Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One, a flanker to the company's 2006 release The One, definitely can't be faulted for its promotion and packaging. It has a print advertising campaign and an accompanying television commercial created by the photographer-director Jean-Baptiste Mondino; the commercial also features a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. The fragrance’s muse, Scarlett Johansson, is shown looking delicately radiant in these ads, every inch a human meringue: her platinum hair tinted a soft strawberry blonde, her creamy skin set off by a rose-colored mesh gown (Dolce & Gabbana, of course), her lush figure reclining on a bed with a pink tufted-satin headboard. Rose The One’s bottle and the fragrance’s “juice” itself are also shaded pink, in case you missed the point. With visuals this tactile and boudoir-oriented, you might expect a powdery gourmand rose fragrance along the lines of Parfumerie Generale’s Brûlure de Rose.
Unfortunately, reality intrudes with the experience of the actual Eau de Parfum inside that blush-colored bottle and its layers of well-crafted marketing. The official description of Rose the One’s notes includes black-currant, pink grapefruit, mandarin, lily of the valley, rose, litchi, peony, Madonna lily, ambrette seed, sandalwood, musk and vanilla, a list that seems like something of a “greatest hits” compilation of mass-market floral perfumes of the past five years. The predominant note in Rose The One's opening is the grapefruit, but even throughout the development of the fragrance, the namesake rose is pushed to the sidelines. Rose The One’s core is a very familiar-seeming accord of lily of the valley, peony, and unripe mulberries that recalls other recent fragrances released by everyone from Mariah Carey to Bond no. 9. It’s unapologetically synthetic and somehow high-pitched, sweet with a sour edge, and although it lasts a while on skin, it never deepens into anything more reflective or seductive. There's a wisp of vanilla in the base, but not enough to add any warmth or texture. If this fragrance were a garment, it wouldn’t be a Dolce & Gabbana gown that some starlet has worn on the red carpet. Instead, it would be a knock-off of that Dolce & Gabbana gown, as devised with cheaper materials and skimpier workmanship by a trend-based chain store like Zara. It might serve as a cute and flattering option for one night out at some venue where everyone dresses more or less alike, but it’s definitely not durable or particularly well-tailored.
I wanted to try Rose The One because I’m curious about any new interpretations of my favorite floral note. Sorry to say, there isn’t anything especially new (or memorable) about this scent, and since I’m not a particular fan of Scarlett Johansson’s acting or Dolce & Gabbana’s style, the rest of Rose The One’s appeal is wasted on me. If you’re similarly uninterested in all this promotional apparatus, and you’re just looking for a light, citrus-berry rose fragrance, keep walking through the shopping mall and try out The Body Shop’s Moroccan Rose. If you’re browsing online instead, you’d be better off hunting down any of the Stella Sheer releases, Creative Universe’s Element of Attraction, or Crazylibellule & The Poppies’ Rose à Saïgon. All of these are more interesting, fruity-bright iterations of the rose, without an inflated “prestige” label. Nevertheless, Rose The One may do very well in stores, if it attracts enough Scarlett fans and wearers of Dolce & Gabbana’s other fragrances. Should I just cut to the chase and give a two-word review? Okay, fine. Light Pink.
Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One was developed by perfumer Michel Girard and is available in 30, 50 and 75 ml Eau de Parfum ($60-90).