Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Rose That Isn't Just A Rose

The other night at Provence, a dear friend presented me with a gift, which itself beckoned from that sunny southern land (by way of NoLiIta): Le Labo's Rose 31. Freed it from its unassuming box, the characteristic no-frills presentation belied a fragrance that was anything but simple. This was, however, not our first meeting. I had visited Le Labo's shop a few months back and purchased the Discovery Set (three 5ml EDP of your choice), which consisted of Vetiver 46, Iris 39 and Rose 31. Pleased with all three and preferring not to brave that precariously crowded little stretch of Elizabeth Street, I had staved off the perfumophile urge to buy them in larger formats until my 15ml stash ran out. Then, there had been an article in the New York Times about young men's newfound taste in niche fragrance, which quoted a salesclerk at Le Labo as saying that Rose 31 was its most popular men's scent. And then, this: the gift bestowed. How Mme. Circumstance works us to her unseen ends! And, honestly, it's no wonder. Rose 31 is a special sort of thing. It manages to cradle what could be an over-the-top floral accord in a nest of warm, woody, spicy notes. Rose centifolia de Grasse, more humbly dubbed in our tongue as "cabbage rose," has an old-rose feel to it which could, with a few wrong turns, end it permanently in the septuagenarian soapdish. But from the start, Rose 31 tells its wearer that he's far from the ladies room. Here at last, he thinks, is a rose that conjures up Napoleon resting in the gardens at Malmaison after his latest military campaign, the aroma of 250 varieties of roses wafting through the air. Here at last, the twinned traits of masculine and feminine, fervor and ease, fecundity and languor. Rock rose notes blend with those of cumin, cedar, cardamom and Guiac wood. Longevity and sillage are pronounced. My only caveat would be skin-chemistry, as on my boyfriend this can turn a tad medicinal. Perfumer Daphne Bugey, the creator of this scent, has some other unusual, complex creations to her credit, the best of them also available at Le Labo: Bergamote 22 and Neroli 36. I hope to review these in the coming weeks.


Anonymous acqua santa said...

Thanks for the great posting. Rose and spice combos are a particular favorite but often I need to create them myself. Rose 31 goes on the wish list. I look forward to your next review of a Bugey scent.

September 12, 2007 9:09 AM  

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