mercredi 4 mars 2009

Rough Rose (Édouard Fléchier's Une Rose for Frédéric Malle Éditions de Parfums)

The "une" of Une Rose can mean "one" -- as in a single rose -- or the indefinite article -- "a" rose among many...

And the name of the rose is legion. Though their scent is practically synonymous with the very idea of a conventionally good smell (in French, “it doesn’t smell of roses” means it stinks) and with perfumeness per se (can you name one classic that doesn’t feature it?), roses can smell of practically anything: bergamot, laurel, pepper, raspberry, linden, tarragon, vanilla, myrrh, musk, moss, or even wine… It is the latter aspects that the great Édouard Fléchier, not a man to stint on his florals (he composed one of the broadest-shouldered in history, Poison) chose to emphasize for Frédéric Malle.

Une Rose is the Queen of Flowers on a grand, almost scary scale, complete with thorns and roots, the earth still clinging about them. A wine-y, honeyed flower – the scent famously features a wine dregs note – firmly planted in the earthiness of vetiver and patchouli. But God knows what was buried in that earth: surely this rose is of the flesh-eating variety, with its vaguely human truffle accord and its leather-like lash of castoreum. The blue chamomile, with its slightly animalic, heated-field-in-summer smell, intensifies the carnal density of the composition.

The ground Une Rose is planted in is anything but firm: it emits a low-pitched hum, almost a seismic growl. The base – which Luca Turin, who should know, identifies as Givaudan’s Karanal, “the most angular woody-amber known to man” – actually feels like it’s sprouting thorns. There’s something prickly and spiky pushing through that rips the rose right out of its potential prettiness to unveil its cannibalic beauty.

This is a rose to be handled with gloves. I wouldn’t love her any other way.

Image: Man Ray, The Rose

9 commentaires:

  1. Dear D: Love the review. We must be connected via the psychic perfumista's hotline, as I've been cultivating a bit of an obsession with Fléchier's Une Rose over the last few weeks. Many rose fragrances can seem alternatingly sour, thin, pinched, or waxy to me, so I appreciate Une Rose's rich and sweet rose liqueur and wine dregs.

    That woody amber in the base is quite something! I've found that Une Rose is one of those fragrances which, when sniffed too close to the skin, can start to fly apart into its separate components. If I stick my nose right up on to the skin, the woody amber in the base has a kind of loud twanginess. But when sniffed just a couple of inches above the skin, everything blends together much better, and the woody amber seems to add richness and resonance without being obtrusive.

  2. Dear J.: we're even more connected than you think - I actually dreamt of you tonight!
    I'm quite obsessed with Une Rose as well, and you're right: there are different layers that meld at a certain level above the skin. I've also found this true of Maurice Roucel's Dans Tes Bras.

  3. It's majestic and wonderful. I love the Malle line even when I don't love the actual scent but Une Rose is everything I wanted it to be and more.

  4. Rose, with a pseudo such as yours, how could you not love Une Rose?
    Like you, I love Malle's fragrances... I must own about half of them, but Une Rose, Une Fleur de Cassie and Carnal Flower are very, very high indeed in my list of all-time favorites.

  5. Now I need to try that one!
    I love winey, complex roses...(as much as I don't like rosewater alone).
    Do you know if SL's "rose de nuit" has the same kind of vibe?
    I have tried only the wax sample - and I do not know how true to the scent it is (I'm considering ordering the bottle).
    Sometimes it seems camphorous, mentholated , and stuffed with dried fruits (love), other times it smells like plain rosewater after a couple of minutes(not love)... do you know what's the truth?

  6. Hands down, one of my real favorites and requiring a very special mood (and occasion) to pull it off the way I like. Thank you for this review.

  7. Zazie, I've never actually worn Rose de Nuit, only tried it (but the real thing, not the was sample), so I haven't experienced what you describe. It's dark, but it does have something powdery to it, as well as a chypre structure, whereas I'd think more of Une Rose as a woody amber welded to a wine-y rose.

  8. C., I agree. It's up there in my top favorite fragrances. Must be delicious on a man.

  9. An oldy, but I absolutely adore this write-up. Spot on!