It is not exactly a state secret that I love roses. I know they’re almost the cliché of the flower world but I love them in all of their permutations: the big jammy spicy ones with blooms practically bigger than your head, the ones with the tiny buds either single or in profusion, the ones that smell delicate, the ones that smell so strongly it’s like getting smacked across the chops with ROSE!!! and even the ones that don’t smell at all (although those a bit less.) My friend Sue for years lived in a rented bungalow in West Hollywood with a fairly useless driveway that she turned into “Rose Alley”- pots and pots of them lovingly tended and timed so that there would be blooms from spring until well into fall. It was a sad day when they had to move and a lot of the roses had to go. Luckily a co-worker of mine had just bought a pretty house with a lovely yard in El Sereno and gave a good home to the orphans: 20 years later they are still going strong and Sue’s lemon trees, transplanted from pots, are huge.
I was actually on the committee that chose the centennial rose in celebration of the 100th birthday of the city of Beverly Hills, the final choice being planted in Will Rogers Park across from the Beverly Hills Hotel (infamous for being he site where George Michael was arrested for cottaging. Who knew I lived in such a sexual hotbed? I thought that was WeHo?!) The rose we finally chose was a salmon pink one (which I pointed out matched almost perfectly the color of the Hotel when we were selecting) and a spicy fragrance. Oddly enough, the photos in this post showed up in my Facebook “memories” just today, Monday. Rosy Kismet.
Rose de Nuit is also one that has come up a lot on my radar lately, mainly since Serge Lutens is kind of pushing it in direct emails. Now, I don’t need to pop $300 or so for a bell jar of this, certainly not unsniffed, so it was on my list of roses that I had to hit up StC for. Dabbing it on from the wee sample I have it seems like a big rose- the opening on me is jammy and boozy and in-your-face in that classic Serge Lutens kind of way. Then it starts to get musky, and that’s when I really start to love it. It almost seems to be the Yang to MKK*‘s Ying, where MKK is in-your-(ahem) face musk that goes to roses. This is rose, rose, ROSE that goes to musk. Maybe I do need a bell jar? (EDIT) it’s later in the evening and I keep getting whiffs of this. Yes I need it. Who needs car insurance?
Now just this past week Portia reviewed Rose Omeyyade by Atelier des Ors, which was the impetus for this trip to StC. Wonders of skin chemistry I guess: I do get the oudh in the opening that Portia does, oddly mixed with raspberries. Not fresh ones, jam. Really good jam, like the one my mom used to make. Not sweet, but definitely cooked. Then I start to get the rose. It’s kind of odd- it’s almost a ghost rose- you smell it, you try to parse it and it’s gone, just to reappear when you stop trying. It’s like the rose equivalent of the Museum scene in “Dressed to Kill’ where Angie Dickinson is trying to catch up to the stranger she just met- she follows him through the labyrinthine rooms of the gallery, always catching a glimpse of him just as he is entering another room. Like Angie and her stranger, just when you think you lost it you turn around and there is is: like the Centennial Rose served on a raspberry tart on a charger plate made of peppery oudh. A lot more appetizing than that reads and it settles down quite a bit as it goes along, but I don’t think I am going to need this one.
And then there is Rose Prick.
I have to write that in some ways Tom Ford annoys me. He is thin, handsome, talented and relatively young. He has done some great things is fashion, in scents, and even in the arts (I thought “A Single Man”, while flawed, was brilliant) But then there seems to be the Tom Ford who is the brilliant marketer. The one who will take a slightly outré name, stick it on something that seems to have been designed by AI, in this case with a brief “Make me an expensive smelling perfume with rose that will sell well but not offend anyone.” If you told me this was from Lancome, or Estée Lauder I wouldn’t have blinked. If you told me Avon even, I’d have thought “good for them.” Rose Prick is just so.. Sephora friendly Johnny Ross should put it in one of his YouTube videos. Frankly, Tom could have more accurately called it Cash Grab and stopped there..
Okay, so, what are your favorite roses? Rose scents? Cheap and cheerful or ruinously expensive? Please let us know in the comments.
Rose de Nuit is available at the Serge Lutens website (now thankfully shipping bell jars to the US) for $305. Rose Omeyyade by Atelier des Ors is available at online retailers lie FragranceNet for about $150 at the time of this writing, $275 retail at LuckyScent. Tom Ford Rose Prick is available at the usual suspects $250 for 1oz. My samples are from Surrender to Chance. Photos are mine and from Pexels.
*Has MKK been renamed? G-D forbid reformulated? It’s now just called “Koublai Kahn” on the website- if you know, please chime in
Rose is not an easy note for me. The only rose fragrances I own and love are Ottoman Empire and Parfum Sacré. My samples of Sa Majesté la Rose and La Fille de Berlin have grown on me though. I might go for a bottle or a decant. You made me really curious about Rose de Nuit, I will have to get a sample.
Uncle Serge is really good at rose..
My favorite roses are: Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose; Guerlain AA Rosa Pop; NR Fleur Musc in the hot pink bottle; Pacifica Persian Rose, a cheapie that’s d/c; and when I want nuclear strength rose I wear Lush Rose Jam body spray. Loved your photos of Sue’s rose alley and the centennial rose. I have 3 rose bushes in my backyard. Two are David Austin Boscobel roses — so pretty when they bloom.
I love your list- I’d forgotten about Lush rose!
Sadly I don’t have a photo of Sue’s Rose Alley in any of its locations. Those are a close up of the rose and the place they’re planted in the park across the street from the hotel. Not great pix.
Aahh, okay. Nevertheless, lovely photos. A beautiful view. I loved your description of Sue’s roses.
I really wish I had photos. There were so many different varieties. It was like a mini rose museum.
So many fabulous roses mentioned in your post, and in the comments below. My favorite rose fragrances list starts with SL’s Rose de Nuit at the top, I absolutely adore the musk element. That is followed by SL’s La Fille de Berlin. In third comes Rose di Siwa (MDCI), perfectly fits when I’m in a girly girl mood and want to smell like the prettiest pink-est rose in all the land. I must mention Frederic Malle’s Rose Tonnere (formerly Une Rose), of which I seem to have an on and off again relationship. Depending on the day it will either smell like a decadently dark booze soaked rose with a whiff of delicate earthy truffle, or it will stink more like a heap of dung laden compost where you dumped the generic grocery store bouquet of roses given to you by a date you don’t care to see again.
Anyone else have trouble with fragrances that seem to alternate between delicacy and sewage?
Oh yeah- some musks when it’s hot enough can go from cuddly to hazmat.
Love your list!
SO MANY ROSES I LOVE!!
Tom, I think rose was one of the first notes that I went crazy for. Love it in most arrays.
Most worn are probably Mohair, Ballets Rouges, Fille de Berlin and Midnight Oud. There are so many others I love too.
I think it was the fist note I fell in love with too, mainly because I think we had roses at our house growing up. There was a small rose garden and ones that grew on he south-facing side of the house. They were the big, stinky kind. Still love them.
I still don’t know why I don’t have Fille de Berlin. I’ve talked myself out of it no matter how cheap it would show up on fragrancenet.
Tom, I always love your stories. And I love, love, love roses. I’ve grown all sorts over the years; if I ever manage to settle down in one spot I’d have as many as I could. That centennial rose is gorgeous and I love the idea that it matches the hotel. I know I’ve mentioned I have several roses in the yard in front of my casita (technically the landlord’s back yard) and/but my location means I get to enjoy them way more. There’s “that one rose” with no name we can discover, which morphs from pink to apricot to bronze. It’s stunning.
Sue’s Rose Alley was a sight to behold. It was too bad that when she moved (to a place with a kook landlord who basically cemented the idea that she should buy a place. Which she did, and put the new Rose Alley in there.
I used to take care of them when the fam was out of town (she lived within walking distance) and oddly for someone who has a black thumb they thrived for me. Maybe there is something to be said for positive vibes in gardening. I loved the roses so maybe they responded. Or maybe I’ve been in California too long..
I have to join the others on Amouage Lyric but have to add Epic. Epic is a very spicy rose. I love Rose de Nuit and some day will get a bell jar. I now am just remembering the days where MKK was part of the export line.
Epic has always confused me as a rose perfume – I simply cannot parse the rose in it. It reminds me of burning tires – not that it actually SMELLS like burning tires – but it’s so incendiary to my nose. Gorgeous scent, though. Epic. Not burning tires.
Now I am really interested..
Tom – Epic is gorgeous. But beware: it has the half-life of yellowcake.
If you mean it lasts like uranium then for me that’s a total plus..
I might need to go back and try these. Although I need to need another perfume like I need a drug habit..
I love roses and rose perfumes, my online name is rosarita, after all, and that Centennial rose is beautiful! Some favorites have been mentioned but I think Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has a way with rose in perfume. Her American Beauty is my favorite rose soliflore and Inner Sanctum is in my ever-evolving top ten list. La Fille de Berlin is my favorite rose Lutens but I have only smelled a couple.
Dawn is brilliant without a doubt. La Fille de Berlin is gorgeous. I’ve been on the fence about 30 times about just getting it but really I do have to pay the car insurance..
Sigh. Can’t post on MacBook. So, hoping iPad works. My fave rose is SL Rose de Nuit, and actually it’s currently my only rose (Belle Jar cost £110 15 years ago). I’ve tried various other roses but this is the only one I truly love. Spot on regarding Tom Ford. And A Single Man was outstanding — as were costumes/setting etc.
IDK about BloggerPad- sometimes it will let me do things from my iPad then others it says I am spam. Annoying!
I remember when those bell jars were cheaper (and the exports were like $50) but you had to jump through serious hoops to get them over to the US. I will admit that there was a tiny something of mystery and the hunt that went missing when you could just go and get them at Barneys.
But got them I did.
I still kick myself for not getting Tubereuse Criminelle during the brief period when it was in the export line.
You were actually the impetus for me spending my xmas money on a discounted bottle at fragrancenet when it briefly showed up. I’ll end up like the little old lady who lived in a shoe, except I’ll have perfume bottles a and not kids.
Rose doesn’t work well on me, but I do have a big bottle of Who Knew? by 4160 Tuesdays. Oh and I have a couple of rose ouds.
Going to have to look that one up..
Yep MKK is now just KK?
I had always understood that Serge Lutens never discontinued production of any of their fragrances, just moved them into bell jars. This is no longer the case, Boxeuses is no longer listed on the new website. How will I manage when my full bell jar is gone? Bapteme de Feu has been put out, Tubereuse Criminelle has also ceased. Yet Chypre Rouge & Jean de Peau still exist WTAFEFF! There are many others on the new co.uk website that a out of stock. Will they ever return?I am so sad.
As for roses, Rose de Nuit is glorious but, I like Musette put my money on Amouage Lyric Woman for a huge slap around the chops with a rich, spicy rose.
Forgive me I now need to crawl into a darkened room & ugly cry about Shiseido murdering so many beauties
I got a bottle of Tubey Crim seemingly at the last moment. The idea that that one is no more and Chypre Rouge (which I called Chypre Snooze in my head) is still available makes me want to ugly cry as well. Lets hope they just go into limbo at the mothership and are just gone from the retail site.
My favorite roses are yellow roses, any kind of yellow rose. I’ve planted them at every house I’ve lived at. I also adore rose perfume, another fan of Amouage Lyric here. My first rose love was YSL Paris. Some loves include OJ Rose Gold, Guerlain Rose Cherie, Malle Portrait of a Lady and Lipstick Rose, Matiere Premier Radical Rose, Lush Rose Jam, and several from Les Parfums de Rosine. I could go on and on!
I love yellow roses. It’s odd, but those are the color that I don’t like to mix- I like to see a big bunch of just yellow ones in a vase.
If I had serious money I’d have fresh flowers all the time, and roses would be a big buy.
Your ‘fume choices are excellent!
I love love love SL Rose de Nuit! It is so beautiful. I have been getting decants but want a bell jar – and SL Iris Mist too. Then comes Lyric Woman. A shout out to Musette for saying it’s great in summer. It is. The others that come to mind are Heeley Hippy Rose, an old favorite, and Chloë Sevigny Little Flower by Régime des Fleur, a pretty pink rose. Oh, and Kai Rose oil and Papillon Tobacco Rose. Also my daughter’s favorite, TDC Rose Poivree (pre recent reformulation. It’s magic on her. I’ll stop now. LOL.
Iris Silver Mist.
I think I may go on an SL kick soon..
I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without smelling RdN. It’s so gorgeous. Iris Silver Mist is too, but I don’t remember it working on me. I may need to revisit.
While they aren’t cheap those bell jars are still magic, and it’s so great that you can actually get them in the states now. Although I could justify it a lot easier when Barney’s was around and I had an account..
Sorry about Iris Silver Mist for you. It was love at first sniff for me. I love it equal to Rose de Nuit. To me and on me, it is haunting and otherworldly, magnificent. Isn’t perfume wonderful.
I might have talked myself out of it. Iris can be iffy for me. But very few SL’s have been a hard no for me.
I’ve found very few iris perfumes that I like. Rose de Nuit and Iris Silver Mist are the oddball Serge Lutens. They are the only two not created by Sheldrake.
Ok. Iris next week.
My absolute favorite rose is, I think, Amouage Lyric. The extrait is the stuff of dreams. I spritz a touch of it on my hands when I am making the bed (and also on myself, if I really want to lose. mah. MIND. It can be a bit narcotic.
Ooh that’s a good one. If I had every rose I wanted I’d Ned Greystone to house them.
Not that there’d be anything wrong with that..
on the contrary – there’s everything right with that!!!
Of course that should read “need Greystone.” Which might be the perfect house: those foot-thick stone walls and cool basement rooms. I could turn the speakeasy into a spritzing room!