I loved Candy Perfume Boy’s spring floral fragrance post so much yesterday that it has inspired me to run a bit further with the floral theme. So for today’s post I’m going to take a look at one of my favourite perfume notes, and a pretty pervasive note at that: the rose.
In the spirit of St George’s Day, I’m directing my attention toward the beautiful English rose, a classic and lucid bloom. From sexy rose fragrances to compositions that are decidedly more buoyant, here is my olfactory tour of an English rose garden.
The voluptuous rose
The background: You cannot talk about English rose scents without mentioning Vivienne Westwood’s iconic premier scent. Inspired by a woman’s most private place, her Boudoir, the scent aligns with Westwood’s spirit of provocation. It’s luscious, hedonistic and a little bit naughty, with plush red English roses together with carnation, cinnamon, vanilla and tobacco flowers.
My thoughts: This is just the most heady fragrance. The spicy yet sweet combination of carnation and cinnamon creates a slow-building heat that is so decadent, while the vivacious red rose note structures the riotous heart with its classic beauty. This is not a wallflower scent by any stretch of the imagination!
The fashion rose
The background: Vivienne Westwood may be the Grand Doyenne of British style, but Stella McCartney is its darling. Her first fragrance, the aptly named Stella, draws upon the same contrasts that influence her fashion: the delicate and the seductive; the traditional and the modern. The result is a beautifully crafted amber rose scent, simple but not at all linear, with whispery, dark undertones that hint at something incredibly sensuous.
My thoughts: Stella is a feast for the senses… though I wear it, so I may be being ever so slightly biased. It’s exactly how it’s described in its fragrance story: rich, voluptuous and sensual, but with a sweet transparency that ensures you’re constantly sniffing your own wrist. A modern classic, and a must-have rose scent.
The luxurious rose
The background: Following its phoenix-like revival thanks to the magic touch of Christopher Bailey, Burberry has been simultaneously reinvented as the pinnacle of British cool and of British luxe. Their newest scent Burberry Body is a statuesque, rosy-fresh aroma which pays homage to both the heritage and the modern outlook of the brand very nicely.
My thoughts: For me, Body epitomises new era Burberry. It’s a great pillar scent, straying away from the sweetness of Brit and The Beat, and carving a little niche of of its own within the family. Upon first spray the fragrance is a little too astringently green for my liking, but this soon mellows into a soft, powdery iris-rose accord reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood’s Naughty Alice, which I love. The bottle is incredibly chic, with just a hint of the Haymarket check on the cap and lovely rose gold effect trimmings. Give it a try.
The masculine rose
The background: Dunhill started its life in Victorian Britain as a saddle and harness manufacturer, later venturing into menswear, accessories and gadgetries like the Windshield Pip and Unique Lighter. Embodying suave masculinity and English charm, Dunhill would eventually expand its reach into the fragrance market; culminating in our third English rose – Dunhill London, an ode to the city of the brand’s birth.
My thoughts: In my teens I fell in love with an old tester of Dunhill Desire Red for Men, a now-discontinued fragrance that feels like the natural predecessor to London. It’s fruity, floral, warm and sweet, but with a grounding woody undertone that prevents the scent from becoming gender ambiguous. London is a lot more ‘grown-up’ than my beloved Desire; apple, patchouli and rose reign supreme, exuding a sophisticated sense of masculinity that does the old brand justice.
The sparkling rose
The background: There’s a truly lovely story behind this pillar fragrance from quirky British designer Paul Smith. Named for and inspired by the actual Paul Smith Rose, which was cultivated and gifted to him by his wife, the fragrance harnesses the scent of the living bloom. Instead of being crushed and distilled, the flower is placed into a glass bell and specialist equipment ‘inhales’ the scent. It sounds all very modern, yet somehow very natural and beautiful – a theme that mirrors the character of the scent very well.
My thoughts: Paul Smith Rose is such an optimistic fragrance. Its signature rose note is paired with powdery violet and magnolia flowers plus a touch of green tea, a sparkly note that really makes this fragrance for me. The scent derives much of its character from the top and heart notes, making it feel so light and airy. It’s a nice foil to Stella if you can try them both.
What are your favourite rose scents?