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Friday, August 25, 2006

Perfume Review: La Sirenuse Paestum Rose

The long-suffering Mr. Colombina will tell you that I am fickle. I go through periods of craving and adoring something only to get bored if not disgusted with it soon after. It especially applies to food and, sadly, to perfume. I fall in love with a note or a type of scent and I want to wear nothing else and then I get tired of it, usually forever. (That is why I must have a very large perfume collection, so I never get a chance to wear the same scent over and over again…And that is my story and I am sticking to it.) Almost a year ago I was in my Rose Period. Oh, how I adored roses. How I wanted to try and own all rose scents ever created, the truer to the fragrance a real flower the better. The Rose Period lasted a couple of months and ever since I have been bored by roses. I am a weirdo who finds scents like Mille et Une Roses and Fleur de The Rose Bulgarie pretty but dull. To excite my jaded self a rose scent has to be much more than just a rose. And to conclude this long preface and finally get to the point, Paestum Rose is an example of how a rose perfume should be done to be loved by me. It is 30% Rose and 70% Other Stuff, and Other Stuff is what makes it so wonderful.

Paestum Rose is the second scent (the first being Eau d’Italie) created for Le Sirenuse, a beautiful hotel in Positano, Italy. It was inspired by the roses and temples of Paestum and is described as a blend of rose, incense and aromatic resins. It is, quite honestly, rather stunning. It starts with a sweet, dark-red accord of rose, incense and pepper; after that the fragrance acquires an interesting, appealing duality of slightly boozy, fruity and floral notes warmed by sweet, sweet myrrh and of dry, spicy, woody accord of frankincense, cedarwood and wenge. The indolent sweetness and the bracing spiciness compete for prominence but neither side overpowers the other. In the end, the dry woodiness does get the control of the scent, but only just. The drunk rose and her equally debauched companions, fruits and myrrh, are apparent even in the drydown, as a bright, ornamented backdrop and a contrast to the austere, sober woodiness.

Paestum Rose is the kind of scent that inevitably puts me in a mood to wax poetic. I won’t be quoting Baudelaire, however. Whenever I think of Paestum Rose, the words from Sting’s beautiful Desert Rose come to my mind and the music starts playing in my head. Click here to listen to it too and to watch the video:

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire
Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire
And in the flames
Her shadows play in the shape of a man's desire

This desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

And as she turns
This way she moves in the logic of all my dreams
This fire burns
I realize that nothing's as it seems

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes
This rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of her love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in pain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Sweet desert rose
This memory of Eden haunts us all
This desert flower
This rare perfume, is the sweet intoxication of the fall

Paestum Rose is available at Aedes, $120.00 for 3.4oz.

Tomorrow please tune in, to read Kelley’s review of Andy Tauer Orris!

The first image is from Aedes, the second from


Blogger Victoria said...

Sounds totally delish, I can't wait to try!

12:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it smell like Cheb Mami's voice in that song? Like yearning? Where's my sample, dammit?!! (rushes off in hysteria)

1:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a great review to please and soothe (nearly all) senses. now if only whiffs of paestum rose would come to me rising from the screen... but that would probably (and literally) be too good to be true ;).

7:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colombina, this has nothing to do with your review, it has to do with last weeks post. I read your blog everyday and I love it. I was intrigued when you posted about saying goodbye to your 20's and how down you were about it. I too just was faced with this expierience, yuck! However there are such advantages about getting older, wiser, ect. But I have to say that ever since you changed the graphics on this site, they just feel old to me. The black and white, the picture on the front... It just doesn't match your fiesty spirit, nor your poetic, thrilling reviews and commentary. It seems we've taken a step back to you hate me?! Also when you look up the reviews now, which I do almost daily. You're no longer able to see the difference between the perfume house or brand and the fragrances because of the black and white. Just some thoughts from one of your biggest fans.

7:18 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Excellent reasoning for why you have to have a very large perfume collection. :-) Same here. I would die of boredom if I had to wear the same scent too often - no matter how much I adore it, I just would be bored to tears. I always look forward to changing my perfume in the afternoon (and often again in the evening...great lasting power is terribly annoying to me). "So many perfumes, so little time" is my motto. I'm also w/ you on rose scents. I objectively can appreciate Mille et Une Roses and FdTRB as lovely scents, but I immediately start looking for some nice dark woods, spices or incense to layer over them to keep myself from yawning. And this is why I love Paestum Rose. Great review! That is indeed the perfect percentage for a rose scent. :-) Have you tried SIP Black Rosette? You might be one of the few who will see its magic instead of being repelled by its uniqueness.

7:47 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, the pictures- oh, the prose- oh, oh, oh....

I received a teeny sample last week, and I'm with you, lollipop girl...

My only caveat- WHY won't they make an extrait? You gotta bathe to get that noir feel.

Yes, Dinazad, I LOVE Cheb Mami [and Natascha Atlas...I/m secretly her singing,"Lesh, habibi..."- please forgive my spelling ignorance!]

Marinushka, dig up a Jenny Tourel recording of Bizet's "Adieu de L'Hotesse Arabe"- I made a tape, years ago, when I gave a concert, and the lyrics will make you swoon... shades of Paestum Rose, Queen Aoud roses, Black Aoud, blah, blah...

You'll love it!

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I have a feeling you will love this one!

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It does smell like his voice, oh yes...well, the dark part of the scent smells like his, the sweeter part like Stings. They are in perfect harmony. :-)

9:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think scientists are working on somehow transferring scents from the computer. I only hope that feature will be controllable, because there are some smells I'd rather do without. In parts, internet stinks :-)

9:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anonymous,
It is great to hear your opinion! As I said, I am fickle, so, if you can tolerate this template for a month or two, I am sure I will be changing it quite soon. Maybe I'll do a christmassy one next, all green and red :-) Or a Halloweeny one, green, brown and orange...oh, the possibilities! I am getting excited :-)
And as for those Reviews by House, I only just noticed myself the other day what happened to the colors there, and I corrected them, the houses are now red.

9:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad I'm not the only one :-) I even don't let myself wear my holiest of grails, like Bois des Iles, often, because I *know* what will happen if I do.

Black Rosette was the one I was going to order from SIP. *bites nails* But no, no, I am not paying that kind of shipping fee. Ridiculous shipping fees are my pet peeve. :-)

9:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can only imagine how wonderful this would be in extrait form!
I am going to find Jenny Tourel recording of Bizet's "Adieu de L'Hotesse Arabe", thank you so much for the recommendation!!

9:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You don't have this one already? Oh, you would love it!!
I don't mind Rose Poivree, it doesn't offend me, it doesn't excite me...strange, considering how stinky it is. But I'd let it be just because I know lilybp and elle love it :-)

9:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh M,

you kept your word! I was sure you had forgotten. Mwah! But then again, maybe the review today has nothing to do with you telling me you would review it if I wanted, last week on MUA, and I'm a narcissistic nincompoop. Either way, love the review! :)

I love rose too, and have for a while. Like you, I am not too interested in straight rose anymore, and seek 30% rose and 70% something else. But I still lem everything and anything that has rose as a note. (By the way, I 100% agree with your reason why you need a large perfume collection. That's TOTALLY my reason ;))

As someone who has tried neither this nor Regina Harris original (I may be able to try the latter soon!), how would you compare the since both are incense rose? Which do you prefer?

Have a wonderful day!

10:36 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks so much for the video; I love this song (and I'm not even that much of a Sting fan). I also like this perfume very much, although perhaps not as much as you (or as I do my new love, Rose Poivree). At least, I haven't immmediately decided that I need a bottle. But I only had a sample (which disappeared very quickly); I am getting a decant soon {{I}}, and perhaps more wearings will pull me further in.

I tried Black Rosette only once, at Barney's. I remember liking it a lot, but it was vetoed by those around me. I need to try it again, and listen to myself. I also need to try more of the SIPs: recommendations (from you, Elle, or others) would be appreciated.

Let's see whether I can leave this comment. Your blogger hates me today, and I haven't been able to so far. . .

10:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is totally thanks to you that I reviewed this one (so soon). Usually when I love something, if I haven't written a review within hours of testign it, a strange thing happens...the more I love it, the less I am able to talk about it, you know? It took me ages to feel brave enough to review my precious Bois des Iles and Musc Ravageur, for example.

As for RH compared to PR...I want to say that they are quite different scents. The notes might sound similar, but the effect is rather different. RH is very incensey, forceful, dark. PR is softer, "rounder". Whereas RH is Night, PR is Sunset. Does it make any sense? :-)

10:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Blogger hates everyone equally, including yours truly :-)

I wish Paestum came in a smaller size. 50ml would be great (and cheaper).

As for SIPs, I recommend them all. Everything I tried I thought was interesting. I loved Vine, which is one animalic little stinker under all that pomegranateness.

10:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the same way about reviewing scents I love on MUA.

The comparison of the two scents make perfect sense. I wonder if Paestum may not be a better scent for me then since too much "dark" incense can smell medicinal to me. Thank you.

10:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it might be an easier scent to wear, although you never know...

11:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rarely by a full bottle of anything. Paestum Rose is a rare exception. Peppery rose without the sweet edge of Nelly Rody and without the musty (to me) smell of TDC Rose Poivre.

11:46 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'll have to check thos one out, as usual, the description is too enticing (even though I can't really wear Rose)

Blogger hates me today as well.this is mt 6th try to post

11:49 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Wow, you liked this even more than I did, and I liked it very much. Will add it to my list of the few things we agree on, LOL...

1:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I so want a bottle of this too...but 3.4oz...I'll get sick and tired of it long before it's over. :-) Nah...I still want it :-)

1:54 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The blogger is a ~blip~ing ~blip~rd today (and always, really).

Coming back to Paestum Rose though, it is so not a rose-y rose, I definitely recommend you give it a try!

1:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

If it goes on, I won't have an evil scent twin anymore :-(

1:57 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

To add-
I LOVE Black Rosette [SO dark and brooding!],and, alas, Rose Poivree loves me- it growls in a powdery, retro fashion with subtext.

Don't shoot!

The SIP's ,unfortunately, are costly, stain fabrics, and used up awfully fast- thus rendering them a tough purchase for me to justify.

3:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review - this sounds like rose perfection - can't wait to try! I really like the roses "with a twist," too. Right now it is Black Aoud and Rosine's Rose d'Amour (which are pretty much on opposite ends of the spectrum)!

4:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I won't shoot! I envy you that Rose Poivre loves you so much :-)

5:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Definitely polar opposites! I like Black Oud a lot, but, sadly, Rose d'Amour did not move the earth for me. :-( Now, Rose de Feu I like!

5:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your review is apropros--I just received a sample of Paestum Rose yesterday. I will keep your review in mind as I sample this evening. I'm not a rose fan, but Paestum Rose deserves some attention, especially with all those other delicious notes. Thanks for a lovely review.

9:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear E,
I would love to hear what you think of Paestum. We seem to have quite similar tastes in perfume, so I am curious!

9:27 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose d'Amour grew on me, and suddenly became very cozy and gentle and a favorite. It makes me calm when I wear it - weird, huh? Rose de Feu was nice, but I was expecting more, well *fire* - I plan to retest this one in the fall though because I keep thinking about it...
Have a great weekend,

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That is true, I too would have loved more fire in Rose de Feu

10:14 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Sorry -- blogging malfunction on this end ... for whatever reason it didn't refresh, I thought you didn't post!

You already know I loved this one, anyway. PS I ALSO LOVE MY NEW HOLY GRAIL!!!! THANKS!!!

9:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


9:46 PM EDT  

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