Sunday, July 25, 2010

SOTD: Shiseido White Rose

Himself doesn't like perfume. Doesn't approve of perfume. Nevertheless, Himself presented me with a vial of Shiseido White Rose from The Perfumed Court, because I'd been rambling on about it. Have I mentioned that I'm very fond of Himself?

From what little I've read about Japanese perfumes, I expected this to be a quiet, retiring perfume, the kind that you have to sniff right at the skin.

I was wrong. I'm wearing one drop on one wrist, and it's wafting a an intense cloud of scent to my nose as I type. Digging for more information, I discover that this is less surprising than I would have thought - the scent was created in 1954, and Chandler Burr refers to it as an "absolutely classic scent".

But if you've been reading all the fuss about this perfume - the one that Chandler Burr also called "astonishingly beautiful", the one that you can only get from Japan, the one with the alarming price - you don't care about all that. You want to know what it smells like, right?

It smells like a rose. That sounds pretty basic, but it's rare that a rose perfume simulates the experience of smelling a living rose, warm in the sun. Real roses are peppery and spicy and green and tart and, most importantly, complicated. They have more notes than I, at least, can get my mind around.

And so does Shiseido White Rose. It's lovely, but I can't get my mind around it, or describe it properly for you. I can tell you that it's one of those scents that's so fine that the sensation of drowning is acceptable - like A La Nuit or like the queen, No. 19 parfum. As it develops, it grows less intense, but not less interesting - all of the complexity of the rose is still there, it's just quieter, as if the sun's gone behind a cloud.

And it is all rose - this is a soliflore, with nothing else in the mix. It might, finally, be my rose. There's plenty left in the vial, so I'll let you know after a few more tries.

Review Roundup: Pink Manhattan and MaterialeClare and surely there must be more discussion? I'll update if I find more.
Edited to add Bois de Jasmin.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Oh, oh, oh... Lovethescents is very keen for me to try a snifter of her small sample of this, and having read your review, my curiosity just doubled!

  2. I have been attempting to resist a sample of White Rose for months. I'm going to give up this silliness the next time I visit TPC...

  3. i am very fond of Himself too, especially when he does such kind and thoughtful things. you have a great relationship!

  4. If you have truly found Your Rose, life is good indeed. I love many rose perfumes, but have yet to find The One.

    Lovely description.

  5. Yo, flittersniffer! Yes, try! You _like_ rose perfumes, right? I'll be curious to hear opinions from rose-perfume-lovers.

    Mals! Yes, and I want to know what you think, too. :) Where are all the reviews of this thing?

    Yo, Cynthia! Very very fond of him, yep. :)

    Josephine! I hope it's My Rose. It really does remind me of No. 19, not in the sense of a similar scent, but in the way that it just stands there, all glorious-like, without concern over what anybody thinks.

    I could see White Rose and No. 19 being distant cousins. Both all dressed up for the party, one in white, one in green, making the whole rest of the family look fussy and dowdy by comparison - except for little Cristalle, the teenager who's going to be just as beautiful, but who's still in the bubbly phase...

    Ahem. I hope I love it just as much on the next try.

  6. I'm sitting here sniffing my first sniff of this utterly gorgeous fragrance and nodding my head at what you've said. A bottle was my DH's anniversary gift to me today and he can already tell he chose well. Now how do we get a Japanese shopper to be sure of a steady supply?

  7. Hey, Kathy! It's glorious, isn't it?

    That's a good question. Himself still won't tell me exactly he got his hands on a bottle.