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Monday, January 03, 2011

Moss Roses in a Bottle: Une Folie de Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

By Donna

Several years ago I received a sample vial of a perfume with a bottle purchase, and I flipped over the sample; it was instant love. I don't even remember now what the bottle was, but I wore the sample until it was gone and I even kept the empty vial so that I could sniff it once in a while; it was Une Folie de Rose (2004) by Les Parfums de Rosine. It was unusual for a rose fragrance, because not only it was a true chypre style scent with a rose heart, it was also quite green, thus combining several of my favorite perfume elements in one distinctive composition. I recently got a decant of this in a swap, and I love it more than ever. If any rose perfume is going to tempt me to buy a full bottle, this is the one.

Now, some people may hear “green rose” and back away quickly, thinking it must something thin, sharp and acidic like too many inferior rose scents. Not so in this case; the rose (Bulgarian and Turkish) is rich, the green resinous and the chypre base with sandalwood, real oakmoss and benzoin keeps it warm and grounded. It opens with bergamot and a dry twist of coriander before the heart of roses and other florals (jasmine, ylang ylang and iris) expands. The unique mark of this perfume is the mossiness; in fact, what it smells like to me is the unusual buds of the old-fashioned Moss roses. These fragrant blossoms were so named because of the soft “mossy” coat on the outside (sepals) of their buds that secretes a highly resinous essence that is a cross between the classic rose aroma and something like an aromatic balsam fir, the result of a genetic mutation in this group of old garden roses. Rubbing the buds just as they are about to open releases this delicious fragrance. I have one of these wonderful plants in my own garden, and like most of the antique roses it blooms profusely, but only for a few weeks in early summer. With Une Folie de Rose I can enjoy this sensation anytime. I find it to be more interesting than most fragrances of the style that would usually be considered a rose soliflore, and it gets more so the longer I wear it. As it deepens into its chypre base, it gets darker and a little mysterious, and the longevity is excellent. The vivid feel of real, leafy green living roses remains throughout.

Traditional rose perfumes generally seem to fall into one of two broad categories – the simple, romantic and even girlish soliflores, which can be soapy and fresh, and the “sexy” rose scents which are often decorated with Oriental flourishes, such as the Montale rose and oud scents or Caron's Parfum Sacré and Amouage Lyric Woman, which wrap the rose in incense, spices, musk and vanilla. Une Folie de Rose finds its own path, standing out from the crowd with its air of chypre sophistication; yes, it's sexy all right, but it's not just a boudoir perfume, it's a fashion statement with an elegance that makes it suitable for wearing in just about any environment, and yes, men can wear it too. It's not cheap - starting at about $110 USD for 50 ml of Eau de Parfum - but it's far more reasonable than one would expect after smelling it; this is a top quality house that does not rely on celebrities or big advertising budgets to sell perfume and the materials are first class. (I also got a decant of the luscious saffron-infused Rose Kashmirie and it’s just as good, though entirely opposite in style.) The Rosine line can be purchased from their web site (have a Euro converter handy) or from better online boutiques such as Beautyhabit. My mission for the near future is to try all the Rosines but I am not sure if I dare; if the rest of them measure up to Une Folie de Rose and Rose Kashmirie, my pocketbook will be in serious jeopardy.

Image credit: Bud of an antique Moss rose from

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see this line getting some love, I love it, too! I have a full bottle of the lemony Zeste de Rose, and small vials of Kashmirie, Praline, and minty Diabolo. I tried Folie a few years back and really liked it, and also the Zephyr, which I think came from one particular vintage, just spectacular.

5:51 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I like UFDR too, it is so elegantly sumptuous. Very glad to see you posting on a rose scent, because I find myself on an unexpected rose kick these days.

7:17 AM EST  
Anonymous Odette Toilette said...

Reading this in the middle of a complete Rose fix which has gripped me in the last few weeks - I haven't tried this but now on my list... Have you ever come across Angela Flanders' Rose Sauvage? It's a true briar rose, incredibly green without being too 'hedgerow' - very wild and untamed though. I'm also wondering whether UFDR shares any similarities with Knowing by Lauder, as I seem to remember this is basically Rose completely smothered in chypree?

8:46 AM EST  
OpenID said...

A green rose is something I am on the lookout for right now. Do you know Tauer's Un Rose Chypree, if yes, how do those two compare in your opinion?
Thank you for this lovely review :)

9:17 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Funny thing about rose; it is the biggest, boldest, baddest example of the note that fills in the blank when I say "I don't generally like {note "X"}. Except for perhaps {insert big stonking list here}. Why do I still insist rose really isn't my thing, when it so clearly floats my boat, in things ranging from L'Arte de Gucci to Twill Rose to ....

Oh, but I risk rambling. I think you get the idea. :)

Your description of a happy-making green rose (not thin/sharp/acidic, but resinous and with oakmoss) sounds right on. I'd accept green sap and leaves as a reasonable addition/substitution as well. Or...moss rose!!

Which means...thanks a lot, Donna. First addition to the "to try" list for 2011. Gorb. ("Gorb" being a sound between "sheesh" and the hard swallow of realizing yes, yes you really do want to try.)


9:31 AM EST  
Blogger queen_cupcake said...

This one has been on my wish list for some time. I will get busy and sample it now. Happy New Year to you!

9:55 AM EST  
OpenID museinwoodenshoes said...

I saw the title and knew this was you, Donna!

I have yet to try all the Rosines - and UFdR just hit my to-test list as well - but the ones I have tried, I've enjoyed. My favorite so far, and to be honest, I am not sure anything will knock it off its pedestal, is Rose d'Ete. It is just so *perfect* for what it is, a summery, lightly-sweet yellow rose scent.

A "green rose" scent I love is DSH Perfumes Rose Vert. Another is Silences - which I think of in colors: the soft pink of rose, the soft periwinkle of iris, and two shades of green, pale mint green for the galbanum and a light olive for the moss.

9:56 AM EST  
Blogger Vintage Lady said...

I remember Parfum Sacre by Caron that a friend of mine kept to remember me. Oh. I should have said take a clip or a photo but then, I was not yet writing about perfumes. What you do with this sample is what I do with a perfume by Dali signature. It has this scent that goes so very well with its name Laguna or Lagoon. Lovely.

10:03 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I am on a rose kick lately too, and thank you for reminding me of this beautiful rose fragrance. I love this kind of chypre-oriental blend!

10:54 AM EST  
Anonymous Olfacta said...

I loved this instantly and bought a bottle a couple of years ago -- it's $110 now? Good heavens! But still worth it. I've yet to find a better clean, clear rose, and a chypre too! I love Rosine's line. Poussiere is another fave, also Kashmirie (although the decant I got a few months ago is sweeter than the one I had, making me wonder if it's been reformulated). Haven't been quite as impressed with some of the newer ones, although I haven't tried them all. But Folie is still a go-to for me, especially for sleeping in a bed of roses.

12:49 PM EST  
Anonymous Tamara*J said...

This perfume is just so crisp, so green it makes me want to sing!
I'm very happy that you love it my dear Donna.
It is indeed in a league of it's own.

xoxo~ T

2:48 PM EST  
Anonymous SniffingAround said...

One of my favourites: it boosts my energy and makes me smile every time I wear it--and it's one that I wear a lot. It's the first Rosine I've bought, though samples of Rose d'Homme and Secrets de Rose are tempting me into another purchase--and reading other's thoughts on other Rosines has me wanting to sample even more. Thanks for a terrific post.

3:02 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Marla, now I am lemming for Zeste and Zephyr! :-)

3:41 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Marina, so am I for some reason, I just can't get enough of roses- maybe because I am longing for summer?

3:43 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Odette, aparently we are in the midst of a rose frenzy epidemic!

I have never smelled Rose Sauvage but now I want to do so very much.

I can't remember the last time I smelled Knowing, but I don't recall it as being green, more of an ornate Eighties chypre style. Guess I better sniff again!

3:46 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Thank you Olfactoria! Yes, I know and love Une Rose Chypree - it is very rich, with more of an Oriental quality than Une Folie de Rose, as I recall. Not green at all, but both of them have a wonderful deep base.

3:50 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

ScentScelf, I am always happy to enable.... ;-)

I love "Gorb," perfect expression for when you really want something, but against your will...

3:54 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Museinwoodenshoes, I can run but I can't hide! :-D

Thanks for reminding me of Rose Vert, I really love that one! It does have similarities to Une Folie de Rose. I don't get much rose from Silences, but I do think of it as being a watercolor of cool, shimmering tones.

Rose d'Ete is definitely on the top of my Rosines try list, since I am very fond of yellow roses and their special quality of scent.

3:59 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Vintage Lady, I have not tried that particular Dali scent, but I will keep an eye out for it.

4:01 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Queen_cupcake, the same to you! I do so enjoy adding things to everyone's New Year's lists. :-)

4:03 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Victoria, I guess we are all in a "rosy" mood!

Another rose chypre that I love and have previously written about is Houbigant's Demi-Jour - it's not green, but it is just brimming with oakmoss. I have a bottle of the original (1988)stuff, from before Houbigant took a turn for the worse. Gorgeous thing.

4:07 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Olfacta, I really wish I had bought it before the prices went up - except that it would be long gone by now!

4:10 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Tamara, I just love it! Crisp is right, but it never gets that overly sharp note that inferior rose perfumes can have - top shelf, baby! :-)

4:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Thanks very much, SniffingAround! I also have a little sample of Rose d'Homme and the guys don't get to have that all to themselves, I want it too!

4:15 PM EST  
Anonymous Laser Toner said...

UFDR is something that I wouldn't mind spending on!

8:25 PM EST  
OpenID quinncreative said...

Great review. Another temptation. I am not a rose lover, but when people tell me "this is one to try if you hate roses," I am always tempted. But tempting me with chypre AND green may be beyond my abilities to resist.

9:36 PM EST  
Blogger Katie Puckrik said...

Donna, I have tried all the Rosines (at least, I *think* they're all of them), and your loves, Rose Kashmirie and Un Folie de Rose, are my favorites. I've not yet sprung for a bottle for Un Folie de Rose, but your botanically-detailed review (Resin petals! Cool!) has certainly made me train my bead on it a little more seriously. Thanks for stirring the rosy fires.

2:42 AM EST  
Anonymous Discount Perfumes said...

Rosines do just about anything rose pretty decently so of course I’d like a whiff of this. I know: “mysterious and disconcerting” they could just as easily be talking about my cooking! They have to say something in the ad copy to hook us. I read it like this “blah blah blablablah…” then look at the notes, then ignore the notes and pop a sample in my TPC cart anyways. yup, that’s pretty much how it goes.

3:11 AM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

My favorite rose oil is Kobashi's Musk Rose otto. The Rosine sounds very tempting. Although pure oils are lovely sometimes it's nice to give the roses some consorts :-)

3:37 AM EST  
Blogger Karin said...

Haven't tried any Rosines yet. I ordered a sample set of all of the Rosines directly from Rosine on Dec. 13 and have yet to receive it! Pouting over here. I emailed them, and they suggested perhaps it was due to delays from the snowstorms over there a few weeks ago. Crossing my fingers that I eventually get it!! I ordered samples from Teo Cabanel at around the same time, and those arrived in a week...ah well!

7:52 AM EST  
Blogger Amelia said...

Sorry to chime in late on your excellent rose post (and who could resist?!) but UFDR sounds like something that just might quell an Or et Noir jones. Could this be it?

8:45 AM EST  
Blogger Amelia said...

Sorry to chime in late on your excellent rose post (and who could resist?!) but UFDR sounds like something that just might quell a long-standing Or et Noir jones. Thanks so much for spotlighting it.

8:48 AM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Laser, it's worth the splurge!

Quinn, you know you want to.... ;-)

Katie, I am glad we share such exquisite tastes. :-D

DP, I think I know that drill. So many roses, so little time, and too much ad copy to wade through!

Marian, a true Musk Rose otto would tempt me beyond reason, it must be wonderful!

Karin, I hope that the weather is the reason your samples are late!

Amelia, I have never smelled Or et Noir, since the Caron urn scents are hard to come by in these parts, but it's definintely on my "Life List." From what I can tell it's not green like Un Folie de Rose, but perhaps they are similar in their intensity.

3:44 PM EST  

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