I'm still exploring the Italian niche line Maria Candida Gentile, so you can imagine my delight and curiosity when I realized that the collection includes a rose-centered fragrance. Cinabre, one of the "Classic" scents in the line...
...creates the fragrance of a magic rose with a breakthrough formula. It blends the essences of the Moroccan Splendens roses, absolute of May roses and pure vanilla to recreate, by magic, the scent of the Ayrshire rose Splendens, an ancient rose well known for having exquisite and extremely rare notes of myrrh.
It was also inspired by an inscription on the Porta Alchemica in Rome and by the Dracaena tree, also known as "the dragon's tree," which produces a red sap ("dragon's blood").
All this scene-setting aside, Cinabre is an oriental rose that unfolds like a crimson satin fan. Its composition includes notes of ginger, black pepper, pink pepper, Splendens rose, Moroccan rose, benzoin, vanilla and opoponax; if that list appeals to you (as it did to me!), you should try Cinabre, because it's an accurate summary of what you'll actually smell. The ginger is warm and natural-smelling. If you like peppery-woody rose fragrances like Perles de Lalique, you'll enjoy Cinabre's pepper phase. The opoponax, or "sweet myrrh," wafts into the picture gradually. It smells (to me) bitter as well as sweet, in that mysterious way that resins sometimes have.
If Cinabre's initial stages, with their spice and their bite, are more gender-neutral, its rose-vanilla heart is unabashedly feminine. It has an old-fashioned, Old World sensibility — which, as you can guess, is always a compliment coming from me. By the time it reveals its mid notes and base notes, Cinabre has a very "vintage" feeling, like an old bottle of some lesser-known Caron or Rochas fragrance. The opoponax turns powdery, and the roses are just slightly dusty. The resinous notes keep the vanilla from turning gourmand. Cinabre has very good staying power on my skin, and eight hours after application, I can detect subtle traces of smoky vanilla. This fragrance has been an ideal companion for a unseasonably gray and chilly week, when I can still wear sultry scents before the summer heat arrives in full force.
I certainly own enough rose fragrances of all types, but if I had easy access to a small bottle of Cinabre, I'd be tempted to add it to my collection. (I wish a United States-based vendor would pick up the line's 7 ml bottles!) For now, at least, I'm enjoying the last drops of my sample.
Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre is available in 7 (€14), 15 ($45) or 100 ($185) ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Maria Candida Gentile under Perfume Houses.
Note: top image is Roman Widow' ('Ds Manibus') [cropped] by Dante Gabriel Rossetti via Wikimedia Commons.