Perfume Directory

Rose 31 (2006)
by Le Labo


Rose 31 information

Year of Launch2006
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 533 votes)

People and companies

HouseLe Labo
PerfumerDaphne Bugey
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Rose 31

Rose 31 is a shared / unisex perfume by Le Labo. The scent was launched in 2006 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Daphne Bugey

Reviews of Rose 31

Le Labo is strangeness for the sake of it, and puts odd quotes from Henry David Thoreau at the forefront of their "manifesto", and styles themselves in a very humorless scientific fashion, with their very name meaning "The Laboratory" in French. Furthering their artistic idiosyncrasies, they don't use any animal products but painstakingly replicate animal notes from synthetics, including their own house-made castoreum proxy, and will even make "fresh" batches of their compositions by compounding them in person at their boutiques (product sold elsewhere is ready-made), signing the name of the client on the empty lines beneath the scent title on the label of the bottle itself. Still not done, Le Labo also amusingly names their scents after a single note despite that note almost always not being the star of the composition, but rather a supporting player, making everything they sell an intentional misnomer. The "dirty yet clean" approach is on full display here with Rose 31 (2006), created by mostly-niche perfumer Daphne Bugey. Rose does indeed open Rose 31, but soon after, is overtaken by everything else in the compositon and leaves the wearer with a clean, musky, slightly animalic, clinically-pleasant fragrance that would seem just like what somebody devoid of levity in lab coat attire would create. Some of Le Labo's other scents, like Santal 33 (2011) actually go somewhere worthwhile with their avant-garde "it is but it isn't" shtick, ending up being something surprisingly enjoyable and if not worth the price, still worth consideration, but not Rose 31.

Rose 31 does a remarkable job of opening like pure rose petals, almost as if just the bud of the rose found in Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie (1980) was separated from the rest of the plant and suspended in ether for all to sniff. This opening moment only lasts literally but a moment, as arms reach up from chemical Hell to grab at that rosebud, with Iso E Super and ambrette followed by cumin and synthetic castoreum. The hay-like transition from what Le Labo calls a Centifolia rose are caused by a very dry medicinal oud/cedar mixture, vetiver, and olibanum. The base of gaiac wood and musk is where this finishes, with the dirty rolling into the clean laundry musk and soft woody notes, likely also bolstered with synthetics. Wisps of labdanum also come and go near the end, but all I get in the finish is a weak woodsy dry musk with hints of rose, like somebody yanked the Comet cleanser scratch out of Tom Ford Oud Wood (2007) and shoved some musk and rose in it before diluting to half-strength without dropping the price tag to compensate. For all the science and artistic esoterica on display at Le Labo, the performance of Rose 31 is pretty limpid, with just 4 hours of any real radiance, then skin scent for another 4 before reapplication is needed. I won't remind you that very little rose is here because as I mentioned above, Le Labo always makes a supporting player the star of the scent, maybe as some kind of joke, but overall this is probably one of the most "designer" niche scents I've smelled, which I hope is part of some intentional irony on the company's behalf or else this is an absurd ripoff. Rose 31 really is the rose perfume for somebody who wants to pretend they like rose because it seems refined, and as a cool edgy laboratory-themed bottle to show off to confirm their good taste.

I don't hate Rose 31, but there are much better scents in this vein, even ones that just flirt with being a rose and/or oud fragrance without actually committing, both at the price points this is found, and much much lower. Anything sporting rose and/or oud from the Tom Ford Private Collection or Mancera/Montale is better than this, and anything from more affordable lines like the Aramis Perfume Calligraphy series, or rose-inflected flankers of major designers like Cartier Déclaration d'un Soir (2012) and Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme Ultime (2016) will give more bang for the buck than this. Hell, even Cabaret de Grès (2003) does this better, albeit with a bit more noticeable synthetics, but at least gives performance where Rose 31 lacks. Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady (2010) would at least give people who dropped the similarly-exorbitant asking price for it a full dose of something rose and woodsy, but Le Labo Rose 31 really just sits there and tries to blow smoke rings with the tag line of "the future of luxury [...] lies in craftsmanship", tossing the aforementioned literary figure (and then some) at you while insisting that their little high school science fair presentation is something truly a cut above the norm. Well I'm not buying it, nor am I buying this fragrance. Definitely sample as your opinion may differ from mine, but the neutral rating here is a kindness considering this is one "rose" that should have stayed in the laboratory.
17th September, 2018
The best dirty-rose scent that I've smelled. Has a sexy feel to it from start to finish. I prefer this over Declaration d'Un Soir but both are high on my list of fragrance likes and tops for rose fragrances.

The rose is there throughout but always in support of everything else going on, like the cumin in the beginning and then the soft and spicy, woody drydown.

I actually like this better on my wife, so while I do still think its unisex, it leans feminine to me. I still enjoy wearing it because I just keep smelling it on my skin and thinking how good it smells.

Projection is above average while longevity lasts all workday for me.
19th March, 2018
zztopp Show all reviews
United States
Top: Rose, Cumin
Middle: Rose, Vetiver, Cedar
Base: Musk, Guaic wood, Olibanum, Labdanum, agarwood

Le Labo's Rose 31 is quite possibly the best unisex rose fragrance on the market. Rose fragrances have a reputation of being either very demure tea rose snowflakes, or brash and garish in-yo-face hello kittys. Rose 31 is expertly blended with great ingredients- its light but still full-bodied rose note is filtered through a dash of cumin, dusted with cedar, and softened by a base of woody oud and musk. The overall affect is of a medium-rare woody and spicy accord softened by rose water. If you find something such as Czech & Speake's No. 88 as too much of a good thing, this is a fantastic alternative.

Rating: 8.75/10.0
26th February, 2018
iobhai Show all reviews
United States
You're a rose, soaked in formaldehyde, preserved in a glass jar. Your jar is left in a dusty, abandoned workshop, and your only visitors are rodents, which seem to drop in whenever they feel the need to mark their territory. Your existence is timeless, sure, but also sour and deservedly forgotten. Rose 31 by Le Labo.
25th February, 2018
Rose 31 is a 'rose' fragrance that is beautiful and frustrating. Rose is not the main actor: it's in the supporting cast. This will be unsurprising to anyone familiar with the Le Labo range: Le Labo, for some strange reason, names its perfumes in a manner at odds with the compositions. Most of the names are misnomers, and Rose 31 is no exception.

Back to Rose 31: it is primarily a dry, woody fragrance. There is a mild spicy aspect to the composition, attributable to the cumin; this lends an imagination to the perfume. The other aspect is, of course, the rose. The rose is a sleek, polished, and urbane affair. The dry, peppery woods are a blend of cedar and iso e super notes. This rose-cumin-woods structure is reasonably well done and even attractive. Yet, it is hard not to look beyond the shortcomings.

The central gripe about Rose 31 is that it is rather thin from the mid phase onwards, somewhat unsatisfying, and too bare bones. Additionally, it is rather muted on skin and duration is about five to six hours based on a generous application. At this market segment one would expect something of a higher quality. Nonetheless, it is an improvement on something like Lumiere Noire pour Homme, with which it shares a similar rose note. Rose 31, though, is in much closer territory to Declaration d'Un Soir - and the latter is at least as compelling as Rose 31, and at a sixth of its price.

A more concentrated version with less synthetic wood notes in the dry down would be a great improvement. In its current state, Rose 31 yet another niche fragrance from yet another niche brand where everything talks louder and prouder than the product itself: the perfume.

15th May, 2017
Wow. An amazing rose scent. Rosey enough for a woman to wear, woodsy enough for a man. Beautiful grasse rose with a smokey wood undertone. Suitable for formal or every day wear. I think it smells more in place during the winter months, because it has a holiday vibe to it. Up there with Rose Ikebana at the top of the rose fragrances for me.
08th May, 2017

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