A handful of rose scents, although not all of them are really "about" rose...
Zafferano, by the new-ish men's niche line Odori, opens on an expansive, shimmery-metallic saffron note. It seems to bubble and dance on the skin for a time, slowly taking on raspberry jam undertones as it calms. It's fun — I kept reapplying to do it all over again. The dry down is a more standard-issue rose-saffron combination, very nicely done but nothing terribly unusual, with plenty of cedar. I hardly even notice high prices these days, but at $210 for 100 ml Eau de Toilette, this is a spendy little number. I've yet to top $200 on a single perfume myself, and while I like Zafferano, there's nothing here to tempt me to set a new record. If you like saffron and don't mind the price, do try it (and if you love iris, the Odori version is worth a shot as well). The notes: cedar, saffron, raspberry flowers, wild rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, oriental amber and rosewood.
Miller et Bertaux's new Shanti Shanti is a warmer, drier take on rose. The ad copy calls it "sparkling", but I'm not feeling the effervescence. Relaxing might be a more appropriate description, and since Shanti is a Sanskrit word meaning "inner peace", it's a better fit with the name too. Shanti Shanti is a quietly spicy rose over dark woods, with the iris lending a soft, velvety finish. It isn't as rose-focused as the others under consideration (in the late stages, it's more of a soft, velvety woods scent), and isn't a show-stopper sort of scent in any case. I've tried it several times now, but I'm still torn between "calming and enjoyable" and "perhaps a wee bit too quiet". It's one or the other, you'll have to decide. It's worth a try, at any rate, and it's a comparative bargain at $144 for 100 ml Eau de Parfum. The notes: rose, iris, cardamom, patchouli and sandalwood.
Poor Diabolo Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine has been idling in my purgatory basket since last year. It's a summery rose, with all of Shanti Shanti's lost sparkle, but despite the compelling list of notes (bergamot, mint, tomato leaves, maté leaves, lily of the valley, peony, amber, musk and sandalwood) it simply refuses to capture my fancy. It is meant to be youthful and it is, but it's a very well-behaved sort of youthful. The light, sweet-ish rose with a touch of mint verges on dainty to my nose; there just isn't the zing I was hoping for from the mint and maté, and the bitter green edge I expected from the tomato leaves is prettified by the peony and lily of the valley. Nice, just not my cup of tea. In 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum, but I do not think it has made its way to the United States as yet.
Guaiac, from Red Flower's recently launched organic perfume line, is another for the "spendy" list: $186 nets you a mere 15 ml of "perfume concentrate". As we all know, natural and organic aren't cheap. Luckily there's a 10 ml roll-on in a lower concentration for the relatively bargain price of $48. The opening is bright, with a lovely candied-but-tart grapefruit note. A dewy sheer rose joins in shortly, but the citrus lasts well into the dry down, and for that matter, it stays awfully bright for something called Guaiac — someone looking for lots of deep, dark woods may well be disappointed. For the rest of us, this is a beautiful take on a woody rose, eventually turning drier and duskier, with subtle resinous notes. Just lovely, and the lasting power is excellent for a natural, even in the lesser concentration (a few hours). Notes: guaiac, pink grapefruit, rose absolute, elemi, copaiba and cabreuva.
Sonoma Scent Studio's new Vintage Rose is also described as dusky, and that's exactly what it is. The opening is woody-ambery and rich (notes: rose, plum, labdanum absolute, tonka, amber, cedar, and sandalwood), and think spiced plum wine instead of jam. The dry down is full-bodied but soft, and as much about the woods and amber as it is about rose. It has an appropriately "vintage" feel, but it isn't so skanky or heavy that it wouldn't appeal to modern wearers, in fact, it might be the perfect thing for a fan of Stella McCartney's Stella who was looking for a deeper, sexier alternative. Vintage Rose is available in 15 ($31) or 30 ml ($47) Eau de Parfum, and I'm very tempted by the 15 ml — gosh, I could get the 15 ml plus the 10 ml of Red Flower Guaiac for a mere $80. We'll see how long I can hold out.
For buying information, click on the brand links in the descriptions above.