Friday, October 31, 2008

Une Rose

Like most perfume aficionados, I have my favorite accords. I can spend hours, days, or months, tracking a good leather scent down, and toward that end have amassed: Knize Ten, Tabac Blond, Cuir de Russie, and any number of lesser known specimens. My nose is always alert for galbanum, and iris is a big draw as well, as are tobacco, oakmoss, and virtually all things green. There are a lot to choose from in each of these categories, and I'm kept pretty happy, but rose, another favorite, has eluded me.

It isn't that I haven't found rose fragrances I like, or even that I've been looking for something incredibly specific, which is to say something I know before I smell it, as opposed to the other way around. It's just that most rose fragrances I've smelled or purchased haven't seemed exactly right for me, however much I admire them. Rose is in so many perfumes and colognes to varying degrees, right up top or submerged down below. I've enjoyed some of the masculines, like Cerruti 1881 and Aramis 900, and many of what I call the cult roses, particularly Ungaro III and Alain Delon Iquitos. I've looked into all sorts of unisex roses, like L'Artisan's fleeting Voleur de Roses, for instance. I enjoy many of the alleged feminines too--maybe even most of all--like Cannabis Rose, Paris, and Mille et Une Roses. I'll take high end, like the Rosines, and low, like Coty Exclamation. I have no shame. Some of these I own and wear occasionally, but none come close to Frederic Malle's Une Rose, which struck me as the perfect rose, perfect for me, from the moment I first smelled it.

Une Rose was created in 2003 by Edouard Flechier, the man behind Poison, among others. Une Rose is to rose what Poison is to tuberose, and takes over the senses in similar ways. The profile for Flechier on the Malle website states that in 1967 he entered the perfumery school of Roure Bertrand Dupont and studied with the son of the school's founder, Jean Carles, he of such classics as Shocking de Schiaparelli, Miss Dior, and Ma Griffe.

Une Rose conforms in theory to the vogue for what Abigail recently called the "dirty rose." To me this phrase, aside from basically alerting the consumer she or he is not looking at a bottle of "old fashioned" rose perfume, is practically useless. It's true there's a grunge note to Une Rose, as with Voleur de Roses and any number of contemporary rose fragrances. Often, dirty is meant in a literal way, indicating that the fragrance smells of the soil it was theoretically yanked from. In the case of Une Rose it seems to mean animalic, too. But Une Rose is much more complicated than this kind of simplistic designation can account for. The notes are listed as wine dregs and truffles, and though these pyramids are usually more fanciful than factual, this one offers a useful imaginative keyhole into the perfume.

I sprayed Une Rose at Barney's on a drizzly day in Seattle and forgot about it--for a few minutes, anyway. When I stepped outside it came rushing back at me full force, and seemed a perfect sensory accompaniment to the weather, lushly colored the way things are on an overcast day, more deeply saturated than otherwise, with a density I would probably be apt to characterize as romantic in the rain. It seemed so full-bodied you could get drunk on it, so when I later saw "wine dregs" on the packaging it made sense to me. I couldn't stop sniffing my wrist. I couldn't stop thinking of a fall day back in high school when I'd worn a blood red flannel shirt I'd gotten at a thrift store, and somehow, because of that color, felt ten times moodier than I had any right to be, totally melodramatic, as if I were a perfect accompaniment to the golds and browns falling off the trees out the window. The word intoxicating gets thrown around a lot when discussing perfume, but Une Rose is one of the few scents I feel the word isn't compromised by, and when I open my cabinet it seems to stand out in a burnished glow, drawing my attention among the other boxes and bottles.


Aimée L'Ondée said...

We might be scent twins! Well, except I've yet to find a rose scent I really like. I'll have to try Une Rose, and if we're true scent twins, I'll love it too :^)

lady jicky said...

I must try to smell Une Rose . I do like Luten's Sa Majeste la Rose and some of the Rosine's are heavenly but ...... for the $$$ they do not last on me for long.

ScentScelf said...

I adore Une Rose. I think it and Mille et Une Roses are stunningly good rose up front on a pedestal scents, both with a "true" rose scent. But the Malle is an old rose, in the garden sense of the term, with the depth that those old bourbon or apothecary roses offer when you take your toward into those lush poms. The Lancome is a newer rose, just as "true," but whose character is different by nature of its inspiration.

Une Rose is absolutely beautiful, and has always emerged "the one" after every sortie toward another.

Brian said...

I am all for scent twinning. Or twining. If it means we get to trade and I get a bunch of scents I don't have to buy in exchange for a bunch I bought and don't seem to wear. You should try une rose, Lady Jicky, if only to smell it. It's expensive, very, but for me it was worth it. Of course, I'm not someone whose arm needs to be twisted. Far. Sa Majeste I like, Lady Jicky. It's a pretty, uncommonly smooth rose. But you're right, not a lot of lasting power. For that amount of money I expect annual visitors to my grave to smell it wafting up from the soil. Une Rose might surprise you by breaking with that tradition of poor longevity. And trust me, a little goes a long way, such that someone visiting your grave could very well merely visit neighboring counties to smell it. I like Mille et Une Roses and could kick myself for not buying the bottle I saw at Marshall's for next to nothing.