Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Une Rose was created by Edouard Fléchier for Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums in 2003, and it is a fragrance that hides darkness of woody amber under the sweetness of crimson roses. Its utter lack of sentimentality and preciousness that are common in rose fragrances is akin to Degas’s sympathetic, yet honest treatment of ballet dancers. Beauty with a sinister edge is how Une Rose can be characterized.
The top notes spill into luscious red rose petals, touched by dew. Rose is accented beautifully by geranium, which emphasizes the voluptuous quality of the central accord. A dark honeyed aspect is thrown into relief by the vividness of the rose as it unfolds slowly. The petals can almost be felt against the skin, their silkiness contrasting with a distant dark whisper. This whisper grows louder until it is strong enough to scatter the unctuous richness.
A moist earthy note envelops the composition gently, lending it a somber quality and turning an opulent vividness of rose into a streak of sun drenched sweetness that adds an elegant contrast to the truffled facets. What comes as a complete surprise is a rich layering of animalic notes over wooded amber, which petrifies any remaining traces of rose silkiness and radiates warm glow over the base. The end result is a dark ambery composition, where rose is more of an impressionistic rendition than anything found in nature.
Editions de Parfums fragrances are available from Frédéric Malle boutiques, Barneys New York and Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums website.
Edgar Degas. Blue Dancers. c.1890. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. From abcgallery.com.