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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Roses. Fatale West: Xerjoff Damarose, DSH dirty ROSE

By Marina

"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 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, $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 and Barneys, $220.00 for 50ml.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you find that photo! It's wonderfully evocative.

2:52 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xerjoff´s perfumes sound so very inviting but I just cannot get involved with something unaffordable! Thank Goodness for DSH :) How would you say those two dirty roses compare to Malle´s Une Rose?

4:00 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I usually put the source in the name, but apparently not in this case. Googling didn't help.

6:24 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Une Rose has thorns and earth for sure, I'd say it is somewhat dirtier than Damarose and less dirty than dirtyRose. It's also rosier than both.

6:26 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful poetry choice, Marina! One of my favorites by Blake. I love dark roses, and now I have to seek these out. One of my favorite down-and-dirty roses is ELd'O's Rossy de Palma, have you tried it, and if so, how do Damarose and Dirty ROSE compare?

7:23 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Unfortunately I remember it only vaguely. I think it did not strike me as very dirty, it was more of a spicy rose on me (with a gourmand undertone? chocolate?) Sorry, can't remember!

7:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Black Rosette is calling my name! It sounds so interesting. I have been avoiding the SIP collection, but now, I really should return to BNY and smell them.

10:03 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I want to go sniffing with you, maybe one lunchtime after Feb 22? :) Candles and all :)

10:05 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Oooh...I came for the roses, stayed for the Black Rosette news. As difficult as that one was, especially for a newbie, Black Rosette is precisely what make me look over into the rabbit hole and think maybe I should jump in.

Counter to my personality, deep dark roses are just how I like to find rose in perfume. Unless it's sharp and citrusy, or unbelievable rich...mind you, I will still insist that, in general, I DO NOT like rose perfumes, LOL.

That all said...mmm. Damarose sounds lurvely. And might prompt me to speak its name like a curse, should I discover I love its luxury self. Drats.

(Enjoying the roses this week; thank you. :) )

10:59 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

They are counter to my personality too, I am all lightness and sunshine, I am :) Damarose as a curse LOL!! It does have that sound.

11:12 AM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Ooh, dark roses...I love a good rose chypre about as much as anything. I keep meaning to get a sample of dirty ROSE, I love DSH's other rose scents so much, this one has to be a winner. Does it resemble Rosine's Rose L' Homme at all? I recently tried that one and it's very good.

1:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd say Rose d'Homme is softer somehow, less earthy, less "spiky". Having said that, I wouldn't call dirtyROSE more masculine of the two.

2:12 PM EST  
Blogger EauMG said...

I like Dirty Rose but it isn't for me. It's too "mesquite" but it smells amazing on my husband.
However, I've tried Black Rosette and love it. I haven't burned through my sample yet, but I feel like when I do that the SI will need a full-bottle of Black Rosette.

12:03 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

mmm, mesquite :) I think there used to be Demeter Mesquite...

6:37 AM EST  

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