A Month of Roses: Week 1

First seven days of not only a specific theme but predefined set of perfumes. Surprisingly, it was much easier to do than I thought: I didn’t have to think about what I would wear the next day – it was already on the calendar.

I publish this post to sum up my impressions from the first seven perfumes and to remind you that for each comment, in which you tell us what rose perfume you wore that day (or any of the days before), you are getting one entry into the draw for two bars of chocolate from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world.

Just remember: one comment – one entry, even if you tell in it about multiple perfumes worn on different days. At the same time, two comments about the same perfume posted on two different days will give you two entries. What’s the catch? You’ve probably noticed that, other than standard WordPress’ ads, there are no ads or affiliated links on this blog, so I’m not trying to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.

Red Roses

February 1: Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Esprit de Parfum (Bertrand Duchaufour)

I know that it’s called officially Mohur Extrait now. But the sample I was wearing was from the period when it still had the old name that hadn’t become official. From the first trio of perfumes, Mohur was my least favorite: I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t feel I’d want to wear it. Mohur Extrait feels different than just a higher concentration of the EdP version: it’s deeper and smoother. And agarwood doesn’t jump out on me as it happened before with Mohur EdP. Just in case you’ve missed it somehow: Mohur Extrait is a limited edition, and I’m not sure if those gorgeous bottles will be available again once they are sold out.

February 2: Guerlain Rose Barbare (Francis Kurkdjian)

While I enjoy wearing this perfume from time to time, the small decant that I have is probably all I need. It is pleasant; it fits its Guerlain collection well; but, in my opinion, Rose Barbare is neither “barbare” (whichever English equivalent you choose) nor that much “rose.” I am not trying to say that there’s no rose in that perfume but smelling it blind, I would have never thought about it as a rose-centric perfume. But still, it’s a nice perfume to wear.

February 3: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin (Christopher Sheldrake)

I think it is a beautiful perfume. It was the second time I’ve ever worn it properly, and I will not be doing it again: I have ideological grievances against it. I decided to wear it on that day because it served two purposes: while it was a beautiful rose perfume that fitted this Month of Roses project, I used it as an anti-lemming perfume in NST’s community project. I do not feel bad if you choose not to read [into] this perfume pedigree or think of Marlene Dietrich while wearing La Fille de Berlin, but for me this is where our relationship with this perfume ends.

February 4: Amouage Lyric (Daniel Maurel)

According to the calendar, I was supposed to wear Tauer Perfumes PHI – une rose de Kandahar. I didn’t realize that my sample was empty: probably, it’s time to buy a travel spray. And since it was a weekend, and we were invited to the friends’ house for dinner, I wanted to wear something special, not just a quickly found replacement out of all the perfumes that didn’t make it to the calendar in the first place. So I moved Lyric to the earlier date hoping to find a replacement for it later.

A couple of Valentine’s Days ago I paired Lyric with one of the stories from my childhood (Ax +By = A Genetic Mystery).

This is one of classic Amouage perfumes that is worth trying even if one doesn’t like rose or Amouage perfumes: it doesn’t work for everybody, it shouldn’t (and can’t) work for everybody but it is a great illustration for opulence in perfumery. I happen to love Lyric, and I feel joy every time I wear it. I wonder though, whether I actually smell this rose as a dark one or is it a power of suggestion from the packaging?

Deep Red Rose

February 5: By Kilian Rose Oud (Calice Becker)

Agarwood and I are not really friends. There is a handful of perfumes with this note that work for my skin (or at least for my nose when I smell them on my vSO) but most of them I rather dislike. Rose Oud is one of a few that are not bad, which brings me to the conclusion that it’s not real agarwood that makes up for this perfume’s price. No, I haven’t suddenly developed better olfaction abilities. But I remember that every time I thought I liked perfumes with agarwood, those were perfumes based on the “oud accord” (if any at all). I won’t probably go beyond the sample I have but I liked wearing it for the project.

February 6: Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose (Laurie Erickson)

As with all Laurie’s perfumes, there is no doubt that it is a real rose you smell. More is going on in this perfume, but rose is at center stage from the big opening until the last curtain call, if I were to stretch that theater metaphor. Velvet Rose is very Sonoma Scent Studio perfume so if you like their floral perfumes, this one should work well for you. My bottle of this perfume is slowly nearing the end (so, 3-4 more years, and it’ll be done) – ask me then if I’m replenishing it.

February 7: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille (Andy Tauer)

As I wrote in the post In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry, I cannot say that I love Une Rose Vermeille but I like it very much. It is fruity-floral perfume that is done the way this genre of perfumes should be done. It is a very strong and unapologetic lemony rose with the added raspberry sweetness. But unless you’re a [serial] monogamist when it comes to perfumes, do not go for anything more than 15 ml travel spray of this perfume: it is so potent that even that amount will serve you a decade.

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I will be back in a week with a write-up on the next seven perfumes on my calendar. I hope you like rose perfumes (and chocolate).

 

Images: my own

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A Simple Equation Or In the Search for the Perfect Rose

I deadened
The sounds, dissected music like a corpse,
Proved harmony by algebra. And then,
Then only did I dare, with all my lore,
Yield to the bliss of my creative fancy.
A. Pushkin, Mozart and Salieri

In celebration of this Valentine’s Day I brought you a bouquet of the rose stories. They all can be described by a simple linear equation:
Ax + ByWhere x is “a single rose stem” and y is “a colored glass container.” Changing parameters A and B I got three different results.

Ax + By = A Genetic Mystery

One of the rose bushes in my grandmother’s garden bloomed with big dark red flowers with velvety petals. They had a very light and unremarkable aroma but were extremely beautiful and, judging by the reaction of grown-ups, very rare. I don’t remember seeing anywhere else such roses. Or apples, apricots, cherries, tomatoes and many other agricultural wonders. It was a matter of fact that most of my classmates, who was growing in the big city without any relatives in villages or smaller towns, had never seen fruits or vegetables of that quality. But as a child I had never thought of how it came that my grandparents, who lived in a small town in a single family house with some land, had the best produce in the neighborhood where everybody grew those plants – I just was very proud of it. Now I realize that they both were big enthusiasts who were actively seeking good cultivars for plants they wanted to grow and spent a lot of time taking care of them. It was their hobby and they did it in addition to their regular jobs – he was a plant foreman and she was a surgical nurse. And probably thanks to their avocation, unlike many kids, I grew up loving fruits. But I was talking about roses.

As many beautiful things are, this rose was very fickle: it didn’t want to propagate through the cuttings. It didn’t reject the idea outright but it never produced the offspring of the same deep color. From everything I know about this method, it shouldn’t have happened but I saw it once with my own eyes and heard my grandmother’s neighbors and friends’ complaints that their new roses weren’t the same as on my grandmother’s rosebush. Of course, they didn’t grow to be yellow roses with divine scent but you would not be confused that they came from another bush. The picture below is the closest to the color I remember but the shape was different.

Dark Red Rose

A = “dark red”, B = “painted mason jar”: “A single stem of the dark red rose from Grandma’s bush under a painted mason jar” = an unexplainable evolution phenomenon.

Perfume to match: Amouage Lyric. When I wear this perfume I think of the beautiful and capricious rose that I saw last several decades ago and still remember. I wonder if a bottle in RL has that nice deep red color as on pictures. I think it’ll look nice on my shelf…

 

Ax + By = Lesson Learned

The second variety that grew in Grandma’s garden was a Tea Rose. Whereas it didn’t look as gorgeous as the whimsical dark red one it smelled wonderful and I remember it being used in conserves and home-made liqueurs. Have you ever tried rose petal conserve? The taste is nice but not too interesting: it is mainly sugar syrup with rose flavor. But the texture is very unusual: petals get soft during the cooking but they keep some residual firmness. Natural home-made rose petal conserves have light amber color and taste better than they look.

If instead of cooking rose petals were left to ferment (I saw the process many times but was too little to remember the sequence of adding water and sugar) and later fortified with alcohol, the result was a very tasty and beautiful dark-pink colored liqueur. I was allowed to taste some before Grandma would add alcohol.

One of the first perfume experiences in my life was using rose oil. I don’t remember if it was available where I lived but in the smaller town where I spent summers at my grandparents’ you could buy a tiny 1 ml vials on a card with Bulgarian Rose Oil. It wasn’t too expensive: I think you could have it for the price of two ice cream cones. But one can be expected to forfeit only that many ice cream cones…

Tea rose in the garden smelled very similar to the last drop of the rose oil in my vial and since I observed my grandmother’s dealing with all those petals – how hard could it be to make my own perfume?! I picked the most scent rich flower from the bush, tore off the petals, put them in a small cobalt glass jar (somehow I knew that it shouldn’t be transparent) and left for several days to steep. It smelled rather nice during the first day and I had high hopes for the end product… When a week later my grandmother explained (as much as she could – I was 10) the disappointing result of my experiment and bought me another rose oil vial, she allowed me to throw away the jar without trying to clean it. It was the last time in my life when I experimented with making my own perfumes.

Lancome Mille et Une Roses

A = “tea rose”, B = “cobalt glass jar”: “tea rose steeped for a week in a cobalt glass jar” = I still love blue bottles but will stick to buying “ready-to-wear” perfumes.

Perfume to match: Lancôme Mille et Une Roses. Many years ago a friend shared with me a decant of this perfume. She said it wasn’t as good as the original 2000 et Une Rose but I liked it. Since then I’ve added a bottle to my collection. The color of the juice mesmerizes me and even though real blue color is unobtainable for the roses (we won’t count dyed white ones or genetically engineered with blueish hue), the beautiful peppery rose of Mille et Une Roses doesn’t smell artificial.

Ax + By = An Improvised Holiday Decoration

When moving overseas with limited luggage allowance one has to choose carefully what to pack and what to leave behind. Among other things, bringing which was completely out of question, were vases with which I grew up. Those were massive cut crystal vases that alone would have sent our suitcases into the excess baggage category.

When it’s your first apartment in the new country and you need to buy pots and pans and plates and cutlery and bedding and … everything, vases aren’t high on the list. So at least for the first several years the only vases I had were those free ones that came with premade bouquets. One day when I came across Moselland Cat Bottle Riesling, I bought two bottles – white and black – just for bottles themselves. Wine was perfectly drinkable (back then, I’m not sure if I would think so today) and bottles moved with me as we changed apartments.

Rose in a Cat Vase

With A = “red” and B = “white cat bottle” you get “red rose in a white cat bottle” – a romantic single rose bouquet, which is good for any occasion but especially for Valentine’s Day. A = “black artificial” and B = “black cat bottle” result in the perfect Halloween decoration.

Perfume to match: Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Amour. It is not a big favorite in the Perfumeland, you’ll find maybe a couple of reviews and those aren’t too glowing. But I loved it the first time I smelled it in the store, tested it for a while, bought a bottle six months later (which is really fast for me) and enjoy wearing it almost every time I put it on (it doesn’t work in hot humid weather).

There are many other rose perfumes that I like and wear so one day I’ll add their stories to the bouquet. What about you? Do you have any rose [perfume] stories to share?

 

Images: dark red rose from here, all others my own.

Entertaining Statistics: August, 2012

 

August was nice: we had several hot days and the rest of the month was on the cooler side. But perfume wear/test-wise it was a strange month for me: as I was trying to figure out if perfumes contributed to my persistent cough (I think they didn’t) I took a break from any perfumes for a while; in addition to that, at least several perfumes I wore during the month had such staying power that testing anything else the same day was out of question. As a result, I both tested and wore fewer perfumes.

So I decided to entertain you with another type of statistics data.

Do you remember the fun question Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels asked last year: Guerlain or Chanel? and the results we compiled? So when last Monday Birgit asked to choose ten “deserted island perfumes”, I got curious to see if answers to this question correlated to the previous results. But when I started I couldn’t stop just there.

Stats August 2012

Our deserted island will be populated by at least 45 perfumistas, though there was some dissension as to the climate choice: concerns were voiced that not all favorite perfumes were tropic-friendly.

Future settlers named 310 unique perfumes from 91 brands (when a concentration or vintage were mentioned I counted perfumes as unique). See the chart above for the total number of selected perfumes for top 15 brands.

Two most popular perfumes were Guerlain Shalimar and Frederic Malle Carnal Flower11 voices each; Chanel No 5 got 6 votes (including one for parfum); Amouage Lyric, Chanel Coromandel, Lancome Cuir de Lancome, Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan and Chanel No 19 (counting EdP, EdT, parfum and vintage) got 5 voices each. 79 perfumes were named by more than one perfumista. It means that we’ll have 231 unrepeated perfumes to enjoy ourselves or swap – not bad for a group of 45.

Only 4 out of 10 perfumes on my list were unique (Climat by Lancôme, Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers, Vert pour Madame by DSH Perfumes and Sweet Milk by Jo Malone). Only Chanel No 19 though was among the most popular selections. The other five were on two to three people’s lists.

Deserted Island Perfumes

I wonder how good my swapping chances would be.