rose perfumes: 3 posts

Rose for Men and The Freedom to Choose Your Perfume

The arbitrary nature of gender divisions in fragrance becomes obvious as soon as you examine scent habits around the world. Both men and women splash themselves with sharp citrus colognes in Spain. Jasmine attars are shared in India, while rose is a favorite essence among men in the Gulf countries. But try to convince a lad in North America to don some flowers and you are met with a quizzical look. Aren’t roses just for ladies? Of course, this won’t hold true for the regular Bois de Jasmin male readers on both sides of the ocean, but gender associations with fragrances can be hard to break.

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Francois Robert, the perfumer behind the niche line Les Parfums de Rosine, doesn’t think so. Les Parfums de Rosine is devoted to fragrances based on rose, and it includes a dizzying array of roses in all guises, including roses for men. Rose d’Homme is a rose in soft focus blended into leather and patchouli. Rossisimo wraps the red blossoms around a zesty accord of bitter orange and bergamot, with a dash of lavender for a cavalier spirit. Both fragrances require a willingness to experiment, but the classical masculine scents like leather and citrus take so well to rose that the outcome is refined rather than radical.

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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.

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Why Is Rose Centifolia Such An Expensive Ingredient

I had a chance to harvest roses in Grasse on a couple of occasions and to observe the process of rose absolute and rose essential oil distillation. The experience of jumping into a pile of rose petals was certainly heady and memorable, but what struck me the most was the work involved to produce rose absolute. Since the famous rose of Grasse, rose centifolia, or rose de mai, contains less essence than rose damascena, it’s rarely steam-distilled. Instead, it has to be processed in a multi-step manner, which requires skill, experience and the right equipment.

My most recent video is about rose centifolia. As I explain, the processing of rose blossoms into rose absolute is a complicated and time-consuming process.  First, the flowers are treated with an organic solvent such as hexane, and the resulting extract is then vacuum distilled. The solvent is removed, and the resulting product is called concrète.

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