Rose Week 2018 – A Smoky Rose
It’s Rose Week on EauMG! This is the annual celebration of rose-centric perfumes! This week I’m reviewing 5 fragrances that display a different aspect of rose perfumes.
Before diving into straight-up rose soliflores this week, I’m focusing on some non-traditional rose perfumes. January Scent Project Smolderose is one of those perfumes that borders on the line of “is this or isn’t this a rose”. I mean, why would something be called Smolderose if there were no rose, right?
Smolderose opens with the sort of lemon-y/citrus accord with the viscosity of motor oil. It really reminds me of turpentine and art classes. With another sniff, it’s this HUGE bittersweet Meyer lemon or Valley lemon. For the most part, at this stage, Smolderose doesn’t seem like much of a rose. It smells like a roadside citrus market off of a South Texan highway – tar, fumes, big ‘ole lemons. But, I do get a rose – a yellow rose bathing in sunshine. This rose is green, minty like rose geranium or violet leaf. But, it’s also a rose…
Years ago, I somehow found myself with an educator from a large fragrance/flavor supplier. It was an amazing experience because I was able to smell these raw materials on their own. Knowing I love roses, they wanted me to smell all of the concentrations of their most expensive rose…one where it takes like a gazillion pounds of rose petals picked by the hands of maidens and grandmas to make just a drop of some sort of sticky rose concentrate. This was a turning point in my perfume writing and understanding of roses. Rose oil in a very high concentration smells sort of gross. It smells like motor oil, gasoline, hay and almost like an animalic leather. It wasn’t “rose”. With each dilution, I was able to identify something more rose-y. I could pick up on the nuances of grapefruit or raspberries. I actually found the weakest (and cheapest – but still crazy expensive) the most palatable.
Why did I just tell you that story? Well, because I think it’s important to know how complex a rose is and how it’s influenced by its concentration, distillation and even its origins! Knowing one rose isn’t knowing them all. I also bring this up because roses aren’t always “pretty”. I was shocked by how something natural could smell so, for lack of a better word, industrial. Here was a natural rose, nothing synthetic about it, but it smelled industrial. If anything, I feel like Smolderose is the best example that I know of in perfumery that displays that weird motor oil/gasoline, leather-y aspects of rose oil that I smelled that day.
Now back to the review…the heart is still that rose in a green pasture…next to a highway. As it wears, the rose becomes mintier but also shares an aspect of like dried apricot/apricot “fruit leather”. The more it wears, the fruitier the rose gets. I once had some sort of cocktail that featured St. Germain, rose jam and gin (I think). This is what I’m reminded of when I smell Smolderose at this stage. Now let’s get to the smolder. The last part of the wear is a smoky rose. The rose petals become dry. There’s balsamic incense. There’s woods, juniper and smolder. With the balsamic resins, smoky cade and something that reminds me of Texas cedar, I’m reminded of the drier regions of the Texas Hill Country. Something about this base is like brush, tar and wildflowers. Also, there’s a lot of leather. So, let’s add saddles and cowboy boots to the mix. It’s bitter, smoky, woodsy with a hint of florals.
Notes listed include Damask rose, bergamot, saffron, roasted seashells, frankincense, elder flower, patchouli, cade, oud and labdanum. Launched in 2017. PERFUMER – John Biebel
Give Smolderose a try if you like the idea of a rose that isn’t so “rose” or if you like weird florals. Or perfumes like Nasomatto Baraonda, Providence Perfume Co Rose Bohème, DSH Perfumes Dirty Rose, Histoires de Parfums Édition Rare Rosam and/or LUSH Flower’s Barrow. I think if you like brands like Slumberhouse, Tauer or LUSH, I could see you digging this perfume. This is one of those roses that leans more “masculine” (especially in comparison to the one that I reviewed yesterday from L’Occitane) but it’s unisex (like all perfumes).
Projection and longevity are above average. There’s also a perfume oil of this which I understand smells different. I have not tried it so I can’t compare the two.
The 3.4 oz bottle retails for $125 at Indigo Perfumery. Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – More smolder than rose, but like a rose off of a highway or in a rugged, wide open space. If you like rugged, unexpected and/or indie perfumes, this really is a must-try. Wearing this one took me to a few different places and I adore that. Perfumes like this are how I’ve kept my interest in perfume after all of these years…
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*Sample obtained by me. Product pic from the brand. Beverly Peele photographed by Michel Haddi for Vogue UK 1990 pic from Vogue.