Friday, March 5, 2010

SOTD: Hermes Hermessence Rose Ikebana, and The Rose Problem

Photograph of drooping pink roses.

Advance warning: There will be no review of Rose Ikebana in this post. The weather isn't ready for it. It's bright and cheerful and sunny and fizzy. It's great in summer. It's only okay right now.

So now let's move on to roses in general. I love roses. Real roses. On a shrub in the garden, or in a vase in the house.

I grow as many as I can make room for. Sally Holmes and Madame Alfred Carriere and Mademoiselle de Sombreuil and Sir Thomas Lipton  and Graham Thomas  and L. D. Braithwaite and Dr. Huey and Felicia and Moonlight and Bubbles and Moschata and Complicata and Trier and Tuscan Superb.

And that pink hybrid tea that the neighbors gave us and that pink miniature with the amazingly fine foliage deep into the fall and that bright frilly pink one that's inexplicably named after a military man whose name I can't remember just now.

Each one of them has a different smell - even the officially scentless one has a greenness about it - and most of those smells are better than almost any perfume I've ever been able to buy. They're glorious.

But for some reason, I don't love rose perfumes. I don't know why.

I like, or even love, some perfumes that contain rose. Rose Ikebana is nice, and sometimes I do crave it. But to me, it's not a rose perfume, it's a floral citrus. Paestum Rose is nice, but, again, it's not a rose perfume, it's a floral incense. No. 19, which I adore, has rose, but it isn't a rose perfume, it's galbanum magic.

I've discussed my issues with dark roses more than once. Une Rose, No. 88, Dark Rose, Rose 31, Incense Rose. At best, I respect them, but in actual use I generally dislike them.

The rose perfumes that I like, I don't love, or at least I don't love the perfume. ElizabethW Rose is quite nice, and I do use the bath oil, quite often. I can't come up with any criticism of the perfume, but I just don't crave it. CB I Hate Perfume Tea/Rose in the oil version is even nicer. Realistic rose calmed by tea; subtle and lovely. I enjoy it when I wear it, and then it sits unworn for months.

And so on and so on. Voleur de Roses. Rose de Nuit. Red Roses. Un Coeur de Mai. Sa Majeste de La Rose. Lipstick Rose. Ecume de Rose. Tocade. Drole de Rose. Don't like 'em. Don't crave 'em. They're not bad, but they just don't make me care.

So what do you think? Is it time to give up? Or are there entire categories of roses that I haven't hit on yet?

The Perfumed Court cart is still in flux. Got any suggestions?

(Edited because two or more typos makes me crazy.)

Photos: Mine.


  1. oh dear, I have no idea if you don't like SL's Queen Rose.

  2. Rose Kashmirie and PG Brulure de Rose. Two I own and which move me.

    Guerlain Rose Barbare - which also moves me and which I aspire to own!

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  4. Bonkers, I just got samples of Rose Kashmirie per your suggestion (also their Rose D'Ete and La Rose (suggestions from Mals I think)..oh and I meant to ask, is it okay to call you Bonkers, or do you prefer FS? I so want to try Guerlain's Rose Barbare - i'll even suck it up as it has aldehydes.

    CF, have you tried Diptyque L'Ombre Dans Rose?

  5. Thanks, flittersniffer! Sadly, Brulure de Rose was another one that I didn't like - and like almost _everything_ by PG! I can't remember if it was too fruity or too ambery or what the problem was.

    Ooh. Kashmirie looks very interesting. I was thinking (as the page for it was loading) that I may be doomed because rose with sweet/fruit is too sweet, rose with bitter/incense just doesn't work for me, and plain rose gets dull. But rose with saffron... that could be the counter-to-sweet that doesn't clash for me. Even if the ambergris ruins the effect, it would be a very fine data point.

    Rose Barbare sounds like it could be fabulous or nightmarish, depending on which way the honey goes. I'm putting both into the Shopping Cart Duel.

    Sadly, yep, Frida, L'Ombre Dans Rose was another failure. Didn't hate it, didn't love it, gave away the sample.

  6. BF, hope you like the Rose Kashmirie! And Bonkers, Flittersniffer, Flitter, Flit and FS are all fine. : - ) Hey, I am a kid whose nicknames were Vanilla and Verucca - and Veronica on a good day.

    CF, sorry the Brulure didn't work for you but it is a potent brew, so very much a love it or hate it type of scent.

    Rose Kashmirie is not heavy on the amber, and Rose Barbare more green than honeyed, so am quietly hopeful of those two...

    Did you find Rose de Siwa dull? I imagine you might have done.

  7. flittersniffer, I'm not sure I've tried Rose de Siwa. Looking at the notes, the lychee and violet sound bad, but the cedar and hawthorn sounds good. I'll find my MDCI sample bag and see if I've got a sample in there.

    I'm definitely going to send off for Kashmirie and Barbare. I'm getting very interested now.

  8. Hmm.... Maybe you'd like Stella Nude? It's a quiet and more realistic rose. You might also like some of the DSH roses (Beach Roses, American Beauty), and the one I just reviewed, Washington Tremlett Black Tie, might also suit you.

    I'd hate to tell you to give never hurts to keep sniffing, does it?

  9. I think you need a sniff of some rose chypres. I haven't smelled Rose Barbare, but I think it's in that category. L'Arte di Gucci, Knowing, Parfum d'Empire Eau Suave, Hors la Monde Shiloh, maybe Ungaro Diva (although that one might be too dressy-femme for you). Maybe JHaG Citizen Queen and FMK Lumiere Noire pour femme - two of the naughtiest rose scents I've ever smelled. I have small decants of both, natch...

    Penhaligon's Elixir? FM Noir Epices? Gres Cabaret? OJ Ta'if? SSS Velvet Rose? DSH Rose Vert?

    I can keep throwing rose suggestions out all day. Sad, isn't it?

  10. Oops, see you've already reviewed Noir Epices. How about Montana Parfum de Peau?

    And what's your position on Paris - too floofy/girly? And I forgot the Montale roses! Oud Queen Rose and Aoud Roses Petals...

    Ahem. I'm starting to feel slightly self-conscious about my Rose Ho-dom.

  11. Ooh! More! Galbanum-rose: Miller Harris Rose en Noir, SL Rose de Nuit, PdR Rose d'Amour...

  12. Oops, Rose de Nuit was a no. More more: Cerruti 1881, Jacomo Silences, RL Safari for Women (dctd, but still available), ELd'O Rossy de Palma... It's definitely not time to give up.

  13. Mals - I can't believe that you didn't bring up that slut Tocade. ;-)

  14. Goodness gracious. Gracious. Goodness. I'll be doing a lot of rose reading. Thank you for all the suggestions.

    Diana, would Stella Nude also have the advantage of being sniffable at the mall? I'll seek it out in time either way, but that way it would avoid the Sample Purchase Duel. :)

    Ah, I've been thinking of doing a DSH sample run for a while. This would be a good excuse.

    Black tie... oh. _Oh_. I know I read your review; I commented on it! But I failed to get properly excited for some reason. That's an extraordinarily interesting list of notes. Okeydokey. It's in the duel. Or it may even bypass the duel, like Kashmirie.

    Hey, Mals! Yow, you do know a lot of roses. :) Penhaligon's Elixir and Citizen Queen and Rose de Nuit and Jacomo Silences have all failed for me too, but I'll be notes-reading and review-reading the rest of your list. (Why does Parfum de Peau sound the most appealing just on the name?) If Paris is seen as floofy/girly it's working with a handicap, but, hey, I'll still try it.

    Howdy, Cynthia! Sadly, I don't even like Tocade, even though everyone else loves it.

  15. Paris is that rose-violet-mimosa one - huuuuuuuge stuff. Could clear the room. I like the Printemps LE flankers better because they're quiet, though they're even more girly.

    Parfum de Peau was very leathery/patchouli. I liked it a lot, but it came nowhere near knocking L'Arte di Gucci off the top of the heap, so I passed my mini on in a swap.

    If you're testing DSH roses, you're in for a treat. She's got a sale on at the moment, 20% off (I think) with the code SPRING. As always, the code POSSE gets you 10% off. My fave DSH rose is Rose Vert, but Beach Roses was really nice, too. Did not care for American Beauty, I thought it was too... obvious.

  16. lol - Tocade is a bit much, so I can easily see someone not liking it. I rarely wear it out in public, despite my love for it - I tend to wear it more as a comforting bedtime scent.

  17. Total Rose Ho, here....I am currently utterly enthralled with Caron's Or et Noir. It's heavy and rich and amazing. Pretty much straight-up rose, though.

    Caron's Rose is also great, but has a defininte incensey dry-down, which I love, but you may not.

    Bvlgari Rose Essentielle is also nice, but not straight up rose, and I do find myself craving it at times.

    Is General Jacqueminot the rose you're thinking of?

  18. Mals! Paris sounds faintly alarming, but I'll try any of 'em. And leathery/patchouli definitely sounds like the right stuff.

    Sale? Sale? Sale! Woohoo!

    Howdy, Cynthia! Oh, good; I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who's not a fan of Tocade.

    Greetings, Tammy! Well, given my general rose puzzlement, it could be that straight up rose could work - I'm still not clear on why roses aren't working. So I'm adding Or et Noir to the list.

    Incense and rose rarely work for me - that's not to say that they can't, but they haven't. List again. :)

    Sadly, Rose Essentielle is another one that didn't work for me. Didn't hate it, but didn't want it.

    Nope on General Jacqueminot, but, ooh! It's pretty. I think the pink military rose started with a C. I think.

  19. Late, late, late. But I just found you/your blog, and found myself in the comments here.

    Why? Because I have a similar relationship to rose, I think. Love it in the garden. Had quite a selection at my old house; hope to rebuild at the current one, eventually. Old fashioned roses, climbers, hardy roses, floribundas, David Austin, rescues, cemetary wrangles...about the only thing I couldn't find patience or space for was/is finicky hybrid teas.

    Whereas, in my perfume selection, I find it hard to find any rose that works very well. HOWEVER, I appreciate the chypre roses, and certain dark and roses, and the occasional simple treatment. Already mentioned that I have time to romance (when the mood is right) are the Or et Noir, the Arte de Gucci...the Bulgari Rose Essentiale (simple with a hint of uplift, nice and true)...

    Nobody has yet mentioned Magie Noire (dark and dirty), or Pousierre de Rose (some people call it the toned down Feminite du Bois, and is really a scent that includes rose among its elements).

    Go back and revisit Silences from time to time. It comes out of its armor for a lot of people after they've been exposed to it a few times. I'd say come back to the Rose Essentiale for the same could be that in the right context, it suddenly sings. In a simple, clear voice, but sings nonetheless.

    But if you don't want to play with someone who hasn't played nice (the Essentiale), go to the Malle counter and try Une Rose. Beautiful.

    Rosey violet prettiness? Ack! Run away!!! ;)

  20. Howdy, ScentScelf! Welcome to the blog! I'm adding all those to the List.

    I did wonder why I was so unimpressed with Silences when so many like it. I think I gave away my decant, but on your advice I'll get myself another one.

    Sadly, I didn't like Une Rose. :( I keep trying to like it, but so far I fail.