9/8/12

Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare (Creed) "Sour Rose"



Although publicly "discontinued," this Creed is still available via the boutique and official Creed merchants across the world, but supplies are dwindling with each passing day. If you're a rose soliflore fanatic, that means you'll want to grab the phone and call a Creed rep to see if you can snag a spare bottle, before it's too late. Creed habitually "vaults" their fragrances, meaning formulas get pulled from the line, buttoned into a back room, and occasionally enjoy brief returns at a premium mark-up, which is sinful given how marked-up Creeds already are. In any case, you can consider this scent vaulted, until further notice.

The strange thing about Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare is that Creed used green tea notes in conjunction with Bulgarian rose extracts, instead of just using the pure essence of an actual tea rose, as The Perfumer's Workshop did in their infamous Tea Rose thirty some-odd years ago. I guess they wanted to imbue the scent with an earthy green flavor, but I think they went a little overboard. The opening is a strident burst of lemon, which rapidly simmers down to the smell of boiled water. Then, green tea. But the tea has been steeped a bit too long, and gets a little too strong. The effect is sharp, twangy, and loaded with crystalline green notes, wedded to a girlishly soft rose.

As it dries down, the tea becomes increasingly mineralic and bitter, which helps make this scent a viable option for men, although I'd wager the only guy who'd willingly wear it would be safely married to a beautiful woman, or another man. Note to young bucks: avoid wearing rose soliflores while on the prowl in the Western world. Rose is strong enough to maintain a keen presence, even after a half-dozen beers. The ladies will either be freaked out by it, or will lie and tell you it's "cute" that you're wearing a feminine perfume. Either way, it's bad news. This isn't to suggest men can't wear rose - rose can be utterly masculine. But a delicate rose soliflore doesn't mix well with the hops at Fuddruckers, if you know what I mean. Working against this particular soliflore are various off-notes, which are found in all but the most exquisite rose constructs, like the slightly rubbery edge of real rose oil, and an occasional whiff of stale powder. I applaud Olivier for sticking with genuine raw rose materials in these soliflores (Fleurs de Bulgarie is the other), but I wonder if more buffering is in order: perhaps some aldehydes would enliven the blend, and distract from its razor-sharp linear nature.

Given its exorbitant price and recent discontinuation, I would skip Fleur and buy Jo Malone's lovely Red Roses instead. However, there is one sticking point - I usually get a headache wearing rose perfumes. I'm not sure why, but rose does it to me every time - except when I wear Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare. This is the only rose perfume that hasn't made me feel sick after two hours. It's perhaps a testament to the power of high quality ingredients, legibly arranged in a thoughtful, albeit off-kilter structure of little more than three discernible notes: lemon, rose, and green tea.
















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