happy! I can only grow a couple in my mostly shady, hot and humid Southern garden but they live up to their reputations as highly fragrant, beautiful roses. The one that does best for me is “Teasing Georgia”, a soft yellow rose I grow on a metal obelisk structure.
Mine isn’t quite as glamorous as this but it comes close! It has a strong tea rose fragrance.
There is one perfume house that specializes in rose-based perfumes: Les Parfums de Rosine. From the website:
The two main passions of Marie-Hélène Rogeon are perfumes and… roses.
They are all so different; shy or proud, voluptuous or tender, with multiple shapes and colours, and the infinite variety of perfumes.
For her, as a perfumer, Rose Essence and Rose Absolue are the quintessence of all the great perfumes.
Marie-Hélène Rogeon built a collection of rose perfumes, all different, from the fresher Un Zest de Rose to the more sensuous Une Folie de Rose.
There are dozens of Rosine rose perfumes, both current and discontinued. I own one “Parfum de Rosine”, the lovely Rose d’Amour. 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. This version has been discontinued. There is a later, limited edition of Rose d’Amour that has very different notes. This version has the classic notes of old-school florals, but gives them a modern flair: aldehydes, galbanum, bergamot, iris, jasmine, rose, oakmoss, vetiver. It is a modern classic!
Have you tried any “Parfums de Rosine”? I’m waiting for David Austin Roses to commission some English perfumer to create a fragrance based on their gorgeous varieties, to go with their beautiful wedding flowers!