Famous Perfumery Roses : Rose Damascena

Last week I covered the topic of rose de mai, or rosa centifolia, and it’s only fitting to turn my attention to the other famous perfumery rose, rose damascena or rosa damascena. Richer in essential oils than centifolia, it’s the most important rose cultivar for fragrances. In my video, I will describe this variety, show how rose absolute and rose oil look alike and explain where it’s grown.

Of course, I will also discuss rose damascena in fragrances. Although associated with feminine perfumery, roses of all types, natural and synthetic, are are used in masculine fragrances as well as compositions that are not obviously floral. I will explain how perfumers use rose nuances and to what effect.

To give you a sneak preview of the perfumes discussed, here is my list:
Chanel Allure
Ormonde Jayne Damask
Killian A Taste of Heaven
Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey
Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence
Annick Goutal Ce Soir au Jamais

Here is the video about Rose de mai, if you would like to start from the beginning.

As always, I love hearing about your favorites and any observations on roses that you’d like to share.

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20 Comments

  • Colleen: My favorite rose perfume is Une Rose of Frédéric Malle by Eduard Fléchier-just love it! June 21, 2021 at 9:13am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a beautiful rose! June 21, 2021 at 2:38pm Reply

  • Old Herbaceous: I love Rose fragrances and have blogged about many of them! One of my top faves is Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if.; another is Aquaflor’s Rosae. So many roses, so little time! June 21, 2021 at 12:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: What is Rosae like? That’s the one I haven’t tried. June 21, 2021 at 2:38pm Reply

  • Silvermoon: Such an informative and fascinating video, Victoria. As you/many might have noticed, rose and tuberose are probably two of my favourite notes (next come iris, mimosa and jasmine). So, there are many rose perfumes that I love and wear (e.g. Une Rose, Portrait of a Lady, Paestum Rose, OJ Ta’if Rose, Rose Ikebana, Devine, Lyric Woman, Fils de Dieu to name just a few). And then there is Nahema which smells like a complex rose but I believe doesn’t have (much) actual rose in it. As you note, rose can be very different, depending on what facet is highlighted.

    By the way, Victoria, I loved your top in the video. Very beautiful. June 21, 2021 at 2:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! Do you mean the light blue one? It’s a thin cotton shirt, and it’s so light and easy to wear. One of my favorite pieces.

      Nahema is one of the most rose-like fragrances where rose is not the main ingredient. I also love it. July 1, 2021 at 4:53am Reply

      • Silvermoon: Hi V, I meant the black top with the trees etc drawings in cream white outlines. It reminds me of a fairytale wood in a Brothers Grimm book from which my mum used to read to us (old German print edition). But yes, the blue one is also lovely and summery. July 5, 2021 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Tara C: I love so many roses: SL Rose de Nuit, FM Une Rose, Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chyprée and Une Rose Vermeille, Lancôme Parfait de Roses, Amouage Homage attar, 4160 Tuesdays Killer Rose and Raw Silk & Red Roses, Rosine Rose d’Amour. The list goes on and on. June 21, 2021 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Hilde: What an interesting video this was again, Victoria!

    Thanks to your articles and videos, I become to learn little by little a bit more of the mystic world of perfume making. June 22, 2021 at 5:52am Reply

  • Pike: An interesting and informative video. I’ve had very limited experience with fragrance and something that has frustrated me about the rose scents that I have tried is that they were either soapy (Night by Akro) or were paired with candy-like red fruit (Isparta 26 by Pierre Guillaume). I am still looking for the rose of my dreams and your article has given me a lot to explore. June 23, 2021 at 9:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Despite it being such a large fragrance category, rose is complicated and finding the right one might take some time. On the other hand, the search is the best part! July 1, 2021 at 4:55am Reply

  • Sebastian: Here’s a list of my current favorite rose perfumes (in no particular order):

    Note di Profumum – Meraviglia
    Papillon – Tobacco Rose
    Hiram Green – Lustre
    Frédéric Malle – Une Rose
    Amouage – Lyric Woman (the extrait)
    Amouage – Rose Incense

    I generally dislike sweet rose scents. Other pleasant non-sweet roses that I know are Paestum Rose and Le Labo Rose 31.

    I also like my rose not too spicy. Which is why I much prefer Meraviglia to Portrait of a Lady, although they are quite similar in other ways.

    Lustre in particular is the brightest, liveliest, realistic damascene soliflore you can imagine.
    You either love it, or it’ll bore you to death.

    If I had to choose a single one from my list for life, it would probably be Tobacco Rose. It strikes the right balance between simplicity and complexity, and has a nice natural rose.

    I must have tested dozens of rose perfumes over time. I love the flower, and trying out those perfumes, even if I wouldn’t keep them, is a great pleasure. July 1, 2021 at 7:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I missed Lustre when I tested Hiram Green’s fragrances, and I now regret it. It sounds so beautiful! A very nice list, thank you for sharing and for describing your favorites. July 1, 2021 at 8:41am Reply

  • Sebastian: Very nice video! Thank you. I especially liked the comparison between rose essential oil and absolute.

    I wonder: I find that the damascene roses in my garden (Rose de Resht, Jacques Cartier, Mme Hardy) are not just honeyed-spicy, but have a distinctly fresh, citrusy overtone, which is what makes them so lovely for me. You didn’t mention that at all. Do you not get that?

    BTW: As a man, I also wear damascene roses without qualms or hesitation. July 1, 2021 at 8:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Most of the hybrids now grown for essence don’t have that lovely citrusy aspect. There is a hint of it, but after processing very little remains. Also, the soil composition affects the scent. Bulgarian roses smell more citrusy to me than Turkish.

      Do you grow your roses directly in the ground or are they in pots? I wanted to buy a rosa damascena for my balcony, and I found a nice German website:
      https://www.lubera.com/de/shop/rose-royal-jubilee_produkt-2275773.html
      but I know that some varieties don’t take to pots. July 1, 2021 at 8:35am Reply

      • Sebastian: I grow all my roses directly in the ground. Some are grafted, some have the original roots.

        The best website for buying roses (and getting information on them) is Schultheiss: https://www.rosenhof-schultheis.de/
        I have been at their gardens, too, and it’s all very nice. As you read German, you won’t have a problem.

        At the bottom of this page: https://www.rosenhof-schultheis.de/Informatives/Rosen-Ratgeber/Rosen_im_Kuebel/index.html

        they list a few roses that do take well to containers, among them some of my favorites: Rose de Resht, Jacques Cartier (both damascenes), and Moje Hammarberg (a R. rugosa with a strong and lovely smell that reminds me of chidhood vacations in the dune scapes on the North sea).

        Summer is a bad time to buy (or plant) roses, of course. July 1, 2021 at 9:11am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you! That explanation about roses in pots is one of the best that I’ve read so far. This is going to be a project for next year. Growing fragrant plants at home such as jasmine, geranium or thyme has been so enjoyable, so I would like to try roses. July 2, 2021 at 4:35am Reply

          • Sebastian: I wish you sucess and pleasure from your project! You’ve got to have some discipline, though. I started with three roses, now there are more than forty… July 2, 2021 at 12:38pm Reply

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