I am obsessed with roses.
It’s taken about two years of intense rose-sniffing but I have become wholly and completely obsessed with rose perfumes. I’d even go as far saying that rose is my favourite note. In fact, I’m going to say exactly that: rose is my favourite note in perfumery. I simply cannot get enough and whilst I’ve already written a guide to rose perfumes and even battled them on Fume Chat, I feel as I haven’t quite got my adoration for the note out of my system yet. So with that in mind, here’s a bit of a different approach to an article that allows me to wax lyrical about roses once more.
Roses are one of the most versatile ‘notes’ in perfumery. I say ‘note’ but there really is a vast array of rose materials used in perfumery, some to give a rosy impression and others to add complexity to other compositions. I want to celebrate this versatility of rose but instead of just compiling a guide to roses I’ve decided to showcase the many gradients of rose by creating a day of roses. The idea is very simple: these are roses for morning, noon and night and if you want, you could simply pick one for the time you need it, or if you’re adventurous you could transition through all nine during the day. Whatever you choose, I hope you’ll agree that there really is a rose for every minute, moment and mood.
Morning roses are all about freshness. They’re the type to strike that perfect balance of revitalising brightness to wake one up and dewy coolness to lead the senses gently into the day. This is the domain of the roses freshly cut, still cold from the morning breeze and yet to be warmed by the sun. They’re the prettiest, pinkest and most delicately perfumed of roses – the roses to get your day off to the very best of starts.
Miller Harris has always had a lovely simplicity to all that they do and whilst Perfumer Lyn Harris has long since left the brand, this minimalism has carried through. To me, Miller Harris focuses on making beautiful smells – they’re not fussed about creating high olfactory art that challenges of confronts, they just want to make gorgeous scents that people are going to want to wear. Which is alright by me! Who doesn’t like a beautiful smell?
My favourite scent from Miller Harris, and one of my all-time favourite roses, is Rose Silence. Created by the amazingly talented Perfumer Mathieu Nardin, Rose Silence perfectly captures the scent of pale pink roses plucked straight from the bush. It’s crisp and watery with a delightfully fizzy odour of roses. One gets the impression of greenery too, not just roses, with snapped stems and leaves melting into the delightful lightness of the blooms to make a wonderfully full, yet remarkably transparent rose fragrance. It honestly doesn’t get better than this (but do read on, there are other lovely roses to be found here, I promise…)
Rose Silence is available in 50ml (£75) & 100ml (£105) Eau de Parfum.
Now, once one has woken up and got out of bed there will be one thing on the mind: breakfast. Well, if you’re me, that is. You can eat roses for breakfast, of course. Perhaps a few petals in your morning granola? Or maybe go full decadence and get yourself an Ispahan from Ladurée, you are worth it after all. In lieu of actual breakfast, I have just the thing to break your fragrance fast and it’s something completely and entirely unique. Oh and it’s delicious too!
Delina by Parfums de Marly may look rather childish in its Marie Antoinette-style baby pink bottle, but it’s actually a rather serious piece of perfumer. Created by Perfumer Quentin Bisch (the man behind Hermann & La Fin du Monde by Etat Libre d’Orange, and Angel Muse for MUGLER – quite the talent) this is a beautifully sharp and almost yeasty rose with a strange, pink milkiness underneath. It has a crunch too, almost as if it has been topped with bright pink sugar crystals. That may all sound dreadfully sweet but it’s actually rather fresh and it’s just so soft and lovely, one can’t help but smile. The perfect thing for breakfast!
Delina is available in 75ml Eau de Parfum for £175.
I always have a lull in energy at about 11:00. So at this time of the morning it’s the perfect opportunity for a rose pick-me-up – something with a touch of liveliness to get the blood flowing again. Perhaps something with a nice citrus zing and a fizzy texture? Yes, that sounds quite lovely and luckily for all of us, I have just the thing!
If you’re familiar with Les Infusions de Prada, you’ll know that this capsule collection showcases scents in the most luxurious of ways, presenting the beauty of their featured material with a signature effervescence that is utterly ‘Prada’. Infusion de Rose (the newly launched version) follows this same mantra and feels almost drinkable in its bubbliness. Dew-filled roses are accented by the sweet juice of mandarin, whilst neroli adds a floral tang. Together, these notes make for a refreshing and revitalising rose composition. Perfect for that pick-me-up then!
Infusion de Rose is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £94.
As the day warms up so do we, and so do the roses. If you’ve made it to the afternoon then well done you, let me reward you with three rose perfumes that will perk up your PM. These roses are a bit darker, warmer and sometimes a little bit sexier and feature the note of rose in unusual ways, rather than just presenting roses pure and simple. In fact, these roses are far from pure and nowhere near simple!
To kick off the afternoon let’s pick something that is a little bit warmer but also a touch calmer than our morning wake-up call roses. Perhaps something that soothes the soul as well as the nose. I’m think of a more complex rose that isn’t just a rose – something that brings together a vast array of elements to create something more than a rose. Let’s go for Savoy Steam by Penhaligon’s.
Savoy Steam is the best launch from Penhaligon’s in a few years. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve done some great stuff (especially with the Trade Routes Collection and the now-discontinued Ostara) but Savoy Steam really feels like a return to form and it’s a royally good rose to boot. Inspired by Hammam Bouquet, Penhaligon’s first fragrance, Savoy Steam evokes the legendary steam baths of London. It’s a fruity rose with eucalyptus and ginger, and a touch of geranium mintiness – it’s just beautiful. What could be nicer than a calm afternoon spent in a hot spring? A few spritzes of Savoy Steam, that’s what!
Savoy Steam is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £134.
As the light changes in the afternoon, one may be craving something that has a bit more depth to it. So far our scent selection has been pretty bright and perky, awakening the senses with fresh roses and herbs, but sometimes you gotta just go for a little darkness, and as the afternoon beds in, those roses with a hint of shadow become a necessity.
One rose that has a sharp contrast in colours is Hippie Rose by Heeley Paris. It feels like it possesses two parallel streams; one in baby pink and one in a steely grey – the pink being the rose (a lovely rose-water style rose) and the grey being a gauzy patchouli note. There’s perfect balance here and together, the materials feel completely luminous with a wonderfully transparent and airy quality that will never feel to heavy. It may however, give you the hippie, hippie shakes!
Hippie Rose is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £125.
As the afternoon turns to dusk we get what Guerlain would call L’Heure Bleu. The air gets cooler and the colours of the sky become more multi-faceted and therefore, we need a rose to compliment the change in the feel of the day. For this complex and nuanced time of day it’s essential to pick a rose that has a multi-coloured feel to it – one that compliments the warmth required by the evening and something altogether more rich. Enter ManRose.
First things first, please ignore the name. This is a rose that can be worn by anybody, regardless of whether they are a man or woman. ManRose is perhaps the most oriental of the roses on this list. It’s a great big Turkish-style rose with a heap of spice, woods and powder. It fills a room and switches from sexy to delectable every five seconds. Yeah, this one is too good just to be worn by men. It needs to be worn by everyone, every afternoon.
ManRose is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum for £106.
The day is almost drawing to a close and we’ve already revelled in a plethora of rapturous roses. But we still have three more to go because it’s time to pick out a selection to get us through the most fun part of the day: the evening. What’s great about the evening is that you can spend it any way you want because it’s your time. So if you just want to relax with a book or a movie, or if you want to party, you can! Our rose selection for the evening takes all of this into account, providing roses for nights that are comfortable or crazy. Whatever you get up to is your business, just make sure you smell good whilst doing it!
To kick us off into the evening I think it’s worthwhile exploring something a little bit more exotic. Something that could perhaps be paired with a fine wine or a nice dinner. For this you need a rose that has presence but isn’t going to overwhelm. Something complex but not challenging. For this I’m led to a rose that glows like ultraviolet and shimmers like a gem.
Noorolain Taif was the surprise entry into this day of roses. Taking its name from the 60 carat pink diamond mounted in the Noorolain Tiara, it’s strangely a fragrance that grows on you rather than being all fancy and showy to begin with. It’s a hugely complex rose, with herbs and spices, a rich jasmine accord and heavy base of oud and cashmeran. Whilst it may sound like a powerhouse, it’s actually rather subdued and boasts a fascinating dryness that is grainy and powdery. It’s not a showstopper of a rose. Actually, let’s call it a show starter because it’s the right thing to get your evening off to a great start.
Noorolain Taif is available in 50ml Extrait de Parfum for £175.
We often see roses as red but often they can be much darker. Sometimes their shade of red is so dark it can almost come across as black. It’s at this time that roses become their most vampish – their most patyesque (is that even a word?). These pitch black roses suit all sorts of night time endeavours, hinting at chance encounters and hidden thrills.
Red skies at night, roses alight. Of all the dusky midnight roses, none are darker and more rouge than L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Voleur de Roses. Named ‘The Rose Thief’, the fragrance is even more remarkable because it contains no actual rose materials and therefore, is a clever reconstruction of a roses pieced together like a very lovely smelling jigsaw. It really smells like rose and patchouli too – in fact it smells like the exact moment when these two bold materials become one and the same. Smell it and you’ll think it’s mighty clever, I guarantee it.
Voleur de Roses is available in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £97.
And now, Dear Reader, it’s time for the grand finale. The rose fragrance to end the day with a bang. In fact, one could say that it’s a rose fragrance to end all rose fragrances. There is simply no other rose that smells like it – no other that is a symphonic, as glorious and as big. It’s the purest rose but at the same time it’s one of the dirtiest. It’s a complex, multi-faceted soul of a fragrance with the most perfect name: Une Rose.
Une Rose was created by Perfumer Edouard Fléchier (the man, the legend, the creator of Poison!) for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. As the name suggests, Une Rose aims to recreate the idea of one rose in nature, right from the earth that holds it all the way up the stem to the rich, ruby red flower head. The result is a heavy, velvet like rose with a vampish bite. At first it feels euphoric and neon-like but darkness seeps in with time as Une Rose unleashes it’s deeper wine dregs and truffle accords, which give it a leather-like sourness that is unique. It’s the kind of thing you’d only wear during night time endeavours, but damn, you’d smell good no matter what you were doing.
Une Rose is available in 10ml (£45), 3 x 10ml (£114), 50ml (£158) and 100ml (£230) Eau de Parfum.
Join the Discussion
It’s a long way from Rose Silence to Une Rose, but that shows the difference a day can make, especially a day of roses. What fragrances would you wear in the AM, PM and EVE?
Let me know in the comments below!
Samples via Miller Harris, Parfums de Marly, Prada, Penhaligon’s, Heeley Paris, ETRO, Thameen, L’Artisan Parfumeur and Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Images are my own.