Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Today’s Sample: Les Parfums de Rosine Ecume de Rose

In the perfume world, the phrase “come out smelling like a rose” might not always mean something positive. Rose is a scent for potpourri or sachets, but not necessarily for modern perfume, not unless it’s been rendered less floral by a shock of green (as in L’Ombre dans L’Eau) or dark and husky by violet and musk (as in Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose). Everywhere I read that people either tend to neglect or reject rose fragrances.

Yet the scent of a rose is lush and lovely, stately and elegant all at once, not unlike the flower itself. Too often in general commercial perfumes, roses end up dusty and powdery, like something dried and crumbling between the leaves of a forgotten scrapbook.

But what if the real scent of a rose, in its verdancy and full flower, were rendered in a perfume? What if, when you opened the scrapbook and pulled the decaying blossom from its pages, you were transported back to some lovely Gatsby-era garden party, somewhere right at the beginning of Modern. That’s what I think of when I smell Ecume de Rose.

The notes in Ecume de Rose are as follows:
Top: Blackcurrant leaves and water lilies
Heart: Dune roses, straw flowers, St. John’s wort
Base: Vetiver, amber, white musk

To me, the rose comes out in full blossom right at the beginning and stays in full perfume, with a fresh wet edge like dew and grass clinging to sandaled feet, and then eventually dries down to a discrete elegant floral supported by vetiver and white musk. It has the same salty, earthy undertone that I enjoy in Laura Tonatto Iss. With vetiver in the base (and it’s definitely there), I’m not sure if this should be a rose perfume for vetiver lovers, or a vetiver perfume for rose lovers. Either way, it has edgy yet nostalgic innocence, like a girl in white linen with pale bobbed hair and red lips, looking out over the garden and across the salty Sound. What does she see there?

Note: From now on, I'll be posting most days in the late afternoon or early evening, due to my work schedule.