My last review of a rose-centered fragrance was posted way back in June, if you can believe it or not. (It was a review of Maria Candida Gentile's Cinabre, which would actually make an excellent fall fragrance.) What's become of me? To remedy this situation, here's a double review of two newish rose fragrances from brands that have been around for a while.
The Italian house Acqua di Parma has just released Rosa Nobile, "a tribute to the 'Queen of flowers'" that includes top notes of Sicilian mandarin, Calabrian bergamot and pepper; peony, violet, lily of the valley and Centifolia rose in the heart; and base notes of cedarwood, ambergris and musk. The Acqua di Parma website features an entire page focusing on Rosa Nobile's story. It mentions Rosa Nobile's "brand new and modern personality," because — of course — the consumer must be assured that there's nothing dowdy about roses. And when I stopped at the Acqua di Parma counter in an upscale department store to sniff Rosa Nobile, the sales associate was quick to inform me that this fragrance was "not old-fashioned, nothing that would make you think of old ladies." (Insert eye roll here.)
So, what did I think of this modern rose fragrance coming from an Italian "heritage" brand? It's fine. I like it in the same way I liked Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre — that is, I think it's a well-made, light, sheer (yet expensive) rose perfume. It has a fleeting top note of bergamot, but the main idea is a fresh rose note (definitely a pink rose!), backed up by some dewy peony and some slightly sharp lily of the valley. The lily of the valley actually seems to persist longer than the other floral notes, and the musk in the base is transparent and cool. Rosa Nobile has moderate sillage and below-average staying power for an Eau de Parfum. It's definitely pretty; it just lacks any mystery or depth or glamor for me.
To paraphrase what I wrote in a review of Roses de Chloé back in February, if you enjoy Diptyque Eau Rose or Caron Délire de Roses, you might like Rosa Nobile too. Then again, if you already own Eau Rose (as I do) or Délire de Roses, you might not bother to add something similar to your collection. I've been a fan of Acqua di Parma for years; I like its combination of retro style (e.g., its classic Colonia) and contemporary luxury (the Blu Mediterraneo collection). I used to own and love Iris Nobile, but I'm just not very excited by the brand's more recent soliflores. For a simple rose with lily of the valley, I'd sooner choose YOSH Sottile, which melds better with my skin.
Meanwhile, in Paris, Les Parfums de Rosine has launched Ballerina No. 1, the first of a promised duo of fragrances inspired by dancers. Ballerina No. 1 comes clothed in its own little tutu, and the scent inside includes top notes of pear, peach, freesia and bergamot; heart notes of rose, peony, violet and raspberry; and base notes of milk, vanilla, musk and sandalwood. It was developed by perfumer Delphine Lebeau. According to the Rosine website, it personifies a "mischievous and delicate" young ballet dancer.
That description suits Ballerina No. 1, which turns out (unsurprisingly, based on its list of notes) to be a fluffy confection of fruity rose with plenty of powder, as pastel-tinted as a dish of Jordan almonds. The pear note is fleeting, but the candy-like raspberry notes runs throughout the fragrance. The rose is lightly jammy, and it rests on a base of vanilla-infused whipped cream. And yes, there's also a strong suggestion of talcum powder in the musk notes. Ballerina No. 1 doesn't last as long on my skin as I expected it to, but it's good, girlish fun while it does last.
As you can guess, this is the kind of sweet fruity-floral you'll either love or hate, depending on your personal tastes. I actually didn't care much for the last few Rosine releases (Glam Rose, Vive la Mariée), but I found myself oddly charmed by Ballerina No. 1. Then again, I'm a passionate fan of Lipstick Rose and Drôle de Rose, right? I happen to enjoy perfumes that smell like the contents of a 1950s dressing table. I've nearly finished my sample vial, and I wouldn't mind owning a decant. It certainly doesn't feel like a workplace fragrance, but it would be perfect for a birthday party, a springtime walk in the park, teatime with a friend, or similar light-hearted occasions.
Have you recently tried any new rose fragrances that you enjoyed (or didn't enjoy)? Feel free to share in the comments!
Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile is available as 50 ml ($120) and 100 ml ($180) Eau de Parfum, as well as a matching body cream. For purchasing information, see the listing for Acqua di Parma under Perfume Houses.
Les Parfums de Rosine Ballerina No. 1 is available as 50 ml (€95) and 100 ml (€125) Eau de Parfum. For purchasing information, see the listing for Les Parfums de Rosine under Perfume Houses.