If you have the same obsession with following florists on Instagram as we do, you’ll have noticed something. The rose is back. Vibrant, high-impact, even (We kid you not) edgy. Especially when coaxed by hand into full bloom, note by note. If the proliferation of petals is inspiring you to see the rose in a new light, can we suggest another look at this most prized note in perfumery? Because the rose resurgency has hit here too. No longer the musty stuff of your grandmother’s dresser, roses are being rendered petal by petal into juicy, sexy, powerful, and above all, achingly modern scents that will last much longer than any V-Day delivery. Here, Rosalind Thomas of The Accords takes us through the best of the bunch.
A sparking opening with hints of green apple and citrus and a musky finish? I’m calling it now, Roses de Chloé needs to migrate from beauty counter to wine list, pronto. Or perhaps the solution is to sip pink bubbles while simultaneously wearing this pretty-but-cool creation that takes dewy rose and brightens it with crisp fruits in just the right dose. Magnolia adds a lemony, waxy edge to Roses de Chloé, making it modern and fresh, there’s that apple and a tart blackcurrant to keep the musk from heading to far towards lolly-water territory. It’s sweet and lovely (and so are you).
I love to talk about the feel of a fragrance (to be honest it’s mostly because there aren’t that many smell words to go around and I run out). Rêve d’Infini has the most beautiful silky, sensual feeling on the skin. If it was a frock, it would surely sit in Carrie Bradshaw’s closet between the naked dress and that signature singlet/tulle affair. It’s feminine without being frivolous and with the right pair of shoes, could shut down a room. Opening with fresh lichi (a common pairing with rose to mixed effect but here it’s perfect), Perfumer Richard Ibanez adds sensual soft peach and warm cedar to the pale rose at the centre of this scent. Its dry down is reminiscent of that classic powdery rose finish, but sometimes a touch of class is just what’s required. Also, the rose gold detail on that beautiful Lalique flacon is heaven.
All black errythang addicts take note. This is your rose. In fact, Une Rose is the perfume that afficianos pretty much agree is the most perfect representation of the flower – it’s kind of a big deal. Deeply madly rose-y, from the sweet lemony buds emerging from green thorny leaves to rich red velvety petals, even the earthy scent of the garden is recognisable here. Malle worked with french perfumer Edouard Fléchier to achieve an ultra-realism that originates firstly from extravagant quantities of the highest quality rose extract from Grasse. Fléchier refrained from adding anything fruity, instead going to ground with patchouli, vetiver, and, wait for it, truffle. This is a rose made for a tuxedo jacket and a boardroom, not a damask-decorated parlour and unlike other rose fragrances that sit delicately on the skin, this thing projects, throwing out a rich, almost gothic soliflore for hour after hour.
In a little Turkish village on the banks of the Euphrates called Halfeti, a rose grows, so deep in colour that it appears black (or so the story goes). This fantasy rose lends its name to a fantastical fragrance from Penhaligon’s Trade Routes collection – so you can see where this is going. It’s dark, spiced with saffron, cardamom, and lavender, heavy with resins and a decent dose of oud – definitely exotic, possibly in danger of ending up like an overdosed spice market. What the very dapper British perfume house does to take this from olde-world-y to OMG is add plenty of masculine green cypress and a clever composition that creates breathing space between the different elements, making Halfeti modern and wearable.
This is the absolute jam, a weapon of rose domination, if you dare to pull the trigger (and for this price, you can choose a scattergun approach across hair, bed-linen… I’m even spraying my roses with Rose Jam because I’m #extra). Deliciously gooey in its texture, with geranium to add freshness and Sicilian lemon oil which does its bit to cut through all that turkish delight-style rose. But be warned, the 200ml serving size on this beauty does not indicate its a lightweight. This rose is rich and long lasting so be prepared for a rose bomb if you spray with abandon. Rose Jam also comes in a shower gel so you can layer away until you’re a walking rose garden.