Sa Majesté la Rose is the truest, clearest rendition of the 19th century Bourbon rose that I’ve encountered. (Keiko Mecheri’s Mogador comes close, but overdoes the sugar.) To those who know it, the scent of the Bourbon roses (Mme. Pierre Oger, Louise Odier, and Souvenir de la Malmaison among them,) is unique and unmistakable. It combines the rich, heady, and ever so slightly yeasty fragrance of a damask rose with a tropical fruit or raspberry note, with each component balancing and challenging the other in a complicated olfactory dance. Sheldrake and Lutens have nailed it.
The Bourbon rose accord is evident the instant Sa Majesté la Rose goes on, and it persists in a fairly linear manner that’s unusual for a Serge Lutens product. Don’t for a moment think that I hold this against the scent. The central accord is so bewitching that I’d happily have it go on for hours. There are few distractions along Sa Majesté la Rose’s march toward its floral throne: just some woods and perhaps a touch of vetiver in the base, with a bit of musk emerging in the drydown. All take a distant back seat to the truly majestic rose. Superb sillage and projection, and fine lasting power to boot. All this without a drop of the heavy syrup that bathes most of this house’s offerings.
Sa Majesté la Rose is a tour de force that demonstrates just what Sheldrake and Lutens can do when they lay off of their shared sugar addiction. They’re clearly not making all those sweet, heavy orientals because they can’t do any differently. If these guys put themselves on a diet more often, their line would be more diverse and interesting. Are you listening Serge and Christopher?
At any rate, bravo to the duo on this one! I hope someday they’ll make a few more like it.
Sa Majeste La Rose opens with a beautiful realistic pure "feminine" rose resembling the roses you would smell entering a florist. As the composition transitions to the early heart the pure rose starts to mingle with a sharp green soapy undertone that grows in strength through the remaining heart phase with the rose remaining as co-star. During the late dry-down the rose dulls somewhat as the soapy green undertone finally recedes, revealing traces of vague supporting wood in the base. Projection is very good to excellent with outstanding longevity of well over 12 hours on skin.
Sa Majeste La Rose is a composition that on paper has all the ingredients necessary for an outstanding rose soliflore and when first applied on skin one smells just that. The rose is so natural and airy at the open that it is hard not to be impressed early. If things continued as they began this would be a major rave, but alas, the composition gets a bit muddled during the heart phase as a difficult to place green soapy accord gets in the way of the gorgeous early untarnished rose presentation. The sharp green soapy concoction really feels out of place and is quite distracting, only allowing the composition to recover during the late dry-down as the soap recedes and a natural supporting woody undertone primarily takes its place, melding much better with the rose. The bottom line is the $130 per 50ml bottle Sa Majeste La Rose opens extremely strong, but falters in the middle before making a late recovery, earning a "good" 3 star out of 5 rating and a mild recommendation. That said, with so many excellent rose compositions on the market including Serge Lutens' own La Fille de Berlin, Sa Majeste La Rose may get swallowed up by the competition.
Crisp green rose
This is Serge Lutens’ green rose I guess. I’ve read that this is one of Serge’s own favorite perfumes - I think it was in mikeperez' review down there vvvv. If that's true, Serge doesn’t like the kind of roses I would think he likes, given the general aesthetic of his line. My guess would have been that he is more a Rose de Nuit man.
I sprayed on skin, inside my shirt, and on a paper strip for reference. The initial blast is a little soapy, a crisp yet succulent green rose. It's like shredding a rose bud the day before it blooms. It’s sappy and a bit waxy, with some watery fruit, but not sweet – inedible. On the paper strip the opening smells strange – the balance is all off and it has a bluish/metallic tone somehow. Don't judge this one from the first 15m on paper.
After the opening, an hour or so in, it’s more realistic, still a bit green, but softer and less defined. On my arm it’s not as green and smoother than it is inside my shirt. It’s lost that fruity succulent thing. Later in the dry down, it’s velvety and musky - very nice. About 5 hours later it’s been gone a while from my skin – on paper it’s still there, a crisp greenish rose standing straight in crisp air.
It’s good, but it’s not my kind of rose. The opening is interesting and refreshing, and the later development is beautiful - velvety smooth, but crisp and clean. But I don’t want to walk around smelling this all day. It loses points only because it's not my kind of rose.
Pros: Good development, realistic soliflor
A rose bouquet
This is a beautiful linear rose. Not just the flower as such, but a green undertone of rose leaves and stems makes this a bit less sweet than expected by adding a green touch. Linear but great. Excellent projection and silage with a tremendous longevity of eight hours. A rose worth being worn.
My love is like a red, red rose
It's a long time since I owned Yardley's English Rose, I thought of it when Sa Majeste began to settle on my skin. Linear? Yes. A large bunch of Jean Ducher or Duchesse de Brabant to my nose and the disturbed cambian layer of the branch to boot. It made me think of rosehips, masses of them, that you find on Goldfinch or New Dawn, Rambling Rector or Wedding Day. I have grown them, sprayed them, pruned them, deheaded and picked them.
My love is like a red, red rose, said Robbie Burns. Does one need any other reason to create Sa Majeste. My heart breaks when I read the final line. Take us out, Robbie Burns
'As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.'
Pros: Potent, Pays Homage, Keeps it Deceptively Simple
Cons: Linear, esoteric