Rose just might be the marmite of fragrance, and who would have thought that such a beautiful flower could be so divisive. While a delivery of 28 stems of red roses will hardly ever be refused, bottles of perfume touting rose as the main note are often subject to some deliberation.
I'm very into rose, and I'm here to convince you to do the same. I'm often sipping on rose teas, clogging up my sink with rose petals from my bath, or adding rose water to my hot chocolate. Yet my favourite way to use rose has to be in perfume.
Sure, for many people, rose perfumes conjure up nostalgic scenes of great aunts wearing floral dressing gowns, but trust me. They've come a long way.
I picked out my favourite rose perfumes to tempt you with, so keep reading and prepare to be persuaded.
There are some people who just have a mysterious vibe about them. They're very sweet on the surface, but underneath, there's something a bit darker going on, something that's hard to define. That's exactly what this perfume feels like. On first spritz, it smells exactly like a sparkling rose lemonade before giving way to a sensual hit of deep spice and woods. It's the olfactory equivalent of a "to be continued."
This bright take on a rose perfume is the ultimate antidote to dreary days. It's vibrant and springlike and reminds me of carefree days in my childhood spent frolicking around my grandparents' garden. We honestly get so few opportunities to frolic as adults, so this damask rose mixed with fruity cassis, tangerine, and a dash of comforting vanilla is a wonderful alternative. If you've been anti-rose, this is the one that'll change your mind.
While it may not smell like Turkish delight, it somehow manages to capture the plump, pillowy bounciness of a Turkish delight, as it's so full and well rounded. There are three variations of rose packed into the bottle, creating a scent that's as spicy as it is sweet with notes of turmeric and Sichuan pepper that ensure it doesn't stray too far into dessert-like territory. This assumption-breaking scent is beyond anything you thought a rose perfume would be in the best possible way.
When the Secret Intelligence Service realises its mistake in not recruiting me earlier, this is what I'll be wearing in our clandestine meeting at midnight. It basically smells like a smoke-tainted leather jacket that's been stored with a rose and patchouli drawer freshener. It's incredibly dark and woody, and whenever I wear it, I find myself playing a game of "guess what's in it" when people ask about it.
This is guaranteed to bring a smile to your lips and maybe even a self-hug. Rose is the star of the show and meets up with a bright and sunshine-filled blend of tangerine and blackberry. There's no better scent for pairing with a floral-print dress and a springtime walk around a botanical garden.
So apparently, it's possible to bottle an entire rose. The rich, earthy soil, green stems, fragrant petals, and the wood from the trees nearby… You can smell it all. I find myself reaching for this complex scent when I'm lazing around the house, about to head to bed, going out, and anything in between. This modern ode to the rose is such a rarity, as there's something in here to delight everyone.
If you want a rose in its purest form, this is exactly it. It's simple, fresh, delicate, and pretty fruity. In my daydreams about spending my days writing on a Parisian balcony wearing red lipstick and a crisp white shirt, this is what my signature scent would be. Elegant and uncomplicated is such a mood, and this fragrance is all you need to get there.
This perfume is water based, and it's rather fancy. When I went to Marrakesh, all I wanted to do was bring home the divine spicy aroma that can be found in the souks and medinas. Luckily for me, that's exactly what's been bottled here, and it's surprisingly spot on. Rose, saffron, and oud instantly grab your attention before the perfume dries down into warming amber and vanilla. It's a scented treat for the senses without racking up the air miles.
If you find rose perfumes to be too intense, this refreshing take on the classic prioritises gentleness. The light fragrance is everything you want from a fruity floral that lingers on the skin and gets even better as it wears. It's honestly like scented air, and you'll want to stay in it all day.
Both clean and peppery, this reminds me of coming home to a freshly cleaned apartment and the gratitude of a bouquet of white roses decorating your coffee table. Paired with the scent of lemon drop sweets, this is a zesty way to add some rose into your life.
This is the stuff that late nights and a whole lot of mischief are made of. This decadent fragrance is seriously grown-up, the kind of grown-up who can have a velvet sofa and wear white without spilling on it. You know exactly what I mean. With a blend of spices and woods that move in synchronicity with the rose absolue, this investment buy won't come with any regrets. For something a little sweeter, Atelier Cologne's Rose Anonyme Extrait (£164) is a great shout, too.
There had to be an unapologetic powerhouse red rose on here, and this is the best one around. For the scent of rose in its purest form, you can't beat this. It brings to mind every single word, image, and memory associated with roses, and it's an absolute classic. I like layering this with an intense wood or oud perfume to add some softness.