Focus on rose in a fragrance designated for men seems like a radical offering, yet as my recent interview with sociologist Marcello Aspria revealed, there is nothing quintessentially feminine about rose, other than the meaning afforded to it in a given social context. In the Middle East, rose based fragrances are very popular among men, where rose plays an important role in the religious symbolism.
For the newest offering from Les Parfums de Rosine, François Robert created a rose that is devoid of sunny sweetness and honeyed richness. Instead, the rose in Rose d’Homme is accented by the lemony coriander in the top notes and the earthiness of vetiver in the base. It is a rose that vacillates between waxy petal and woody stem, settling only in the heart, where the floral accord lightens and turns sweeter.
Lavender lends a soapy note to the dusky rose, creating an elegant crispness that differentiates rose fougère of Rose d’Homme from more traditionally feminine variations on the rose. The drydown is a warm blend of amber, vetiver and patchouli, shrouded by a whisper of dusky rose notes and soft leather. The sensual interplay between cool and warm notes makes Rose d’Homme an interesting composition that would appeal to both men and women. At the same time, I cannot help thinking that by rendering the flower more as an allusion than as a focal point, the finished result is somehow too tame to be truly radical. Nevertheless, it does not take away from its allure and elegance. For men who would like to explore other rose options, I would recommend Rose Poivrée by The Different Company for a rose that is marked by translucence and peppery warmth, as well as L’Ombre dans l’Eau by Diptyque for a rose layered with verdant blackcurrant bud notes.