Memory lane Monday: Ombre Rose

ombre rose 1 Hopping aboard the wayback machine today for Ombre Rose, a fave of mine in the ‘80s. I remember owning and loving that little opaque black mini bottle with its round, clear-glass stopper. It just looked so chic and French sitting on my dresser. And I loved holding it in my hand as much as wearing it, as the bottle’s mix of smooth and raised textures was a tactile pleasure.

The scent itself was the perfect blend at the time: soft, creamy, elegant, yet comforting (and my-then-rose-hatin’ self didn’t detect enough of that note to set off any alarms). I’m sure I was also partial to the vanilla, LOV and ylang-ylang. Which, while we’re going back in the day, I have many happy memories of from one of those Coty Sweet Earth ombre rose 2solid perfume compacts. Anyone remember those?

I wore Ombre Rose during my very enjoyable college years, so it holds pleasant olfactory associations. It offered a cozy counterpoint to louder, more outspoken scents such as Giorgio, Poison, and the like, fragrances that I loved in moderation but didn’t want to wear too frequently.

I think Fleurine over on Basenotes put it just perfectly: “Old-fashioned but not Old Lady, with a softness that seems to reference Guerlain. Hard as it may be to believe, there was at least one whispery soft treasure from the 1980s, Ombre Rose. A must for any powdery fragrance fan.”

This is one of those scents that you could wear anywhere, at any time (save for triple-digit summer heat, perhaps) and it just creates a cloud of warm, happy comfort around you, or at least it did for me. I’m not sure about its reformulation status, but I got a dab sample vial recently from Surrender to Chance and it didn’t strike me as markedly different, but who knows?

Notes and info here from Surrender to Chance: “Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose was introduced in 1981. Created by Francoise Caron with notes of coumarin, vanilla, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, rose, orris, sandalwood, musk and honey. Ombre Rose is one of fragrances from the last 100 years that Roja Dove believes to be the true classics of their decade.”

This is one ‘80s scent that’s worth revisiting, although similar fragrances came along later. With all the big-gun scents dominating that decade, what softer, more low-key fragrances from that era that captured your heart?

Photos borrowed from Fragrantica

48 Comments
Louise April 11, 2013

I remember when I was a kid my older sister had bottles of perfume like this. Iused to sneak into her room and try them.

Karen April 11, 2013

I love the design of the bottles - so unique and striking.

Teri April 10, 2013

Count me in on the Ombre Rose love, too. I could never figure out why I liked this so much as it wasn't anything like any other scent I owned. But it was a 'zen' perfume for me. It seemed to center me and clear my thoughts and bring me peace...quite an agenda for one small fragrance! I loved the Coty Sweet Earth scents. I had the grasses and the flowers set and my favs were clover in the grasses set and honeysuckle in the flowers set. They briefly made spray scents, too. I remember owning a spray of Clover during my high school years.

Aparatchick April 8, 2013

Thanks for that trip down memory lane. I loved Ombre Rose, bought it for the bottles, kept it for the scent. And those Sweet Earth solids? I had nearly every one of them (there were more than just the Flowers, Grasses, and Woods - I remember a Rare Flowers and a Holiday one with incense, but there were others too) and wore them throughout my high school days.

LaurenW April 8, 2013

In the 80s I was foolishly faithful to Pleasures. Didn't know other fragrances existed. I finished bottle after bottle. So strange to think back on that time now, because I haven't finished a bottle in years.

FeralJasmine April 8, 2013

That is my idea of a truly beautiful bottle. I itch to touch it!

Suzanne April 8, 2013

I can't think of any low-key fragrances from the 80s, Ann. Probably because I wasn't buying perfumes for myself back then, but was mostly wearing what was gifted to me (Opium, for one). The other reason I can't think is because you messed me up with that photo of the Ombre Rose bottle ... *want*!! :D

Beth April 8, 2013

I graduated in 1987, so I was firmly in the "lets prove I'm an adult" phase. No powdery perfumes for me, my idea of adult was Obsession, Poison and Opium. Of course when I grew out of that all I would wear for a while was Casmir. Then I dumped all the others. Wow, what I wouldn't give to go back and tell dumb me "hey, put those in the back of the cubboard and hang onto them!"

Martha April 8, 2013

I didn't wear this, but not because I disliked it. Now, I'm not sure why I didn't have a bottle. The bottle itself is still very appealing to me. About those Sweet Earth solid compacts: I had one and loved it. I think it contained vanilla and sandalwood and I can't remember the other. Were there 3 or 4 different scents in a compact? My mother liked it, too, and would ask to use it. Also, I had a bottle of Styx. It came in this sort of ugly, chunky black bottle with white lettering. Another Coty perfume, I believe.

Tiara April 8, 2013

I'm a pushover for ylang-ylang and vanilla so I'm going to try to get a sample. Not a big rose fan so the fact you didn't notice it gives me hope. I missed out on perfume in the 80's. Between budget issues and demanding allergies, I steered clear of perfumes, scented candles, etc. I get a bit sad thinking about how much was missed scent-wise but trying to make up for it now.

Poodle April 8, 2013

I wanted a bottle of this in the worst way. I remember when I'd go to the mall I'd stop by the fragrance counter and give myself a spritz. I never did get a bottle of it. I think I saved my pennies and ended up getting Jardins de Bagatelle instead. I remember liking K de Krizia and Calandre too. I did get the Calandre for Christmas one year.

Cheryl April 8, 2013

Even if the juice was no longer any good, the bottle is still a thing of beauty! Luckily, the scent is too, particularly for a powder lover like myself. It's really nice to be reminded that the 1980's weren't all about lofty hair and loftier shoulderpad perfumes!

eldarwen22 April 8, 2013

I was born in the early '80's but I always remember my mother wearing Pour Monsieure (Chanel). I really didn't pay much attention to perfumes until Debbie Gibson released Electric Youth. For the life of me, I can't really remember what it smelled like but I remember owning a bottle.

Rina April 8, 2013

The 80's to me were all about Coco. It still brings me back to a time where I was open and learning and alive. Maybe that's why it suits me no longer. Sigh....

poodletwins April 8, 2013

Ah, my first real perfume, given to me as a teenager by my godmother. I remember liking the shape of the bottle and the scent. Probably will re-visit for old time's sake. Very classic scent.

Ginny M April 8, 2013

I still love--and still have a half-full bottle of--Eau de Givenchy. Not as soft as Ombre Rose, but it and vintage Cristalle really take me back to the days when the world offered nothing but possibility.

Nancysg April 8, 2013

I wore this in the eighties also. It was a distinctly different scent from what I was usually wearing at the time. Mostly white florals such as Sung. Felt like a scent of distinction. I still have the empty beautiful clear glass bottle on my dresser. Maybe it is time to wear it again.