With his silver-bottled Private Blend Lavender Extrême, Tom Ford recently convinced us to take a new look at dusty, “old-fashioned” lavender – his new take ramps it up with aromatic herbal notes, bergamot and warm tonka. Similarly, we’re seeing a fresh new modern take on rose that transports one of perfumery’s most common ingredients far beyond the obvious. Summer’s roses might be ending, but here’s how to wear rose through autumn and winter too…
First, if you’re looking for a modern rose, has to be Cloon Keen‘s Róisín Dubh. It won this year’s Fragrance Foundation Award for Best Independent Fragrance, a highly prestigious international award, and this “little black rose” is simply unforgettable. “To capture the sensuality of these famous Irish writers [the perfume is inspired by Beckett, Joyce, Synge and their decadent days in Paris], I used a special quality of rose called Rose Essential combined with a suede and ink accord, to form the main axis of the fragrance,” explains its Irish perfumer Meabh McCurtin. “The suede-ink accord is a nod to the fact they were writers, and it balances the rose, which is feminine, sensual and poetic.” It’s the Irish Portrait of a Lady, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, you’re missing a future classic. www.cloonkeen.com and Brown Thomas.
The newest Frederic Malle perfume could be described as a “French rose”. Rose & Cuir has been created by Jean-Claude Ellen, one of very few perfumers who can legitimately be described as “legendary” in the world of perfumery (as in-house perfumer at Hermès for twelve years, his bestselling luxury scents included Terre d’Hermès). As Malle told me, “Whenever we make an Edition, we try to be very, very creative, and timeless. To be creative, you take something that exists – say tuberose, vetiver, patchouli – and you twist and turn it so that it becomes something completely different from anything existing – and so it’s really five-star.”
Rose & Cuir is certainly unexpected: rather than a straightforwardly leathery, earthy rose, it’s a light and airy one – it’s inspired by the Mistral winds in the south of France. While the leather gives it an unmistakeable dark edge, it lasts on the skin to a beautifully feminine and delicate light rose. A “high dose of real Bourbon geranium” is a key element, plus a leather molecule to add rebellion. “We sought to use the most beautiful and most intense elements for this project,” notes Ellena. We’re most intrigued by the warmth injected by timut pepper – a hot Nepalese spice, zesty like a grapefruit – which “adds lift”; a custom extraction was created in the Grasse lab specially for this scent. No wonder the perfume’s working title was “Rose Rebelle”. Minimal and magical, this is an enduringly grown-up twist on rose, with a lasting creaminess that’s simultaneously subtle and transfixing. At Brown Thomas from September 9.
This one is the definition of “English rose”: Jo Loves Rose Petal 25, celebrating her 25 years in the business. Here, bright fresh bergamot, saffron and lychee offset an overdose of rose – rose water, Turkish and Bulgarian rose plus Rose de Mai absolute. “I have loved the scent of rose petals all my life … I have captured every memory of what this beautiful flower means to me in Rose Petal 25.” £115stg, www.joloves.com and SpaceNK.
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