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to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.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

A Month of Roses

It all started with Lucas of The Chemist in the Bottle hearing on the radio some random person pronouncing the upcoming February to be a month of roses. While he wasn’t sure what the reason for that statement was, he came up with the idea to wear rose perfumes every day of February first, and then, once he realized that he didn’t have enough rose perfumes to pull it off on his own, he invited his readers to take a part, and based on everybody’s responses Lucas created a calendar of who will be wearing which perfume and on which date.

My guess was that February got that flower designation because of the Valentine’s Day. This holiday has enthusiastic followers, reluctant participants and “conscientious objectors.” I am firmly in the first camp but I know one of the widely used reasons – a variation on “You should show your love year round – not just on Valentine’s Day!” So the idea of celebrating the whole month, without making it into a single day occasion, appealed to me even more.

I decided that I would wear rose-centric perfumes every day in February. I created my own calendar. It follows the Calendar of Lucas for those days that feature perfumes that I like and have in my collection (presented in bold), and for the rest of the days I chose alternative perfume. To get 28 perfumes that I like and do not mind wearing, I had to make an exception to my usual rule that I wear only perfumes from bottles or decants, so there will be some sample vials (including a dab ones) but I’ll try to give every perfume a proper “skin time” during the day.

A Month of Rose Perfumes Calendar

I invite you to participate in this Month of Roses. Wear rose perfumes from either calendars, or come up with your own choice. Do a month of rose perfumes, a day or anything in between.

I know that you come here for the company (and pictures of Rusty) so I hope to have a regular conversation on or around the suggested topic. But if you choose to take a part in this spontaneous group project, each comment you live telling me, which rose perfume you’re wearing that day, will give you one entry into a giveaway. I’ll do the math in the end, and you could always refuse the prize, so I suggest we skip altogether the part where you tell me to enter, or not to enter (that’s not the question).

Use this post for comments about perfumes worn during the first week – February 1st – 7th.

What’s the prize? I’ll be original for a perfume blog draw and banal for Valentine’s Day offerings: chocolate. Winner gets two bars from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world (and I won’t even have to be creative on the customs form).

Are you going to join us?

War’s Unwomanly Face: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin

Even though I was born to the generation born to the generation that went through the War, we grew up knowing about that war, remembering it and not leaving it behind us. Not only around holidays and special dates, but all year round we were watching movies about that war, reading books, listening to songs. We had our own mythology that became a common knowledge, the uniting force. Fascism wasn’t an abstract term: we knew a lot about it and hated it. Even people who opposed the Soviet regime held that war sacred. It was our war.

Of course, we knew about World War II, allies, joint effort to defeat Nazi Germany but in the country we always thought and talked about it as of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945.The USSR lost twenty million people to this war. There were probably no families not affected by that war. It was our War. It was our Victory.

One important part of that patriotic mythology was an image of the Russian Soldier – the Defender, the Protector, the Liberator.

Soviet War Memorial in Berlin

So when I first read the explanation behind Serge LutensLa Fille de Berlin perfume in Kafka’s review, I was appalled: how could he?! How dared he?!! They had started it! They were enemies who invaded our country, who methodically exterminated civil population, destroyed cultural heritage and stole everything they could steal – and they did it not even on an individual level but as an organized and controlled plan.

I understand that any war has multiple faces and that regular people who might have not contributed to their country’s decision to start a war might suffer from it as a result. I understand that horrible actions of one side do not justify those same actions from the other. But while Nazi Germany for years tortured and killed millions of civilians – just for belonging to the “wrong” nation or ethnic groups – as well as employed forced laborers, killed POWs and bombed hospitals, Germany got to endure the hardship of the regular army occupation for a couple of months (I’m talking just about the after war chaos since later both the Soviet and the U.S. authorities put an end to an uncontrolled violence) – and we should pay a tribute to their women’s resilience and hardship they went through?! I sympathize but … cry me a river. You don’t want to pay homage to women of the country that brought communism affliction to Europe? Fine. How about Polish women who suffered greatly from Nazis? Or Jewish? Not sexy enough, Mr. Lutens?

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin

Yesterday, on May 9th, the Victory Day, I wore La Fille de Berlin. I did it as an act of a symbolic protest against current Russia’s actions against Ukraine and its attitude towards the rest of the World. I like this perfume. I like the disturbing color of the juice. I like the opening rose burst and the metallic undertone of the scent. I wish I hadn’t read Kafka’s or Victoria’s (EauMG) reviews: I usually do not care for an ad copy or perfumer’s commentary so if it weren’t for those reviews, I would have skipped them (and I promise to myself never to listen to those pseudo-philosophical mumblings again). But what I read about La Fille de Berlin is imprinted in my mind now and I just cannot bring myself to wearing it.

During the Great Patriotic War my mother’s mom was brought to Germany against her will to be a Fremdarbeiter. She died young after the war and her sister, who during the war served as a nurse in front-line duty unit, raised her. I knew her as my grandmother. My father’s mother, a medical school student at the time, helped in the hospital in Evacuation. So I’d rather stick to my Portrait of the Lady rose – it suits me better.

Al Farrow The Spine and Tooth of Santo Guerro 2012

War’s Unwomanly Face is a name of one of my favorite books written by Svetlana Alexievich. You can download it in PDF from here (author’s site):

A woman is the giver of life; she safeguards life, so “Woman” and “life” are synonyms.
But during the most terrible war of the 20th century a woman had to become a soldier. She not only rescued and bandaged the wounded; she also fired a sniper’s rifle, dropped bombs, blew up bridges, went reconnoitering, and captured identification prisoners. A woman killed. She killed the enemy who, with unprecedented cruelty, was attacking her land, her home, and her children.


Images: The Soviet War Memorial from here; the rest – my own.