7/24/12

Red Roses (Jo Malone)




Floral gender designations, loosely defined by me:

Feminine
Tuberose
Jasmine
Violet
Rose
Gardenia
Orange Blossom
Iris
Peony
Carnation
Geranium


Masculine
Lavender
Rose
Iris
Violet
Orange Blossom
Carnation
Geranium


This is the sort of floral gender orthodoxy I subscribe to, but I truly do believe that people should have the right, regardless of gender, to wear whatever they like. So if you're a guy who loves gardenia, go for it. I understand Tom Ford makes a good one. Likewise for women and lavender, although with the exception of a few fragrances from the 1970s, I haven't run across a lavender that "works" in feminine compositions. I'm not sure what it is about lavender, but I always associate it with masculinity. I'm sure there are 500 feminines with prominent lavender that are right under my nose, but unless I get around to trying them, I'll probably never know what they are. Yet another of my many horizons that requires expanding.

Rose also works just fine on men, as long as it isn't sugared and bedecked in berries and tropical fruits. Hearkening back to the British dandified fougères and orientals of the 1800s (Hammam Bouquet immediately springs to mind), rose has had a significant presence in masculines throughout history, and continues to appear in contemporary masculine fragrances. One of the finest affordable rose fragrances for men is Zino by Davidoff, but rose-based masculines also include classics like Ungaro Pour L'Homme III, Black Aoud, Égoïste, Une Rose, and Casual for Men by Paul Sebastian. Gentlemen prefer their stems with thorns.


Red Roses brings to mind Tea Rose and Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare in that it's a very holistic interpretation of the flower. Soliflores that render the greens along with the blush pinks and blood reds are more dynamic than those that simply take rose oils and fizzy headspace technologies to recreate this unique aroma. I prefer the fragrances that include notes of leaves, stems, semi-decayed petals, and unopened buds, and Red Roses has a little bit of everything. It opens with a fresh green note, very pastel in feel, but quickly envelopes my senses in its ruby glow. For five hours I'm immersed in a bed of roses, with whiffs of stems and leaves, the faintest hint of dank dying petals, and the sweet, honey-like pluck of new flowers (a little like Rose Barbare in this regard).

If you like Tea Rose, and find Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare a little to citric and unfriendly, you must try Red Roses. It really doesn't get any better than this.

















5 comments:

  1. Red Roses is one of a few Jo Malogne's perfumes that doesn't work for me. It gets really soapy and unpleasant. Though it's not as bad (on my skin) as Tea Rose.

    If we're talking about rose fragrances for men, it would be wrong not to mention Le Labo's Rose 31 and Amouage Lyric Men.

    As to the lavender note in feminine perfumes, I read that vero profumo's Kiki is a beautiful example of using it but I haven't tested it myself yet.

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    Replies
    1. My understanding of Rose 31 is that it's a toss-up as to whether you can smell the rose in it or not. I'll give it a go at some point.

      Thus far my favorite "masculine" (more unisex) rose is Zino. Sorry to hear Tea Rose doesn't work for you.

      Amouage is out of the question. Their prices are extortionate.

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  2. I like the idea of giving this new life by sending it over Mr. APB's way.

    And I second Undina's statement about Kiki as a women's lavender. It's probably the best treatment of lavender in a women's perfume that I've tried (but still not sure it is really me).

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    Replies
    1. Will have to check out Kiki. Better than Pour un Homme? . . .

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    2. For me and my taste, yes. Objectively, or for a man ... I couldn't say.

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