A larger than life blast of pure, crisp rose (expectedly) opens Une Rose. It’s clean, crystal clear, and classically presented. This opening is the definition of a perfect soliflore - the rose’s complicated angles are all on full display: A traditional rose soap, a raspberry jam quality, a bright citrus freshness, a rich floral spice, a lightly fungal earthiness, and a languid translucency of floral waters. It’s all there, in a harmonious balance that evens Une Rose out into a singular accord.
The thing I find fascinating about this opening – is that it literally smells like its name “A rose” – it is a single rose, inhaled from a distance close enough for the petals to be spread around your nose. The scent of a bouquet of roses often captured in fragrances is more subdued, it is sniffed from afar, diluting it’s textures and it’s more ugly edges into something smoother and more delicate – even flat at times. Here the rose is completely up close and 3 dimensional, you can see into every corner of every petal and sniff out it’s more hidden elements.
So paired with the rose, is the green rose twang of geranium – probably contributed to the fresh citrus accords up-top. The geranium is blended to a point where it becomes part of the rose rather than a separate ingredient – the rose is the leading player start to finish.
An ever-so-slightly soiled honey comes forward, enhancing a little sweetness of the rose amongst the delicately bitter greenery. It’s a clever contribution, bringing forward a sweetness in Une Rose that is far more natural smelling than any other amber/vanilla/benzoin sweetener.
The unfortunate thing for me in the heart is that the rose begins to become lightly powdered, and therefore a little more “perfumey” – it starts with such fresh dew on the skin that it almost feels damp, the genuine scent of a rose after the rain (really lovely). It takes on a slight stuffiness at this point, where the rose begins to grow stronger, and seems to age with a “pot pourri” style dry, decay. Whilst it still smells like the same beautiful rose, it has really began to dry, gathering a little unwelcome dust.
The fruity facets of raspberry jam at the begin which impart a (very light) delicious syrup into Une Rose’s opening, age and mature into a slightly boozy note, with a stale wine aroma. It’s a really nice accord – but makes the already stuffy illusion of pot pourri a little more cloying than necessary – further folding the freshness of the opening into a heavily perfumed cloud of dust and honeyed pollen.
When I first tried this on paper I picked up an earthy fungal note of mushrooms (which obviously I was head-over-heels for), however this doesn’t seem to make an appearance on the skin for many hours, and even then it is far more subtle than I initially perceived it.
The earthy notes do push forward as the rose continues to age, not with a fresh green snap of stems and leaves, but instead the delicate scent of earth (which has now completely dried out), and yes, a tiny smidge of vegetal fungus.
In the late drydown (although I pick it up very lightly after an hour or so), I got a sharp dose of cedar wood to support the base. It compliments the multi-faced rose of Une Rose by taking it away from a more predictable musk/sandalwood territory into a wood with a much more abrasive scented texture. It holds a roughness that keeps Une Rose strong and powerful – it never succumbs to something delicate and predictable, blasting of your skin for hours on end.
Une Rose is a strong player in the Frederic Malle line, and amongst the other great roses in the house’s collection, it still holds its own unique identity as the most classical, and maybe even the most wearable in the highly praised rose trio (Une Rose, Lipstick Rose, Portrait Of A Lady).
On first sniff, I adored this fragrance – I instantly said “This is the best thing I’ve smelt in a long time” – after a true wearing I can’t stand by that statement as for me, the heart loses its way a little bit. That isn’t to say the heart is poor, it still paints a wonderful olfactory picture, it’s just not where I hoped the fragrance would lead me from the start.
However, I highly recommend this as one of the best rose soliflores I have tried, and is a must sniff for rose connoisseurs. A beautiful perfume.
Une Rose 50ml Frederic Malle - £130 Les Senteurs