I have been testing quite a few rose-focused perfumes recently, so I thought I knew exactly where this one was going when I put it on. Boy, was I was wrong. This took me on a wild ride that I totally wasn't expecting. It is an exhilarating thing, to be surprised by a perfume so late in the game. It is all too easy to get bogged down in testing samples, isn't it? Notes start to run into each other, your senses become dulled to innovation, you start to miss the woods for the trees, your nose grows wearied. Well, this one right here is my palate cleanser.
The opening is uncomfortable and scratchy-feeling, teeming with enough ginger, pepper, and geranium to make you wince. At this stage, like I said, I thought I knew what kind of rose this was going to be - the kind of citric-edged, dry, greeny-sharp rose you get in Perles de lalique or Une Rose Chypree - and I steeled my girders. It's not that I don't appreciate this kind of rose, but I have to be in the right sort of mood for all those sharp angles and high-pitched tones.
Half an hour later, I was startled when I began to smell a sort of dirty musk-patch-amber aroma rising up off my wrists. I know that musk is not listed anywhere for this scent, so I can't explain it, but I was definitely experiencing a delicious underpinning of something musky, like ambrette mixed with patch. God, it was lovely. It reminded me of, dare I say it, the late dry down of Muscs Khoublai Khan, when the deep funkiness mixes with the sugared rose. Except it wasn't as dirty as MKK really, more like the clean-dirtiness in Kiehl's Musk. Now, I know there's no musk listed here at all, so it must have been a personal skin chemistry thing. But as a lover of all things musky-patchy-ambery, I was delighted to have this occur on my skin.
This phase lasted only a while on my skin until a true, bright red rose began to emerge. This phase sometimes felt fruity-rosy, sometimes winey-rosey, but definitely brighter than the rose in Voleur de Roses, where it is swallowed up by the patchouli. The patchouli here takes a backseat to the incensy woods supporting the rose note here. Towards the far dry down, I felt the scent dip back into the musky territory and then lurch forwards again into a tart rose accent. The whole ride, which takes place over a very impressive ten hours on my skin, never once feels comfortable or predictable. Bravo you weird, wonderful people at Etat Libre d'Orange! This is as truly jolie-laide as Signora Rossy de Palma herself.
As so often happens with me with rose scents, the rose dominates the accords to such an extent that I can smell very little else. The rose note of Rossy de Palma is a good one… forceful but not overwhelming. I get a background ginger note in the opening, along with some aromatics from the geranium already speaking up from the middle level. There’s also some resinous incense in the background. I entirely miss the opening’s “blood note,” and, as usual for me, there is only a miniscule pepper note. Because of the strength of the rose in the opening, I’m surprised that I enjoy it – rose is not usually my favorite. When the middle level is in full swing, the cocoa and incense (with the base’s patchouli) have brought the exuberance of the rose into a beautifully refined and dignified accord… This rose-in-an-accord aspect holds quite nicely for the remainder of the fragrance. In the opening, the sillage is about what one would expect for a rose fragrance, but it gradually lightens up to end in a truly translucent rose / patchouli base. Longevity is good. Hmmm… Rossy de Palma has become probably my favorite rose scent (I’ll have to revisit my past “favorites” to compare).
31st January, 2014 (last edited: 22nd February, 2014)
At first sniff I thought "oh no, another patchouli monster". I have sort of a love/hate relationship with patchouli. Perhaps it goes back to my High School years in the hippy haven the was and still is in large part my home town. Clouds of patchouli scented the corridors my High School. Put me off the stuff for a very long time. Only in recent years am I able to stand a certain amount.
Thankful, after my first sniff of Rossy de Palma the bulgarian rose came up to greet me. Then the spice and incense. Oh, what wonderful stuff!
So I am very happy to give Rossy a big thumbs up!
Thank you Etat Libre for making a patchouli fragrance that we, the patchouli sensitive, can appreciate.
I find the experience of wearing this far better than testing/spritzing and sniffing. It changes a lot on skin and over time, so it doesn't just shout rose from beginning to end. I don't get any cold ashtrays thank goodness. It's bright, fruity and peppery to start, moves through a dark rose-patchouli heart and fades out on soft cocoa and amber. It evolves in about six hours on my skin at which point I can re-apply, which I like, because I love perfume(!) and I love spritzing and smelling it afresh, and I hate fragrances that over-stay their welcome with freaky musks that last for days. Overall RdP strikes me as an easier-wearing sister to FM's Une Rose and SL's Rose de Nuit (both of which I love), and I plan to wear it a lot this autumn.
Opened with great puffs of smoke (and a bit of rubber) on me which dispersed to almost nothing. Just when I was about to dismiss this as another Etat which was less than the sum of its parts, it crept back up. A refined rose (not ka-pow) which starts off peppery, but then shows hints of the initial smokiness and little lifts of green. The rose-pepper thing has been done better elsewhere, but there’s no denying this has been artfully made with feet in quite a few different camps without toppling over. However, I find it provokes no emotional response; it’s all at arm’s length. Surprisingly, it’s after about 6 hours that I enjoy it the most – when the impression it gives is of a huge Montale rose in the adjoining room, its brashness tamed by distance.