From Edgy to Endearing: Les Parfums de Rosine (Part Two)
For a fragrance company that specializes in perfumes centered around just one kind of flower, the house of Les Parfums de Rosine certainly does have a lot of range. In the first installment of this series, I sampled some very disparate offerings from this house, from sharp to soft, and from rich to refreshing. No less variety will be found in this chapter.
Glam Rose, launched in 2011, was one for which I had high hopes. It is inspired by an old-fashioned rose of a class called Bourbon roses, a white and violet-striped beauty named Variegata de Bologna that actually smells of sweet violets; I am a lover of old garden roses and this type is one of my favorites. On the first wearing, the violet was quite prominent, but in a modern way, not soft or shy, and accompanied by tangy fruits. I almost thought it was going to be a must-have, until the next time, when a sharp sourness predominated; the blackcurrant leaves and cedar had turned against me, as they so often have done before. Subsequent wearings confirmed it; not for me, as much as I like the rose and violet aspects, the other notes clash too much; eventually it settles down and behaves itself, but I never did smell the purported leather note until I let it stay on overnight; in the morning the harshness had finally gone away and there was a faint violets-and-suede aroma lingering on. That's just too long to wait!
Another Rosine with a goodly dose of cedar is Poussiere de Rose, but it's not discordant in the least. Cedar and I have a wary relationship; I never know when it will go wrong on me. In this fragrance it melds with plum, apricot and gentle spices that take all the fight out of it. Poussiere de Rose goes on quite fresh and sparkling but quickly mellows into a smooth blend of rich rose and the fruit notes have a dried character, like smelling fruit leather, not overly sweet but very pleasing. It's little odd, but somehow very friendly and comforting too. It's nice to find a rose fragrance that avoids the usual clichés and matches the rose up with something both enhancing and unexpected. I have a feeling it might work even better in summer's heat, so I will save some of my sample for later. Longevity is good but the sillage is quiet, at least in the cool weather. Regrettably, this is not one of the Rosines that also comes in their marvelous body creams, because I think it would be even better that way. For candle fans, it is available in that form and I can imagine how delicious that would be.
I had very good results with Un Zest de Rose, which is not sharp at all despite having a lot of citrus in it, not to mention green tea and even yerba maté. It is the perfect rose for summer, its zippy notes of lemon, bergamot and orange lifting into the air and spinning it into an ephemeral breeze that seems to come and go moment to moment. It is very pretty and I only wish it lasted longer. Come summer, it's the kind of thing to keep in the refrigerator and spritz frequently. Jasmine and a musky base keep it soft while still letting the citrus shine. The rose note's concept is based on a pale yellow bloom; rose lovers will know that the nearly infinite array of aromas found in roses are closely tied to their hue, and Un Zest de Rose has the typical yellow rose scent, mild and not overly sweet, a perfect foil for the citrus. This one would be a keeper for me.
On the other end of the spectrum, the rose chypre La Rose de Rosine is a Very Serious perfume and really more of a chypre than a rose fragrance once it gets past the opening. I found it curious that a perfume with this name, which sounds as though it should be the “flagship” fragrance for the line, should be something that is not really about the rose. The opening is a pleasingly smooth rose, but it quickly shows its fusty side; you know that weird phase most chypres go through right at the beginning where they smell vaguely “off” as though they have gone bad, right before your nose sorts out the notes and they align themselves on your skin? Well, La Rose de Rosine is like that all the way down. It's your elderly Aunt Mildred's pocketbook, with a dirty hairbrush and stale face powder inside, and its longevity is impressive. No one like chypres more than I do, but for me this belongs in the very tiny category of chypres I can't wear, along with Miss Balmain and her ashtray. It's not really offensive or bad, it's just not that interesting, and Rosine already has the magnificent Une Folie de Rose, so it's got the chypre thing covered.
I could not figure out how Diabolo Rose got its name until someone alerted me to its origin – it's a type of drink made with lemonade and either fruit cordial or mint syrup. (I wondered how such a pretty thing could be “diabolical.”) Pretty is exactly what it is, a fresh, luminous fragrance made with bergamot, cool peppermint, roses, tomato leaves and muguet, and although I would not say it is all that minty, the green exhilaration of the herbal notes is a lovely variation on the rose theme and I was quite taken with it. It has a sweet, exuberant innocence that brings a smile to my face. It's another one that deserves to be worn in summertime and I will keep some for that, but I can't resist wearing it now just to give my winter-worn spirits a lift. It's simple but effective and sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered.
There are still many more fragrances from this house to explore, which I will do in future installments of this series!
Image credit: Yellow rose wallpaper from freebies.about.com; light effects mine.
Disclosure: The perfumes reviewed in this post were from either purchased samples or swaps from friends.