Winter Roses. Fatale West: Xerjoff Damarose, DSH dirty ROSE
"O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy."
The Sick Rose by William Blake
Sometimes one wants to be comforted, sometimes one wants to feel danger(ous). For such a mood, nothing is more suitable than Dark Roses. Xerjoff's new rose chypre, Damarose, is one of them. The composition lures you in with the playful flirtatiousness of a fruity accord, a tangy, non-sweet blend than made me think of red currants and cranberries...don't let it fool you with its coy smiles though...the innocent flirt of fruits, pink roses and freesia will turn into heavy-lidded seduction, and smiles will become come hither pouts as soon as patchouli enters the scene. Damarose is très recherché and even patchouli, ever the wild child, is elegant here, its earthiness stylized, shown just a little, better to intrigue you...its slight chocolate-like undertone ever so discreet, just noticeable enough to tempt. The ambery, musky base is the texture of silk...dark, dark maroon silk. By the time the drydown comes, you realize that roses, which in the beginning seemed to be pink, fresh, innocent and always in a good mood, are in fact anything but. However, at that point it's too late, you have fallen hard for the fatal charms of this chic creation.
While Damarose is a vamp in a figurative sense, dirty ROSE might possibly be the actual creature of the night. In contrast to the dressed-up, Parisian elegance of Xerjoff's offering, DSH's has something wild about it. Damarose's earthy feel was something of an affectation, here the rose is truly dirty. I'd switch the capitalization, and call it DIRTY rose. "The rose is blasted, withered, blighted, its root has felt a worm..." It won't bother luring you with faux sweetness, it will bite you right away with spices. Geranium and pimento give the blend a wonderfully sharp feel in the top notes; the heart is a sacrilegious mix of sacred and base, incense and patchouli; the drydown is the wicked woods from which you'll never want to find a way back home. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recommends this rose for men, and I can see how it can easily be worn by them, with rose hiding all the while behind spices, resins, vetiver and tobacco...now you see it and now you don't...a hint of something red, moving behind the trees...Where was I?...Oh, right, it can easily be worn by men. Having said that, like any dry, leathery, "goth" fragrance of this kind, dirty ROSE is obviously unisex and dare I say would smell even deadlier on a woman.
Damarose is available at Xerjoff's e-boutique, € 500.00 for 100ml, and I assume will be sold soon at Luckyscent...dirty ROSE can be found at dshperfumes.com, $40.00-$100.00.
PS. I recently revisited Black Rosette by Strange Invisible Perfumes, in its new Eau de Parfum concentration, and fell hard for it all over again. This is a Dark Rose extraordinaire, the very epitome of Dark Rose-iness. If my memory serves me well, the new blend has less of a "leathery like lapsang-souchoung" and more of an "actually leathery" quality. I don't know if I particularly care for the loss of the tea note. But I am thrilled that I can now finally spray this nocturnal masterpiece. (Available at siperfumes.com and Barneys, $220.00 for 50ml.)