A Rose Man

By Jenni Mann

The Rose; such a symbol of love, romance, and gentility. Even with its powdery scent, fresh green stem fragrance, and thorny branches, it is seen as something ultra-feminine. As a scent is it seen as delicate, rich and ladylike. Woody, leathery, or even earthy smells seem to be the epitome of men’s fragrance when looking at a men’s scent counter. In our society today it seems deemed that these are the masculine scents, whereas the florals are reserved for women. Fear not gentlemen, this is just the label; look a little closer at the ingredients and see the notes of jasmine, iris, and roses, all unexpected florals, sitting right there. 2020 is the year men’s florals became the most modern perfume to wear and celebrate, starting with Maison Francis Kurjkdjian l’Homme À la rose. Read A Rose Man here to find out more.

Now more than ever, the modern man has the freedom to choose his own version of masculinity.

People have had long associations with flowers and their meanings, red roses symbolising feminine romance, lilies for friendship or joy, and white flowers for an apology. But scent has many-layered meanings. From the earliest roots of perfumery, which can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, India, and Persia, fragrance was more often used to distinguish class than to define gender.

Flowers were also considered natural examples of the existence of the divine – a gift from the gods. To wear them and smell of them was to be closely connected to the gods, meaning that the higher your ‘class’ status, the more you would be doused in a floral scent.

A tale that’s unusual for modern-day masculinity would be the example of medieval kings, with their steely stares and heavy metal armour. These same kings would often have a bunch of blossoms tucked into the sleeve, so that entering a room would mean bringing with them the opulent scent of flowers. It’s interesting to see that men and flowers have had a long history together, despite the modern view we are often presented with.

The idea of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity,’ are only modern conventions that evolved from the 1950s within scent and society. Much of the inspiration for this new scent, of course, comes from the 2014 A’ la Rose scent for women. As well as being thought of as a female fragrance, the rose is misunderstood in many ways. There are only two varieties that can be used in scent. The Damask rose, which is the most ancient of the two and the May rose, Rose de Mai, which was grown as a hybrid. 

Lavender has long been associated with both men and women, but when it comes to the magnificent rose or the majestic jasmine it seems on the surface to be kept only for women. In reality, these flowers have been popping up in men’s perfumes for years, featuring on the ingredients list of many trendsetting scents.

Take as an example Dior Eau de Sauvage which has been a classic since its release in 1966. The popular and refined smell actually includes jasmine, here seen as Hedione which is a transparent green jasmine note (read more about Hedione here). It’s hardly presented to the public as a floral fragrance yet that is the major part of the scent’s success.

Step up the very brilliant Francis Kurkdjian with his perfume house Maison Francis Kurkdijan. Francis is a dynamic perfumer who has broken rules and created some of the best modern perfumes within the last 20 years. His latest scent which has just entered the market is no exception. If any creative nose was going to come out of the dark with a bold fragrance for men with Rose in its name and at its core, it was going to be him. Welcome l’Homme À la rose, a fresh rose scent for men.

Maison Francis Kurkdijan has been a pioneer of perfumery in the past 2 decades, taking inspiration from many a heritage and pushing boundaries. He has cited inspirations as historical figures such as Marie Antoinette, who was the muse for his limited edition perfume, Sillage de la Reine.

Now, his latest perfume is his free interpretation of a rose for men. It echoes his quest for ever-evolving perfumery, where rules are shaken up and there is a freedom to create.

The first spray takes us to a bright, sunny, easy space with a zing of fresh grapefruit paired with the green notes of Damask Rose from Bulgaria bringing a vitality, power, and energy.

In the middle find notes built around woody accords, with the herbal essence of sage which hits a wonderful alternative facet to the usual scent of rose and gradually moves towards warming woody notes.

Add in the citrus from the rock rose plant (here from Spain) which is woody and herbaceous .

With this fresh and bright Eau de Parfum, Francis Kurkdjian gives men the power to wear a rose because of the clever blend of the flower with woody and herbaceous facets. With many men’s fragrances already bursting with flowers, it’s exciting to see here the floral brought to the forefront of the bottle singing loud and proud of its Rose centre.

This Queen of flowers (or here the King) has an amazing span of facets to its scent, from fresh sharp green to fruity pear or apple, all the way to soft juicy strawberry, raspberry, or lychee. It is by taking only the facets required that a skilled perfumer can take this garden delight and shape it towards a more ‘masculine’ scent.

This new fragrance is very much part of the evolution of perfume, and the new freedoms in society. No longer worn just to please a lover or to hide an unsubtle smell – perfume is here to be worn to please ourselves. And should we feel that we want to wear a rose scent (no matter what our sex or sexuality) we have the freedom, and this great fragrance, to do just that.

For more information of the perfume and the brand please click MaisonFrancisKurkdjian.com here

If you enjoyed A Rose Man, why not check out Scented Love or The Cleverest Scent.