Ann Gerard Rose Cut ~ fragrance review

Ann Gérard Rose Cut, bottle top view

All you rose-weary perfume lovers might be ready to click over to a different site when you see I’m reviewing Ann Gérard Rose Cut, but hang on a moment. I’ve had my issues with rose fragrances, too. Sure, I keep a bottle of Parfum d’Empire Eau Suave around to remind me of Henry James’s famous saying that “summer afternoon” are the two most beautiful words in the English language. And I have some Guerlain Nahéma for when I’m feeling giddy and ridiculous and nothing will do but rose and peach fireworks. But for the most part, rose fragrances can smell predictable. Dull. Not Rose Cut.

Our friend, the hardest-working man in fragrance, Bertrand Duchaufour,1 developed Rose Cut. Its notes include aldehydes, rum, pink pepper, rose, peony, patchouli, vanilla, oakwood and benzoin. Rose Cut is definitely a rose fragrance — you can smell scarlet roses all through it — but it’s never precious. It’s intense without being clichéd and soft without turning maternal.

First let’s examine Rose Cut’s intensity. To manufacture intensity, a lot of rose fragrances seem to waft patchouli and/or oud, then bill themselves as “sophisticated.” At this point, I’ve smelled enough of them to find them about as sexy as stilettos and red lipstick. In other words, they’re hackneyed. They don’t pull me in. With Rose Cut, Duchaufour loaded the front end with the sort of intensity he spun into Aedes de Venustas Signature (the rhubarb one), only it’s done in a quieter, silkier way with aldehydes, pepper, and a thread of incense. That’s right, incense. It’s not listed among the fragrance’s notes, but I swear I smell its tang yanking Rose Cut out of its silver bowl on the sideboard and shifting it somewhere much more interesting.

Now let’s move on to Rose Cut’s softness. Despite the fragrance’s initial intensity, its texture is silk velvet. No pointy bits here. Its heart is warm and liquid as the incense melts into hardwood and rum-tinted rose without a lot of greenery and competing florals. The dry down comes sooner than I want, but it doesn’t devolve into the sweet and woody boring pleasantness you might expect. As the rose fades, Rose Cut takes on just a grain of funk that brings to mind a more mellow Serge Lutens Chêne. For all its body, Rose Cut has minimal sillage on my skin and lasts about five hours.

I’m surprised to write it, but I want a bottle of Rose Cut — which doesn’t mean I’ll buy one, but I want one all the same. To me, Rose Cut shakes off the rose perfume’s English country house and red lipstick clichés and gives rose an upscale yet bohemian feel that is smart without being in-your-face. Now that I’m learning to love roses, I’m going to have to sample Vero Kern Rozy

Ann Gérard Rose Cut, bottle

Ann Gérard Rose Cut Eau de Parfum is $165 for 60 ml. For information on where to buy it, see Ann Gérard under Perfume Houses.

1. Don’t you think it’s about time that perfumers picked up titles like singers once did? You know, like the Hardest Working Man in Show Business (James Brown), the Godfather of Soul (also James Brown), the Bishop of Soul (Solomon Burke), and the King of Rock and Roll (Elvis)? Given Duchaufour’s love of incense, we could call him the Priest of Perfume.

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45 Comments

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  1. jirish says:

    I am not rose-weary at all! In fact, I’m more of a newly converted rose-lover. Will have to try this (and Eau Suave and Nahema) while I am saving my pennies for a travel bottle of by Killian’s Rose Oud, which may be hackneyed in its ingredients, but IMHO is so beautifully done that I can’t stop thinking about it. Still, it would be a relief if I ended up loving Rose Cut more – so much easier on my wallet! But I hope I get more sillage than you seemed to get. Rose Cut is priced just high enough that I would expect a little more pow for my buck.

    • Angela says:

      As a rose lover, you are lucky! There are so, so many roses to choose from (I forgot in my review to mention Amouage Lyric, another rose I turn to sometimes, for instance).

      I’m so glad By Killian has those travel bottles. They’re so much more affordable than the full-sized bottles.

    • C.H. says:

      Rose Oud is so beautiful.

  2. sapphire03 says:

    I love rose perfumes but the patchouli note and your description of a bohemian feel makes me nervous. I really dislike any inkling of distinct patchouli with my rose. Based on that, should I pass on testing this one?

    • Angela says:

      I don’t get distinct patchouli at all, so I think you’re safe there. As for bohemian, I think of the university professor bohemian type more than the group house bohemian type (if you know what I mean). In any case, if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of a Rose Cut tester, do give it a try!

      • sapphire03 says:

        I will definitely give it a try!

        • Angela says:

          Please let me know what you think!

      • Dilana says:

        ” university professor bohemian type more than the group house bohemian type”
        Oh, Angela what a beautiful vivid, phrase.

        • Angela says:

          Thank you! Can you tell that I know both?

  3. C.H. says:

    Well, I have to admit, I really like red lipstick, but sounds like I might like this too! :) Thanks Angela.

    • Angela says:

      I know I like it! (And I do wear my fair share of MAC Russian Red.)

  4. johanob says:

    Lets make that the HIGH PRIEST OF PERFUME!I simply love and admire all his work and perfumes.The Neela Vermeire range in particular.I’ve heard so many great things about Rose Cut,it’s going to be a blind buy via my “perfume-mule” visiting the UK in June!Lovely Review!It seems though that it’s THE YEAR OF THE ROSE AND MAGNOLIA?I don’t mind that,really…:-))

    • johanob says:

      Also:I do have a question:I ADORE Portrait of a Lady,Fille de Berlin,Rossy De Palma and Rose Poivre,would/can you compare Rose Cut to any of these in terms of Smell/Sillage/Longevity?(Portrait is the ultimate favorite of those I mentioned)

    • Angela says:

      I had to laugh at “perfume mule”!

      Portrait of a Lady also has the rose-wood combo, but I think of it as more assertive and darker than Rose Cut. Rose Cut doesn’t last as long, either, dang it. I could imagine a Portrait of a Lady lover wearing Rose Cut happily on days when he or she wants a softer presentation.

      • johanob says:

        Angela,did you just read my mind?Lol!!As I was waxing lyrically about PoaL,I was thinking maybe this might be the lighter version I was looking for?Thank you for the affirmation!I need a PoaL”light” for the really hot summer days over here in South Africa.Rose Cut makes…well…the Cut!:-)

        • Angela says:

          I hope you like it! I’m always so wary of unsniffed buys, but I do like this one. (Now I have the urge to spritz on some Portrait of a Lady, too.)

      • sapphire03 says:

        That was going to be my next question: How does Rose Cut compare to POAL as they sound similar–i.e. boozy, slightly spicy rose perfumes. I quite like POAL but it is a tad heavy for me to absolutely love it. Now that you have confirmed that Rose Cut is a softer POAL I am even more keen to try it.

        • Angela says:

          It’s softer and a lot less resinous–they really don’t seem “of a type,” but I can imagine wearing Rose Cut during the day and spritzing some Portrait of a Lady over it at night. (The POAL would obliterate it, though.)

  5. Karin says:

    I just tried this from a sample this morning, and have to say, it’s gorgeous. I am not a rose lover. Rose perfumes typically turn me off. There are a few that I’ve grown to love. This may be one of them…

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like you and I are on the same boat with Rose Cut!

      • Karin says:

        Oh, and the color of that juice!!! That’s enough to make me want a bottle. So pretty!

        • Angela says:

          It really is! (I wonder if it would stain white fabric?)

  6. floragal says:

    Excited to try this. Thank you for reviewing. Rose, although a note that “doesn’t pull me in” either, when spiced up a bit and given a “grain of funk” I’m in.
    Just bought another decant of Tauer’s PHI Une Rose de Kandahar, another spiced rose that has me wrapped around its gorgeous mix of fruit & spice.

    • Angela says:

      Nice! Yes, for me rose can definitely be hit or miss, but Rose Cut is a hit. I dream of a summer-true rose, but in practice I guess I really don’t want to wear one.

  7. flannery says:

    This one is definitely a stand out. I love Shiseido White Rose and the uber rose of Rose Poivree are the two rose fbs in my cabinet, but Rose Cut will hopefully be the next one to join them. My impressions are much like yours, Angela, it is definitely not your usual rose frag but one with enough depth to kick it into its own class. Bravo, Bertrand.

    • Angela says:

      Hey, your comment inspires me to think maybe we should name him Bishop Betrand!

      • Angela says:

        I mean “Bertrand,” of course.

  8. Normand says:

    I used to refer to Bertrand Duchaufour as the King of Cold… based on his earlier drafty and damp cathedral style of L’Artisan Parfumeur. Great review!

    • Angela says:

      That’s a great name, and if you look at the incenses plus Dzongka and a few others, I definitely see it. But he can definitely do warm, too (think of Havana Vanille right now).

  9. PetronellaCJ says:

    This sounds lovely! I am almost always disappointed with rose fragrances, they turn too sweet or too sour on my skin. A few exceptions so far, one from either end of the rose fragrance universe: Cartier So Pretty and Guerlain Nahema. The other day I tried Rosee de Nuit from the fairly new Swedish/German brand Friedemodin and it also adds depth with patchouli and woods. Really lovely, moist but not heavy.

    • Angela says:

      I like rose in concept, but I think my brain goes straight to “smelled that, know that” so often when I smell rose fragrances.

  10. lucasai says:

    Hi Angela!
    To me Rose Cut was one of the most remarkable perfume launches that happened during Esxence in Milan. It was a real pleasure for me to meet Ann personaly, to talk with her about the perfume and her collaboration with Bertrand Duchaufour.
    I’m also a happy owner of Rose Cut bottle :) No surprise you want it too!

    • Angela says:

      Lucky you! Oh, now I’m turning green with envy….

  11. donanicola says:

    Yes, I’m one of those rose perfume avoiders particularly when paired with patchouli and/or oudh. Hackneyed is the perfect phrase for them. And I also agree with you when you say you dream of rose but don’t necessarily want to wear it. I will give Rose Cut a go when I see it but my “rose on the road to Damascus” choice has already been bagged by Rozy Voile ‘Extrait…….

    • Angela says:

      I must sample Rozy. I admire Vero Kern’s work so much, and I have a feeling Rozy and I might become good friends if given a chance.

  12. nozknoz says:

    I definitely want to try this and Rozy. I’m always fascinated by whatever Duchaufour does, but I don’t really enjoy some of the more recent ones that seem to make use of strong modern synthetic notes. The ones I like to wear are the softer, sweeter ones – the fruit-leathers (Belle Helene, Traversee du Bosphore), Nuit de Tuberose, Havana Vanille and Frapin 1647. My favs are the earlier weird ones like Timbuktu, Paestum Rose, Sienne L’Hiver, Dzonka.

    BTW, how does this compare to Paestum Rose?

    • Angela says:

      It’s been so long since I’ve smelled Paestum Rose that I’m not sure I can say, but my memory is that Rose Cut is warmer and more of a rosy hug than a cooling splash.

  13. Elena says:

    I also get tons of incense in this, and to me the drydown is really an incense scent with a touch of rose. Maybe the Ann Gerard discovery set would be a good idea for you. Cuir de Nacre and Perle de Mousse are also worth buying, and I think 7.5 ml of each is just about right.

    • Angela says:

      I love Cuir de Nacre and invested in a small decant. I’ve never tried Perle de Mousse, though. You’re so right about 7.5 ml being a good size. I’d better hop on line and see about that discovery set!

  14. Omega says:

    I am rose weary, perhaps I should sniff this. Just can’t get into roses much..I do like the lipstick variety with the iris thrown in…but other than that..nope. I am especially rose oud weary.

    • Omega says:

      I am also patchouli weary, how patch heavy is this?

      • Angela says:

        Not even noticeable–at least to me.

    • Angela says:

      A few of my rose bushes have started blooming, and what a fabulous fragrance they have! Yet somehow I don’t want to wear it. Rose Cut is something better for my skin, anyway.

  15. meganinstmaxime says:

    Love your review of this. I’m a rose lover – and seem to have no problems with most of them – dark, light, watery, dense, patchouli, oud, fruit – just keep them coming. This is definitely on the list. I don’t think there’s been a bad review of this one yet? Maybe there has but I haven’t read it.

    • Angela says:

      I haven’t read one either! If you’re a rose lover, you definitely should sample this one.

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