Scented Advent, December 17

The Guerlain Advent sample today is Rose Barbare, created by Francis Kurkdjian and launched in 2005. I think it was one of three original fragrances in the “L’Art et la Matière” collection. It is a gorgeous rose, if you don’t mind aldehydes in the opening. I get along well with aldehydes, one of my favorite fragrances is Chanel No. 22, which is loaded with them, so that’s not an issue for me. Aldehydes seem to be the main focus of any critical comments on Fragrantica. The full list of notes, according to Fragrantica, is: top notes of rose and aldehydes; middle notes of rose and fenugreek; base notes of honey, patchouli, and woody notes.

At the start, I could have sworn I smelled something lemony, but it came and went so quickly, I couldn’t tell. The rose leaps forward, lifted airborne by aldehydes. These aren’t your mother’s aldehydes, to my nose they smell fresher and more vibrant than more old-fashioned aldehydic fragrances. And the rose is specifically said to be “Ottoman rose”, which I assume is at least one actual ingredient. That may have inspired the name that means “barbaric rose”, but that seems rude given the sophistication of the Ottoman Empire.

Sultan with a rose; image from Daily Sabah
Sultan with a rose; image from Daily Sabah

The fenugreek in the middle stage lends a certain dustiness to the rose, which is still going strong. I find this an appealing combination, as the rose still smells great and dominates. It is hard to say when the base notes emerge, because they do so very subtly with sweetness from a honey accord, earthiness from patchouli, and woody notes. I don’t know why this fragrance is described as a chypre floral, without the classic chypre structure and accords. Nevertheless, Rose Barbare smells wonderful. It is by no means a soliflore, but the rose clearly takes center stage.

If you’ve tried or owned Rose Barbare, please jump in via the comments!

7 thoughts on “Scented Advent, December 17

  1. I’m just not a rose person so I tend to avoid trying anything with rose in its name. Sounds interesting, and I like aldehydes. Funny though – I used Lush Rose Jam shower gel this morning. I don’t really mind the fleeting hit of rose, just don’t enjoy it all day. My mini/travel spray today is Scent Trunk Black Hemlock. Decided to purchase because my beloved Ormonde Woman has a black hemlock note and I wanted to explore further. Perhaps not the likeliest scent for playing at church today, but I think it is so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ormonde Woman for Christmas – you are lucky! I got my giant bottle as a gift from senior football parents in 2020 – facilitated by my husband. He suggested perfume when asked about a gift for me. I have him well trained 😂. I have a number of scent trunk travelers. Most recent are Ginger, Honeysuckle Rain and the newest, Stroopwaffel. (Haven’t tried the last yet, gifting one to SIL and she follows my IG, didn’t want to give anything away. ). I enjoy the focus on a primary note. And of course love that I can buy a travel spray of anything rather than investing in a bottle.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used up my decant of Rose Barbare. It was very nice, but I didn’t completely love it, so I never bought a bottle. There was something in it that smelled funky on my skin in the drydown. It was probably the patchouli and the fenugreek that didn’t work on my skin. Rose Cherie, Rose Ta’if by Ormonde Jayne, Damascena and Attar de Roses by Keiko Mecheri are my favorite roses.

    Liked by 1 person

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