On first sniff, this is just like sticking your nose into one of those huge cabbage roses, all sweet and wet. Of course, it smells like rose, but even more so, it smells like a mix of red berries, especially raspberry, grounded with soap and just a touch of that old fashioned musk that reminds me of rubber doll smell. Given time, it ends up smelling like red fruit candy mixed with soap.
Honestly, I usually hate fruity rose perfumes, but Ineke does a good job keeping this from ever smelling stupid. Ironically, I think it's because she focuses on the berry aspect, putting care into making sure they never smell dumb or too much like Kool-Aid. That being said, Briar Rose doesn't really smell expensive either - it smells mostly like a decent, affordable perfume for berry lovers.
Briar Rose opens with a black raspberry fruit and nose tingling aldehyde combo, with just the faintest underlying hint of dewy rose that almost disappears for a short time before the rose reappears in the heart. The black raspberry and reemerged rose accord grows and grows as time passes becoming quite strong, as a very soapy shampoo-like undertone permeates the accord, remaining through the end of its development. Through the dry-down the linear rose and raspberry recede to a great degree but never completely disappear as the soapy undertone now takes on the starring role with the supporting fruity florals now coupling with just detectable patchouli late. Projection is outstanding and longevity is excellent, lasting over 12 hours on skin.
Briar Rose was a real disappointment for me. I bought the scent blind due to a positive comparison to my favorite fragrance Portrait of a Lady and I can at least see where one might make an initial comparison of the two due to the use of rose and raspberry in their respective compositions. That said, they smell nothing alike really and it is no contest at all with Portrait of a Lady winning "the battle of the fruity roses" in a walk. Briar Rose is actually much closer (very close indeed) to a scent I loathe by Andy Tauer called Une Rose Vermeille. The fruity rose combination here is quite watery, soapy and even a bit synthetic. I also do not get any of the gourmand and spicy facets the official notes list refers to. The scent projects like crazy and lasts plenty long, but performance is no good if the scent fails the initial and most important hurdle of smelling good, and like Une Rose Vermeille, Briar Rose fails that test for sure. I should also mention that while I feel comfortable wearing 90% of the rose scents on the market and do (whether they be targeted at men, women or unisex); this one does lean heavily to the "feminine" side of the spectrum and is tougher for me to feel comfortable wearing (though anyone can of course wear any scent). The bottom line is I wanted to like Briar Rose (especially as I now own it), but alas I really dislike this 2 star out of 5 scent that in the end is just an overpriced fruity rose shampoo. That said, if Une Rose Vermeille is your kind of scent then I would definitely recommend Briar Rose as a much less expensive alternative that almost certainly will satisfy fans of that one.
The notes listed above is missing 'apple'.
A dry, tangy rose scent with slightly soapy undertones and average longevity/sillage. It is nowhere near as gourmand as the list of notes would have you believe, it is however very much about rose although it's not as 'garden' smelling as the 'Floral Curiosities' line might have you believe. Nice, but definitely not essential nor groundbreaking.