On Valentine’s day the traditional gift one buys for their beau is a big bouquet of beautiful roses. I however, am not one to follow tradition, in fact I actively go out of my way to avoid it and try something new. After all, there’s nothing more exciting than exploring something a little different! So instead of gifting that special someone with some gorgeous red blooms this year, why not give them the gift of a wonderful rose perfume instead?
Rose perfumes are unique because, unlike many others centred around a single flower (such as tuberose or jasmine), they are a wonderfully varied species. This is no surprise when one considers that rose flowers can range from smelling sweet, crisp, green and dewy to resonating with deep and rich spicy odours of clove and pepper. In perfume, rose follows suit and there are a wealth of fantastic rose scents out there to try.
To assist you with picking out that perfect rose perfume for your loved one, I have put together a selection of some of my favourites – an olfactory bouquet of roses if you will, where each and every flower adds something unique and intriguing to the bunch. So what will it be – the heady ‘Oriental Rose’, the delightfully simple ‘Straight-Up Rose’, the verging on the vulgar ‘Bedroom Rose’ or all of the above? Whichever you choose, your special someone is sure to have a delightfully (warning: bad pun up ahead) rosy Valentine’s day.
The Classic Rose
An olfactory bouquet of rose fragrances could not be started with anything other than the classic rose – Paris by Yves Saint Laurent. I love this fragrance so darn much it’s hard to put it in words, but I shall try for you dear readers! To my nose, Paris is a vivacious and vibrant vase filled to the brim with pastel pink and lilac coloured rose buds.
What makes Paris so beautiful is the fact that it’s not just a rose fragrance – in fact it’s as much about violets and mimosa as it is rose. These are flowers in Technicolor and as you would expect from such a scent the volume is presented in surround sound with the dial turned right up. There is no better scent on Earth to capture the spirit of the City of Lights. Fact.
I’d pick Paris as a gift for someone obsessed with all things vintage or for that special person who loves anything in pastel pink.
The Straight-Up Rose
If you’re looking for a rose perfume that really captures the essence of a garden flower in a photorealistic way, Paul Smith’s Rose is the one for you.This is a rose in full bloom and plucked straight from the bush. It’s sweet, dewy, crisp, green and so darn pretty it almost hurts.
Paul Smith’s Rose is what I like to call a ‘straight-up rose’. It isn’t fancy, overbearing or complicated, it’s just delightfully rosy and would make a lovely gift for the guy or girl that simply wants to smell of roses. And lets face it, is there anything better to smell of than roses?
The Oriental Rose
Whilst we’re on the subject of heart breaking beauty, it would be a crying shame to omit the queen of all roses – Nahéma by Guerlain. Launched in the late ‘70s, just before the perfume world exploded in a haze of syrupy white flowers and killer sillage, Nahéma continued Guerlain’s narrative of oriental romance that started with Shalimar in 1925.
Nahéma is a bold rose with strong accents of aldehydes (that fizzy sparkle that makes Chanel N°5 ‘N°5’) peach and warm spices. It’s a perfume that transcends classification and plays with abstraction, evoking the fiery heart of a formidable woman as opposed to a fresh bouquet of red roses. This one is for that complex love of your life who is perfect because they are so multi-faceted, passionate and temperamental.
The Bedtime Rose
Passion is a big part of Valentine’s Day and roses can be pretty passionate when the mood requires it. In fact, there are some rose scents out there that are so full of fervour that they can only be defined as downright filthy. One such x-rated rose is Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood, a heady and intoxicating rose chypre that speaks of ruffled bed sheets, tussled hair and clothes strewn across the floor.
Boudoir strikes a nice balance between sweet face powder, English rose and cumin (evoking the odour of sweaty bodies) to create a perfume that is voluptuous, gorgeous and more than a little bit naughty. I’d pick this one as a gift for the girl or guy that likes to make a statement with their scent and isn’t afraid to turn a few heads.
The Freaky Rose
For those wishing to really turn heads though, the only house that can be considered is Etat Libre d’Orange. Their foray into the world of roses was created for (and takes the name of) Spanish actress, model, muse and star of many a Pedro Almadovar movie – Rossy de Palma (FYI, if you’ve not seen Almadovar’s ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’, step away from your computer and watch it now. I mean it!).
Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection as it’s called, is a witchy and blood-red rose that bites with sharp lemon, thorny rose and spiky pepper to create an unsettling take on nature’s most prolific flower – a scratchy walk through the rose bushes if you will. Patchouli further darkens things but Rossy de Palma’s rose is never gothic, instead it settles on being simply being mystic and bewitching.
Much like the actress from which it takes its name, this perfume is unconventionally beautiful and fascinating to wear.Get this one for those artsy; rebellious and creativ eminxes that love to defy convention.
The Fashion-Forward Rose
When it comes to being fashionable, one cannot go wrong with Marni. As a brand they do cutesy, fun and flirty like no one else and their debut into the fragrance world is no exception. Marni Eau de Parfum captures the same offbeat vibe of their fabric-based offerings and is easily one of the most fashion-forward roses on the market.
Marni (one of my favourite launches of 2013 FYI) is a tart red rose with a lovely fruity note of juicy raspberry, but it isn’t too sweet at all thanks to cool strands of cardamom and incense and an effervescent patchouli note that gives the whole thing a playful fizz. Get this one for the fashionista in your life, they absolutely deserve it!