This spring is promising to be rose scented. Every other flanker, a sequel to the original big launch, seems to be reinvented in rose tinted prettiness. From Kenzo to Cartier, every house has been thinking pink. Flankers are not known for being daring, and when I dutifully smelled through the whole lot, I felt that I was smelling the same perfume over and over again. Fruity, sparkling, instantly forgettable. In the end, I picked six fragrances that stood out, although you will see that in some cases this is an underhanded compliment.
Why bother then? Most of these fragrances will not appeal to perfume lovers used to the opulence of florals or the tinge of animalic notes hidden among the fleshy petals. By contrast, all six rose perfumes I’ve selected are clean and dewy. Some of them are better than others, but overall, this selection contains nice options for anyone who prefers their florals fresh and sparkling, without the cloying sweetness that’s a common theme in most feminine new launches. Simple and pretty are not negative qualities, and occasionally, this is exactly what hits the spot.
Today, I’m reviewing three fragrances that pair rose with white florals: Valentino Valentina Acqua Floreale; Kenzo Amour I Love You; and Juicy Couture La La. The white florals, be it tuberose or gardenia, have a creamy sweetness that contrast well with a sheer, citrusy rose accord.
Valentino Valentina Acqua Floreale
Valentina Acqua Floreale follows in the footsteps of its older sister, Valentina. The bubble gum tuberose of the original is sheered out, made less cloying and thick. It reminded me of a milder Juicy Couture. The vibrant start of citrus and orange blossom fades to a soft, musky drydown that goes by the “sexy clean” moniker in fragrance houses. On the other hand, Valentina Acqua Floreale is so perfectly well-behaved and inoffensive that I doubt one can have a strong opinion about it. It’s radiant, sheer and coy. It would make a sophisticated fragrance for a teenage girl. While it’s not a drama queen, it’s a good quality perfume, with smooth development and decent longevity.
Kenzo Amour I Love You
Kenzo Amour was a milky rice fragrance with a touch of frangipani, but it didn’t sell as well as Kenzo hoped. The fruity and tart flanker Kenzo Amour Indian Holi was an unexpected success, which landed the rest of the Amour flankers in the same fizzy and lighthearted register.
Out of the 6 fragrances I am reviewing this week, I Love You is the one I would wear myself. It banks its success on the commercial combination of red berries, fresh roses and tuberose, but it’s well-crafted at all stages. The sparkling top notes of grapefruit and red currants are tart and mouthwatering, serving as a pleasant contrast to the sweet floral heart. The bright spicy accent is a nice embellishment. While the drydown of soft musks and sheer vanilla is nothing new, I Love You smells polished and pretty.
Juicy Couture La La
Juicy Couture wanted a fragrance that was “a little punk rock, a lot of free spirit,” and the result is a by-the-book white floral with a touch of rose. I’m missing the punk rock bit entirely, and my impressions are mixed. On the one hand, Juicy Couture La La has a terrific start of dewy rose and tuberose. Jazzed up with sweet citrus, it feels effervescent and reminds me of Clinique Happy. But then everything fades to a sour, high-pitched floral, which lasts far longer than you want it to. The money clearly went into the packaging, because the heavy glass bottle with is eye-catching.
Valentino and Juicy Couture perfumes are available at department stores, while Kenzo is a limited edition duty-free (travel retail) launch.
Sample: Valentino and Kenzo are my own acquisitions; Juicy Couture–PR.