Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose ~ fragrance review

Lancome Midnight Rose adLancome Midnight Rose bottle

Lancôme has released a few limited edition flankers to Trésor over the years, but it didn't really court a new generation of perfume-wearers until 2010, when it offered Trésor In Love as a "fresher" interpretation of the 1990s classic. Trésor In Love has just been joined by a second flanker, Trésor Midnight Rose, which is billed as "Charming. Mischievous. Desirable" and seems to be directed at a similarly young audience.

Lancôme names Trésor Midnight Rose's notes as raspberry, black currant bud absolute, rose absolute, jasmine, vanilla, and musk. (An earlier list also included pink pepper, peony, and cedar.) The fragrance was developed by perfumer Anne Flipo and it is packaged in a purple ombré version of the Trésor In Love bottle. The actress Emma Watson is the "face" of Midnight Rose, and I found the commercial in which she strides along the streets of Paris and beguiles a young bookshop clerk to be charming, indeed. (Two asides: the bookstore appears to be Shakespeare & Company; and, I once saw Emma Watson stepping into a boutique on New York's Madison Avenue. She was quite petite and pretty, and still very young-looking!) 

Trésor Midnight Rose bears little similarity to the well-groomed peachy rose of the original Trésor. I'd classify it as a fruity-woody feminine fragrance. It opens with a fabulously fake black currant note that reminds me momentarily of Ribena concentrate. This juicy berry aspect is followed soon afterwards by a semi-sheer wood with a sharp-sweet, cedary character. At first, these two accords seem to exist side-by-side, running along parallel olfactory tracks. Then the two threads gradually intertwine, for a more finished effect that's wearable, linear, and long-lasting. Midnight Rose contains very little vanilla, and its floral notes are subtle and tightly blended into the fruit-wood heart. The fragrance's finishing traces revert back to black currant and raspberry again.

I would have worn Midnight Rose with enthusiasm in my late teens and early twenties, when I was making the transition from fruity-sweet fragrances (Oscar de la Renta Ruffles!) to softer, if still slightly fruity, florals (Crabtree & Evelyn's Evelyn Rose ). It walks a line between "youthful" and more "sophisticated," which seems appropriate for an Emma Watson-aged wearer. The black currant is sweet, and the sandalwood is androgynous and sharp, just like the contrast between Emma Watson's berry-bright lipstick and boyish fedora hat in the commercial. 

Thinking back, I remember the combination of blackberry (and/or black currant) with sweet woods from Lalique's Amethyst and, of course, from L'Artisan Parfumeur's niche-classic Mûre et Musc. Trésor Midnight Rose doesn't have quite the richness and humor of that iconic berry-musk fragrance, but all the same, it's refreshing to see a fragrance that could be described as a granddaughter of Mûre et Musc, instead of yet another Thierry Mugler Angel descendant.

In summary, all the "pieces" of Trésor Midnight Rose fit together nicely around the fragrance itself: the advertisements, the packaging, the demographic, the pricing (kudos to Lancôme for offering bottles in various sizes). It should appeal to young women who have never tried a Lancôme fragrance before, and who knows: they may come back in a few years for the original Trésor, O de Lancôme, or one of the Lancôme's vintage fragrances, if they're ever reissued again (hope springs eternal for us not-so-youthful fragrance-wearers!). 

Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose is available in 30  ($44), 50 ($56), and 75 ($75) ml Eau de Parfum. 

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26 Comments

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  1. Masha says:

    Down in Miami, and S FL in general, the SAs are saying they cannot keep this in stock. Of course, down here, blackcurrant/Ribena is a very exotic note! We’re mostly mangos, cocos, and bananas…. There is also some Timberol in this one, or a close cousin, that makes that incredible “fire without smoke” scent, so I have to say, I was really charmed by this one, and I’m not surprised they keep selling out of it. I may end up getting a bottle myself, if I can ever find one, even though I’m not the target audience….

    • Jessica says:

      Masha, I had no idea it was selling so well, so fast. Thanks! I guess the combination of Emma Watson and berries really hit the mark, then!

  2. mals86 says:

    This actually sounds quite lovely to me, even though I found Tresor in Love to be a little too conventional and dull for my taste. Will have to sniff when I can.

  3. key change says:

    Maybe it’s just my skin chemistry, but on me the black currant note screeches loud and proud until the very end–crowding any other notes into a distant background. If I inhale deeply enough, I sense something mor lingering underneath, but alas if I don’t want to faint due to oxigen overload (can you even do that?) it’ll be nothing but black currant all the way. I can see teens loving it though–the SAs in canada likewise tell me they keep running out.

    • Jessica says:

      I do think it is aimed at teens and early-20s, which Lancome really hasn’t done before… so I’m watching with interest!

  4. annemarie says:

    I loved the ad too. Romance in a bookshop is never going to fail with me. Emma is fabulous. And that lipstick! Superb.

    I actually don’t remember much about the perfume. Screechy and sweet is all I can recall. But I shall be very glad if young women are finding a well-made perfume like this early in their perfume life. Thanks for the review.

    • Jessica says:

      Annemarie, “romance in a bookshop” could become the next “running barefoot through a flowery field,” if we’re lucky! ;)

  5. Omega says:

    Eck, this was so bad to me..disappointed in this one. At first it’s seriously raspberry bubblicious bubblegum blast. I love the gum, but not in a scent. Then it leaves an off-putting, strange musk odor to me. I would never buy it. No way!

    Another Lancome bust! Tresor In Love is pretty ok but zero lasting power will not buy it. But do like the peach in there.

    • Jessica says:

      I like a good peach note now and then, too. And I also like a purple-berry note once in a while, which is probably enjoyed Midnight Rose!

  6. aleta says:

    The husband and I tried Tresor and both In Loves, side by side. Against the original the In Loves smelled a bit cheap and generic. This review makes me want to smell Midnight Rose again, but if I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if I walked out of the store with a bottle of Tresor.

    • Jessica says:

      Aleta, if I were to buy one, it would probably be the original Tresor… but that’s the best demographic fit for me, anyway! ;)

  7. nozknoz says:

    I remember the beautiful displays when Tresor was launched, with peach-colored silk rose petals instead of paper scent strips, and Isabella Rosselini – one of the best ever. But the scent is like a club to my nose – perhaps I’m hyperosmic to some part of it. There’s a very good chance that I could like this flanker better! ;-)

    • Jessica says:

      Noz, I love Isabella Rossellini so much… one of the best fragrance “faces” ever, not to mention her many other achievements! (Plus, she rides the subway in NYC, which makes me like her even more.) That must have been a wonderful launch.

  8. bookwyrmsmith says:

    Midnight Rose seems quite a bit like Cacherel’s discontinued Promesse,at least to my nose.

    • Jessica says:

      Was Promesse the one in the purple bottle? I liked LouLou, of course, and I didn’t mind Noa… but I don’t remember trying Promesse.

  9. Nile Goddess says:

    Tresor is one of the few fragrances that told me nothing. All I could smell the multiple times i made an honest effort to understand it was a mush or pale fruit and pale flowers. Of course I was working through a huge stash of the wonderful Cacharel Mira Bai at the time, that also is gone now (sigh).

    Mure et Musc is a delightful fragrance, and there used to be a Mure line at Yves Rocher that I liked – nowhere near the sophistication of Mure et Musc but still nice and natural.

    I reviewed Midnight Rose for Valentine’s Day for my group (website not in English, sorry) and it was the least liked from the rose-based bunch. And the least rosy too, but having reviewed the Escada re-releases the previous week, I found Sexy Graffiti a much better behaved currant fragrance then Midnight Rose. Sexy Graffiti is wonderful for a night out – it becomes so much more interesting once it’s got a chance to absorb some cigarette smoke :-D

    • Jessica says:

      Nile, there is definitely a place in this world for fun “going-out” fragrances! I’ll have to keep an eye out for Sexy Graffiti, despite its terrible name!

  10. The very first sample I smelt in my perfume hobby was DKNY Delicious Night, which was wire wool steeped in Ribena to my nose, and which I fear may have put me off the blackcurrant note for ever. I did own and enjoy original Tresor, which I remember as the Chloe of its day, and I thought Tresor in Love insipid. Thanks to this review I now know the name for that black effect on my bottle of L’Agent by AP!

    • Just checked and Delicious Night has blackberries rather than blackcurrant. ; – ). I think I may just have a general downer on “fruits of the forest”-type berries!

      • Jessica says:

        I think I tried Delicious Night, too, and didn’t care for it! I found Midnight Rose much easier to wear. Although, as Nile Goddess just pointed out, it could use more *rose*. But that’s just a typical remark, coming from me. ;)

  11. Kimberly Elizabeth says:

    I’m not a big fan of berries myself, but I love Emma Watson and that purple glass bottle looks beautiful.

    • Jessica says:

      The bottle is just as pretty in person as it looks in the photos… lovely colors!

  12. annie-mary says:

    I love the blackcurrant, and just bought a mini. I have been trying to avoid the SA however at one department store who appears out of nowhere and says “Welcome to Lancome” with a creepy look on her face. She must know me as I visit the counter often, but always seems to treat me like a complete stranger. It’s very off putting. The perfume however is lovely, and I am not from the target demographic. At this point in my life I don’t care, I will buy what I love anyway, creepy SA’s notwithstanding!!!!

    • Jessica says:

      hah! We should *all* buy what we love, and *none* of should be bothered by scary SAs! ;)

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