Thanks to a kind reader, I have a generous sample of Les Parfums de Rosine‘s latest fragrance, Rose Griotte. It is lovely! Launched in February of this year (2021), it was created by perfumer Nicholas Bonneville with Marie-Helene Rogeon. Interestingly, it is really a cherry blossom fragrance, but it has been anchored by a rose accord, as Mark Behnke explains on his blog, Colognoisseur:
The keynote floral is cherry blossom. There is little chance any rose essential oil wouldn’t trample the delicacy of that. So they make the clever choice to use a rose accord of three fresh florals as its balancing partner. It begins with a juice dripping, fruity top accord around pear. There is a bit of citrus and baie rose to provide some rounding effect, but the earliest moments are a ripe pear. Then the heart finds the beautiful powdery fragility of the cherry blossom matched with an expansive rose accord of peony, jasmine, and heliotrope. The last also has a bit of cherry in its scent profile which allows it to act as complement.
“Griotte” is apparently a wild cherry, sometimes called a Morello cherry, whose fruit is more sour than the cherries we commonly buy at the market. Like tart apples, the sour cherries make for very flavorful pies, clafoutis, and preserves. It has blossoms that are just as beautiful as the famous cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. Most of those thousands of trees are Yoshino Cherry. Other species include Kwanzan Cherry, Akebono Cherry, Takesimensis Cherry, Usuzumi Cherry, Weeping Japanese Cherry, Sargent Cherry, Autumn Flowering Cherry, Fugenzo Cherry, Afterglow Cherry, Shirofugen Cherry, and Okame Cherry.
The thing about cherry blossoms is that their fragrance, like their blooms, is delicate and fleeting. It doesn’t smell like cherry fruit, though there’s a touch of that hovering in the background. You can smell it quite easily in large plantings like the D.C. Tidal Basin, where it wafts on every breeze, but to my nose, it is somewhat elusive when one tries to smell it directly from a single branch or flower. In fact, to me it smells somewhat like peony flowers, which is one of the notes listed and part of the “rose accord.” Peonies’ fragrance is stronger, though, and easily detectable from a single blossom, even from across a room, as light as it is.
At first spray of Rose Griotte, my reaction was “Wow!”, then “aaaah.” Fragrantica lists its notes as: Top notes are Tangerine, Bergamot, Nashi Pear and Pink Pepper; middle notes are Japanese Cherry Blossom, Peony, Jasmine Sambac and Osmanthus; base notes are Heliotrope, White Amber, Cedar and Musk. Those top notes of pear and tangerine really pop and are very appealing. They actually linger into the heart phase and blend beautifully with the floral notes. I don’t pick up much of the bergamot or pink pepper, but as is so often the case, I’m sure they are present lending depth and texture.
In the heart phase, the dominant note to my nose is, you guessed it, the peony, which merges with the jasmine and osmanthus to form the “Japanese cherry blossom.” The heart phase lasts a good while, gradually getting softer and softer with the heliotrope and musk notes emerging. White amber and cedar? I’m not so sure about those, but whatever is there in the base, it’s very pleasant. And actually, Rose Griotte does smell like at least one of the roses I grow, which have fragrances that can vary widely in their fruitiness, spiciness, and floralcy. I haven’t yet put my finger (or nose!) on which one, but as soon as I smelled this sample, part of my reaction was “Aha! I have a rosebush that smells just like this!”.
If you have been searching for a pretty cherry blossom fragrance and have been disappointed, you might find that Rose Griotte is what you want. Do you recommend any others?