Tag Archives: Geranium

Rose et Cuir by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Notes: Pepper, Geranium, Blackcurrant, Vetiver, Cedar and Leather

To get the best out of trying Rose et Cuir – the new Frederic Malle release – for the first time, I think it’s a good idea to manage a few expectations:

Firstly, this is not a rose perfume. Secondly, it is not a birch tar leather. Thirdly, it is a departure from Jean-Claude Ellena’s work at Hermes.

Now on to what it IS.

rose-cuir-eau-de-parfum

Rose et Cuir is a dark and stealthily dramatic leather with a bitter heart. I have been struggling terribly with sweetness in perfumes recently so this is not an issue for me but I can see some people finding it a turn-off.

On spraying, I get the rosy greenness of geranium with tremendously smooth pepper. The dewy rose effect is made all the more beautiful because you are experiencing it through a tangle of thorny brambles. It represents the last rays of sunlight filtering through the trees before you’re drawn deeper into the forest.

When most people think of a leather fragrance they think of the rich, smoky aroma created by birch tar in perfumes like Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. Ellena has chosen instead to work with Isobutyl Quinoline; a powerful synthetic which was used to create classic leather perfumes like Piguet’s original Bandit and Cabochard by Gres but has fallen out of vogue for some time. It has a distinctive, grainy, quality with an odour profile that is more like leather being processed at the tannery than the thick, smokiness of raw birch tar. The fact that it doesn’t overwhelm in Rose et Cuir is surely down to the perfumer’s skill.

The base is a cool green vetiver with no hint of swampiness and incredible lasting power. I prefer vetiver as an accent rather than a main player but it fits the character of the fragrance perfectly. A cosy amber or bland woodiness would have been a cop-out and this perfume doesn’t do compromise.

Frederic Malle has said this marks the start of a new era for Ellena and Rose et Cuir is a very modern take on a statement perfume. Even with all that moodiness, it never feels in the least bit heavy, floating airily just out of reach. There is no extraneous ornamentation (which is very Ellena).

Although it looks like it’s being marketed as a rugged, outdoorsy fragrance I feel it’s much more sophisticated and cerebral than that. It sets up an eerie tension between the potently poisonous and the painfully vulnerable.

Most of all Rose et Cuir is an intensely interesting perfume. Val the Cookie Queen and I have never talked so much about a new release (see her post here). We think it will be divisive but that’s no bad thing in my book. At least it’s creating a reaction in people. A fragrance of this quality that is so against the tide might not have existed without the full artistic freedom that Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle affords perfumers.

Do you like the sound of a sheer yet striking perfume or does the thought of a sharp green floral leather put you off?

21 Comments

Filed under Perfume Reviews

Opus X by Amouage

Passion and pain

 

Notes: Rose Centifolia, Bloody Rose Accord, Rosebud, Rose Oxide, Geranium, Varnish Accord, Leather, Ambrarome, Ylang-Ylang, Laotian Oud, Metallic Accord

 

I recently went with my pal Kirk to the elegant Amouage stand-alone store in Knightsbridge, London. He purchased the excellent amber, Opus VI which I  think is particularly great on the fellas. It’s fun to see “a civilian” sucked into our fragrant little world.

While there I tried the brand new Opus X from The Library Collection. The mainstream line is full of well constructed, full-bodied perfumes with a capital P. The Library Collection is more exclusive with scents which are often more challenging.

Opus X is a rose-centred fragrance so I was initially disappointed when I inhaled it on a paper strip and it came across as rather jarring. The Sales Assistant suggested trying it on skin because the high percentage of natural oils means there can be quite a difference.

Sure enough, a spray on the back of my hand and it was a different story.  The sour aspect was dialled right down and even the friendly SA was surprised at the dramatic change it took on me.

o.37473

I’m always complaining about perfumes being too sweet but the beginning of Opus X has sharp, slightly metallic greens surrounding the central, multi-layered rose. I picture a dark fairy-tale scene of long, malevolent creepers twisting around and almost strangling a partly-opened rose of the deepest crimson.

 

Creative Director, Christopher Chong found his inspiration for Opus X in the 1998 film, The Red Violin. In it, a violin is crafted in 1681 by a grief-stricken Master Violin Maker who infuses the varnish with a little of the blood from his recently deceased wife.  The movie then follows it over the next four centuries to Austria, the UK, China and Canada; telling the stories of the people who own it.

I really want to see this film

RedViolin-435x650

 

Fittingly the mood of the fragrance is a mix of harsh bitterness, mysterious darkness and deep passion. The varnish on the violin is present, providing a sheer overlay to the many-petalled rose. The lacquer creates a disturbance, but knowing why helps me appreciate Opus X, even if I can’t love it. The widow’s loss means everything can’t be rosy.

This artistic response to another’s creative work has been composed by perfumers Pierre Negrin and Annick Menardo.

The base is distinctly Amouage, as all traces of greenery, metal and varnish disappear. The texture becomes reassuringly velvety thanks to a low whisper of the smoothest oud snaking through a gorgeous amber accord.  Here at last, the sensual side of love and life is exposed and quietly celebrated.

As we’ve come to expect from this luxury house, the longevity is outstanding. Opus X isn’t as voluminous on me as their other perfumes, but that seems to fit: it’s not a showy, outward-looking scent, but a very personal tale.

e3003aa2d0d5ab6ba990fcf604c1f37a

Still from The Red Violin

What do you think of The Library Collection? Have you seen The Red Violin?

27 Comments

Filed under Perfume Reviews