Perfume Reviews

Reviews by redrose

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Total Reviews: 35
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Accord 119 by Caron

This fragrance doesn't smell like any Caron I've ever sampled before. It opens with a blast of something oud-like, and then adds a hefty dose of fruity blackcurrant and pear. Lurking beneath it all is something quite "dirty", and I mean that literally - I get a disturbing whiff of unwashed underwear that I really don't like. I mean, if I wanted to smell like that, I'd just wear yesterday's undies. I certainly wouldn't pay for it. This unpleasantness recedes, fortunately, though I can still detect it's there; but then Accord 119 becomes quite faint and I really have to put my nose directly on my wrist to smell anything. It mystifies me that this should be a Caron at all. I love their florals, especially N'Aimez Que Moi and Or et Noir, and I adore Parfum Sacre. But Accord 119? Not for me. Others may like it, and I can't say it's a poor quality fragrance, so I'm giving it a neutral.
17th December, 2012
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Rose Absolue by Yves Rocher

I was surprised how much I like this scent, given that it's not your typical rose frag. Rose is my favourite note, so I make a point of sampling everything rose-y that comes my way.
When I first spray it on, I get a strong impression of roses standing next to a glass of hot Ribena on a newly-polished table. The rose is there, but so is something very blackcurrant-like, and other, oriental notes. Cinnamon's there, and I even think I can detect some lavender, which is what gives it - to me - that furniture-polish quality. But I like the smell of furniture polish! And I love Ribena! Which means that, on a cold autumn or winter day, this scent is an excellent comforter.
As it dries down, I get creamy vanilla and sandalwood, plus the patchouli that others have mentioned, and it becomes very soft and subtle.
The price is great, too, and for my birthday YR sent me a free FB! So you can't beat that!
14th November, 2012
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Rose 31 by Le Labo

While BN describes this scent as a masculine, many sites say it's unisex, and I wanted to try it just because I love rose notes so much.
Unfortunately, I couldn't detect any rose at all in this frag. Just cumin, cumin, cumin, guaiac wood, vetiver, and cumin. And that was it.
I'm not sure I'd call it a masculine either, though, as it's hard to know what sort of man would want to wear a scent that would make him smell like the kitchen boy at the local Indian restaurant.
Can't imagine anyone being attracted to a guy who wore this, either, unless perhaps a drunken hen party looking for the nearest late-night kebab house.
Considering it's garnered some good reviews, I can only assume it's been reformulated with much less rose, thanks to IFRA.
On the other hand, if I were on a diet and craving a Rogan Josh, this might help.
27th June, 2012
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Nocturnes by Caron

Wanted to try Nocturnes because it had debuted in the 80's, and although they're now somewhat old-fashioned I really like the sort of loud florals that dominated much of that era.
And I wasn't disappointed. Nocturnes opens with an intriguing blend of florals, aldehydes and spices, which are later developed together with a hint of orange and other, darker notes I couldn't name.
I wanted to give it a thumbs up, but as it developed Nocturnes became less distinctive and more like a well-made, elegant guest soap. I like it well enough, but it blends into its surroundings too well to be really interesting for me.
But it's still a pretty scent, even though it's not outstanding, so I'm rating it neutral.
26th June, 2012
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Rose Intense by Nicolaï

"Rose Intense" isn't. It's not very rosey and not at all intense. In fact, it exemplifies my theory that any frag incorporating the word "intense" in its name is likely to be weak and insipid. The same effect is noticeable in "Parfum Sacre Intense", among others.
"Rose Intense" opens prettily, with noticeable rose and citrus, and I prepared myself to enjoy the olfactory ride. The citrus faded quickly and was replaced by fruity notes including berries, geranium and - to my nose, anyway - freesia. The rose wafted into the background, but the ongoing play of notes was enjoyable.
But then everything stopped. After an hour, all traces had vanished from my wrist. Clearly, it didn't like my chemistry, and I'm wondering how it fares on others' skins.
Is calling something "intense" a marketing ploy designed to arouse anticipation? If so, it backfired miserably here. I really wanted to love this scent, but it didn't love me back, so I won't bother with it again.
26th June, 2012
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N'Aimez Que Moi by Caron

One of my all-time favourite scents, and one I'd never want to be without. The opening of cedar and rose, quite dark and mysterious, like a half-hidden path through the woods, and then the swelling of yet more rose, this time with iris and violet, and something I can't identify; and finally the deep Caron base with its civet and oakmoss (which presumably is now tree moss, because of IFRA regs). You wear this perfume like a voyage of discovery. First, the cedars and wild roses shade your way through the forest, and then you discover the violets and irises blooming amongst the undergrowth. All the while, the civet and musk base draw you deeper and deeper into the woods, until you are almost lost. But the beautiful rose and violet notes act like Ariadne's thread, so that you never actually lose your way as you press forward all the way to the forest edge.
On me, both extrait and EdP last several hours.
Yes, it's old-fashioned in a good way, reminding me of the beautiful art nouveau jewelry and lace-bedecked clothes of the Edwardian era. It brings a touch of that lost world of quality and manners into our hectic 21st century lives. I have both the extrait and the EdP, and whenever I wear them I'm taken back in time to that more gracious era. If you appreciate vintage and classic scents, this is definitely one to try.
21st May, 2012
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Fleurs de Bulgarie (new) by Creed

I first sampled Fleurs de Bulgarie some years ago, and enjoyed its rose-dominant, yet spicy, overtones. It reminded me of other rose bouquets, so I didn't buy an FB. But, wanting to refresh my memory, I bought a small decant of the current reformulation. And it is horrid, truly awful.
Maybe something's gone wrong at the online sample service. Maybe they sent me a tiny bottle of some heavy, industrial frag destined for a toilet cleaner or room spray. Because otherwise, I don't understand how Creed could put their name to such a nasty, screechy scent, or how IFRA could allow it.
It exactly duplicates the smell of 1980's Pink Camay soap, for those who remember that far back. The original Camay gave me a very nasty case of eczema, plus respiratory problems, and we banned it from the house.
Now it's back, and worse, this dreadful smell just won't go away. I've scrubbed, rescrubbed, baby-wiped and alcohol-rubbed my wrist, and I just can't get rid of it. My sinuses are stuffed up, my eyes are streaming, and a huge headache looms.
Please, somebody, tell me this isn't really Fleurs de Bulgarie. Or if it is, tell Creed they need to do something about it, quickly. How can this allergy-inducing frag be legal, when so many harmless, beautiful ingredients have been banned?
17th May, 2012
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Baghari by Robert Piguet

Some wonderful, detailed descriptions here, whose experiences reflect mine, though with one big caveat. Yes, I love this scent! But only for an hour or two - because after that, it begins a slow dry-down in which the predominant notes for me are almond (lovely), mushrooms (weird) and a sort of dusty-basement accord. And this spoils it for me, because I have to keep respraying to get the opening and middle notes of florals and aldehydes which are so beautiful. I've tried spraying on to a piece of cotton wool and tucking that into my bra, with good results, but I wish the scent stayed together better on my skin. Still good enough that I now an FB, though. I've never smelled the original, but this is a top-notch modern scent in its own right.
08th May, 2012 (last edited: 23rd May, 2012)
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Aziyadé by Parfum d'Empire

What an extraordinary perfume! Maybe I'm just demonstrating my ignorance of the amber/woody/oriental genre here, since it's not my favourite, but I was sent a sample of Aziyade along with my order of N'Aimez Que Moi from Les Senteurs, and it astonished me. I liked the opening blast best, with its strong lemon-grass, cumin, cardamom and apple puree melange, the effect Luca Turin calls "Persian dessert". I think he's exactly right. I love Middle Eastern food and cook a lot of Persian, Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese dishes; Aziyade reminds me of how my kitchen - and hands - smell after concocting a tagine or khoresh. Mouth-wateringly lovely!! Not sure I'd actually want to wear it, as I don't want to smell like a walking entree, but I do like it very much for occasional, discreet, wear around the house. Especially when I'm hungry for exotic cuisine.
The drydown became quite linear and boring, with something quite bitter predominating. I spritzed on some Rose Absolue to soften the edges, and yes, a Persian dessert emerged!
05th May, 2012
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Sa Majesté la Rose by Serge Lutens

Let me confess that I'm totally obsessed with roses, not only as perfumes but also in my garden. I truly love this scent note, and can't have too much of it. As a result, and thanks in part to some excellent ideas from the BN forums, I have quite a collection of rose frags as well as my treasured, living roses.
For me, Sa Majeste is right up there with the very best of them. I never thought I'd find one that I loved as much as the - sadly, discontinued - heavenly Caron Rose, but Sa Majeste certainly lives up to its illustrious predecessor. A true, genuine, Bourbon rose, with a honeyed note that never becomes to sweet and a citrus that never goes sour, at least on me. The green sap note of the opening soon clears away to reveal the beautiful rose heart, which then lasts for at least six hours on my skin, longer in warm weather. I hesitate to say that any one rose perfume is my HG - there are so many gorgeous variations - but this definitely takes its place among them. As befits a Queen, of course.
02nd March, 2012
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Miss Charming by Juliette Has a Gun

A pretty, fruity rose which to me smells more of lychee and raspberry than the strawberry mentioned in the notes. Very sweet and inoffensive, totally living up to its name. I prefer a more grown-up rose, such as Stella Rose Absolute, of which Miss Charming reminds me very much for the first half hour of wearing. After that, the notes seem to fall apart pretty quickly on me, and after a couple of hours they're gone. For that reason, I'm giving it just a neutral rather than a thumbs up.
If you like this scent, I'd suggest giving Stella Rose Absolute a try - she'll stay with you for much longer and add the comforting note of amber to your day.
02nd March, 2012
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Miriam by Tableau de Parfums

Miriam is one of Tauer's latest essays on feminine florals. Like so many other perfumers faced with the restrictions on rose imposed by IFRA 43, Tauer sought a way to use this cherished note without running foul of the guidelines. And he's succeeded brillliantly, with Miriam. It's a gorgeous, unabashedly feminine perfume that manages to be contemporary yet evoke old-fashioned glamour too; the sort of thing I could imagine Rita Hayworth or Hedy Lamarr wearing to a premiere. There's rose, yes, and a slew of aldehydes along with bergamot, geranium, violet and ylang ylang, all evident in the first half hour. The aldehydes linger for some time, and then the predominantly floral fragrance stays quite linear for several hours, eventually drying down to a beautifully soft ambery, vanilla and sandalwood composition. Incense notes and a spiced tea accord, recognizable from Une Rose Chypree, are also evident. I couldn't detect the orris root, but I'm sure it's there, helping everything meld together. On me this fragrance lasted for seven hours, something of a record. As you can probably guess, I love it.
I think anyone could wear it, for just about any occasion. It's a bold perfume, but spritzed on sparingly you could wear it to the office. And at night, it would come into its own anywhere. I don't think it's an age-specific scent, either. I could imagine a sophisticated 20-something enjoying it, but so could a 50-something person with classic tastes. Definitely worth trying if you like vintage-style perfume, and don't mind being noticed.
01st March, 2012 (last edited: 18th March, 2012)
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L'Art et la Matière : Rose Barbare by Guerlain

Yes, this is a pretty rose chypre which, if you like rose and don't already have a similar scent in your wardrobe, is worth investigating. As others have noted, however, it's quite similar to Gucci's L'Arte and Nahema.
The rose opens clearly and continues to sing as the chypre base develops, along with some curious peachy-honey notes which are becoming very popular as bases these days, probably with the restrictions on oak moss.
Nothing remotely barbaric here, and the perfume it most resembles in my view is the late-lamented vintage Femme by Rochas. If you liked that scent, and are disappointed with the current reformulation, give Rose Barbare a try - it might be just what you're looking for.
I already own quite a few rose chypres, and don't find this version outstanding enough to add to my collection, but it's pleasant and well made, so a thumbs up.
01st February, 2012
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Shanti Shanti by Miller et Bertaux

A beautiful, true-to-life rose scent that satisfies my absolute craving for this note! The rose itself is offset to just the right degree by the sandalwood and patchouli, which never become intrusive, just support the dominant note.
The name means "Peace", apparently, and this is just what I feel when wearing this scent. It's like being showered with pink rose petals on a sunny Spring morning. Bliss.
25th January, 2012
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Délire de Roses by Caron

Searching for a rose scent to replace my beloved, now discontinued, Caron Rose, I eagerly tore open my sample of Delir de Roses. The saleslady at the Paris boutique had assured me over the phone that it was "really pretty". Perhaps to some it is. But I'm gobsmacked at how this great fragrance house could produce such a mediocre offering of its most celebrated perfume note, the rose.
IFRA 43 strikes again!
This regulation forbids, among other things, high concentrations of rose notes because of some "health concern" - despite the fact that people have worn rose scents for hundreds of years, and aromatherapists use rose essential oil for promoting wellbeing. But IFRA knows best. So Caron cannot make its Rose any longer, and has come up with this substitute.
Delir de Roses starts out pleasantly enough, with green notes of lily of the valley and something citrussy accompanying an initial waft of real rose. In a store, perhaps this would be enough to sell the perfume. But after ten minutes or so it goes downhill. The usual dreary "fruity gourmand" cliche is dragged out - this time, lychee - and after that a peculiar dried hay and honey accord develops and lasts for a couple of hours. And that's it.
You've gone for a delightful walk in a pretty cottage garden in June, only to find the alluring path ends abruptly in the farmer's barn!
12th January, 2012 (last edited: 19th January, 2012)
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Or et Noir by Caron

A truly gorgeous rose that has become one of my favourite scents. The opening is quite sharp, with the rose shining through clearly, but the perfume softens in the drydown to a rich floral chypre. I don't know what Caron puts in this scent to substitute for oakmoss these days, but whatever it is, it works. I absolute love it!
Like BayKAT, I consider it one of my "signature scents", the others being Caron's Rose (now discontinued, but I have a small vial of the extrait which I' m hoarding), N'Aimez Que Moi, Parfum Sacre and La Rose de Rosine. Bliss for winter evenings, in or out, but also highly wearable in warmer weather. Perfumes of this quality are becoming quite rare, and although Caron is rumoured to be discontinuing Or et Noir, so far it's available through their boutiques. I hope it always will be, as I'd always want to have it in my collection.
11th December, 2011
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Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder

Had to try this after the tremendous write-up in The Guide, but unfortunately I don't agree with Turin. It's certainly a pleasant enough smell, but not outstanding. Air freshener, fabric softener - yes, as others have commented. Nice, but not how I want to smell, and I certainly don't want it around for hours on end. Made for the American market, I would think, as it smells clean and inoffensive, but I want more from my perfume than that. Actually, this seems to be the way all Lauder scents are going today, with reformulations making Beautiful and Pleasures markedly simpler and undemanding. Only Youth Dew remains anything like it was.
Beyond Paradise? Beyond redemption!
09th December, 2011
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Incense Rosé by Tauer

Incense Rose is the first Tauer scent that I really love, not just like. As in all his frags, there's a distinct oddness in the opening, which in this case gives me a whiff of old cigar stubs, but thankfully this doesn't last long. In ten minutes, the frankincense is burning strongly, with the rose taking a supporting role. It has a sparkling quality, as though some aldehydes have somehow smuggled their way in, but this is a perfect foil to the incense itself, almost as though you can see the smoke rise.
Incense Rose is like slipping into an old French church just after High Mass has been celebrated. Outside, in the market place, you're overwhelmed by the bubble gum scents, the over-ripe fruits and the insistent yay-yay pop music from the cafe radio. Yet, just a few steps away, you discover this sacred, blissful experience. You sit in the back pew and inhale the beauty. The world slips away.
Yes, Incense Rose is heaven on earth for lovers of incense and rose scents.
18th November, 2011
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Shem-el-Nessim by Grossmith

Absolute gorgeousness, seduction in a bottle. The opening florals envelope you with soft luxury, and I felt as though I were stepping into the most beautifully scented bath I could possibly imagine. The sultan's favourite, being prepared and anointed before being led into the boudoir! And as the scent unfolded, the cedar, sandalwood and soft musks support the rose and iris without overpowering them. Many other floral and oriental notes are in there, too: it would take numerous wearings to be able to name them all, if it were even possible. And I'm not sure I'd want to. Shem el Nessim is all just too romantic and dreamy and perfect for me to wish to analyze it too much. I leave that to the scientists. I'll just let myself be carried along in its spell.
I agree with Grossmith that it embodies the spirit of the Edwardian era, when feminity was celebrated. I can't really see this as unisex, although if any men are brave enough to wear it, they'll get plenty of attention.
For me, its longevity varies. I first tried in summer, when the dry air combined with my own pale, dry skin to evaporate this beautiful perfume after only three hours. Now, though, it's autumn, and the air is more humid, and almost six hours after dabbing it on it's still strong.
The final drydown is so similar to the original, much-lamented L'Heure Bleue that they could almost be mistaken for each other. There is nothing sharp or modern here, and if you're strictly a 21st century, minimalist perfumista, you probably won't go for Shem el Nessim. But if you love the unabashed fullness and richness of classic and vintage perfumes, do give this a try.
I love it and would buy a FB today if only it were not so expensive. But ... luxury and authenticity don't come cheap, and with Christmas not too far away, I'll be leaving strong hints for Santa.
13th November, 2011
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Lipstick Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Yes, it does replicate the smell of a certain type of lipstick, and to me brings back the memory of a very bright pink by - I think - Max Factor, that I wore many years ago. Happy memories! But although it's pleasantly nostalgic, I wouldn't want to splurge on an FB just for the sake of old reminiscences. Pretty and very girlie, this scent to me is pleasant but definitely not a must. Also, I found it quite linear with little or no development, and I prefer scents which tell a story, unfolding more delights as the hours go by. I'll pass on this. But it's nice enough.
12th October, 2011
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En Avion by Caron

Well named, this scent certainly smells like the inside of a plane, and not in a good way. As I sniff, I imagine I'm on a cheap holiday jet with not-very-clean bathrooms and leaking aircraft fuel. Someone has just plonked a smoky leather jacket on the seat next to mine, and it reeks like an ashtray. Add to that the smell of cheap soap from the open bathroom door, and I begin to feel quite literally sick to my stomach. This is the reformulated version and in EdT form, but even so, I can't believe this was ever a good fragrance or that anyone would want to wear it. I smell like a stranded holidaymaker who's been forced to sleep in the airport lounge for several nights! Never again!
23rd May, 2011
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Red Roses by Jo Malone

Looking for new rose scents last year, I asked BN'ers for suggestions of rose perfumes with good longevity. Having happily sniffed my way through a zillion samples, this one comes out tops for true-to-life fresh rose - and yes, it does last several hours on me, which is a real achievement as I have the sort of dry skin that eats up scents. Red Roses reminds me of a rose garden at dawn, with dew on the petals, but the sun just beginning to warm them slightly. On me it's not entirely linear, as after about three hours I get the addition of a warm, honeyed note, probably the beeswax. Very pleasant in itself, this accent is not gourmand, but more the fragrance of a bowl of pot pourri with dried rose petals that have been freshly turned. This is a scent I like all year round, though in the depth of winter it needs something extra, perhaps a dash of jasmine or peach. Mostly, though, it's just perfect on its own. If you love roses, try this!
13th May, 2011
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Ta'If by Ormonde Jayne

There are not that many Oriental rose fragrances out there - at least, not many bright, fresh Oriental rose scents. While there are quite a few dark rose perfumes with Oriental accents, many of them are, for me, just not that rose-y. I like to get the true rose scent of a freshly picked flower, and Ta'if achieves that. Close your eyes and you could be strolling through a field of flowers somewhere in the East, with appetizing drifts of saffron, dates and other sweetmeats wafting in on the warm air. And yes, there's a certain green tinge to this scent which stops it from cloying and keeps it smellling fresh even after 4 hours. You can probably guess that I love this scent! Athough OJ recommend it for wearing at night, I like it just as much on a gentle spring day, when it seems to hint at the warmth of the summer to come. And I'll probably wear it in the summer, too. Linda Pilkington has said she'll never reformulate her scents, for which I'm truly grateful. Definitely FB worthy! If you L'Heure Bleue, give Ta'if a try - it's not that they're all that alike, but both create that beautiful, soft flori-ental atmosphere that surrounds you with comfort and harmony.
13th May, 2011
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Rose by Caron

A truly beautiful scent, which I love - I have the extrait, which does last well on my skin. The EdP doesn't have great longevity for me, but it's just as lovely while it lasts. The perfect scent when I want to feel romantic and ethereal! The drydown is similar to Or et Noir, as others have noted, but the Rose extrait prolongs the rose top and middle notes so that is what I mainly get. Subtle hints of mint and geranium stop it from being just a soliflore, and the perfume blends well with my usual rose soap and body lotion. I will always want to have this fragrance in my collection.
11th May, 2011
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French Cancan by Caron

To me this is a soft, gentle scent in which the individual notes meld together so well that it's really hard to pick them out one by one. I do get the violet and rose, though, and then the oakmoss, and the overall blend reminds me quite a bit of "N'Aimez Que Moi", which is my absolute favourite perfume. If "old" means dreamy, nostalgic, retro-chic and harmonious, then, yes, it's an "old" sort of scent, but I think a better word would be "timeless". Anyone, any age, any season or occasion, could wear it and it would be appropriate. As you can see, I really love this scent and will be saving up for a bottle soon.
01st November, 2010
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Diva by Ungaro

I didn't wear Diva in the 80s (too busy raising kids, etc.) - so don't know if the current version is similar or identical to the original. But I really like the brand new sample I've just received. It just may be the answer to a prayer - the rose scent with longevity! First, the rose, the bergamot and a touch of fruitiness, which doesn't last long on me. Then, the rose amplifies and is joined by sandalwood, vanilla and heaven knows what else in a crescendo of great beauty and dazzle, a true Diva! I love it! A great party scent, certainly, but I'd wear it anywhere, any time, just patted on very lightly for daytime. A scent which lifts the spirits, just as a true Diva does, and which seems to last forever. A great find.
31st October, 2010
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Noble by Boadicea the Victorious

Not for me, and I'm really disappointed. Agree with the plasticky comments - veering into acetone for me - and not just unpleasant, but positively disgusting. Maybe I got a sample from a bad batch? Just glad I didn't buy a whole bottle! I can't believe the perfume that Michelle Obama supposedly wore smelled anything like this. Surely there's been a mistake!
29th July, 2010
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Samsara by Guerlain

I love Samsara! Even though most of my favourite scents are rose-dominant, and even though I'm always looking for new rose scents, I often come back to Samsara - which does actually contain some rose, even though not in huge amounts, and even though it's not listed in the fragrance notes above. Samsara is a warm, comforting scent with that beautiful jasmine-sandalwood-amber accord that lifts my spirits and brings me optimistic thoughts of the day ahead. It does last quite well on me, even though I have dry skin, and yes, it does sort of echo my natural creamy-ambery skin scent. I would never have chosen to try this scent, but my daughter gave it to me several years ago and now I'm never without it!
22nd July, 2010
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Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

The aromatherapy aspect of this fragrance is amazing! I love AE when I first put it on, but then, when the patchouli starts to come forward, I'm not so sure. And then, later, I love it again, smelling the moss and goodness knows what in the drydown. But most of all, I appreciate the mental effects that it really does have on me. I'm a freelance writer. Whenever I have a tough piece of writing to do - a report, an article, whatever - I find that sniffing AE on my wrists helps me concentrate, focus, and get on with the job! Don't understand why. It just works. So I wouldn't want to be without it for those difficult days.
20th July, 2010
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Parfum Sacré by Caron

Love this perfume, at least I used to! I wore it a lot, along with La Rose de Rosine and N'Aimez Que Moi (but not all at once!) - and as you've guessed, I love the rose notes. But also the myrrh and even the black pepper, etc. My EdP purchased two years ago is one of the best scents I have ever smelled, and it lifts my spirits like few other scents can. BUT - have just bought another bottle, and guess what, it's been reformulated! I can't believe anyone would do this to such an iconic perfume. The strength has gone, the longevity is down to about an hour, and like so many otherr wonderful perfumes, it's just a shadow of its former self. Guess I'll be rummaging around on EBay now, like everyone else.
15th July, 2010