Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The rose is indelibly associated with Lancôme, given its founder Armand Petitjean’s strong passion for this flower. An avid rosarian, he cultivated roses in his garden in Ville d’Avray, outside of Paris and as a result, not only has the rose become an important symbolic representation of the house, but it has also found a central place in the Lancôme fragrances from Conquête (1935) to Trésor (1990). To commemorate the millennium, Lancôme chose its symbol to shine in a fragrance composed of several different types of roses, such as dune rose, musk rose and Bulgarian rose. The fragrance was named 2000 et Une Rôse (now called Mille et Une Rôse).
The task of creating an outstanding rose fragrance is complicated by the fact that the theme has seen many variations, from the dark chypric to the light citrusy roses, from the languidly seductive to the coyly delicate interpretations. Composed by Christine Nagel, Mille et Une Rôse is a rose that tantalizingly straddles the line between natural and abstract. …
If the art of a perfumer is an illusion, Mille et Une Rôse is its excellent example–one moment, it is a freshly picked blossom, the next it becomes an ornate pattern on a piece of sumptuously brocaded silk. It is a fantasy that makes the rose more real than it is in nature by exaggerating its radiant and opulent elements.
The composition pairs jewel-like iridescence of sweet honeyed notes with the warmth of amber that glows through the rose notes. The effect is akin to simultaneously being dazzled by the sun and caught in a whirlwind of falling petals. Beautiful crimson rose foiled by the dryness of black pepper cascades into a heart of pink and apricot roses. Delicate creamy notes interspersing the layers of the composition create a complex and soft effect, as if the radiance were refracted through a hazy veil. Velvety quality of wooded amber provides a perfect backdrop for the slow rainfall of rose petals, which does not cease even well into the drydown.
Mille et Une Rôse can be compared to Stella McCartney Stella (2003), which is another rose fragrance I enjoy. However, on the basis of a side by side comparison 2000 et Une Rôse wins easily, being more full-bodied, more complex, with a warm peppery touch that seems to enhance its radiance. While Stella sustains the same note and then vanishes, Mille et Une Rôse continues to unfold into gorgeous layers of silky petals.
I should also mention the original’s stunning blue bottle, which a reproduction of Georges Delhomme’s 1952 “teardrop.” The current packaging is a plain, square shouldered bottle, but it is still very elegant. Although it can occasionally be found online, Mille et Une Rôse is exclusive to the Lancôme boutiques.