Lately I have been wearing mostly rose-based perfumes, so I wanted to highlight my top three today. As the weather cools down (ever so slightly), I have found that I can wear these more now than I could in, say, July. I used to think I didn’t like rose, but it turns out that I don’t like the flowers typically paired with roses in a fragrance composition. So let’s look at some less traditional blends that won’t leave you thinking of old Victorian ladies splashing powdery rose water all over the place.
I’m only talking about the original, and not the relaunch (which worries me, more on that in a second). Stella has been my go-to perfume for YEARS. It is easy to wear because it is relatively light and not overpowering. While I’m sure it is possible to apply too much, I don’t find that the intensity of this changes much as you spray on more through the day. This stays close to the skin, it’s not knocking anyone over. But it does leave an impression. A rose, amber, peony, citrus concoction that is not traditionally flowery to me. I wear this any time of day, any season, and if I don’t know what perfume to wear, I put this on. It’s like a favorite dress. It just adjusts to whatever is going on, and I think that is thanks to the peony. If they’d put in something heavy like jasmine this would be hard for me to wear.
I have a roller-ball of this one because I have more perfume than I could ever get through in my lifetime. But seeing as I’ve gone through 2 full-sized bottles of Stella since 2003 (and that is, without a doubt, a record for me), I will probably get another big bottle once I use this up (and the two bottles listed below…) because I prefer a spray. The fragrance was relaunched with new packaging in 2014, and my favorite perfume reviewers are swearing that the juice changed slightly as well as the bottle. I’ll have to give it a sniff and see if I can tell a difference. If so, I’ll be watching ebay to see if anyone has the original up for sale.
A couple of other fragrances I have that share some characteristics with Stella are Elizabeth & James Nirvana White (I guess they both have the peony and musky/floral thing going on) and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely , a much more complex musk and amber and floral scent but really beautiful on its own.
As I was wandering around the Estee Lauder counter, as one does, smelling everything and going “Eeeewwwww” as one does (except in the case of Private Collection Tuberose and Gardenia, which as far as I’m concerned is one of the most beautiful things Estee Lauder has produced) I came across the tiny display of more Aerin Lauder fragrances. It’s like Estee Lauder can’t decide whether or not they want to appeal to a younger crowd (okay, this is relative since Aerin Lauder is 45 years old, but I think their target market is around 70). ANYWAY a few of these smell wonderful, and I really loved the Evening Rose fragrance, but no way was I going to buy a huge bottle of it (and the bottles have a stone on top of the cap which I find sort of tacky).
EBAY TO THE RESCUE! I found a 0.3 oz sample bottle on ebay for somewhere around $20.
The notes in Evening Rose are rose, incense, Bulgarian rose, blackberry, and cognac. This is a warm creamy rose and I love the incense in the background. It’s like wearing Stella in a cathedral. Deep, intense, and seductive, with a little bit of sweet dark boozy fruit to round it out. The average person who is more worried these things would probably wear it on date night and not in the office… but I want to smell it all day!
MY HOLY GRAIL OF ROSE PERFUMES. When I went to Nordstrom during their sale I paused at the Jo Malone counter, knowing full well I wasn’t going to buy anything because holy SHIT that perfume is expensive. Just the normal perfume is expensive at $125, but this is the Intense line and at $170 a bottle it’s way out of my budget. Anyway, I stopped. The dude talked up their candles (don’t even get me started on small batch, hand-poured luxury candle prices) (faints), and stuck all sorts of lovely things under my nose to smell. I got two samples: Velvet Rose & Oud, and Tuberose Angelica, both of which are stunning.
I trolled ebay. Someone put up a 40% full bottle and I sat on that listing when the auction was ending and snatched it up for less than $70.
This perfume features damask rose, agarwood (oud), praline and clove. It is a smoky, heavy, spicy, full-bodied rose with a tiny bit of sweetness. I think this could be worn by men as well as women, although teenagers who wear Pink Sugar or another fruity gourmand perfume will probably find it a little too mature because it lacks the more approachable notes that are so popular right now. It lasts on me for hours and hours. If I put it on before I go to bed (totally normal, right?), I can smell it when I wake up in the morning. It stays on your clothes. If you didn’t like this perfume but went wild with a test spray you’d be in a world of trouble because you’re not getting rid of it for a long time. Even I don’t wear this one to work- it is too much (well, maybe just one tiny 1/2 of a spray). It is gorgeous.
So, there are my roses. This is kind of like a wine tasting (wine and perfume have a lot in common), going from lightest to heaviest, simple to complex. Do you have a favorite rose that I should try?