Way Off Scenter tells us that this is a Bourbon rose. Although I do not specifically know that particular scent, I am aware of the difference between vintage rose scents (prior to the importation of the oriental "tea" roses into European horticulture) and those subsequent teas.
For me this is a green tea rose, too modern, too sharp, to be confused with the warm, intoxicating damasks etc. of classic rose cultivation. It reminds me very much of Guerlain's Nahema.
I don't get the honey, clove, wood, musk and lemon notes others find, just a linear green tea, a well done soliflore, but nothing one can't find far more cheaply than paying the Lutens price tag.
Opens as a beautiful, natural tea rose; tart with a touch of powder and fruitiness. A pure, almost transparent rose. Clean and intense, green with a touch of pepper far in the background. Something about it reminds me of clean, white laundry blowing in a breeze. An early summer rose rising out of cool grass. Sillage is good - I don't normally get comments on my perfumes but my co-worker noticed it... and asked what it was she liked it so much. Pretty linear, although well into the drydown the green became more intense and a tad musty. Not particularly complex or interesting but a well structured, natural rose soliflore. Pure but elegant and refined.
To my nose, this perfume smells almost identical to "Nirvana" by Elizabeth and James (white version), and to a rose fragrance that L'Occitane en Provence had (I can't remember the name) in the top and heart notes. Also, like "Nirvana", I noticed that this perfume also had the magical power to relieve my horrible stress headaches! Seriously, I kid you not, I had a stress headache that lasted almost two days, and nothing could cure it! Then, I made a trip to Sephora, and sprayed on some of this perfume from the tester bottle! ("Sa Majeste La Rose", not "Nirvana.) I noticed shortly after that my headache was cured! Now, part of that might also have to do with the shopping therapy, but I have also read that rose scents can have aromatherapy properties, which include relieving stress and anxiety. (And, apparently curing headaches!) I don't think I fully believed that until today! In any case, if you don't want or need roses to aid you in aromatherapy, this is definitely a very sexy perfume! It is almost entirely a very realistic rose soliflore, until it dries down to the base. It actually wasn't until this perfume dried down after a few hours that I could actually smell any honey at all! (Since this one is supposed to have honey as a note too.) The drydown skin scent is still quite rosy, but I can actually detect some honey as well. However, mostly this is not a sweet, innocent, light or girlie scent. Like "Nirvana", this is actually a fairly dark and mysterious rose fragrance, and comes across like a perfume that a femme fatale should wear! It's not really overly heavy though, and doesn't have the longevity or sillage that I've found in some other rose perfumes. I still like it quite a lot though! :) I definitely recommend trying it at least once, if you're a fan of rose perfumes at all.
On a good day, Sa Majesté la Rose is probably the best rose perfume I've smelled. It's like burying your nose in some sort of fantastic, hyper-realistic mega-rose, replete with a very natural-smelling piquant sheen and undertones of peach, honey, and cassis. Absolutely nothing about Sa Majesté smells artificial or cheap, including the quiet honeyed sandalwood drydown.
That being said, all the best divas can be temperamental, and I've had days where Sa Majesté smells like someone peed on a beautiful rose perfume. For that reason, I haven't splurged on a bottle, though I would absolutely suggest giving it a sniff to see how it works on you.
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.