Two of the most important things I have learned from reading (our very own) Jtd Jtd's magnificent articles on the rose chypre genre on Scent Hurdle are as follows:
1. Rose chypres are like snowflakes. Although the basic DNA is the same for each, the genetic variations from one to another are infinite in their potential number, thus ensuring that no two are exactly alike. This happy truth is down to both the infinite variations in tone that we perceive as being ‘rosy’ and the unlimited number of ways in which one can move the three legs of the chypre stool (bergamot, labdanum, and moss) around. The sheer range of possible combinations is mind-boggling and reminds one of those films where the bank robbers are horrified to find a safe with a five-number combination lock, whereupon a narrator or a character will helpfully remind us that there are two billion different possible combinations.
2. The traditional affiliation between the rose and patchouli has ensured that the rose chypre genre has survived and thrived better in this oakmoss-free, post-IFRA world better than other types of chypre.
Testing Une Rose Chypree by Tauer has helped me crystallize a few thoughts of my own. First of all, although the number of combinations between the different tones of rose and the different positioning of the main chypre accords means that while Une Rose Chypree does technically fit into the category of chypre (seeing as it contains bergamot, labdanum, and moss), it does not feel or smell like a chypre to me. That makes me think that a perfume can meet all the technical preconditions for being classified as a chypre and still not actually smell like a chypre. To me, the chypre accord is an undefinable but completely recognizable accord, like a heat signature imprinted into the fabric of the fragrance. It is an abstraction, sure, but it is as unmistakable when you come across it as feeling around in the dark and suddenly coming across the face of a loved one. Ah, there you are, my love. I would have known you anywhere.
Une Rose Chypree, therefore, contains oakmoss, but lacks the mossy bitterness that gives true chypres their backbone. Ironically, a fragrance like Chanel’s 31 Rue Cambon does not contain any moss at all, but still somehow manages to identify itself clearly, unmistakably, as a chypre. Therefore, we have come to a puzzling proposition: some nu-chypres smell more like chypres than true chypres with all three chypre legs correct and present.
Une Rose Chypree smells like a spicy oriental, almost a spice-soliflor (yes, we are making up terms now, and why not?) and is comfortably in the same family as Coco and Noir Epices by Malle. It is a citrus-rose pomander fragrance, resinous and dark, perfect for drawing your loved ones in for a kiss under the Christmas tree.
I’ve always had a bit of difficulty with the top notes of Une Rose Chypree, because it felt to me that any rose is subsumed completely by the pungent spices, herbs, and lemon. But once I let go of my idea of Une Rose Chypree as a chypre and started to think of it as a spice/pomander fragrance, to my surprise, I started to appreciate it more.
The opening is thick with hot cinnamon and clove, hot-spicy with bay leaves, and throat-catchingly green with geranium. But it is also strangely fizzy and sherbet-y, in that Andy Tauer way, ensuring that the dark spiciness is shot through with some light. Cinnamon and lemon fight it out with a nascent rose, and the rose loses. In fact, I only smell a general rosiness later on, in the heart notes, and even then I can only perceive it in the sillage and not on the skin. No matter. I have started to enjoy this for what it is, rather than worrying about where all the chypre pieces are fitting in. The far drydown is characterized by a resinous, almost bitter labdanum accord. All in all, this is a seductive, dark, intriguing fragrance that I enjoy quite a lot. Once I've let go of my preconceptions of this as a chypre.
The name had me expecting a floral chypre with a rose heart, but that’s not exactly what I’m smelling here. Instead, Une Rose Chyprée is a dark, sweet, and spicy floral-oriental with an especially deep, jammy rose note at its core. It reminds me very much of Nahéma, of Amouage’s two rose-based Lyric scents, and by dint of conspicuous cinnamon (and clove?) notes, of Frederic Malle’s Noir Epices as well. I’ll take the perfumer’s word for it that the basenotes include the chypre staples oakmoss and labdanum, but what I smell in there is mostly smoky vanillic amber.
Whether you consider Une Rose Chyprée a chypre or an oriental is of little account. What matters is the scent’s smoldering, crepuscular beauty. The attempt to describe its qualities sends me scurrying after new words for “dark.” Yet for all its profundity, there is a paradoxical clarity to Une Rose Chyprée’s structure. (A quality it again shares with Noir Epices.) In olfactory character it brings to mind the tolling of a deep, deep bell, or the entrancing velvety blue glow of the evening sky just before it goes completely black. I wouldn’t wear it during the day, and certainly not in hot weather, but I think I’d have to pay attention to any woman wearing this scent in my presence. Une Rose Chyprée joins L’Air du Desert Marocain among my favorites from the Tauer line.
A rose so heavily bracketed by the spice and citrus at the top and the labdanum rich resinous base, that it’s actually not quite a rose anymore. The overwhelming impression I am left with is of something pleasurable, wearable, warm and dense but somewhat undifferentiated, once the notes have blended after the first few minutes. Leaning more heavily in the ‘oriental’ direction and with good tenacity yet contained sillage, it’s not in the Tauer top ranks for me. The main drawback is the density – everything seems so thoroughly blended that it misses an enlivening quality, slumping on the sofa rather than kicking its heels.
For me, this fragrance does several things right: the bergamot on top is really nice. I do love bergamot. Also noteworthy, the bitter, green geranium providing a backbone for the fragrance from start to finish, and something for a guy's nose to latch onto. And, the vaguely oriental dry down is fine, if not remarkable. At this point you've got the geranium, some incense and labdanum. The fragrance has excellent projection and length.
But, URC comes up short for me in two crucial respects:
-I don't get any oakmoss, and boy could this fragrance use it, to balance the fruit juice. Yeah I know oakmoss has been banned by the authorities, but some houses are finding a way to put some OM or acceptable substitute into their juice. (see Chypre Mousse). I was darn tempted to inject a bit of vintage Bel Ami or Chypre Mousse into my URC sample.
-The "rose" heart note does not bear the slightest resemblance to roses, imo. I know what roses smell like, having grown them, antiques, ramblers, teas, you name it, my entire adult life. And that experience with roses informs and limits my appreciation for this fragrance. I detect no true rose smell in the perfume, just a Fruit Juice substitute. Man, that disappoints.
This was the first Tauer I tried that didn't really move the needle for me. But then, LADDM, Incense Extreme and Lonestar Memories are very tough acts to follow.
„Heavenly Roses, from the past.”
What a wonderful surprise this turned out to be! These are roses. Dark, heavily scented roses, from another era. Not the fragile dewy English Garden type rose, but more of a robust and sturdy type rose, that grew in gardens in far away places. Roses that have definite personality. Now, imagine a bunch of these gorgeous roses combined in a lovely bouquet with the highly scented mini carnation...a carnation that is scented like cinnamon), combined with some beautiful vanilla scented orchids. The greenery for this lovely bouquet would be clementine orange leaves, with a few bayleafs for added decoration. This is a flower bouquet made with love. Just like this superb fragrance, from the Tauer line. I was hesitant at first, to test this, as I wasn't really impressed with his other rose fragrance (Une Rose Vermeille). Which to my nose was more of a rosewater sweet fruity fragrance. But this is a different breed of rose! The dry down is simply wonderful...soft, yet distinct. It's almost like a lovely tune, playing in the background. The lasting power is great, and it has a very nice sillage..not overpowering, but again, very distinct and attractive. This is a real winner for me, and hope to be able to get a FB very soon! Thank you Mr. Tauer, for a glimpse into the past!
Dark, rich, and warm
The first time I wore this, I seemed to pick out a huge amount of cinnamon, which distracted me from the rose notes. So I set the sample aside for a few days and today I'm trying it again.
Excellent, warm, spicy opening with touches of citrus. Compelling. The heart notes unfolded rather quickly--almost alongside the head notes--and the rose is lovely and dark, very sensual. Any rose lover would swoon over these rose notes. The basenotes, a heady, resinous mixture of labdanum, oak moss, patchouli and vetiver, are rich and warm. I would call this a 2-stage development, not 3, because the opening and heart notes intermingle so quickly. This fragrance is warm and inviting (but also possesses a touch of "darkness" that makes it more interesting, like a slightly dangerous femme fatale) and is unlike any other rose fragrances I own. Sillage very good, longevity over 10 hours.
What a perfume; here is another one for my wish list. I think any chypre lover would adore this.
UPDATE: After several more wearings, I have to add that the cinnamon note IS strong, and if that note is a problem for you, better sample before purchase.
Pros: Spicy rose, great longevity
Cons: Cinnamon note might be too strong for some body chemistries"