Valentine’s Day may not be something everyone celebrates but I enjoy the holiday. While we should be celebrating love and romance everyday, modern life has its way of making us forget to express our feelings with the occasional gift. That’s why I’m thankful for Valentine’s Day making us remember to show a little affection. When I think of “commercial” romance, I see sipping champagne by a fire in a room full of roses and candles. Obviously, that would be nice, but it’s not always in the realm of possibility. We can, however, capture a little of that grand romance or a bouquet of long stemmed roses in a lasting way through scent. I’ve spent some time at the perfume counters checking into what smells good with a rose theme and I’ve rounded up some Valentine’s Day gift ideas ranging from the subtle to the daring and luxe.
1. ROSABOTANICA by Balenciaga Paris: The top is a green citrus, the heart a rose with echoes of fig leaf and spice, and a dry down of the faintest whisper of rose with white woods and subtle spices. The perfume opens loudly but quickly turns into a skin scent. It’s more of a rose garden interpreted than a full on rose. It’s suitable for any age or situation and perfect for someone who doesn’t like to smell too “perfumed”. It retails for $100 for the 1.6 oz size.
2. Dolce and Gabbana Rose The One: This perfume is a flanker to The One. It’s a nice little number with a hint of citrus and black currant at the top. The middle notes are rose, peach, and peony which blend into a juicy fruity rose scent. The dry down is slightly musky vanilla with a dusting of dry amber. The whole fragrance is well blended without any particular standout notes. The development is not linear but close to it. It also wears more like a skin scent though there is minimal silage with the top and heart notes. This is very femme and soft. It’s age appropriate without being old lady and could certainly be worn in the office or anywhere else. Anytime I’ve sprayed this on in the store people compliment me afterwards. It retails for $82 for the 1.6 oz size.
3. Diptyque Eau Rose: This is the most true rose scent in this bunch. It’s a rose in all its stages. It’s slightly green and citrus on the top quickly blooming into the perfect tea rose from a garden. The rose stays in the dry down but it’s backed up with a little white musk and cedar. It’s got a low to medium silage depending on the wearer but it’s such a natural scent I don’t think anyone could object to it. It’s ageless and timeless. Wear time on this perfume is surprisingly long for an EDT. It also begs to be layered with maybe something musky or vanilla to round out the scent for evening wear. This retails for $98 for a 3.4 oz bottle.
1. Fresh Cannabis Rose: This is a spicy herbal mix that has a lot of true rose character. It starts off with rose and berries with a hint of citrus. Then it’s rose, cannabis, patchouli, jasmine and a hint of cocoa. You might be thinking, “I don’t want to smell like weed!”. Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell like pot in that way. It’s just a spicy herbal note and the patchouli is very light but heady at the same time. The base is dried roses, musk, and oolong tea. This has moderate silage and lasting power. Perfect for a woman who doesn’t want to smell girly and possibly for a man looking for something soft without being feminine. It sells for $88 for 3.4 oz so it’s quite a good buy.
2. YSL Parisienne: This feels young but sophisticated and slightly edgy. Roses and dark berries follow the scent through its whole development to one degree or another. The mid notes are mostly rose but with a backdrop of violet, peony and musk. The dry down features a mingling of all these scents plus vetiver, patchouli, and sandalwood. The edginess comes from a “Vinyl Accord” running throughout the stages of the scent. It manages to be bold, spicy, sweet, and earthy all at once but not in an overpowering way. It’s not sheer but it’s not a dense or cloying smell either. I’m not a huge patchouli fan, but this one has just the right amount. It’s got more silage then any of the others thus far and it’s got great lasting power. If you want to get noticed but not smell like every other “fruit-i-chouli” scent in the department store, then this is the scent you want. It sells for $65 for the 1.6 oz making it fairly obtainable for anyone to try.
1. Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle: This is a rose masterpiece. It’s vintage and futuristic at the same time. Unabashedly feminine, slightly sexy, and lushly rose. Violet, rose, and grapefruit are the top notes of this composition and they carry through to the heart as well. The dry down is is a haze of rose petals, amber, and hints of musk and vanilla. It’s sweet and sparkling in the beginning but becomes powdery without seeming old fashioned. It has impressive silage for it’s lightness and it’s lasting power is immense due to the quality of the materials. This is not a cheap thrill, priced at $170 for 1.6 oz.
2. Rose 31 by Le Labo: This is a spicy woody scent with a touch of rose throughout the composition. It’s 100% unisex. The spices and citrus make a bold first impression. Rose, spice, and vetiver make up the heart. The rose becomes dusty and settles over a wood base that’s warm and lush. The silage is medium but the lasting power is very strong. Luxury ingredients give a luxe price of $240 for a 3.4 oz bottle.
3. Une Rose by Frederic Malle: This is a wild ride of the unexpected and has an amazing evolution. Lush rose and geranium explode in the top notes, it’s bright and sophisticated immediately. You get a whiff of camomile tea. It’s a warm early fall day filled with sunshine and florals right at their peak. When it finally starts to move into the heart, the bright day changes. Clouds roll in and the wind picks up. You smell roots, earth, and spilled wine from your picnic a few feet away. It’s a bevy of rich earthy scents mixed with the true rose. Sweet woods, darker rose, truffle, and musk make up the dry down. It’s not a dark scent per se, but it’s rich and moody. Many times during it’s wear the notes cycle around so every sniff is a surprise. While it’s created to be feminine it’s easily worn by a man. For some reason when I wear it, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. The lasting power is crazy, even into the next day. The silage is heavy until a few hours into wearing it and then it hold much closer to the skin but wafts away from the body occasionally as the notes cycle themselves. This perfume is worth every penny and at $220 for 1.6 oz that’s saying a lot.
4. Eau D’Italie Paestum Rose: This is one of the few perfumes to ever get a five star rating from Chandler Burr. It’s incredibly sophisticated, lush, earthy, spicy and plain ethereal in a very dark way. The rose and the peppercorns are the first scents you will notice upon application. Next you get a soft dusting of coriander, vetiver, cinnamon, cassis, and Davana. It’s dark and mysterious with lush red roses, hints of woods, and incense. All those spices become slightly muted for a while and you get peony and osmanthus mixed with rose and incense right before the dry down. The cedar at the base is much stronger now. Wine, resins, woods, myrrh, and frankincense cradle the rose, making it dry and velvety. This composition is unisex. This is my signature winter perfume, it’s silage is grand for the first hour or so then it’s medium after, though it responds to body heat more than any other fragrance I’ve ever used. It’s lasting power is impressive, often lasting until the next day in dry wisps of scent emanating off the skin. I can’t recommend this highly enough even at $140 100ml mostly because it lasts forever. You only need one spritz at a time!
This is the start of several posts for Valentine’s Day gift ideas here on CGR. I hope you can find something to delight a loved one with or even treat yourself with one of these great options!