I saw Aerin Lauder in person once, just for a few fleeting seconds. She was sitting in a lunch meeting at an uptown eatery in Manhattan. She looked just as she often looks in photographs: very pretty, very polished, reserved and just a touch skeptical. I kept thinking of that sighting when I was trying out Rose de Grasse, a new floral fragrance for women recently launched by Lauder's namesake Aerin brand.
Rose de Grasse is described as a "captivating scent — pristine, sophisticated, unexpected and iconic," and an homage to several varieties of roses. It combines notes of centifolia rose, Bulgarian rose and "rose absolute" (no specific rose named here) with ambrette seed, a "watery accord," violet wood, ambrox and musk. My main impression is that Rose de Grasse is made with good-quality ingredients, even if leans more towards the "pristine and sophisticated" rather than the "unexpected and iconic."
This is a fresh and airy rose fragrance, in keeping with the Aerin brand and its casual-yet-cultivated aesthetic. It opens with the promised "watery accord," and this is my least favorite part of the fragrance. I feel like it's there just to reassure potential customers that Rose de Grasse is "not your grandmother's perfume." (I can't believe sales associates are still saying this to me in regard to rose scents, but they are — even when they know I write about perfume, even as recently as this very morning.) In any case, this breezy, aquatic opening also seems to include some freesia and other spring-y floral notes.
To my great relief, Rose de Grasse eases the wearer into its "rose fusion" without too much of a wait. These roses definitely smell pink and white, if you know what I mean; they're not rich or powdery or spicy, just diaphanous and almost soapy-clean. The base is a light, fruity-musky ambrette with some very sheer woods. The imagery on the Rose de Grasse website (sunlit gardens, open windows, crisp white lace) conveys the fragrance perfectly, in fact. There's even a Rose de Grasse "inspiration board" on Pinterest, for further visuals.
Rose de Grasse reminds me somewhat of Lancôme's Mille et Une Roses, perhaps with less amber, and Robin's description of that fragrance could also be applied here: it's "relatively unembellished," with "a modern, unfussy quality; it is the sort of fragrance that might convert even a hardened rose-hater." I'd recommend it to someone who enjoyed wearing Stella McCartney Stella in the mid- to late-2000s and now has the desire (and the increased income) for something a little more refined.
Rose de Grasse is packaged in an opaque white bottle with a square gold label and a sculpted circular cap. It reminds me of Giorgio Armani's Armani/Privé collection, but then again, there are only so many perfume bottle ideas to go around, and at least this is an attractive one. It would look lovely on any style of dressing table, antique or modern.
And there, I suppose, is the virtue of Rose de Grasse and the other Aerin fragrances: their very transparency makes them versatile and broadly appealing. Rose de Grasse didn't make my heart race, but it did make me feel calm and ladylike and, yes, just the slightest bit blasé.
Aerin Rose de Grasse is the first fragrance in a new Premier collection from Aerin. It is available as 50 ml ($185) Parfum.