Rose perfumes used to come in one old-world style: powdery and sweet. The new ones, however, highlight the flower in subtle ways, bringing out the unexpected in the fragrance.
In perfumes, rose is a shape-shifter. It plays well with other scents, behaving differently depending on what it’s paired with. And because it’s such a good team player, perfumers love it.
Rose softens cedarwood, making it less overpowering. It balances the tanginess of fruit, making it fuller. It also gives a finishing touch to other florals, allowing the wearer to smell like a bouquet of fresh blooms.
Perfumers have begun to play up how multifaceted rose is. They’re moving away from the old-school, granny’s closettype formulas, and embracing new blends.
The modern crop of rose perfumes still has the flower at its heart, but it isn’t the standout note. The scent is elevated by unexpected pairings – with citrus to brighten and freshen, or as a rose-musk to make it warm and sensual.
The scent is subtle, and at times, fleeting. The overall effect is a little nostalgic, but nothing that will give you any Anna Karenina moments. – CT
PHOTOGRAPHY ZAPHS ZHANG ART DIRECTION SHERLI CHONG
1 A sweet candy-like scent
The hints of fresh rose in Paco Rabanne Lady Million Lucky EDP play well with sweet raspberries. It starts off a little cloying but becomes a gentle candied floral bouquet that lingers for hours. From $129.
2 A sensual musk
Annick Goutal Rose Pompon EDP mixes rose with white musk, which makes it velvety and powdery. The tartness of blackcurrant and pink pepper cuts through the cloying notes, so the perfume smells warm and feminine. $225
3 A fresh floral Philosophy
Amazing Grace Ballet Rose EDT smells the most of roses. Lychee is thrown in to brighten the scent, which makes for a cheery work perfume. $69
4 A crisp and clean scent
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Rosa Rossa EDT opens with crisp blackcurrant and lychee, then evolves into a punchy fruityfloral. From $103.