5 Moods, 5 Roses

Rose is a classical note in a perfumer’s palette. It can be a natural type-rose, with rich honeyed facets, a citrusy blossom, or a musky bouquet. While some iconic fragrances like Guerlain Nahéma and Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose are rose-dominated, it often finds itself in a supporting role, which it performs beautifully. As I hope to demonstrate to you with my list below, rose is versatile and can suit a variety of moods and fragrance styles.

Although rose is most closely associated with feminine perfumery, I encourage men to disregards such labels. The truth is that citrus, metallic rose notes are already present in many masculine compositions, such as Amouage Lyric Man, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire Pour Homme and Cartier Déclaration d’Un Soir. The darker the rose becomes, the more you can experiment with it. For instance, Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady smells devastatingly sexy on a man.

Effervescent : Roger & Gallet Rose Eau Douce Parfumée

A shimmering cologne based around rose. Its strong citrus accents mean that the rose remains sheer and lemony, without veering into powdery territory.

Charming : Annick Goutal Quel Amour!

Before the combination of tart fruit and rose became a cliché, Quel Amour! showed how well this beloved flower pairs with notes like pomegranate, rhubarb and bittersweet citrus. The scent evokes pink champagne and soft petals.

Elegant : Dior Gris Montaigne

Soft blond woods and dry amber lend rose a certain restraint and create a polished effect in this composition by Christian Dior.

I also cover the topic of roses with a variety of examples in my video about the challenges this flower poses to perfumers–exciting challenges, I have to add.

Glamorous : Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance

Rose has a strong character, and yet it’s one of the most versatile notes for creating different impressions. Paired with incense and dark woods as in Lady Vengeance by the niche house Juliette Has A Gun, it assumes a glamorous, femme fatale stance.

Sensual : Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

When rose is wrapped in leather and drenched in honey, it becomes even more smoldering than in the previous example. Fumerie Turque was inspired by the scent of sun-cured Turkish tobacco, the cultivation of which was perfected during the Ottoman Empire. Its balsamic, pleasantly sharp aroma finds a perfect partner in rose, and the result is irresistible.

Which rose would you pick? 

Photography by Bois de Jasmin




  • Damiana: Thank you for sharing rose fragrances I haven’t tried (except for Lady Vengeance). I love that they match different moods. I’ve always been drawn to Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque, but I believe it’s not as easy to find… August 17, 2020 at 9:10am Reply

  • Rhinda: Thank you Victoria. I have a relationship with roses-as in science experiments during my school years. My experiments were health related to prove how beneficial roses are to the human body. It still fascinates me today but oddly I have never worn it as a perfume.
    I’ll work my way down through your recommendations and engage with the Queen of Flowers on another level!
    I have neglected to tell you that your interesting blog came to the rescue during isolation when hand sanitizer was no where to be found! I rigged my own Turkish cologne and continue to use it since the sanitizers have been less than safe. A big thank you, truly.
    Lastly, I really look forward to the highly interesting comments from your readers. I feel I get a brain upgrade every time I visit here. Many thanks! August 17, 2020 at 10:08am Reply

  • Rebecca: Hi Victoria! Thank you for this wonderful list. I look forward to trying all of them, especially Lady Vengeance.

    My favorite rose so far is La Fille de Berlin. It amazes me every time I wear it. ♥️ Take care! August 17, 2020 at 11:27am Reply

  • Brenda: Hello all ~ Victoria, I really got a kick out of your phrase ‘devastatingly sexy on a man’. I love it when a man wears a scent and truly takes the time to care what it is. Devastatingly sexy!! August 17, 2020 at 11:58am Reply

  • Matty1649: I really like Nahema. I only had a sample of Portrait Of A Lady, but I remember I liked that as well August 17, 2020 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Kat: I bought a bottle of Ivoire de Ballmain years ago at TJ Maxx on a whim. It has become one of my most complimented fragrances. It is complex and I didn’t get the rose at first, but now I can’t miss it. This is also my go to fragrance when I want to feel as if wrapped in a scent cloud, the longevity is amazing. August 17, 2020 at 1:04pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I‘ve been wondering about Dior‘s „Gris Montaigne“ – whether I‘d enjoy that. I have two other rose perfumes from the Dior privé line (now: Maison): „La Colle Noir“ and „Oud Ispahan“.
    The former is charming and a true rose scent, nearly soliflor, gentle and very well behaved: an quiet aristocrat. The latter a powerhouse juice, loud and slightly overlording, which stays for ever and ever! Difficult! August 17, 2020 at 2:47pm Reply

    • Tami: I love many of the Prive scents; I need to check out Le Colle Noir as that sounds up my alley (don’t know how I missed it). Oud Ispahan clung to me like an unwelcome guest! August 17, 2020 at 11:09pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I’ve never tried Fumerie Turque. It’s time to remedy that, I think! August 17, 2020 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Allison C.: I loved Caron’s Or et Noir, and also their Rose extrait was beautiful. I find a lot of rose scents today have fruit notes that just don’t work for me. And I enjoy L’Artisan’s Oeillet Sauvage as well! August 17, 2020 at 6:14pm Reply

  • Ava: I just blind bought Rose Splendide from Goutal, and am loving it! So fluffy light – like a cloud of greenery and garden roses! Just lovely and light. August 17, 2020 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Monika: Eau d’Italie’s Paestum Rose is my favourite fragrance of all time. Sadly, it has been reformulated, and I have anosmia when trying to smell the new version. Just before covid happened, I bought an old bottle of perfume off ebay, and had it sent to our US shipping address, as they did not ship to Canada. And there it waits for me still, I hope, many months later. I do not expect the US-Canada border to re-open for the next year, and so cannot drive down and pick it up.

    I also love Andy Tauer’s Une Rose Chyprée and Une Rose Vermeille. August 17, 2020 at 11:10pm Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hi Monika, oh I am very sad to hear that they have reformulated Paestum Rose. I have always loved it, and will now have to use it carefully to make it last. How does one know if it’s the new version? Is the packaging different? I have never bought perfume on eBay, because I don’t know how to trust the quality of the purchase. August 18, 2020 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Tami: Thank you for focusing on roses. I definitely lean towards the “effervescent” and crisp/citrus rose. Tea Rose was my first perfume and though it was almost nothing but rose, traces of honey and lime stayed behind on my skin.

    A few years ago I bought an interesting limited edition item from Jo Malone called “The Fragrance Chronicles—The Story of Red Roses.” It came with a bottle of Red Roses, of course, but also with three smaller bottles of “accords” (their word): Sweet Lemon, Honeycomb, and Scarlet Velvet Rose. Like many JM scents they’re designed to be layered. Truth be told I bought it for the lemon as I wanted to see how they interpreted it. Even though I don’t reach for it often, it’s kind of a neat set. It pushes me to detect the “layers” in a scent I often prefer as a soliflor. Or so I thought! August 17, 2020 at 11:22pm Reply

  • Laoise: My favorite rose fragrance is Bulgari’s Rose Essentielle. It’s a soft, gentle rose. On me, it wears close to the skin, so I feel like I’m wearing a delicious secret that only those close to me will notice. August 17, 2020 at 11:40pm Reply

    • L: I agree, it is a lovely tranquil fragrance, subtle and soothing August 23, 2020 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Neva: It’s also one of my favourite roses, so soft and powdery. I thought it was discontinued but a year ago I’ve found a bottle in a perfumery in my hometown. Now I’m settled for a while. August 24, 2020 at 5:17pm Reply

  • Ugo: I sadly inform you that Nahema by Guerlain, one of my favourite rose and in general fragrance is discontinued 😭 August 18, 2020 at 3:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, it’s so sad. It’s still available while the stocks lasts, so it’s a good reminder for the Nahema lovers to pick up a bottle. August 18, 2020 at 5:13am Reply

      • carole: Hello- are all forms of Nahima being discontinued? And I needed a rose fix today-I used Goutal’s Garden soap, which is roses and sharp greenery, and the By Terry rose exfoliant and body oil-heavenly! Followed by Hermes Galop. Funny how I needed to feel rosy today!

        And I just learned there is an EDT and EDP of Quel Amour! Has anyone tried them? I like the EDT but never knew there was an EDP. August 19, 2020 at 7:35pm Reply

        • Victoria: I believe so.
          Edited: I just checked, and my bottle is the EDP version of Quel Amour. I haven’t compared the two versions side by side, though. August 21, 2020 at 7:09am Reply

  • Cristina Mariani: L ombre dans l eau.. rose with a twist August 18, 2020 at 8:04am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Regal: Mohur by Neela Vermeire – my favourite take on rose… August 18, 2020 at 3:25pm Reply

    • Zazie: I second Mohur!
      One of my favorite fragrances!

      I used to think I hated rose heavy perfumes, but I’ve come to fall deeply in love with a few (thanks to Mohur – it made me more willing to explore the genre…)
      My other favorites are Niral, also from NV, and secret de rose, by Parfums de Rosine.
      Both are no-brainers, always love wearing them, always reaching for them…especially in the summer. Mohur I enjoy more during the cooler months, but the spices…on that enveloping oriental base…make it so special!

      I also love to layer Kai rose oil (I’m a big fan of the original Kai…😜) with linear oriental frangrances, such as By Kilian “ambre oud”. This combo is Rose perfection to me.

      Basically I like my roses to be very oriental…😉
      Thanks for the video! Love the format! August 23, 2020 at 4:52pm Reply

  • Karen A: What a wonderful video Victoria! You touched on so many aspects of rose perfumes in a short time. Although I’m no longer on my all-rose kick, rose fragrances are near and dear to me. La Fille is one of the few fragrances I’ve bought multiple bottles of since going down the frangrances rabbit hole. It wears so beautifully!

    Fleur Musc for Her by Marcos Rodriguez is a very light, easy rose that works well in hot weather. Portrait of a Lady I save for cooler weather. And I finally finished Rose Nacrée did Désert, 75 ml is a big bottle to get through!

    So sorry to hear Nahema being discontinued in all forms.

    There are so many gorgeous rose perfumes, seems like perfumers can create one for any mood and any season! August 18, 2020 at 4:55pm Reply

  • Sebastian: I have a rose garden, and I tend to like natural smelling almost-soliflores with a minimum of supporting notes. My favorites in this genre are Lustre (Hiram Green) and Tobacco Rose (Papillon) both very fine indeed. I almost love Une Rose (Malle) but sometimes I find the geranium opening too overwhelming.

    Rose and incense is a wonderful combination. The mother of this genre, Portrait of a Lady, however, is much too spicy to my taste. Meraviglia (Profumum Roma) is a good, slightly fresher and more balsamic alternative. In the same vein, two of my most loved rose perfumes are from the house of Amouage: Rose Incense is the epitome of simple classical elegance done extremely well. Lyric Woman is beautiful and enveloping, with the noblest, most distinguished kind of frankincense you can imagine.

    I also regret the passing of Nahema, but abstractly, because it has been such a monument in the perfume landscape. Personally, I never liked it. August 19, 2020 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Peter: Aloha Victoria.

    Mahalo nui loa for your beautiful post. Your necklace is stunning!

    Portrait of a Lady is my favorite dark, rich rose. I lost 1/3rd of my Nahema in a storage accident. I’ll really have to treasure the remaining potion.

    I found the Cartier Declaration d’Un Soir (Intense) and I did an initial sniff from the paper blotter. I wasn’t sure what I was smelling, but it was interesting. Eventually I got an addicting musky rose. The blotter still smells wonderful two days later. August 19, 2020 at 6:08pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: As yet, I’ve tried neither Portrait of a Lady nor Declaration d’Un Soir. However, as you know, I do have a couple of bottles of Nahema. That was such a shame about the loss of your Nahema, although it made for a fragrant few days. As you also know, I was lucky enough to acquire a 50ml bottle for only $20 when a chemist was closing down. Such differences in fortune with Nahema! It’s hard to believe they’re discontinuing it. August 21, 2020 at 6:59am Reply

  • Silvermoon: Roses are my favourite, alongside tuberose. I have many FB of Rose perfumes. Among those I love: Une Rose (FM), Portrait of a Lady (FM), Nahema (Guerlain), Paestum Rose (l’Eau d’Italie), La Fille de Berlin (SL), Velvet Rose and Oud (JM), Ta’if (OJ), L’Ombre dans l’Eau (Diptique), Rose Ikebana (Hermes), Red Roses (JM), Myrrhe Eglantine (Hermes), Lumiere Noire (MK), and Lyric Woman (Amouage).

    There are many more I like and have small decants/vials. I enjoy the full range of the Rose from dark, heavy to light, citrusy to earthy, etc. August 21, 2020 at 1:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re a true rose lover! 🙂 August 23, 2020 at 7:13am Reply

  • moniasunny: Heeley. Hippie rose. Wonderful. August 23, 2020 at 4:05am Reply

    • Neva: That’s my favourite rose, paired with patchouli in the old fashioned way. August 24, 2020 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Hilde: Recently I bought Penhaligon’s Peoneve, and it pleases me very much. I hope I can still buy it in the future.

    In the past, l’Occitane launched about every two years another eau de toilette with one rose in the main role. Some of them were excellent, such as Rose Nuit de Mai , Rose et Reine, Rose des Champs et Rose Aurore.

    But my favourite rose perfume is Guerlain Idylle eau sublime. I also possess Guerlain Idylle eau de parfum, but I prefer the former one. The eau sublime has been discontinued I think, alas.

    As you see, there are quite some rose perfumes I like, but in my favourite perfumes, jasmine and lys play the head role. August 26, 2020 at 8:59am Reply

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