Lots of roses ahead! Today, Elisa reviews two recent rose-centric flankers, Roses de Chloé and Balenciaga Rosabotanica. For more on flankers in general, check out “Flankers 101.”
Chloé Roses de Chloé
By all rights, Roses de Chloé is what the first Chloé release should smell like. The original Karl Lagerfeld Chloé from the mid-70s was a voluptuous white floral, but Chloé relaunched it as a clean rose in 2008. The problem is, it’s too clean, with so much white musk overwhelming the formula that it smells far more like a laundry room than a rose garden.
Last year’s L’Eau de Chloé, a greener version with more patchouli, was an obvious improvement – and so is this one, with its clearer, more realistic floral accord of tea rose with gestures toward springtime-y linden and lily of the valley. There’s nothing particularly unusual about it (this is a rose soliflore folks, not a moon walk), but it smells fresh, young, and pretty without smelling faux-fruity (though I do pick up a crisp apple note) or cheap. In fact, it reminds me at times of pricier niche scents like Annick Goutal Rose Splendide, Parfum de Rosine’s Rose d’Été and Yosh Sottile. If you’re looking for a simple rose scent at Macy’s or Sephora, you could do far worse and these days, couldn’t do much better.
Roses de Chloé is authored by perfumers Michel Almairac and Mylène Alran. It includes notes of bergamot, magnolia, Damascena rose, white musk, and amber and retails at $70 for 30 ml.
If I was surprised that Roses de Chloé smells good and like roses at all, I was even more surprised by Rosabotanica, the new flanker to last year’s Florabotanica, which was supposed to contain off-kilter notes like mint and cannabis but could not have been tamer or more forgettable, and really failed to live up to its beautiful bottle. Rosabotanica’s bottle is even more gorgeous, and the juice inside is also more interesting.
The top notes are downright funky, with a creamy tang like buttermilk and a big fresh herbal note that reminds me of basil, dill, and tarragon – a weird savory cocktail that seems to be built from fig leaf, citrus, and spices. Sadly, this fascinating sour stage doesn’t last very long on skin, and it quickly transitions into duller territory: a soapy, somewhat astringent rose with grapefruit and hyacinth. I quickly used up my sample respraying for more of that initial herb salad.
The star rating on this one is a little misleading. Rosabotanica is really a 2-star fragrance with 4-star top notes. My recommendation is, don’t buy it, but definitely try it. (I still think Marni is the most buy-worthy recent mainstream rose.)
Rosabotanica, created by perfumers Jean-Christophe Hérault and Olivier Polge, includes notes of hyacinth, fig leaf, petitgrain, “experimental rose,” grapefruit, pink pepper, cardamom, cedar, vetiver, and patchouli. It’s available at Sephora in a 0.33 oz rollerball for $25 or $70 for 30 ml.