The rose conjures up so many visual images, deep and intense smells. Its velvety petals along with its antagonistic thorns appeal to a lot of romantic ideas. For example, the line from Romeo and Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, holds an image of forlorn lovers. We know the taste of rose, we know the power of rose. She is the queen of perfumery, loved by many and loathed by a few. Yet in so many ways the rose is misunderstood. Each has its own specific fragrance, yet only two strands of the flower are ever used in perfumery, Rosa Damescena and Rosa Centofuliia
In the UK we think of the pale delicate girl know as an English rose, seen so often in period dramas and literature, or country cottage gardens. Yet the Rose is not native to Britain, but imported from France, Persia or India amongst other countries.
Although very much adopted from foreign soil, these flowers have become the epitome of English elegance. Roses symbolise simplicity, romance and grace. Describing a girl as an English rose perpetuates this nostalgic romantic ideal of beauty. Think Mary from the BBC series Downton Abbey or Fiona from the film Bitter Moon; a delicate, pale skinned girl with a pink blush on her cheeks. She is a modest, dignified, upper class lady with a certain type of natural charm that tells you she hasn’t been working in the fields but rather sits in the windowsill writing poetry and reading Jane Austen.
Most think of sweet powdery ‘old lady’ scents when they think of rose and it certainly went out of fashion because of this association. Thankfully niche perfume brands have over the years revisited the majestic flower and brought out not just floral notes, but green notes, citrus notes even earthy notes.
This makes for a collection of stunning fragrances that offer upon a totally new facet of rosy scents and it has given the flower a whole new lease of life. There may only be two actual rose breeds used in perfumery but this joyful flower brings a profusion of new flowery twists to the table and ultimately to the bottle.
Below is a small selection of rose fragrances to admire:
Rose of No Man’s Land, Byredo
The perfume is like a soothing balm; sophisticated elegance envelops the skin and strengthens the backbone.
Top: pink pepper, Turkish rose petals
Middle: raspberry blossom, Turkish rose absolute
Base: papyrus, white amber
Une Rose by Edouard Fléchier, Frederic Malle
An earthy rose is tinged with Périgord truffle for a subtle taste of the gothic. This crimson femininity is bound by wine drag to a darker base, the rose’s secret roots.
À la rose, Maison Francis Kurkdjian
À la rose is an ode to femininity, a declaration of love translated into a fragrance.
Damascena rose from Bulgaria
Centifolia rose from Grasse
Bergamot from Calabria
Orange from California
Violet flower accord
Woody cedar musky accord
MAGENTA Midnight Rose & Musk, Sri London
Dry amber accords are enhanced with sandalwood and leather. The heart entwines jasmine with orris and rose whilst the top leads with orange and red fruits, creating multiple layers of mystery that is both beautifully menacing and undeniably addictive.
Middle: jasmine, violet, rose, pink pepper, orris
Base: musk, cedarwood, oud, amber, saffron
Fragrance Oil Préparation Rose Oil Isparta, Ostens
The highest concentration of Rose Isparta oil is blended in Ostens’ silky-smooth dry oil formulation.
Noorolain Taif, Thameen
The world famous Noorolain Tiara has inspired this fragrance; noorolain literally means “light of the eye” and captures the notion of the most beautiful thing the eye can behold.
Top: orange, coriander, pink pepper
Middle: Taif rose, Moroccan rose absolute, jasmine absolute
Base: Haitian vetiver, cashmere wood, musks
Arcana Rosa, L’Artisan Parfumeur
Thorny. Impertinent. This rose favours dark suits and masculine spicy notes.
Top: cistus labdanum
Midnight Rose & Oud, Helm London
Notes of geranium, saffron, clove leaf and vanilla are matched by the old wood, musk, patchouli and cinnamon bark finale.
Crushing Bloom, Tom Daxon
A rose fragrance with darkness and weight. Green, spicy top notes partner a floral heart of rose, jasmine sambac and iris. At its base, the finest musks produce a silky feel, like running petals through your fingers.
Top: lily of the valley, cardamom, pink pepper, black pepper
Middle: rose, jasmine sambac, iris
Base: oakmoss, vetiver, silken musks
Red Roses Cologne, Jo Malone London
Inspired by a voluptuous blend of seven of the world’s most exquisite roses. Clear and romantic.
Middle: red roses accord
Eau de Parfum Impression Rose Oil Isparta, Ostens
An alluring darkness at its core, effervescence in its finish.
Pink pepper CO2 LMR
Rose essential LMR
Patchouli oil LMR
Labdanum resinoid LMR
Elisabethan Rose Eau de Parfum, Penhaligon’s
A fragrance with (of course) a most commanding presence. Regal, demanding, imposing and yet so perfectly at ease. Delicate indeed.
Top: hazelnut leaf, almond oil, cinnamon
Middle: red lily, rose centifolia oil, rose absolute
Base: vetiver, musk, wood
Persian Rose Perfume Oil, Atelier Lumira
Persian Rose is a seductive scent of bright, floral rose absolute, blended with subtle notes of bergamot zest and dark resinous amber.
Top: sparkling mandarin, bergamot zest, sweet orange
Middle: budding Persian rose, geranium essence
Base: soft musk, patchouli, dark amber
Rose Imperiale, Creed
Opening with a blend of Calabrian bergamot and Bulgarian rose, the fragrance moves to a spicy, woody mix of patchouli and pink pepper at the heart. This sensuous base returns to floral notes of velvety rose, tuberose and neroli to round off this refined scent.
Top: Calabrian bergamot, Bulgarian rose and white iris from Florence angelica
Middle: patchouli from India, pink pepper from Reunion, cedar, bergamot from Italy
Base: Bulgarian and Turkish roses, tuberose, neroli from Tunisia, pepper bay
Rosa Nobile, Acqua di Parma
As a tribute to the “queen of flowers,” Acqua di Parma has created the ear de perfume spray Rosa Nobile, an elegant fragrance celebrating the charm of innate femininity.
Top: tangerine, Calabrian bergamot, pepper
Middle: Centifolia rose absolute, peony accord, violet, lily of the valley
Base: musk, Virginian cedarwood, ambergris
Rose in Wonderland, Atkinsons
A radiant phantasmagorical flower that grows in the green wilds, it is a dizzying hybrid of the rose’s thorny, earthy prickliness and its smooth, luminous, deceptively innocent beauty.
Top: rose dew accord and blackcurrant buds
Middle: geranium and rose centifolia absolute
Base: vetiver and cristal amber
Be Mine Eau de Parfum Intense and purse spray, By Terry
Discover this floral leather fragrance: a true concentration of ecstasy with a lingering sensual scent.
Top: raspberry and Madagascan black pepper
Middle: iris with damask rose petals and absolute
Base: leathery with saffron accents and Indonesian patchouli
A Rose For…, Floris London
Contemporary and dark with a confident, complex character that places the rose with notes of spice, orris and woods, taking the wearer on an altogether diverse journey of romance.
Top: darjeeling tea, incense, cassis
Middle: red rose, orris, oud
Base: sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla
Mon Premier Cristal Blooming “Tendre,” Absolu de Parfum, Lalique
An overdose of essence of Turkish rose, the most luminous and fruity of the perfumer’s palette, is made more radiant still by playful, crystal-clear pear. A softly rounded, candid Lily of the Valley adds freshness to the accord.
Eau Rose Eau de Toilette, Diptyque
Pick up the petals of a rose, add its green leaves, its stem, and don’t forget its buds. Immerse in clear water and wait to reveal its rosy delicateness, fruity accents and acidulated green notes. Eau Rose is composed like an infusion of the finest damascena and centifolia roses.
Rose damascena, rose centifolia, litchi accord
Rosier, Nancy Meiland
A contemporary twist on the rose scent composed of Bulgarian rose, pink pepper for the thorns and green galbanum for the leaves.
Tea Rose Eau de Parfum, Perfumer’s Workshop
There is no rose fragrance on the market today that is more timeless, more honest or more classic than Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose.
Top: peony, chamomile
Middle: tea rose, damask rose, Bulgarian rose
Base: geranium leaves, violet leaves, cedarwood
Infusion de Rose Eau de Parfum, Prada
This sublime and luxurious scent is inspired by apparent contradictions. Imagine garden roses of ancient variety, highly scented, infusing in a perfumed water of neroli, mandarin and galbanum.
Top: rose from Bulgaria and Turkey
Middle: galbanum, mandarin
Rosa Absolute single wick candle, Molton Brown London
A luxuriant single-wick scented candle blended with intriguing notes of sweet blackcurrant, deep rose and bold patchouli in a mysteriously romantic aroma for the home.
Top: blackcurrant, pink pepper, raspberry
Middle: rose, violet leaf, geranium
Base: patchouli, labdanum, vanilla
Eau Rose solid perfume, Diptyque
On the skin, it imparts a delicate floral intensity accented with green and fruity notes.
Bergamot, lychee, rose, cedar, musks
Rose Mignonnerie Extrait de Cologne, Roger&Gallet
Renowned perfumer Aurelien Guichard created Rose Mignonnerie with the sensual precious distilled essences of Bulgarian rose and basil as well as the balsamic woody notes of mandarin, cedre entraine and elemi.
Rose Hair & Body Oil, Ouai Haircare
A fusion of absinthium, shea and rosehip oils works to nourish and protect strands, lock in moisture and impart a radiant glow on your skin and hair.
Rose, bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, white musk
Rosa Absolute Sumptuous Bathing Oil, Molton Brown London
A bathing elixir enriched with luxurious Italian rose and argan oils, laving skin silky, supple and sensually perfumed.
Top: rose oil
Middle: blackcurrant and geranium