Parfums de Rosine Mea Culpa : Fragrance Review

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Update: Mea Culpa has been discontinued.

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Marie-Hélène Rogeon reintroduced Les Parfums de Rosine in 1991. The house created several unusual rose fragrances. Mea Culpa which debuted in the 1990s is a departure from this tradition as it is classified as a tuberose scent, and after Rogeon decided to revert to rose scents exclusively, this fragrance was discontinued. Mea Culpa opens up with creamy white roses and a hint of tuberose before losing some of the sweetness and gaining an aquatic quality. Tuberose is never pronounced, although it does become more apparent in the middle. It hides in the background and adds a lush quality to other notes. Jasmine appears soon thereafter adding its rich fruity note. Contrary to expectations, this fragrance is not what I would consider a heady floral, it is understated with floral notes intertwining beautifully. The final result reminds me of aquatic flowers–water lilies resting on the dark surface of a pond, pink lotus raised above the dark surface–due to the cool and fresh notes of the dry down which completely surprised me. Although Mea Culpa deserves a merit of the lightest tuberose fragrance I have tried, after a while it starts to lose its multifaceted quality, softening into a pleasant, but flat floral.

The history of Les Parfums de Rosine is a story of the fusion of fashion and perfumery, when in 1910 Paul Poiret decided to create a perfume line in addition to his fashion house. A luminary in the fashion world, Paul Poiret created Les Parfums de Rosine, named after his eldest daughter. Henri Alméras, the creator of Jean Patou Joy, was responsible for the fragrances, while Poiret designed the bottles. The beauty of the original Les Parfums de Rosine bottles is in their intense fascination with Art Deco trends and a lavish use of ornamental elements.

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9 Comments

  • KS: Interesting article on tuberose. I like the line: “It never remains at rest…” TRUE. I don’t wear any scents with a large quantity of tuberose but I do grow the plants and buy the cut flowers (and love tuberose-scented soaps). When a tuberose bouquet is in the house I feel the air is “alive” and “vibrating.” The effect it has on me? It makes my brain percolate…sometimes I have strange UNending dreams…restlessness, so I keep the blossoms AWAY from the bedroom (no doubt squandering many possibilities –according to the Indians! HA!) (Also, the Maharadja bottle is gorgeous.) Kevin June 14, 2005 at 11:23am Reply

  • mreenymo: I wish Mea Culpa had not been discontinued. I would love to try it! June 14, 2005 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: Kevin, I also love cut flowers, which I first encountered in India. I liked tuberose prior to that, however I never realized how multifaceted its scent is in nature. Then I had to search out tuberose absolute and test it for myself. I must say that there are plenty of awful absolutes, and decent quality is so difficult to find. Another thing–it is strong! I can apply a diluted absolute on my skin in the morning and in the evening after my shower I can still smell it a little.

    Robin–Yes, it is a shame that Mea Culpa is discontinued. It appears every now and then on Ebay, though. June 14, 2005 at 1:32pm Reply

  • KS: Victoria: Curious, what do you use to dilute your absolutes? I’ve tried a few dilutents but they had a smell themselves (Caswell-Massey’s for instance). K June 14, 2005 at 2:02pm Reply

  • Victoria: I use fractionated coconut oil or perfumer’s alcohol. Fractionated coconut oil has no scent and does not solidify. Perfumer’s alcohol is better if you actually mean to wear absolutes on their own. It allows for a better dispersion, in my opinion. June 14, 2005 at 2:05pm Reply

  • barbarafromcalifornia: Victoria,

    Congratulations on an amazing and informative perfume site. And the visuals are so stunning. Robin (mreenymo) told me about your new blog, and it is fantastic.

    Not being much of a tuberrose lover,or Rosine, for that matter,I am going to pass comment on this scnet, but appreciate the way in which you have reviewed this from its the various perspectives.

    All best,
    Barbara
    (formally known as mintara from MUA) June 14, 2005 at 8:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: Barbara,
    It is a pleasure to see you here! Thank you for your kind words on my site. I hope that in the future I will write on something you like (but feel free to disagree as well!)
    Best,
    V. June 15, 2005 at 10:55am Reply

  • ducdebrabant: Does Parfums de Rosine sell any of the original Poiret perfumes, or does it just use the Rosine name? I’d love to smell the 1920’s scents. May 9, 2007 at 11:32am Reply

  • david adam: Hi May 4, 2011 at 2:09am Reply

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