Thursday, March 22, 2007

Frédéric Malle Une Rose

The problem with creating a rose soliflore in modern times is that everybody who is accustomed to smelling like pink frosting and iced vodka will disparage it as "perfume-y" - the worst insult such people can imagine. Indeed, some rose scents are perfume-y: strong and old-fashioned with an invasive hairspray note up top and a heavy, oily bottom down below. In order to avoid this trap, contemporary perfumers usually go one of three routes: a) they amp up the lemony citral content to brighten the top and heart notes and convince you to go brew some ice tea; or b) they sweeten and soften with a feminine dusting of powder; or c) they spice the start liberally, the usual suspects being eugenol (cloves) or, lately, saffron. Very few noses dare to turn up the geranium or green side of roses, because of the insistent, claustrophobic, sneezy power of noble geraniol. And yet that is precisely what Eduoard Fléicher does in Une Rose (Frédéric Malle). Creator of the legendarily strident Poison, Fléicher sends a message with this uncompromising beginning: if you are sweet and girlish, try Lipstick Rose.

Once only the fanatics are left, Une Rose quickly settles into a bright, slightly honeyed rose with an open air feel. It speaks to me of the garden party atmosphere of the Edwardian era in BBC mini-series, where everyone wears hats and linen suits and uses phrases like "I say, that's smashing!" Many white North Americans now deny this is a romantic scent - it is the smell of Western Imperialism! - while Indians, with the dignified good sense of many sinned against peoples, feel a proper nostalgia for those little shaped gift soaps from Marks & Spencer. When I wore Une Rose to the mall yesterday, two wonderful brown ladies asked what rich, soft scent I was projecting, which pleased me, even though it confirmed I had put on rather a lot.

And that is something to remember about Une Rose: if you spray on too much or you are not in the mood, you will be gradually smothered as the drydown gains in winey, ambered intensity. I have showered at the end of a long Une Rose day and stumbled out of the bathroom like a hangover victim, still reeking of velvety, tannic petals.

Une Rose contains Turkish rose absolute, geranium, blue camomile, wine dregs, truffle accord (patchouli, vetiver and animal notes), and amber. It is available from Barney's or the Editions de Parfums website. The matching Beurre Exquise is supposed to be painfully lovely.

17 Comments:

At 6:15 a.m., Anonymous March said...

As you know I'm not a huge rose fan, but this one is amazing. I did overapply one day, though, and it was just horrifying. I mean, I had to cancel an appointment and shower. Tenacious juice. I now carefully spray it onto one finger and dab it on. Great description!

 
At 8:15 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

Thanks! I hadn't worn it in a while before this week - I'd had a sobering experience with it too - and I'd kind of forgotten how bright and fresh and true it is in the heart notes. The most prominent note of the long finish is the "wine dregs" and so I tend to think of it as a binge scent, dark and disheveled. There's really a long ray of sunshine right through the middle, though. But, you're right, that lasting power - oy!

 
At 9:49 a.m., Anonymous AngelaS said...

There are so many rose scents out there, but this one has to be one of my favorites, along with Parfum Sacre, Or et Noir, and--surprisingly!--Voleur de Roses. And Chant d'Aromes. Maybe Parure, too (o.k. I'll stop).

How is your skin with rose? If anything has rose in it, my skin will call it out front and center.

As for "wine dregs", haveyou tried Ce Soir ou Jamais? Lots of dregs there, too.

 
At 10:05 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

Angela: You know, I have some trouble with Annick Goutal. We only have the EdT here, and the lasting power is so poor. But I like Ce Soir ou Jamais - my skin tends to amplify sweet rose, so it smells kind of jammy. But like sparkling jam, if such a thing can be imagined. And I love Passion. I'd love to love Chevrefeuille and Folavril but they either turn on me or fade in seconds. So, I should look into the EdPs....

 
At 3:40 p.m., Blogger chaya ruchama said...

I appreciate, but can't do this one.
I wanted more truffle- something good and nasty-and this initially smells 'plastic' and sweet on me.
Somebody, please give me dregs !

Body butter, though, baby-
MWAH !

 
At 8:00 p.m., Blogger Karin said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Glad to see you are doing some Malle's too.

I experimented with Bigarade C. and Mandragore and will probably write it up tomorrow.

Karin
www.savvythinker.com

 
At 8:56 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

Chaya: Initially, I thought I couldn't do it, too. I encountered it first at Barney's where an enthusiastic, purring and helpful SA sprayed it in the air for me and told me it was his favourite and would be wonderful for me. I loved the smell in the air but was aghast that he thought it would suit me: I was not a floral girl! But, apparently, I am an everything girl. The sample he sent with me grew on me until I was wild about it. The dregs seem wildly apparent on me, though, I smell like I have just come from a Bacchanal. I am beginning to suspect I have booze-amplifying skin.

Butters? Une Rose is too candied in the Beurre. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

 
At 8:59 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

Karin - Welcome! Always nice to have another Bigarade fan. I had trouble with the Mandragore - it just smelled like plain ol' grapefruit on me (sorry March!) I'll be interested to see your article....

 
At 5:21 a.m., Blogger marchlion said...

You say "plain grapefruit" like that's a bad thing...

 
At 5:23 a.m., Blogger marchlion said...

PS I keep manifesting this split personality name-wise because on various days, Bloogle will only let me login anonymously; other days, only with my account.

 
At 8:14 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

March - It may be a classic case of Annick Goutal misnaming. The SAs and marketing people go off on a flight of fancy about a fresh yet dark scent, woody, elegant and yet intensely masculine, containing bergamot, mandrake, black pepper and ginger, and I don't expect to get: GRAPEFRUIT. I was so taken aback by the first two times testing it, I haven't re-tried it since. I actually like grapefruit, so maybe I should try again.

 
At 8:25 a.m., Blogger March said...

That's very funny. When I smelled it the first time I had no idea what the notes were, so I had no expectations. I got bergamot followed by grapefruit, with maybe a pinch of zesty ginger. I love grapefruit with a passion, and it's hard to find one that doesn't have that urine note, at least on me, so I was thrilled.

 
At 12:11 p.m., Anonymous Andy said...

Now, that was an interesting post, Erin, and the first thing that came to my mind was: Dripping down! ... "with a hairspray note" ... because what used to be used in perfumes lands sooner or later in other products, for instance hairspray.
Une Rose is a great scent, brave in a sense and not compromising, a true representative of the Malle series, and I gave it my mother as present, because she loved it so much! Well, I guess she doesn't use hairspray (just kidding).

 
At 2:10 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

Andy: Very true - you often smell functional products that have clearly been influenced by high-end perfumery trends. Usually, the formula has been cheapened - I smelled a really terrible pomegranate leg wax the other day - but occasionally you run into something very nice. Three weeks ago, the violet hand soap I used in the Nice airport smelled better to me than anything in the duty-free store. And it sounds like you get your fabulous taste from your mother! I agree that Une Rose is a brave and wonderful scent that really exemplifies what FM stands for.

 
At 4:38 p.m., Blogger Dusan said...

My usual late self is popping around to say Hey, it's great to see you back, hope you had a blast in France (you must have!). I haven't tried Une Rose but that's not what I'm here for, anyway ;-) When can we expect your review of Chene? I'm dying to hear your impressions, especially since a friend of mine's going to Paris mid-April... Pleeeease! :-)
Hugs

 
At 10:24 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

Dusan: Sure and thanks! I love requests. And, of course, I adore Chene. My FM week kind of fizzled out on me; I got to my faves and all I could think of was: "Wow!" Kind of short for a review. I've had a busy week (job-hunting since my beloved library job disintegrated after my maternity leave ended) but I promise I'll get to Chene and Andy's scents soon!

 
At 4:12 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good lord, I am not a "floral girl" and have been wearing SIP Moon Garden for months. In a dream,
I fell into a blood red velvety ROSE. I have been
searching for the smell of this dream, my search is over.

 

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