Trust Me: This Chic French Fragrance Will Earn You Endless Compliments

When you think of rose perfumes, you probably associate them with the traditional floral fragrances worn by your grandmother. Cloying, overbearing, stuffy—and actually quite unlike the sweet, fresh scent you experience when surrounded by fresh-cut roses. Whilst many established (and indeed, iconic) fragrances revolve around it, rose has long since been a note that I've avoided and eschewed in favour of brighter green scents or trendy woody and musky ones. 

However, I was recently introduced to a new fragrance which totally took me by surprise and made me rethink everything I thought I knew about rose. I am rarely surprised by a perfume—my career as a beauty editor has taught me how to decipher ingredient lists, and so I'm able to look at a lineup of fragrance notes and make an educated guess as to how the scent will come together.

I fully expected to take one sniff of Tom Ford's Rose Prick and pass it on to my mum, but on this occasion, she wasn't so lucky. What struck me was the fact that, despite its name, the rose in this fragrance didn't overwhelm at all, and actually felt like it was taking a back seat to the warmer, spicier notes that I was greeted with. Further investigation revealed that rose is a heart note in this scent, and that pepper and turmeric sit at the top.

The base notes of patchouli and tonka bean are much more subtle, but give the scent an impressive longevity. Altogether, Rose Prick presents rose in a totally unique and truly refreshing way, and I've not stopped wearing it since.

My experience not only totally humbled me, but has, over the past six months, led me on a mission to rediscover rose. I've learnt that the note really is undergoing a modern-day revival, in an attempt to banish its old-school, fuddy-duddy connotations. Unlike traditional rose fragrances with which a top note of rose seems to overpower all others, in modern rose scents, the flower plays a supporting role.

Rose works well with citrus notes for a light and fresh summer fragrance, or it can create a sultry, sexy vibe when combined with musk or oud. My favourite rose combinations, I've realised, are those which pair it with sweet, fruity notes; resulting in rich, jammy scents.

Ahead, I've picked out the best rose perfumes that are not only fresh, fun, and modern, but also bound to get you compliments. You can thank me later.

The Best Rose Perfumes:

1. Tom Ford Rose Prick

My mission to find the best rose perfumes of all time began here. Rose Prick is a very grown-up, very modern and very Tom Ford take on rose. The spicy, peppery top notes allow for a total reinterpretation of rose.

2. Boy Smells Rose Load

Boy Smells always reinterprets classic scents in interesting and refreshing ways, and this take on rose is no exception. The blend positions rose as a heart note alongside sweet, fruity raspberry. The top notes of rhubarb, pink pepper and cardamom give it a simultaneously fresh and spicy intro, whilst rich oud, sandalwood and papyrus ground it with a woody base.

3. Obvious Une Rose

Ignore the name—this scent is anything but obvious. Bright, zesty notes of tangerine, grapefruit and bergamot render this rose scent deliciously jammy. If you typically gravitate towards fruity scents, you'll love this one.

4. D.S. & Durga Rose Atlantic

D.S. & Durga is also well known for its unconventional interpretations of the classics. This one perfectly balances rose with fresh marine notes of lemon, salt, seawater and lime blossom. The result? A gust of fresh, rose-scented air.

5. BDK Tabac Rose

This is a really opulent rose scent, perfect for evening wear. It draws upon rich fragrance notes like chocolate, cinnamon, tobacco and patchouli.

6. Maison Francis Kurkdjian L'Homme À La Rose

Rose is traditionally referred to and utilised as a feminine note, so when I read that this fragrance was a rose scent for men, I was intrigued. It's a really fresh, crisp take on rose—elegant, uplifting, perfect for summer and definitely the type of fragrance you could gift to (then steal from) a man in your life. 

7. Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin

At first smell, you could be mistaken for thinking this a classic rose perfume. The note definitely takes centre stage, but as it settles onto skin, a supporting cast of geranium, honey, moss and patchouli emerges. It's a modern, cool-girl take on floral.

8. Maison Margiela Replica On A Date

This multi-layered fragrance is packed with powerful notes like patchouli, vetiver and bergamot, so it's a real head-turner. There's a really balanced blend of fruity and floral thanks to the pairing of rose with geranium and davana. Choose this if you like perfumes that really make a statement.

9. Frédéric Malle Portrait of A Lady

This is considered to be one of the modern classics of rose perfumes. Each 50ml bottle contains 200 Turkish rose flowers, but spicy notes of patchouli, sandalwood and frankincense give it a warm edge that makes it smell really unique and addictive.

10. Penhaligon's Portraits The Coveted Duchess Rose

Penhaligon's take on rose truly does smell like a bouquet of fresh flowers. What's more, like all Penhaligon's scents, it has serious staying power on the skin.

11. Chanel Paris-Paris

Inspired by a sunny springtime day in Paris, this (relatively) new rose scent from Chanel has notes of zesty lemon and juicy mandarin, which keep it really fresh and uplifting.

12. le Labo Rose 31

This bestseller from Le Labo has an unexpected earthiness thanks to cumin and cedar, which when paired with velvety rose, give it an altogether warm and comforting vibe.

13. Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb & Rose

Proving that rose and rhubarb are a match made in heaven, this scent is simultaneously both soft and tart. Expect the compliments to roll in.

14. Byredo Young Rose

Byredo is fast becoming known as one of the greats of modern perfumery, so I was intrigued to smell the brand's rose-based fragrances—it actually has a few in the collection already. This is my favourite. The warm, sweet notes of ambrette and musk balance beautifully with the florals.

15. Tom Ford Café Rose

This is another really interesting take on rose from Tom Ford. It's warm and smoky, with rich notes of coffee and cardamom offsetting the sweet, powdery rose.

16. Diptyque Eau Rose

Another addictively jammy rose scent—lychee, blackcurrant and white honey give it an alluring sweetness.

17. Jo Loves White Rose & Lemon Leaves

You can always count on Jo Malone CBE to find a perfect (if unconventional) pairing for every classic fragrance note. In this blend, velvety rose is balanced out by fresh, green lemon leaves.

18. Jo Malone Red Roses

This is a more classic floral rose perfume, but top notes of lemon and mint certainly keep it fresh and interesting.

19. L'Objet Rose Noire

Despite its name, this fragrance isn't as 'dark' or rich as you might expect. It's actually crisp, spicy, and somewhat powdery—one of the most complex and interesting rose fragrances I've smelt.

20. Who is Elijah Rebel Rose

With spicy notes of cumin, pepper, and saffron, this rose scent is far more than just a fragrant floral. It evokes the feeling of actually being in a rose garden, surrounded by earth and greenery.