What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.
—Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II. William Shakespeare.
Ask newbie perfumistas what they think of rose perfumes, and you'll almost always hear the same thing: "They smell like old ladies."
I was once one of the uninitiated. My earliest memories of roses are perhaps the most innocent and clichéd: the corsages and boutonnieres of junior high dances, the drugstore-brand perfumes that smelled of tea roses, the cheap rose-scented talc and bath salts that were my first dip into not-so-fine fragrance. But then the world plunged into the '80s, with its big hair and bombshell perfumes, followed by the '90s and its obsession with pale, unisex aquatics. So is it any wonder that for many of us, the scent of a rose came to seem old-fashioned and grandmotherly? To smell like a rose was to smell like the past.
That's why the recent resurgence of rose in perfumery has been such a revelation. As it turns out, a rose perfume cannot be described by any inherent quality. In the right hands, rose can become youthful and flirtatious, mysterious and seductive, or comforting and soft, It can be bold and sharp, dry and woody, or sweet and syrupy. A rose can be anything—and that means that everyone can find a rose perfume that's ideal for their taste.
This month's collection celebrates the versatility of the rose in three modern settings. Let go of your preconceptions; these aren't your grandmother's prim, powdery roses, and they aren't all-feminine frills, either. These are three very different, wildly loved rose-centered masterpieces that feature the iconic flower in ways you might never have experienced.
Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has A Gun. When the first notes of Lady Vengeance float up to your nose, you might be caught off guard. This radiant, alive, and lovely scent is looking for revenge? Just wait. Lady Vengeance is charming, sensual, and romantic, and its dry down holds some surprises that we can't stop sniffing. Read more...
Rose Cut by Ann Gerard Parfums. Most common in antique diamonds, the rose cut doesn't so much reflect a fiery light as emanate a soft warmth—and so it is with Rose Cut, the newest perfume from Parisian jeweler Ann Gérard. Get ready for spice, woods, and a touch of rum to complement the rose's jewel-red tones. Read more...
Mohur by Neela Vermeire Créations. If Vermeire were a composer of music, her creations would use every instrument in the orchestra and several never before heard in conventional compositions—yet you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn't marvel at the perfection of her invention. That describes Mohur, a smooth, unisex, rose-oud-leather scent that pulls in unusual notes such as carrot and almond milk accord and morphs like magic from one stage to the next. Read more...
No matter who you are or what preconceptions you bring to this month's collection, we hope you find something surprising in your exploration of the rose.
And as for me, a former rose skeptic? One of my favorite perfumes of all time is constructed around the rose, and I don't go anywhere without it.