Patricia on rebellious (or not so rebellious) roses.
I approached Rose Rebelle Respawn by A Lab on Fire with some trepidation, since its older sister, perfumer Sophia Grojsman’s 100% Love by S-Perfume, was the only perfume to date that made me gasp for air. I wondered how the masterful Grojsman, creator of many of my favorites including Yves Saint Laurent Paris, a beautiful violet rose that I wore throughout the 80s, Boucheron Jaipur, Bvlgari Pour Femme, Estée Lauder White Linen, and Prescriptives Calyx could have created this monster? 100% Love is deeply polarizing, with many fans and many detractors. Its supporters praised its originality, while its naysayers found it unwearable. If I tell you that I referred to it as 100% Nasty in my perfume notes, you’ll guess in which camp I belonged.
But I needn’t have worried about Rose Rebelle Respawn. Although it contains many of the same notes as 100% Love, such as rose, cacao, and musks, it handles these elements in a completely different way. Where 100% Love has a sour, fermented note, Rose Rebelle eschews it in favor of softness and warmth. It’s blended with a lighter touch and from top to bottom it’s a cozy, powdery confection.
In spite of her tough-girl name, this rose isn’t much of a rebel. Imagine a chocolate soufflé dusted with cocoa, confectioner’s sugar and liberally garnished with rose petals. Pretty and coquettish is how I see Rose Rebelle.
The perfume opens with a cool note of mint and ivy, providing freshness and an element of surprise, followed by a fruity, sheer rose and lots of peppery carnation. Incense and cacao in the dry down add warmth and keep the musks from taking over. The overall effect is light and gauzy, not likely to offend anyone.
Rebelle is a sheer rose, more on the order of Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme or Parfums de Nicolaï Rose Intense than the big crimson rose of Frédéric Malle Une Rose or Yves Saint Laurent Paris. If you are expecting a classical rose fragrance—rich, opulent, honeyed, you will be disappointed.
Rebelle stays very close to the skin and has moderate longevity. I couldn’t help but wish that this fragrance had a bit more projection, as it clung to my skin timidly and I wanted more drama. Still, it is charming, and if you want 100% Love without having to commit to its pungency, Rose Rebelle Respawn is your girl.
A Lab on Fire Rose Rebelle Respawn includes notes of ivy, mint leaves, carnation, rose, musks, incense, cacao. Available at Luckyscent. 60ml/$100
Photography (1st image) by Bois de Jasmin