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Sniff Fest: My Dear Roses

Sniff Fest: My Dear Roses 8 years ago
Part 4

Trying Part 4 in a topic instead of a blog. The first three installments are here http://www.parfumo.net/Users/ScentFan/Blog. For me these sniff fests are a fun way to simultaneously learn genres, houses, notes and accords while finding great perfumes for my wish list. Not-very-serious mini stories often unfold in the process and I hope you enjoy them.

Comments very welcome.

SIMPLE ROSE SOLIFORES



Now that the rest of the samples have arrived, I can back up and sniff a collection of simple rose perfumes. According to the Perfume Glossary at now smell this, http://www.nstperfume.com/perfume-glossary/, a soliflore is “a fragrance which focuses on a single flower, or which tries to recreate the aroma of a single flower. Soliflores may in fact have more than one floral note, however.” Many of the 96 in this rose sniff could meet that definition, but this group have less complex notes.

First, the story. All over Kazanlak, locals are talking of nothing but the dead tourist — an old man who died in his bed of an apparent heart attack. Since no one wants to cause a stir with thousands of tourists slowly arriving for the festival days away, they whisper about the look of fright said to be on his face. Nikola has sneaked more perfumes from the stage and brought them to Rosa’s house. He finds her in the Petrov family garden that he enters by climbing the wall. Twelves trellises, laden with twelve different kinds of roses, line the walls and it is said these roses transport their beauty to any Petrov girl born in this house. Before he can speak Rosa says, “Nikola, is it true you will race in a Bendidia tonight. It’s been forbidden.” Nikola blushes. His enemy, Anton, challenged him to a relay race on horseback — an ancient ritual honoring the Thracian goddess, Bendis. Their batons will be fiery torches , like the one Bendis carries. Instead of answering, he gives Rosa the vials.

Bulgarian Rose by Demeter, Cologne. “This is quite like the damascenes that fill our valley,” Rosa says, allowing him to distract her, “but it’s as if something has been added to increase the volume and not very pleasantly.” I note that it calms down on my skin, but there’s still a raw green edge that actually doesn’t smell very Bulgarian, more Turkish. It’s lovely layered with other Demeters, though.

Rose by Demeter Naturals, EdT
. “A rose is a rose is a rose,” Rosa exclaims. I point out that though this has chamomile, soft woods and green notes, they are so subtle they only enhance the rose scent without detracting from it. In spite of the presence of green notes, I don’t think this is a Turkish rose. It smells more like a centifolia than a damascena and could even be a garden rose like the Alba. It lingers beautifully on the skin, not projecting very much, but lasting. Notes: Chamomile, Rose absolute, Rose blossom, Soft woods, Green notes

Red Roses by Joe Malone
. “Gorgeous!” Rosa exclaims on first sniff and indeed it is. The mint, violet leaf and lemon in the notes do their job without making their presence known. All I smell is rose and it’s lovely. Per the website, this is a blend of “seven of the world’s most exquisite roses.” In beauty it rivals Une Rose while being softer, more feminine, less assertive but still fully and unmistakably rose. This rose goes into the finals.

Rose Smoke by JoAnne Bassett. “I smell tobacco, but it’s not unpleasant,” Rosa says. “Vanilla and balsam blend beautifully with it, but they turn the rose into a co-star instead of a star.” I agree, but the combined scent is nice, though not compelling enough to make it a must own. The fragrance fades quickly into the skin and projection is lost. Notes: May rose, French vanilla, Tobacco absolute, Balsam

Grenats by Keiko Mecheri. “Much stronger than the others!” Rosa declares. I take the vial from her, but apparently she wasn’t finished because she glares at me. I apologize and sniff. A very appealing note enlivens this rose. It must be angelica and, luckily, I have a sample in my kit. Ah, it’s like a resinous, slightly spicy wood dripping with candle wax. In the perfume, angelica is quite appealing mixed with the rose, pomegranate, citrus and musk. Grenats means garnets in French. Not sure why they gave this perf that name. On skin, it’s pleasant, if slightly astringent. Could be the angelica or the citrus notes. I think I like it, though. It's unusual and gets even better as it dries. Rosa agrees it belongs in the finals.

Just then, Anton climbs over the wall. “What news is there about the tourist?” Rosa asks him. Nikola is flabbergasted that Rosa, his new love—or at least he thought so—, is friends with Anton, too. He knows his sister, Penka, has a crush on Anton. Anton is taller and darker than Nikola, who notes they look like a pair. Quietly, Nikola curses his Thracian red hair and blue eyes.

“I saw him myself,” Anton says to her without greeting Nikola. “He died with his mouth open in a scream. His camera lay broken beside the bed. Very strange.” Nikola walks up to Rosa and puts more perfume vials in her hands. She smiles. Anton scowls and says, “Plan to lose at the horse race tonight, Nikola.”

On the other side of the garden wall, Penka scowls, too. She followed Anton here and has been listening. She whispers to herself, “Plan to die at the horse race tonight, Rosa, if you come.”

Additional sniffs:

Rose by L’Erbolario. “Don’t know how I missed these four,” Rosa says. “This rose has a very strong, very green note. I wonder if it’s from Turkish roses, rather than Bulgarian?” I reply that I’m sure it’s possible, but it’s risky to draw conclusions based on a single Turkish rose sample. Let’s pay attention when a perfume lists Turkish rose as a note, before deciding Bulgarian is softer and sweeter and Turkish more raw and green. I ask Rosa if she likes it. “I would if I hadn’t already smelled prettier ones.”

Roses Vanille by Mancera. “This one resembles Lipstick Rose,” she says after trying it. “I sniff and agree to a certain extent. They share vanilla and musk, but this is really a gourmand, made with rose lokum, which is a rose candy and vanilla sugar. A lemon top not and especially cedar wood in the base reigns in the sweetness a bit. It’s still too sweet for my tastes. I prefer FM’s Lipstick Rose.

Rose de nuit by Serge Lutens. Like SL’s memorable jasmine, A La Nuit, their Rose de Nuit is also memorable. Bergamot, Oakmoss, Honey, Leather, Rose blend perfectly and my eyes close as I sniff this svelteness. Rosa takes the strip from me and her eyes close, too. “This goes in the finals. I’m going to ask Nikola to buy it for me,” she says. Though it isn’t as starkly rosy as some of the others, this beauty goes on my wish list, too.

Sa majeste la rose by Serge Lutens. “This is a fresher rose, isn’t it? Rosa asks. I agree. If Rose de nuit, as per its name, is for the night, then Sa majesty la rose, with its clove and Gaiac wood, is for the morning. It’s a brighter rose but unfortunately it also vanishes on my skin whereas Rose de nuit lingers as its rose blooms. Notes: Clove, Gaiac wood, Musk, Rose absolute, White honey.
Last edited by ScentFan on 01.05.2014, 23:56; edited 3 times in total
An enchanting topic 8 years ago
Yes, in topic form it may get more views.

I so enjoyed it over at BN when you had the topic "sniff fests" ... I followed Yasmine, and now it is Rosa.

Not having the time to always comment, I still read and have bookmarked your long and beautiful stories, to read them at leisure, later.
I don't know enough rose perfumes to really comment, but I enjoy your topic.
Part 5 - Musky Roses 8 years ago

Musk Being Newly Extracted

MUSKY ROSES

It is dusk and the young people of Kazanlak slowly leave their homes and usual haunts to gather on a road outside of town. It runs through the rose fields and they barely notice the thrilling smell of thousands of roses in the air, they are so used to it. All is flat across the Rose Valley, its pink crops planted in the special Balkan technique called kemse, but they can still make out the sloping Balkan range in the distance and opposite it the Sredna Gora mountains. These two frame the rose fields and their lives. Some of the girls have worn traditional dress for this ancient ceremony that their parents have forbidden because of its danger.

Back in her garden of twelve kinds of roses, Rosa is undecided about whether to attend. She sniffs more perfumes Nikola brought her.

Fleurs de Bulgarie by Creed. “Oh, it’s beautiful,” Rosa says of this fragrance in which the Bulgarian rose is framed by the familiar notes of Bergamot, Ambergris and Musk. On my skin it vanishes so swiftly that I can’t detect it at all after a bare few moments. I’m ready to conclude it’s a skin scent, no more, but later it’s still there, so let’s say a skin scent plus that bears watching as it dries.

L’Ombre dans L’Eau by Diptyque. An initial starkly green note overpowers both the rose and the musk and continues that way during the drydown, until the warm base eventually asserts itself and finally the rose. Then it’s as if a single rose grows from fresh earth among leafy bushes. Ultimately, it’s a quite pleasant if somewhat ordinary scent. Notes: Black currant leaf, May rose, Black currant seed, Amber, Musk.

Lipstick Rose by Editions de parfums Frédérick Malle
. Sweet vanilla pushes through in the top and this time the amber/musk duo is helped by vetiver. “They soon complement rather than drown the rose,” Rosa says. They do. Projection is the best so far of this group. It’s an appealing strongly vanilla fragrance. “For the finals?” Rosa asks. I nod.

Miss Charming by Juliette Has a Gun. “It deserves its name,” Rosa says. Yes, it does. The top note charms with musky Lychee and other unspecified fruits then comes the rose and the musk base. The notes are simple, but they’ve been done just right. It’s appealing.

Roses Musk by Montale
. “This rose has jasmine,” Rosa says, her nose expert. I sniff and finally agree it does. It’s not the indolic grandilora or even the samba. This could be the auricolatum jasmine, less beautiful than its more popular cousins, but with a sharp almost civet-like note. The result here is a slightly less rosy perfume than the previous ones, but to me more interesting. Notes: Rose, Jasmine, Ambergris, Musk.

Rose Musk by Sonoma Scent Studio. “In comparison with the others, the top note is sour,” Rosa says. I agree, not having detected this before. It must be the labdanum, but can it smell sour? I pull it from my notes kit to take a whiff. It has a musty rather than a sour smell. Notes: Ambergris, Labdanum, Musk, Rose blossom. The sourness begins to fade in the dry down and this becomes a truly lovely scent.

With all six drying down on my hands and arms, I review. The Creed is lovely, the Diptyque less so for me, Liptstick Rose remains very nice for those who love vanilla, Miss Charming is less charming now, the Montale is still interesting if a bit sharp and not compelling, and the SSS Rose Musk intrigues. Of these I like the Creed and the SSS best.

I turn to consult Rosa, but she’s vanished, no doubt gone to the Bendidia to see the torchlight race.
Re: An enchanting topic 8 years ago
Thanks, Pipette!

Pipette:
Yes, in topic form it may get more views.

I so enjoyed it over at BN when you had the topic "sniff fests" ... I followed Yasmine, and now it is Rosa.

Not having the time to always comment, I still read and have bookmarked your long and beautiful stories, to read them at leisure, later.
I don't know enough rose perfumes to really comment, but I enjoy your topic.
8 years ago
See four additional perfumes in Part 4.
Part 6 - Spicy Roses 8 years ago
SPICY ROSES



Suddenly, the dark night brightens as the boys fire their torches, yellow light illuminating the town’s more adventurous teenagers who have come to the rose fields for this. The first two boys mount their horses, the local East Bulgarian breed. With long necks, full chests, elegant heads and large, intelligent eyes, they all could be descendants of the great Secretariat, but the horses are really a breed only 100 years old, cultivated for the saddle and light draft work. The horses seem eager to join the boys in the forbidden race. Far down the road wait the torch receivers, Nikola and Anton, for the second and final leg.

At the last minute, Rosa has decided to come. Knowing she’s late, she makes her way to the finish line. She hears a shout and knows the horses rare and the boys are off, fire streaking behind them from the torches they hold. The teenagers run behind the horses, cheering them on. As they near the second racers, Nikola and Anton eye each other, making sure neither backs up to gain advantage. They have to hold their horses steady as the first racers arrive and move outside to pass the torches. A wobble and a rider’s hair catches on fire. A drop and the rose fields are at risk of going ablaze. Anton has his torch first and takes off, Nikola right behind him. They push their horses to a pole erected as the finish line.

Rosa reaches it just as they arrive and in her excitement does not see a dark shape, or a hand reach for her. Just as the boys arrive, horses neck and neck, someone pushes Rosa and she screams, falling into the riders’ path.

Nikola sees her first and reigns his horse to a stop. Anton doesn’t see her until too late and as she falls he tries to jump over her. Swiftly they dismount and find her apparently intact ,but woozy. Knowing just what to do, Nikola remounts, rides into town, and returns with 8 vials of perfume.

Rose de Taif by Perris Monte Carlo. “Oh, Thanks for the smelling salts,” Rosa says and sits up as he places the first to her nose. Nikola says, “It’s not smelling salts, Rosa, it’s perfume.” Surprised, she sniffs again. “It smells medicinal, like lemon.” He sniffs, too. “There’s a rose in there somewhere I’m sure.” Like her, I also find Rose de Taif less than lovely. The designer overdid the lemon/citronella combo which interacts unfortunately with the geranium. Nutmeg does nothing to improve things, but if you love, love lemon this is your scent. Notes: Lemon, Nutmeg, Geranium, Taif rose, Damascus rose, Musk.

Baghari by Robert Piguet. He gives her the next one. “Ah, now this is a rose scent,” she says. “It also has citrus, orange I believe, but at least they left the rind out. There are other florals here as well, musk and vanilla. The result is slightly gourmand.” I agree. It wouldn’t be the first rose for which I reached, but it’s certainly wearable, though the neroli and vanilla do ultimately predominate. Not really a problem though since it doesn’t last on skin, only on paper.

Paestum Rose by Eau d’Italie. “Ah, spicy but accessible,” she says. “I smell the green Turkish rose. This is a very resinous, peppery perfume but it makes me wish for Sandalwood in the base to lend more beauty, rather than Wenge.” Notes: Davana, Black pepper, Pink pepper, Coriander seed, Turkish rose, Frankincense, Osmanthus, Myrrh, Opoponax, Papyrus, Wenge wood.

Cinabre by Maria Candida Gentile. I reviewed this darling. Let’s see if Rosa loves it, too. “Perhaps it is the best so far, but I don’t want you to spend your money buying it, Nikola. I’m beginning to think I just don’t love, love spicy roses.” Personally, I think I wouldn’t seek out spicy roses, either, but this one is quite nice. Notes: Ginger, Pink pepper, Black pepper, Splendens rose, Moroccan rose, Benzoin, Madagascan vanilla, Opoponax.

Sideris by Maria Candida Gentile
. “It has a pleasant kind of smokiness,” Rosa says. Notes: Labdanum, Myrrh, Saffron, Frankincense, White pepper, Rose, Turkish rose, Benzoin, Woods, Sandalwood. Here the greener Turkish rose blends with the surrounding rich notes, making for a fully lovely spicy rose, at last. Not sure I’ll buy it, but it deserves to be in the final sniffs.

Marni by Marni. “Pretty, pretty on first sniff!” Rosa says. Notes: Bergamot, Pepper, Ginger, Pink pepper, Cardamom, Rose, Cinnamon bark, Patchouli, Frankincense, Vetiver, Cedarwood. For me this is the best so far. Warm cardamom and fragrant patchouli lend beauty to this scent, as does bergamot — a citrus hard to overdo. On my skin it grows even prettier. It goes in the final sniffs, too.

Le fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens
. Last and certainly not least to my tastes, since I already own an FB, Rosa sniffs this SL, which claims to simply have pepper and rose. “If so,” Rosa says, “It’s the sweetest pepper ever.” Luckyscent says it has: Rose, violet, pink and black pepper, musk” That sounds more like it. The violet adds velvety beauty to the rose; the pink and black pepper aren’t enough to cause sneezing; and the musk does its job by adding allure. This ravishing darling certainly goes in the finals.

Once more through the papers: Rose Taif, eek, no!; Baghari, okay if you like oranges; Paestum Rose, a little harsh in terms of pepper but not bad, not bad; Cinabre, mmmm, on 2nd thought it should be in the finals; Sideris, beautiful!; Marni, still pretty!; La Fille de Berlin, gorgeous!

Now that Rosa is all right, Anton starts arguing with Nikola about who won the race. Their dispute becomes so heated they don’t notice until too late that Rosa has disappeared. They stop and call out to her, but receive no answer. Alarmed, they mount their East Bulgarians and ride through the dark fields, calling her name.
8 years ago
Wow, it reads like an encyclopaedia (in knowledge) and a roman (in emotion).

Thank you.
Part 7 - Oudh Roses 8 years ago

Vietnam Agarwood

OUD ROSES

As her author awaits the slow arrival of rose perfumes in the Givenchy Very Irresistible line, the missing Rosa telepathically insists we skip to the ouds. Good enough. Meanwhile, Anton and Nikola search for her through the night without success. In the gray predawn when Nikola returns home, he is suspicious that his sister Penka greets him and, learning Rosa is still missing, is full of glee. “Today the rose festival begins and I will sniff the remaining scents, not that stuck up Rosa, so full of herself,” Penka says. “Imagine making the whole town think that she and only she can be Queen Rose.” Nikola looks at Penka with alarm. Is she responsible for Rosa’s disappearance? Rosa’s father has every able-bodied man in the neighborhood out looking for Rosa, so Nikola decides to accompany Penka to the perfume sniff, in hopes of learning if his sister is hiding anything.

“These are my kind of perfumes, not Rosa’s!” Penka declares, her dark cape blowing around her, her lips still mysteriously blood red. Before, Nikola never paid much attention to her eccentric appearance, but now he does. Why does she dress like that?

Homage by Amouage. “Tell me what you smell in this one, Penka,” he asks. She sniffs deeply. “Quite nice, but where is the rose? I smell citrus, incense and oud, but they and another floral dominate the rose.” I suggest it’s jasmine. “It wouldn’t be my first pick for a rose oud,” Penka says. “Such a fragrance should create emotion. It should be warm and smooth. This is crisp and sharp. It bites, rather than seduces.” Nikola is surprised to hear his sister talk about seduction. Notes: Rose, Frankincense, Jasmine, Oud, Orange, Sandalwood, Lemon.

Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne. “This is more beautiful, if not as strong,” she says. It’s because Somali Frankincense is less harsh that Omani Frankincense, which is probably in Homage. Also, bergamot is smoother than citrus and lemon. Also, the only floral here is rose. Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Chinese ginger root, Turkish rose essence, Turkish rose absolute, Somalian frankincense, Oud accord, Indonesian patchouli, Indian papyrus, Laotian benzoin. “I find this appealing, if not compelling,” Penka says.

New York Oud by Bond No. 9. “There’s more oud here than in the first two,” Penka says. “The saffron is also strong, but I think the plum and orris detract.” I wouldn’t reach for it to wear, either. It’s a bit brash and loud. Also, some ingredient threatens to close my nasal passages. Notes: Oud, Red plum, Saffron, Orris root, Patchouli, Rose, Honey, Musk, Vetiver

Rose Oud by by Killian
. “This is the first real beauty of the group,” Penka says. “Nothing bites because there’s no citrus or incense.” The only floral is rose, I point out. The patchouli is lovely, the cardamon lends creaminess while the oud reeks mustily just enough. On skin it’s even better. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s magical, but close.

Rose Nacrée du Desert by Guerlain. Gone missing among my samples! P.S. Found it! So glad I did. This is a stunning and hypnotic Rose/Oud combo that makes me close my eyes and stop thinking about notes! It certainly goes in the finals. Notes: Saffron, Persian rose, Patchouli, Cardamom, Curcuma, Cedarwood, Oud, Myrrh, Benzoin.

Rose 31 by Le Labo. “It smells like curry,” Penka says. Yes, but isn’t it a great curry, I point out? And for the first time the rose reeks. The saffron isn’t as strong as in NY Oud and the Gaiac wood works. Cistus adds its own green, slightly camphorous beauty and of course there’s the oud. Notes: Rose absolute, Rose essence, Cumin, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Cistus, Gaiac wood, Musk, Oud, Vetiver. Surely it must go in the finals, I say. This has beauty that’s unusual. Penka rolls her eyes at me.

Aoud Queen Roses by Montale. “This is more like it,” Penka says. “When I think oud and rose, this is it. Whatever other notes are here only support them, allowing the rose and oud to dance hynoptically” Penka laughs. “Coffins laden with rose petals must smell like this right before they close the tomb.” Nikola looks sharply at Penka and cries, “What an odd thing to say!” She apologizes. “However, this is a beautiful scent, Nikola. I’m ready to declare it the best in this group.” I point out to her that there are more, but we agree it goes in the finals. Notes: Hibiscus, Leather, Oud, Patchouli, Rose.

Aoud Roses Petals by Montale. “This is a brighter, but also lovely rose,” Penka says. I tell her it’s the geranium and the saffron. It’s also woodier than the previous one and has amber. “But for me, there is no comparison with Aoud Queen. It still reigns,” she insist. Notes: Amber, Geranium, Gaiac wood, Oud, Rose, Saffron, Teakwood, Cedarwood. It’s done the saffron better than NY Oud.” I ask if it goes in the finals, too. Penka’s not sure. Me neither.

Attar by Montale. Notes: Oud, Rose, Sandalwood. “It’s straightforward, like the by Killian. Not much can go wrong.” I think it’s nice, but not compelling.

Black Aoud by Montale. “Lovely, but is there a rose in there?” Penka asks. Notes: Labdanum, Mandarin, Musk, Oud, Patchouli, Rose. “Apparently there is. This is the oudiest of all so far. They’ve blended the ingredients so the rose is like a carpet for the blackness of the scent. It’s truly gorgeous.” I agree. It goes in the finals.

Three by Nejma. My eyes close on this beauty, the first perfume I’ve tested from this house. It has a distinct almost animalic stank that must come from the ylang ylang with the oud. Notes: Hibiscus, Oud, Damascus rose, Sandalwood, Ylang-ylang, Arabic rose. Penka sniffs and agrees that it goes in the final sniffs. “Like Aoud Queen, it’s what I expect from an oud/rose perfume.”

Édition Rare - Rosam by Histoires de Parfums. “Hello, Darling,” I say to the vial. “Don’t you mind what we’ve been saying about the others. You’re beautiful, too.” Penka agrees and adds, “They’ve got the lemon right in this one. It brightens and draws you into the darker heart — not as dark as Black Aoud, but it’s good.” We’re not sure about the finals and decide on a review sniff at the end.

Gold Rose Oudh by Tiziana Terenzi. I tell Penza that I fully expect this to be flatly glorious. “It is,” she says. “ Notes: Bergamot, Fir, Glow, Sand, Rose, Patchouli, Black pepper, Oud, Ambergris, Sandalwood, Musk, Honey. “What is glow?” she asks. I have no idea, but I soon conclude my nose is allergic to it. I couldn’t sniff this for very long and breathe. Too bad.

Nor de Noir by Tom Ford
. “This smells more natural, but is it great?” Penka asks. “It’s subtle, I think. Let’s look up the notes.” Saffron, Floral notes, Black rose, Black truffle, Moss, Oud, Patchouli, Vanilla. “Something’s starting to smell a little stinky.” I say it must be the Black Truffle. It adds a slightly kitcheny feel, as if dinner’s cooking. The rose is lovely, though. Finals? We both shake our heads, no.

Penka and I give the samples a final sniff and conclude these are the standouts: Montale’s Auoud Queen Rose, Aoud Roses Petals and Black Oud and Three by Nejma. On the lighter side, equally sweet are Rose Anonyme, Rose Oudh and Attar, with the latter being the best of the group, IOO. However, I wouldn’t be tempted to buy any of the last three.

Nikola hasn’t been talking much. He’s been wondering why in the world Penka talked about tombs closing on roses.
Last edited by ScentFan on 07.05.2014, 04:56; edited 3 times in total
Part 8 - Rose and Woods 8 years ago


Take-Apart-Rose-Wood

Nikola, now distraught, leaves Penka, What has happened to Rosa? How could she vanish in the night? He knows they are young, but still he is sure he loves her. Now she is gone. Slowly he walks the streets of Kazanlak as if, with Rosa absent, they are now empty. Eventually he finds himself back at the great necropolis of his ancestors, brave men and women. On this continent they made the first transition from hunter/gatherer to agricultural society. Fierce warriors, they fought in the Trojan war. Rich and powerful, they were buried with their gold. Farmers still periodically dig up glorious pieces. Fortune hunters come, lured by tales of Thracian gold. Nikola has no need to hunt. He has already found a treasure and hidden it beneath the great tomb in an undiscovered passage—a heap of yellow masks and bangles and coins. He had planned to use it to buy his own fields, build his own house. What good is it now that he’s lost a still greater treasure? Knowing what to do, he runs back to town and places an ad in the local paper. “In payment for the return of Rosa Petrov unharmed, Thracian Gold.” Now he must only wait. Nikola returns to the rose stage, newly decorated with streamers and perhaps the output of an entire field of the beautiful Bulgarian damascene.

Surrounded by the girls of the rose court, Penka has temporarily abandoned her black cape for a pink one and continues to sniff the rose perfumes.

ROSE AND WOODS

N'aimez que moi by Caron. “Do not love me. What a name for a perfume,” she says, “especially since I cannot obey. [Belated correction. It means: love no one but me.] Who would not love this perfection of our Bulgarian rose, sandalwood, and amber? I am so carried away by it, I almost regret…” Penka stops. Nikola, hearing, asks, “Regret what, Penka?”

Rosae Mundi by Profumum Roma. Tears come to Penka’s eyes. She tries to speak, but cannot for a while. “Pure roses,” she says. “Roses of the world. Yes. This deserves that ancient name.” Notes: Rose, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedarwood.

Tam Dao by Diptyque. She moves to the next. “Oh, I swoon, Nikola! How can fragrances be so beautiful? This one is less rosy, but oh the woods. They are our mountain forests made liquid.” Hopefully, Nikola watches. Is Penka softening? Notes: Myrtle, Rose, Cypress, Sandalwood, Cedar, Amber, Rosewood, Spices, White musk

Very Irrésistible Givenchy Rose Damascena 2008 by Givenchy. “Poor beauty. What chance could it have now that I’ve smelled the others?” She sniffs. “Yes it is very lovely, but .. oh, how will I ever know the right thing to do?” Penka covers her face. Notes: Patchouli, Rose, Star anise.
ROSE & WOODS WITH OTHER FLOWERS

Hoping for a breakthrough, Nikola brings her a new tray.

Trésor by Lancôme. Penka reacts differently. She frowns. “This is ridiculous! All of them can’t be lovely. Here the rose joins other florals and not weighed down by too much else, stands on the sandalwood and musk and just soars.” Notes: Rose leaf, Apricot blossom, Peach blossom, Lily-of-the-valley, Vanilla, Heliotrope, Iris, Sandalwood, Musk

Tea Rose by Perfumer’s Workshop. Disgusted, she sniffs the next. “I’m really getting SICK of these gorgeous perfumes. How is one supposed to choose? One can’t buy them ALL?” She looks at me. “Can one?” Terrified, I just keep typing. “Now to the rose comes glorious bergamot and lily, jasmine, tuberose in perfection. On beautiful cedar, rosewood, sandalwood they stand and then sultry amber makes them sway.” She weeps. Sheesh. All right, all right, I’m buying it!

Le Marc pour elle by Tauer Perfumes. Notes: Lavender, Mandarin, Citrus accord, Jasmine, Moroccan rose, Atlas cedar, Oriental woods. “Only because I do not love lavender,” Penka says, “am I able to resist this. I agree that it’s beautiful, but observe that my nose reacts slightly to something chemical here.

Nikola is sorry Rosa has missed what seems to be the best category of all the sniffs. As for me, hat off to the perfumers and to rose in its magnificence, framed by woods.
Last edited by ScentFan on 02.08.2015, 18:32; edited 2 times in total
8 years ago
Thanks. You've found me out. I'm an info junkie fiction writer.

Pipette:
Wow, it reads like an encyclopaedia (in knowledge) and a roman (in emotion).

Thank you.
Part 9 - Rose with Other Flowers 8 years ago

Companion Plants with Roses

ROSE WITH OTHER FLORALS

Anton, who has been observing Nikola and Penka, steps forth. “Rosa did a better job with the sniffs than you, Penka. You just cry, which isn’t helpful to others!” Penka, who secretly loves Anton to distraction, is taken aback by his criticism. “Also,” he continues, raising his voice, ”how can you engage in this frivolity with Rosa missing?” The rose stage slowly empties under his withering glance, leaving only the three, Penka frozen in grief. Even missing, Rosa has what Penka wants--Anton's attention. Angrily she turns to Nikola. “Well, my brother's offered Thracian gold and her father’s teams are searching.” To Nikola she sneers, “Be careful. Like it says in the Bible, ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’.” Anton snorts. “Read the papers, Nikola. My family has offered a ransom and so has Rosa’s. Nobody needs imaginary Thracian gold.”

Penka rushes off, suppressing a sob. Would anyone ransom her? Nikola and Anton, though they’ve had no sleep, leave to keep searching. They go to Anton’s family’s stables where he works, saddle up two fresh mares and ride off in different directions. Nikola heads for the graveyard in fear, remembering Penka’s reference to roses and a tomb.

Guess I’d better continue the sniffs while they’re busy.

Délire de Roses by Caron. This one isn’t as distinctive as the previous Caron. The lotus and lychee seem to dampen the beauty of the florals. Nothing wrong with it, just nothing right enough to stand up to the others. Notes: Lotus, Rose blossom, Lily-of-the-valley, Rose leaf, Jasmine, Lychee.

Chloé by Chloé. This is a charmer, though I’m beginning to think lychee not handled perfectly can detract because these florals ought to be even more beautiful than they are. Notes: Freesia, Lychee, Peony, Magnolia, Lily-of-the-valley, Rose, Amber, Cedarwood

Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. This is a masterpiece that I fell in love with months ago and bought. It is my favorite “realistic” rose, though Tea Rose by Perfumer’s Workshop that I just ordered yesterday at the incredible price of less than $15 may rival it. Odd that one fabulous rose could cost so much for so little, and a perhaps equally glorious rose costs practically nothing for more than twice as much. Yet I’ll never regret buying Une Rose. Other perfumes may smell nearly as good, but I’ll be shocked if any truly surpass Une Rose in the final sniffs. We shall see. If I try I can smell every note individually, or forget them and enjoy a genius imitation of a garden rose in full bloom. Notes: Blue chamomile, Geranium, Wine lees, ISO-E-Super, Karanal, Turkish rose, Castoreum, Patchouli, Vetiver.

Rose de Mai by Fragonard. Days ago I discovered and purchased this sweet joy — another bargain. It won’t stand up to the best here, but it’s still lovely. Notes: Lily-of-the-valley, Rose absolute, Black currant, Ylang-ylang.

Very Irrésistible Givenchy Rose Damascena 2007 by Givenchy. Beautiful! I smell vanilla and powder initially though they’re not listed. The florals are pretty. The leather and vanilla base comes through eventually. This is a sweetly sultry one. Good enough for the finals? Maybe. Not sure. Notes: Damascus rose, Magnolia, Peony, Rose, Rose tea, Leather, Patchouli

Kelly Calèche by Hermès. It’s so barely there on both paper and skin that I wouldn’t buy it. It’s becoming clearer and clearer why designers put woods and animalic notes in perfumes. Notes: Grapefruit, Lily-of-the-valley, Narcissus, Rose, Tuberose, Iris, Leather

Attar de Roses by Keiko Mecheri. In this mild fragrance the Taif rose is done right. No lemon. Jasmine is there, but not so strongly it challenges the roses and the base supports, but very very mildly. The result is a pleasant skin scent. Taif rose, Jasmine, Rose, Ambergris, Woods, Leather

Mogador by Keiko Mecheri. This is another I bought on first sniff. It isn’t THE most gorgeous rose perfume ever, but I do find its rosy florals quite appealing and Jasmine is effectively used as a base. While Attar de Roses has already vanished on my skin, Mogador stays, a stronger loveliness. Notes: Rose, Damascus rose, May rose, Jasmine

Imogen Rose by Lush. This is a musty floral that on my skin turns a little weird. It might the Ambrette. Better check my trusty notes kit. Yes, that’s it. To me Ambrette has a slightly almost urinal/fecal /peanut buttery aspect which stands out among these otherwise soft notes. Maybe there’s something else here, too, that creates mustiness. I won’t go so far as to call it unpleasant, especially if you like animalic notes. It’s just not what I, myself, want with my rose. Notes: Ambrette seed, Bergamot, Iris, Rose, Tonka bean, Vetiver.

Rose d’Été by Les Parfums de Rosine. A pretty rose, indeed, that on my skin gets as musty as I want rose to be. Here the Ambrette actually works. Go figure. It must be the additional notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Green apple, Yellow rose, Linden blossom, Lotus blossom, Mimosa, Ambrette seed, Musk

Lumière Noire pour femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Unfortunately, I spilled most of this and as a result have scented toes, but there’s enough left to pick up its loveliness. It’s light but very appealing. Goes in the finals. Notes: Narcissus, Patchouli, Rose

Nikola dismounts and walks through the graveyard, imitating the call of the Male Thrush Nightingale and desperately hoping he doesn’t hear Rosa’s reply. Normally, he’d never suspect his own sister, but he’s seen sides of Penka he didn’t know existed until now.
Part 9 - continued 8 years ago
ROSE WITH OTHER FLORALS

Additional Sniffs:

Paul Smith Rose. This is a clean and lovely non-cloying rose scent, enhanced by other florals and green tea in the heart, which lends freshness. There’s just enough musk and cedar in the base to prevent it being too girly without overpowering the rose. On my skin this EdP lasts and projects. If you love rose, this one’s a winner. Notes: Magnolia, Violet, Green tea, Paul Smith rose, Turkish rose, Musk, Cedar.

Rose de Courrèges by Courrèges. Notes: Bamboo, Peach, Grapefruit, Rose, Violet, Cherry blossom, Lotus, Amber, Musk. The top is made bright by grapefruit, peach and bamboo, then violet and cherry blossom join the rose but don’t mute it. To me, the base is the most accomplished part, rising up to try to ground the florals which it doesn’t entirely do. The total effect is almost spicy but not quite. I keep switching back and forth between this on my right arm and the Paul Smith on my left and I prefer the lovely latter, though they’re both quite good. Hmm…however, as this one dries it gets more and more sophisticated and interesting. In the end, I think it’s a toss up. Can’t go wrong with either. Both go in the finals.

That leaves 36 perfumes to sniff in the remaining category: "Rose and Everything But the Kitchen Sink." Laughing Hope to break it down further.
Part 10 - Multiple Roses 8 years ago


Wooden roses

MULTI-ROSES

Now to begin the more complex formulations with a look at those with multiple rose notes. First, the story.

While Rosa, Penka, Nikola and Anton ponder the pickles they are respectively in, a stranger has come to town. He saw the newspaper ad offering Thracian gold for Rosa’s return and, full of curiosity (and not a small amount of avarice), checks into the same hotel where the unfortunate tourist expired. In fact, he’s in the same room, the hotel having failed to mention someone died there two days ago. The newcomer’s name is Fortune Campbell. His father, a simple farmer, named him that because he wanted his son to be rich, instead of poor like his dad. About to lose the farm, his father took out an insurance policy and staged an accident to kill himself, but the insurance company found out so Fortune lost both his dad and his inheritance all at once. Ever since, he’s tried various schemes to fulfill the destiny implied by his name.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to our characters, the fiery horse race had an unintended effect. Bendis, Thracian goddess of the moon and the hunt in whose honor the first Bendidias were run, has stirred in her invisible home atop the Balkan mountains. She expects more than a horse race, of course. There must be wine and feasting, too, and if a little hanky-panky happens in the process as in rites of old, that’s all to the good. Apparently, modern Thracians don’t understand what’s required and the females are fixated on love, of all things, so she must survey the situation.

While Nikola searches the graveyard and Anton the fields, Fortune Campbell’s foot touches something beneath his bed. He bends down, finds a camera and starts looking at the photos. The last is of a lovely young girl on a stage of roses with two fairly handsome young boys, one red-haired, all strangely staring at the same empty space. Very odd. The girl seems to be surrounded by perfume bottles. Out Fortune goes into the night—Bendis hovering invisibly over. He bumps into the angry Penka, on her way to defiantly sniff more perfumes. They gaze at each other and are transfixed. Penka invites him to accompany her to the rose sniffs.

Rose Vert by DHS. “One sniff and the reason for the name is clear. This is a very green rose, the top note like smelling roses through a nasal passages stuffed with grass. It’s better in the drydown, but still the green never becomes lovely to me.” Australian sandalwood, Bulgarian rose absolute, Bulgarian rose otto, Rosa centifolia, Citrus oils, Damascus rose absolute, Floral notes, Green oakmoss, Moroccan rose absolute, Rose, Turkish rose otto.

Luscious Roses by JoAnne Bassett. “Ah, beautiful roses. This one’s also a bit green but not so unpleasantly. On skin it shines, made seductive by the interesting base. However, the green never really takes a back seat to the roses, as it should.” Pink provence rose, Red Damascus rose, White bulgarian rose alba, Patchouli, Tuberose, Frankincense, Balsam, Bergamot, Jojoba.

Rucher Fleuri by Phoenicia. Fortune, who happens to know a bit about perfume, asks Penka if this is the house known for very animalic, even fecal scents and she says yes. “Though the notes look appealing, civet and the loud greenness of Galbanum overpower everything else. Yet it’s still the most wearable of the line, but not by me.” Top Notes: Aldehydes, Honey, Galbanum. Heart Notes: Rose otto, Red rose absolute, White rose absolute, Bulgarian geranium, Base Notes: Vanilla, Sandalwood, Civet.

Collectible PHI - Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer Perfumes. “Ah, what a relief,” she says. “Still this one is quite spicy to the extent it bothers my nose. It may be some chemical. It’s better on skin in the dry down but still a bitter rose. Surely some will like it, though.” Top Notes: Apricot, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Bitter almond. Heart Notes: Afghan rose oil, Bulgarian rose absolute, Bourbon geranium, Tobacco leaf absolute. Base Notes: Patchouli, Vetiver, Vanilla, Tonka bean, Musk, Ambergris.

No. 08 - Une Rose Chyprée by Tauer Perfumes. “Oh, I like this one the best of the group,” Penka says. “Nothing’s too green or stark. The bright top note is appealingly citrus and on skin the heart florals bloom against the very interesting base. It’s good enough for the finals, I think.” Top Notes: Bergamot, Clementine, Laurel, Cinnamon, Lemon zest. Heart Notes: Bourbon geranium, Bulgarian rose, Rose absolute. Base Notes: Oakmoss, Labdanum, Patchouli, Vanilla, Vetiver.
Part 11 - Rose & Jasmine 8 years ago


ROSE & JASMINE

Our stranger named Fortune, though mesmerized by Penka, is overcome with curiosity. “I found this camera in my hotel room,” he says. Penka freezes, recognizing it. “It has a photo taken right here on this stage of a girl and two boys.” Penka blinks and clears her throat before replying. “That’s the missing girl, Rosa. We were all here…” Too late she stops herself. “But you aren’t in this photo,” Fortune says. Penka must lie. “I took it.” Fortune frowns. “Oh, then did someone steal your camera, because…” She reaches for it, but he flips through photos. “Odd, these all seem to be of local attractions and a group of tourists. You must be mistaken that it’s yours.” Penka stops, not knowing what to say. Fortune senses she’s hiding something. “You know Rosa?” Reluctantly, Penka replies, “A bit.” Fortune smiles. “Then you must know who’s offered Thracian gold for her. Of course, it can’t be real.” Penka can’t tell him the truth. Her brother’s Thracian gold is very real. To keep from answering, she picks up vials.

Agent Provocateur by Agent Proocateur. “This is delightful,” Penha says. “It has a sultry, smoky note that I like very much. I think it’s the spices. There’s not just rose and jasmine but three other florals as well. I wouldn’t call it a sillage monster, but it’s good.” Notes: Coriander, Saffron, Gardenia, Jasmine, Magnolia, Rose, Ylang-ylang, Amber, Musk, Vetiver. Fortune thinks there’s smokiness to Penka, too, not just the perfume. He is strangely attracted to her dark attire and red lips, though compared to him she is a child.

Tribute by Amouage. “This has incense,” she says, “I can smell it right away. It also has a sultry spice and woods. To me, it’s quite appealing— a flowery, woody, incense perfume. The previous one is more flowery, but I like them both. ” Notes: Saffron, Frankincense, Jasmine, Rose, Leather, Patchouli, Tobacco, Vetiver, Cedar.

Knowing by Estée Lauder. “Oh, lovely!” Penka states, “This one has oakmoss, I can tell and something I don’t recognize.” Me either. Must be pittosporum. What’s that? Looking it up. An evergreen shrub. It must be supplying the musty greenness. Notes: Mimosa, Plum, Pittosporum, Rose, Tuberose, Jasmine, Orange blossom, Patchouli, Amber, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Vetiver. “Of these three, it’s hard to say which is the best, though Tribute has the most distinction,” Penka says.

Rossy de Palma / Eau de Protection by Etat Libre d’Orange. “Something’s too odd here for me,” she says. Me, too. Maybe it’s the pepper and ginger. I don’t think they work so well with Geranium. It lends a brassiness that is more interesting than pretty. Notes: Bergamot, Ginger, Pepper, Geranium, Jasmine, Rose, Benzoin, Cocoa, Patchouli, Frankincense

L'Arte di Gucci by Gucci. Top Notes: “Oh, gorgeous!” Penka moans. “This smells like a fine oriental. I love the narcissus, the oakmoss, the amber. But I think I’m not old enough for this.” Fortunately, her author is. This is the kind of luxurious fragrance I adore. Must do a sniff fest of orientals! Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Fruity notes, Green notes, Coriander, Geranium, Orris root, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Mimosa, Narcissus, Rose, Tuberose, Amber, Oakmoss, Leather, Musk, Patchouli, Vetiver

Nahema by Guerlain. Penka says, “I don’t really like it. It’s too floral, too sweet.” Fortune is surprised. “I believe this is one of the greats and you’re smelling the vintage.” She tries again. “Okay, but it’s powdery, and I’m not into powder. It has no sultriness, just fruity sweetness. It’s not for me.” Me, either, though I’ve tried. It needs some oak moss or amber or musk, preferably all three. Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Green notes, Peach, Rose, Bulgarian rose, Lilac, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Ylang-ylang, Passion fruit, Peru balsam, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver

Rose Elixir / Roses Elixir by Montale. “Eww, yuck,” Penka says. “Not sure how they can mess up these notes, but they did. Must be the strawberry and citrus.” Notes: Strawberry, Rose, Citric notes, Jasmine, Orange blossom, Ambergris, Musk, Vanilla. OTOH, if you like strawberry and you like citrus, this could be appealing. It’s just not for me.

“I have to pick which go in the finals,” Penka says. The goddess Bendis is impatient with these two. She zaps them with all she’s got. Fortune moves forward as if in a spell and puts his forehead against Penka’s. She tilts her head so their noses touch. For a moment, they just breath in each others’ air. “I’ve never felt like this before,” she whispers. “Neither have I,” he replies, adding, “Why do you dress like a vampire?” Penka steps back. “Perhaps I am one. Perhaps I was really in that photo and you can’t see me because we don’t show up in photos or in mirrors.”

Fortune is afraid now, but all he can think of is Thracian gold. “I like vampires. May I talk to your brother?” Penka nods and sets aside her selections for the finals, Tribute and L’Arte di Gucci, wondering what happened to her feelings for Anton.
Part 12 - Rose + Two or More Woods 8 years ago


Rose + Two or More Woods

Having learned from Penka that her brother, Nokali, will show up for work at the Thracian tomb site, Fortune climbs the low slope of stairs that lead to the beehive mound. Meanwhile Anton gives up searching the fields and heads back to Kazanlak. Everyone knows Penka wants to be Rose Queen and he’s beginning to wonder if she had anything to do with Rosa’s disappearance. He finds Penka still sniffing the fragrances. Bendis hovers invisibly near, upset that she hasn’t gotten anyone to kiss, much less engage in hanky panky. Modern mortals aren’t as much fun as their ancestors, holding their festivals in daytime rather than the splendid night when the moon, Bendis’s heavenly body, reigns. Contemplating the sensual orgies of food, wine and bodies that once took place in her name, she almost misses Anton’s approach. She does catch the look that appears on Penka’s face — hopeless love for this boy, Anton — to which he is utterly oblivious.

“Penka!” Anton demands, takes her wrist and pulls her closer. “Do you know where Rosa is?” Penka says nothing, but she thinks: once again it’s Rosa, always Rosa. Unable to contain her sorrow, she starts blubbering right there on the stage, forgetting that vampires never cry, no indeed. Sick of this, Bendis zaps Anton. He softens at Penka’s tears and strokes her hair. He tells her not to cry, almost kisses her, but remembers Rosa. Instead, he hands Penka new perfumes. Unable to believe her eyes, Bendis stalks off to find another likely pair.

American Beauty by DHS. Angrily, Penka says, “Can this be as lovely as our Balkan beauty, Rosa?” She sniffs. “Well, perhaps not, since one of the notes blends unfortunately with the palma rosa and sets up a near stink!” Top Notes: Bergamot, Currant bud, Palma rosa, Rosewood. Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, Geranium, Iris, Moroccan rose. Base Notes: Labdanum, Mysore sandalwood, Patchouli, Peru balsam

Dirty Rose by DHS. Penka says, “This one is too dirty for me. The leather note is strong, but to me not beautiful.” I wonder what mastic resin is and look it up “the original Winterfresh gum…closely resembles the scent of a pine forest on a winter day.” Then I recognize what I’m smelling. A whiff of pine tar. The rose doesn’t have a chance against it. Top Notes: Ambergris, Australian sandalwood, Bergamot, Brazilian vetiver, Buddhawood, Black currant bud, Rosa centifolia absolute, East indian patchouli, Egyptian geranium, Frankincense, Gallic rose otto, Gaiac wood, Hiba cedar, Labdanum, Leather, Mastic resin, Myrrh.

Rose Barbare by Guerlain. “This one’s better,” Penka says. I agree. It’s a lovely and uncommon accord. It must be the Fenugreek and the Underwood. Not sure what either smells like, but the result is captivating, somewhat akin to Tam Dao, if I remember right. I could smell this all day. It belongs in the finals. Top Notes: Aldehydes, Bulgarian rose essence. Heart Notes: Fenugreek, Turkish rose absolute. Base Notes: Underwood, Honey, Patchouli, Peach.

Nuit de Tubéreuse by L'Artisan Parfumeur. “Ah, another beauty,” Penka says, “bright with citrus, sharp with spice, but the blossoms and woods shine voluptuously through. It’s really lovely. It’s definitely for the finals.” Looking up cascarilla (powdered egg shell) and furze (gorse, smells like coconut or banana): Top Notes: Angelica, Cardamom, Cascarilla, Mandarin, Pepper, Pink pepper. Heart Notes: Mango, Orange blossom, Rose, Furze, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang. Base Notes: Benzoin, Clove, Musk, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Storax. Looking up what storax smells like: akin to benzoin,but less sweet, more darkly leather; it's a vanilla-cinnamon like resin from styrax balsam.

Rose Ishtar by Rania J. “Sweet and animalic. This is an involving scent dominated by rich fruit and dark woods.I would wear it. Not Rosa.” Anton frowns. “Why do you care what Rosa would wear?” Penka doesn’t answer. As for me, I’m torn about Rose Ishtar. It’s an accomplishment, but not a scent I personally love. Many would, I think. Top Notes: Bergamot, Black currant, Lychee. Heart Notes: Damascus rose. Base Notes: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Vanilla, Heliotrope, Musk

Danger by Roja Parfums. Penka looks at me. “Didn’t you send all the way to London for this sample?” I nod. “Good that you did because it’s lovely.” I agree they did this well, but it reminds me of most Bijans; the volume is muted. I try it on my skin and realize that’s wrong. It’s sophisticated, has strong citrus, strong spice, strong woods and the florals keep up. It belongs in the finals. Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lemon. Heart Notes: Gardenia, Jasmine, Peach, Rose, Violet, Ylang-ylang. Base Notes: Clove, Iris, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla

No. 06 - Incense Rosé by Tauer Perfumes. I hold this to my nose and it soon gets stuffy. Penka sniffs and says, “Beautiful things here but the incense is a challenge. It’s not as immediately and unequivocally inviting as gorgeous ones like Bois d’Ascese or La Liturgie des Heures. However, it dries better and gives off a more pleasing rose/incense near-oudy reek. But the incense stays too challenging for me. Top Notes: Bergamot, Clementine, Cardamom, Wild rose. Heart Notes: Castoreum, Orris root, Frankincense. Base Notes: Myrrh, Patchouli, Vetiver, Texas cedar.

“If you want to find Rosa, ask Nikola!” Penka shouts, finished with the sniffs. Anton frowns. “They love each other! Don’t you see that, stupid!” Penka says. Anton is shocked. Also heartbroken. Can this be true? “Where is Nikola?” Anton asks. She looks at her watch. “Probably at work, by now, assuming he’s not still looking for Rosa,” Penka says and is disheartened to see Anton rush off toward the Thracian tomb.
Part 13 - Rose with Oakmoss 8 years ago


ROSE WITH OAKMOSS

Penka has had enough of Kazanlak’s Rosa is missing fixation. She knows precisely where Rosa is and, stuffing vials into her pocket, secretly makes her way to the Thracian tomb. When she arrives, she sees Anton arguing with Nikola. Fortune hovers nearby, listening. Unnoticed, she slips by them into the tomb to a secret passageway. Unlike the Myceneans, whom her Thracian ancestors copied, the Valley of Roses had no hills to cut burial chambers into — only mountains. So they built beehive mounds like this one all over the valley and filled them with not only the dead and their horses, but silver and gold. 500 have been excavated so far. Nikola found an unopened one and hid its treasure here where he never returns for fear of being followed. She gave him a clue about Rosa’s whereabouts, but he hasn’t figured it out, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Penka makes her way to the hidden chamber and illuminates it with a flashlight. Rosa is still tied up like Penka left her. The kidnap was easy. In the dark she put a chloroform-soaked cloth over Rosa’s face and when she went limp, brought her here in a wheelbarrow. Now Rosa lies next to a golden mask of a bearded king, ringlets around his face, not unlike Rosa’s heavenly tresses that look a bit like rose petals. How could hair look like that? “There you are, you wretch!” Rosa says. Penka hasn’t muffled Rosa’s mouth. No point in screaming. Only the dead would hear her. She goes over and puts a thick bread and cheese sandwich in Rosa’s bound hands, gives her some water. After being crowned Rose Queen, Penka plans to let Rosa go. “You’re a criminal! “ Rosa shouts. “You killed that tourist, didn’t you?” Penka sighs. “Of course not. I did try to get his camera, but he got so scared he fell over from a heart attack.” Rosa gulps and talks between big chews. “Why did you want the camera?” Penka decides she’s confessed enough. “I brought some perfumes. Do you want to smell them?” Rosa glowers, but says, “Of course!”

Feeling a little guilty (but not a lot) for locking Rosa up, Penka plays haunting Bulgarian pipe music on her iPod as they sniff: www.youtube.com/watch?v=elOkNCu9Zbs

Lyric Woman by Amouage. “A good, but not a great scent, IMO,” Rosa says. I agree that the spicy top note dulls the lovely rest. Notes: Bergamot, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon. Heart Notes: Angelica, Geranium, Iris, Jasmine, Rose, Ylang-ylang. Base Notes: Oakmoss, Woods, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Vetiver, Frankincense

La Vie en Rose by DHS. “This is nicer,” Penka says. I can appreciate the many flowers and the woody/animalic base. Nothing disappears, even the oakmoss, yet it all blends. It’s not a powerful scent, but still it belongs in the finals.” Top Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Currant bud, Green clover blossom, Neroli. Heart Notes: Rosa centifolia, French lily, French linden blossom, Heliotrope, Lily-of-the-valley, Violet, Violet leaf absolute, Violet, Ylang-ylang. Base Notes: Australian sandalwood, Civet, Grean oakmoss, Moss, Musk, Virginia cedar

Peony by DHS. Rosa says, “Nice, but as the name implies, there’s more peony than rose, though both scents are detectable. It has very interesting components but after a while they don’t smell natural. The same may be true of the previous one but it’s lovelier, so easier to forgive.” Note: Ambergris, Australian sandalwood, Bergamot, Bulgarian rose absolute, East indian patchouli, Egyptian geranium, Grean oakmoss, Leaf green, Iris, Peony, Petitgrain, Rose, Russian rose otto, Tolu balsam, Tunisian neroli, Violet leaf absolute

Diva by Emanuel Ungaro. I give Penka and Rosa a vintage EdT sample and they keep jerking the paper from each other. “They don’t make them like they used to,” Penka says. They certainly don’t. But for want of labdanum, this would be a classic chypre, but perhaps its notes are so familiar that it doesn’t bowl me over. Not sure about the finals, but it’s good. Top Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Cardamom, Coriander, Mandarin, Tuberose. Heart Notes: Orris root, Jasmine, Narcissus, Carnation, Rose, Ylang-ylang. Base Notes: Amber, Oakmoss, Honey, Iris, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Civet

Rose Volupté by Sonoma Scent Studio. “Oh, another beauty,” Rosa says. I completely agree. Something slightly sour in the top note dissipates quickly and we’re left with an hypnotic, sultry chypre, except for a citrus though vetiver will do. These last two perts could also work in the next category: Rose with Amber. Notes: Rose, Plum, Amber, Labdanum absolute, Sandalwood, Cedar, Vetiver, Heliotrope, Clove, Cinnamon, Oakmoss, Aldehydes

The sniffing done, Rosa returns to glaring. “Exactly how do you hope to get away with this?” she asks. Penka gets up to leave, not about to reveal her plans. “I’ll be Rose Queen tomorrow. That’s what matters.”
Part 14 - Rose with Amber 8 years ago


ROSE WITH AMBER

Nikola realizes that arguing with Anton is pointless. They both feel guilt for Rosa’s disappearance at the end of the horse race, just feet from them. They both care for her, but neither knows where she is. Nikola tells Anton he has to go to work and enters the Thracian tomb. Tonight a local policeman is on guard because the regular guard is helping prepare for the festival tomorrow. Nikola says hello to him, goes behind the desk and relieves the clerk then stares at the wall, moping. Suddenly he remembers Penka’s words, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” What a strange thing to say. He did tell Penka about his Thracian gold, but she doesn’t know where it is. Or does she?

In the secret room, Penka and Rosa are eagerly sniffing each new perfume. Penka is playing a Balkan mandolin recording and the soft notes fill the chamber: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnUauPCp_MA

Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. They both gasp as they pass the vial back and forth. Penka says, “I didn’t think I would like this because of the raspberry, clove and whatnot, but the rose is strong and the woods and incense manage to keep it adult.” Rosa says, “The base is nice, too, but would you actually wear this?” Penka frowns, deciding. “I’m not sure. I just might.” Top Notes: Clove, Raspberry, Rose, Black currant, Cinnamon. Heart Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense. Base Notes: Amber, Benzoin, Musk.

Mohur by Neela Vermeire Créations. “I might wear this one, though,” Penka says. “It’s a complicated scent, full of darkness, like me.” Rosa sniffs. “All I smell is spice, as if roses are trying to crawl out of the kitchen while dinner’s cooking.” I tell them to keep sniffing and soon they both are smiling. “I think this is a voluptuous perfume,” Rosa says, “and, yes, dark like you.” Penka sheds tears. “I really am a vampire, Rosa! Someone bit me on the neck one night in the woods and ever since I can’t see my reflection or eat anything but goats blood, yuck!” Poor Penka. Rosa would console her, but she’s still miffed at being tied up. Top Notes: Ambrette seed, Elemi resin, Cardamom, Carrot seed, Coriander seed, Black pepper. Heart Notes: Hawthorn blossom, Iris, Iris, Jasmine, Leather, Almond milk, Moroccan rose, Turkish rose, Violet. Base Notes: Amber, Benzoin, Blond woods, Oud, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla.

Parfum Couture Denis Durand by M. Micallef. “Oh, I like this one the best so far,” Rosa says. “You would,” Penka retorts and makes herself stop crying, “it’s all sugar and spice and everything nice.” Penka pouts. “No, it isn’t. The cinnamon is very nice, true, but the mandarin, orange blossom and rose are hynotic, not sugary, and the base is a sultry wonder.” I note that in the drydown the cinnamon eventually becomes the most prominent note. Top Notes: Ceylonese cinnamon, Italian mandarin. Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, Honey, Orange blossom, Animalic notes. Base Notes: Amber, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Musk.

Mon nom est rouge by Majda Bekkali. “Another spicy one, but it’s not sweet but more smoky because of the elemi and frankincense,” Rosa says. “The base is fabulous. I think it’s for you, Penka.” I agree. The flowers here aren’t the strongest notes, but they’re not invisible, either. This is a definite unisex. Top Notes: Pepper, Lemon, Elemi resin, Pink pepper, Aldehydes, Metallic notes. Heart Notes: Turkish rose, Geranium, Cardamom, Cumin, Cinnamon, Ginger, Frankincense. Base Notes: Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Amber, Vanilla, Labdanum, Patchouli, Tonka bean, Musk

Rose Intense by Parfums de Nicolaï. Well, this one goes in the finals, I say on first whiff. “Yes,” says Rosa. The rose note dominates and the rest make the scent interesting instead of simply pretty. It’s a sophisticated rose.” Looking up pelargonium: ah, geranium. Top Notes: Bergamot, Blackberry, Raspberry. Heart Notes: Rose absolute, Rose essence, Pelargonium, Violet, Black pepper. Base Notes: Cedar, Sandalwood, Amber, Musk.

“How many are in the finals?” Rosa asks. I tell her 35 so far with Parfum Couture and Rose Intense and that I plan to post reviews of them as we decide. Just as the girls are pondering that, they see light from the door and hear the call of a Male Thrush Nightingale. Rosa’s heart leaps. Eagerly she answers the call and someone enters. Is it Nikola? He’s figured out where Rosa is? A male enters. It is Nikola! “You!” he says to Penka. “What have you done? Why have you tied Rosa up?” Meanwhile, Rosa has struggled to her feet. “She kidnapped me, of course, Nikola, so she could be Queen Rose.” Nikola unties Rosa and leads her by the hand out into the burial chamber and freedom, Penka following, wringing her hands. “I didn’t really kidnap you, Rosa, I just…borrowed you!” Then Anton, the policeman, and Fortune are in the chamber, too, unmindful that their drama is unfolding in the hallowed resting place of a former Thracian king. Bendis knows this full well and is upset that it’s been turned into a tourist attraction in the first place. The policemans says, “You are under arrest, Penka. I heard everything.” Rosa doesn’t want Nikola’s sister arrested and realizes Penka had relied on that all along. Nevertheless Rosa says, “No, you’re mistaken. She didn’t do anything.” Predictably distraught to see his sister in such trouble, Nikola rushes out words. “It wasn’t Penka, it was…it was him! “ He points at Fortune, a stranger, who like all strangers is automatically suspect. The policemen handcuffs Penka anyway. “Don’t try to protect her, you two. I’ll call your family and let them know you’re all right, Rosa. Did she hurt you?” Rosa shakes her head no. As the policeman leads Penka away, Anton watches Rosa weep in Nikola’s arms. He realizes Penka told him the truth. Rosa and Nikola are in love. Forsaken, he follows Penka and the policeman. Meanwhile, Nikola takes Rosa outside and sits with her on the steps, making sure she is all right, holding her and, at long last, kissing her sweet lips. Overjoyed and smitten, Nikola has completely forgotten about the falsely accused Fortune who is busily trying to actually become a criminal. Inside the chamber, he searches the walls for the secret place where Rosa was.
Part 15 - Remaining Roses 8 years ago


REMAINING ROSES

Overcome with emotion, Fortune collects the treasure he’s found and puts it in a knapsack. At last he’s lived up to his name and fulfilled his father’s hopes. He tiptoes to the unguarded door and slips past Rosa and Nikola, whispering to each other. Even though she thinks Nikola deserves it for trying to accuse Fortune, Bendis is infuriated by the theft. Fortune isn’t even Balkan. As it happens, she’s not just goddess of the moon, but of the hunt. When Fortune reaches the outskirts of town she rouses the wolves to chase him. He escapes with his life and only one piece of the treasure — the priceless golden mask of a king, ringlets around his face. Meanwhile, at the jailhouse, Anton asks to see Penka. Why hadn’t he noticed she is beautiful with her black cape and red, rep lips? “I came to see you, Penka.” She rises and goes to the bars. “Tell me,” he says. “Are you a vampire or not?” She sighs and says, “I think so.” Anton is afraid, but she is mesmerizing. Their faces draw nearer. He thinks it was brave of her to risk all to be Queen Rose. “Will you bite me if I kiss you?” he whispers. Penka laughs. “For some reason, I don’t like human blood, just goats.” Relieved, Anton smiles. They kiss through the bars.

Next morning, the girls of the rose court surround Rosa on the stage. As in every rose festival, they wear rose crowns, embroidered green aprons and traditional red jumpers over white blouses. The entire town has come, including the whole Petrov family. Rosa insisted on attending the festival. Will the curse come true? Anxiously Nikola watches as Rosa completes the sniffs.
Rouge Assassin by Jovoy Paris. “This is a beautiful floral. Perfect for the finals.” Top Notes: Bergamot, Elemi, Rose. Heart Notes: Ambrette, Iris, Rice. Base Notes: Benzoin, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, White musk, Cedar

Citizen Queen by Juliette Has a Gun. “This one is nice, but it has a little of that civety ‘iris-gone-wrong’ note. It’s better in the drydrown, but i’m not sure it’s for me.” Bergamot, Leather accord, Aldehydes. Heart Notes: Iris concrete, Orris absolute, Tuberose, Orange blossom. Base Notes: Ambroxan, Vanilla, Tonka bean, Labdanum, Benzoin, Civet, Muscenone

Vengeance Extrême by Juliette Has a Gun. “It smells pleasantly odd, has a kind of spiciness.” Pulling hedione from my notes kit, I can barely detect the note at all. The books says it’s “floral, oil, jasmine, milky, green.” At any rate, it’s very mild. I think labdanum and ambrosian (ambergris) are providing the near-spiciness here, along with patchouli. It’s okay, even striking. Top Notes: Bergamot, Lavender. Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, Patchouli, Hedione. Base Notes: Ambroxan, Vanilla, White musk, Tonka bean, Labdanum

Burlesque by Maria Candida Gentile Burlesque. “An interesting fragrance. It smells musky, not very rosy. It’s very nice, though.” Top Notes: Blood orange. Heart Notes: Dalmatian iris, Rose. Base Notes: Frankincense, Patchouli

Velvet Rose by Sonoma Scent Studio. “This is a sweetly pungent rose, very damascene. It has a slightly sour note at first that settles down. I like it,” Rosa says. Me, too. Not sure what accounts for the velvety smell, but it’s there. Bergamot, Damascus rose, Clove, Musk, Patchouli, Violet leaf

No. 10 - Une Rose Vermeille by Tauer Perfumes. ‘This one is sweetly musky, with wonderful airy brightness in the top. The vanilla and tonka are fairly strong. I like this one, too.” Top Notes: Bergamot, Lavender, Lemon. Heart Notes: Raspberry, Rose, Violet. Base Notes: Ambergris, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla.

At first Rosa thinks they all should go in the finals, but she’ll wait for the drydowns to decide.

Murmurs rise as Rosa is crowned Queen Rose. Applause breaks out when she doesn’t die. After the Rose parade there is a feast full of laughter. Wine flows. Bendis notices that, just as in times of old, several young couples including Rosa and Nikola drift off from the merriment and exchange kisses under the moon. Things haven’t changed that much after all with the human race. Bendis leaves Kazanlak and returns to her home. If anyone had been looking, they would have seen a fiery torch atop the Balkan mountains flame one last time and go out.

Next Post: the final list.
Part 16 - Rose Sniff Fest Semifinals List 8 years ago


ROSE SNIFF SEMIFINALS

As soon as Penka is out of jail, I invite her and Rosa to my house for final sniffs and have trouble ordering in goats blood for Penka, but for Rosa easily obtain Rose Hips tea. Penka says, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest rose of all? This time it's not you, Rosa, we're talking perfumes. Rosa shakes her rose-petal-like hair and points out her beauty is not her fault. Penka starts to sock her, but I stand between them just in time and explain they are archetypes -- modern versions of Innana and Ereshkigal from Sumerian myth. The former is goddess of the sky and the latter of the underworld. Innana wants to descend into her sister's domain to help because Ereshkigal is grieving her husband's death and also about to give birth. Ereshkigal makes the well-meaning Innana strip naked then hangs her up to rot on a meat hook. In short, their dispute is as old as time. Rosa looks awed, but Penka just rolls her eyes and humphs. When they promise to behave, I go get the list, making sure there are no meat hooks around.

Amouage
Tribute |

Caron
N'aimez que moi |

Courrèges
Rose de Courrèges |

Creed
Fleurs de Bulgarie |

Diptyque
Tam Dao |

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Lipstick Rose | Une Rose |

Givenchy
Very Irrésistible Givenchy Rose Damascena 2007 | Very Irrésistible Givenchy Rose Damascena 2008 |

Gucci
L'Arte di Gucci |

Guerlain
Rose Barbare | Rose Nacrée du Desert |

Jo Malone
Red Roses |

JoAnne Bassett
Rose Kiss |

Jovoy Paris
Rouge Assassin |

Juliette Has a Gun
Vengeance Extrême |

Keiko Mecheri
Grenats | Mogador |

L'Artisan Parfumeur
Nuit de Tubéreuse |

Les Parfums de Rosine
Rose d'Été |

M. Micallef
Parfum Couture Denis Durand |

Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Lumière Noire pour femme |

Maria Candida Gentile
Burlesque | Cinabre | Sideris |

Marni
Marni |

Montale
Aoud Queen Roses | Aoud Roses Petals | Black Aoud |

Nejma
Three |

Parfums de Nicolaï
Rose Intense |

Paul Smith
Paul Smith Rose |

Perfumer's Workshop
Tea Rose |

Roja Parfums
Danger |

Serge Lutens
La fille de Berlin | Rose de Nuit |

Sonoma Scent Studio
Rose Musk | Rose Volupté |

Tauer Perfumes
No. 08 - Une Rose Chyprée | No. 10 - Une Rose Vermeille |
Part 17 - Rose Sniff Fest Quarter Finals List 8 years ago


Now I ask the girls to be ruthless in halving the list. Which perfumes are more than well done? Which are inspired creations -- gorgeous stunners that trigger the instinct to buy.

It takes happy hours of sniffing test strips, vials and skin. Here's the result. We're on the fence about the four with asterisks.

-------

Amouage
Tribute |

Caron
N'aimez que moi |

Courrèges
Rose de Courrèges |

Diptyque
Tam Dao |

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Une Rose |

Givenchy
Very Irrésistible Givenchy Rose Damascena 2007 |

Gucci
L'Arte di Gucci |

Guerlain
Rose Nacrée du Desert |

Juliette Has a Gun
Vengeance Extrême |

Keiko Mecheri
Grenats |

L'Artisan Parfumeur
Nuit de Tubéreuse |

Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Lumière Noire pour femme |

Maria Candida Gentile
Sideris |

Montale
Aoud Queen Roses | Aoud Roses Petals | Black Aoud |

Nejma
Three |

Perfumer's Workshop
Tea Rose |

Serge Lutens
La fille de Berlin | *Rose de Nuit |

Sonoma Scent Studio
*Rose Musk | *Rose Volupté |

Tauer Perfumes
*No. 10 - Une Rose Vermeille |
8 years ago
@ dear ScentFan -

Are we readers supposed to put in our votes?

Thank you so much for such an extensive list (and story) - I shall print it out for reference.

Smile
8 years ago
Enjoyed the read, thanks.
8 years ago
Glad you liked it, Cincy. Pipette, I'm not sure a vote would be meaningful without smelling the whole lot. I speak from the experience of watching perfumes I've bought and love fall to the wayside when I compared them to ones I hadn't yet sniffed. Does parfumo ever have sample passes? I'd be glad to sponsor one on the quarter final list. Voting then would be fun.

For myself, I'm going to attempt to winnow the list down even further to the winning 6. If possible, I'll try to get it down to the one rose I can't live without. I'm waiting on Guierlain's Acqua Allegoria Flora Rosa, so I might hold off on the final pick.
Part 18 - The Rose Finals 8 years ago


THE ROSE FINALS

I had a fleeting image of the roses all lined up and primping, wriggling their stems, fluffing their petals and saying, "Who's your daddy?" but that doesn't fit because roses are associated with femininity, so it should be "Who's your mamma?" but then I'm a woman so for me that doesn't work. Never mind.

When it comes to roses, these are 5 of my 6 favorites of the 96+ I've smelled:

Amouage
Tribute |

Courrèges
Rose de Courrèges |

Diptyque
Tam Dao |

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Une Rose |

Perfumer's Workshop
Tea Rose |

I'm still undecided about number 6. Will update. Spritzing them on my hands and arms, trying not to pass out from excess ecstasy. Okay, drum roll. If I had to live with one and only one of them (thank goodness I don't), the winner is:

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Une Rose |
Part 19 - Update, The 6th Rose 8 years ago
No matter how I sniff the papers and try the remaining perfumes, for me #6 is a dead heat between these nine, all of them impressive. Wouldn't be surprised if I'll be adding Guerlain's Acqua Allegoria Flora Rosa to this group when it arrives.

Gucci
L'Arte di Gucci |

Guerlain
Rose Nacrée du Desert |

Juliette Has a Gun
Vengeance Extrême |

Keiko Mecheri
Grenats |

L'Artisan Parfumeur
Nuit de Tubéreuse |

Montale
Aoud Queen Roses | Aoud Roses Petals | Black Aoud |

Nejma
Three |

Serge Lutens
La fille de Berlin

p.s. Accidentally left the last one off.
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