Attar de Roses flies out of the bottle as a fresh, pretty blend of three different rose oils, from the Taif, Shiraz and Anciennes varietals. It fleshes out over time to become a full, velvety rose with fruity and creamy facets, but never loses its essential bright pink character.
Sometimes rose – for all that I love the note – seems to come with a huge set of problems that a perfumer has to “resolve” in the fragrance for me to truly enjoy it. For example, some rose oils really accentuate the sharp, leafy geranium-like properties of the rose and some the acid-yellow tang of citronella. Some roses turn sour. Some turn to talcum powder and remind me of Grandma.
You see? Problems, problems everywhere! I mostly enjoy rose chypres, rose-ouds, and rose-patchouli blends because I prefer my roses to be “managed” against a backdrop of darker notes rather than shining on their own out there, with all their faults exposed. But lately, I’ve been on a pure rose kick, or at least a half-assed attempt to find a pure rose fragrance (more or less pure, anyway) that resolves all the problems with rose in one fell swoop.
Attar de Roses is almost that platonic ideal….but not quite. To its credit, it manages to present only the most attractive, less searing aspects of the rose – there are no sharp edges, no citronella candles burning, and no metallic or burned berry notes. The perfumer has managed all of those potential problems away, but paradoxically, what I’m left with is a smooth, pink rose scent that has been neutered of all its interesting bits. I am such a contrary person. Can you put back all the faults now, please? I take it all back.
Supposedly, this fragrance has an animalic amber and leather dry down, but if it’s there, it’s subtle. Something like, let’s say, Jicky, would eat Attar de Roses for breakfast. Rather, I would characterize the dry down as being very like powdered Turkish Delight (lokhoum) in the style of Keiko Mecheri’s famous lokhoum perfumes, with a slightly jammy, sweet fruit center. It also reminds me a little of lipstick scents such as Drole de Rose and Lipstick Rose, with its waxy, pink prettiness.
Would I wear Attar de Roses? Most certainly – it is one of the most straight-forwardly gorgeous rose scents I have ever smelled, and if a bottle of it dropped in my lap, I would use it most happily. Purely from a sampling perspective, I find its pale beauty a bit boring after a while – but it rates higher for me than a lot of the other “pure” rose fragrances I’ve been trying lately.