THE ULTIMATE GUIDE ON
ROSE SCENTED PERFUMES

“Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.”
This is how W. Somerset Maugham describes the totality of beauty, comparing it to the smell of the rose in his favourite -by his own admission- book “Cakes and Ale” (1930), in which, even the heroine is called Rosie…

And he is right. One of the most prominent, adored and widely used scents in the history of perfume, the rose note, has been the base of creation for some of the most beautiful perfumes of our past and present. We carefully curated a list of our favourites. Feel free to expand it.

the NEW ENTRIES

MISS DIOR ROSE N’ROSES, DIOR (2020)

A contemporary perfume with all the potential to become a classic.
After some sweet Miss Dior flankers, the Rose n’Roses edition, seems to be a winner. The musk-geranium combination gives this much needed green touch that is really necessary to transfer the user to a rose field. The exact sensation the brand wanted to transmit through the new juice. A beautiful perfume with a chypre twist that is here to stay.

The Combination: Rose και Geranium

Prominent Notes: Rose, Musk, Geranium, Bergamot

Miss Dior Rose n’Roses, Eau de Toilette

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L’EAU À LA ROSE, MAISON FRANCIS KURKDJIAN (2019)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian launched the beautiful À La Rose in 2014. Even though this one was a relatively light scent, last year came the even lighter “L’Eau” version. Very close to the perfume, yet quite different, it features a note that we really adore in perfumery: pear. This mouth-watering buttery scent which brings summertime memories in mind, creates a striking combination with the two different types of roses (Damask and Centifolia) chosen by the brand. As for the inspiration, a portrait of Marie Antoinette, by Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

The Combination: Rose and Pear

Prominent Notes: Rose, Pear, Violet, Peony, Musk

L’Eau A La Rose, Eau de Toilette

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the classics

PARIS, YSL (1983)

The famous perfume critic Tania Sanchez calls this classic gem “roaring rose”, and for every good reason. Structured by the brilliant master perfumer Sophia Grosjman,  Paris was the kindest of the “larger-than-life” bestseller perfumes of the ’80s.
Presenting the fullest, most powdery and unique rose smell possible, partly explains why Paris, unlike other mega classics of its time, still is, 37 years after its launch, a perennial bestseller. 

The Combination: Rose and Iris

Prominent Notes: Rose, Iris, Violet,  Mimosa, Geranium, Cassia, Orris root

Paris, Eau de Toilette

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TRESOR, LANCÔME (1990)

The brilliant nose of Sophia Grosjman strikes again, (re)creating one of the biggest bestsellers of the ’90s. Based on the 1952 classic and the absolutely mouthwatering accord of apricot/peach and rose, Grosjman managed to capture the distinct femininity of the sweet rose smell, without compromising on the structure. The result was a recipe of success: a beautiful, sophisticated perfume, wrapped in layers of pink taffetas that every girl is bound to love.

The Combination: Rose and Peach

Prominent Notes: Rose, Peach, Apricot, Vanilla, Iris, Heliotrope, Pineapple, Sandalwood

Trésor, Eau de Parfum

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ROSE 31, LE LABO (2006)

Le Labo scents are truly unique: they make us succumb to notes that we otherwise avoid -to put it mildly. Rose 31, a mighty rose with prominent spices, is one of our unexpected favourites and one of the brand’s major hits. It gives the ordinary, somewhat dull, rose scent a whole new sexy & deep twist that makes oriental lovers – men and women alike – bow before its craft. A feminine, floral fragrance inspired by the Centifolia rose, a symbol of the brand’s home region of Grasse, France, Rose 31 is one of Daphne Bugey’s most celebrated perfumes and brand’s must-try.

The Combination: Rose & Spices

Prominent Notes: Rose, Vetiver, Cumin, Olibanum, Labdanum, Woods

Rose 31, Eau de Parfum

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ROSE POMPON, ANNICK GOUTAL (2016)

In 1984 Annick Goutal created the absolute rose soliflore, a rose perfume called –what else?- Rose Absolue, with no other notes listed than six different types of roses. Fast forward to 2016: Camille Goutal and Philippine Courtière keep the rose-on-rose soul of this unique composition –which, by the way, is still on the market- and create a beautiful, fresh and radiant rose perfume, with a hint of berries.

The Combination: Rose and Rose

Prominent Notes: Rose, Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Peony, Pink pepper

Rose Pompon, Eau de Toilette

SHOP ON HARRODS

the EXTREMES

FLORABOTANICA, BALENCIAGA (2012)

When first launched in 2012, it took the Haute-parfumerie by storm, due to its unusual structure: a rose perfume without actual roses. Instead, a hybrid rose-like ingredient, with a scent reminiscent of the deep notes of a rose garden on a hot summer night, accompanied by ingredients with a strong character, such as carnation flower, mint and cannabis. The result is so unique that, in our opinion, this one is a far more distinctive rose perfume than the equally beautiful Rosabotanica, launched in 2013.

The Combination: Rose without Rose

Prominent Notes: Hybrid rose, Mint, Carnation, Cannabis, Vetiver, Amber

Florabotanica, Eau de Parfum

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ROSE ANONYME, ATELIER COLOGNE (2012)

Sometimes a new entry comes into the game with the air of a loved classic. The sensation is unique: new and fresh, vintage-like and familiar, all at the same time. This is the case of this beautiful perfume, based on the classic rose/patchouli accord, with an interesting resin twist. With a little history behind it (launched only eight years ago), it is one of the brand’s best sellers –and we can understand why.

The Combination: Rose and Patchouli

Prominent Notes: Rose, Oud, Patchouli, Resins, Somalian opoponax, Benzoin

Rose Anonyme, Eau de Toilette

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TOMMY GIRL, TOMMY HILFIGER (1996)

Every time a perfumer creates a new olfactory road, it is a great moment for the art of perfumery. This is the case of Calice Becker, who conceived the idea of the citrus tea/rose accord, creating a unique, fresh scent that was firstly used in Tommy Girl in 1996 and has been copied in every way possible since then. An effortlessly beautiful fragrance, with a modern chypre twist that characterizes a perfume which is still utterly contemporary, more than 30 years after its launch.

The Combination: Rose and Citrus Tea

Prominent Notes: rose, lemon, apple tree blossom, grapefruit, lily, mint, camelia

Tommy Girl, Eau de Toilette

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the rares

BLACK AOUD, MONTALE (2006)

Just one year after the launch of the first perfume of the brand (2005), this unique rose/oud accord became a hit for Montale and one of the first oud scents in the market which was later flooded by oud perfumes.
Black Aoud is ethereal and earthy at the same time, rosy and woody in equal parts, and one of those perfumes that adjust perfectly to the skin of the person who wears them, making it a unisex scent, albeit rosy.

The Combination: Rose and Woods

Prominent Notes: Rose, Agarwood (oud), Mandarin, Labdanum, Patchouli, Musk

Black Aoud, Eau de Parfum

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LAK, AL HARAMAIN (1996)

Massively overlooked by the fans of the western perfume industry, the Middle East perfume tradition is not only vast but also fascinating. Al Haramain, founded in 1970, is one of the oldest and most respected brands of the Middle East who tried to bring the essence of traditional eastern perfumery to Western-friendly proportions, without compromising on the final result. Lak (meaning, among other things, “yours”, in Arabic) is a splendid black rose-walnut accord, so unique that it is not reminiscent of any other.

The Combination: Rose and Walnut

Prominent Notes: Black Rose, Walnut, Dried fruit, Musk

Lak, Eau de Parfum

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ROSE TROCADERO, LE JARDIN RETROUVE (1975)

Back in the ’70s, Yuri Gutsatz and his wife Arlette, was one of the first master perfumers to create a bespoke (niche) perfume brand. Vice president of the Société Française des Parfumeurs and one of the creators of Osmothèque (the conservatory for old perfumes, located in Paris), Gutsatz left a great heritage to his son Michel, who revived the brand in 2016, with the help of his wife, Clara. Rose Trocadéro is the quintessential smell of the distinctively citrusy Bulgarian rose, and one of our personal favourites rose perfumes of all times. 

The Combination: Rose and Green notes

Prominent Notes: Bulgarian Rose, Green notes, Musk, Cassis, Cloves, Woods

Rose Trocadéro, Eau de Parfum

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CREDITS:

Holding image:
Courtesy of Dior (Miss Dior Rose n’Roses)

Words:
Charitomeni Vonta