A Chat with DelRae Roth of Parfums DelRae

    A Chat with DelRae Roth of Parfums DelRae

    post #1 of 3
    Thread Starter 
    I was extremely fortunate today to spend a half-hour or more chatting with DelRae Roth, the motive force behind Parfums DelRae. She was spending the afternoon at Barneys, San Francisco, showing and discussing her six meticulously planned and sparklingly sophisticated perfumes, and dropping intriguingly vague hints about another to be introduced in the spring of 2010. The perfect name, she confided, has already been found, but at this point, even that is a tantalizing secret!

    DelRae Roth is an engaging and very personable woman with an obvious passion for scents. Her point of pride is her collection of six fragrances: Eau Illuminée, Bois de Paradis, Amoureuse, Début, Émotionnelle, and Mythique. [I am the proud and happy owner of five out of the six. You can read about my first encounter with the DelRae line here.] The first five of these she conceived and executed with Michel Roudnitska (whose Noir Épices is included in Frédéric Malle's Éditions de Parfums line). He follows fittingly in the footsteps of his father, Edmond Roudnitska, who was a prominent nose and designer of classic scents for houses such as Christian Dior, Rochas, Hermès, and Elizabeth Arden. His Parfum de Thérèse, designed for his wife in the 1960s, has a melon top note that was considered too avant-garde for the market of its time; it was finally released after his death (in 1996) by Frédéric Malle in 2000. The sixth DelRae offering, Mythique, was created by Yann Vasnier, a leading nose at Quest International who has designed scents for Parfums Divine, Comme des Garçons, Elizabeth Arden, Donna Karan, Keiko Mecheri, and Cerruti.

    DelRae chose Michel for Parfums DelRae's first creative nose because she felt he could interpret her perfume notions into the reality of quality and sophistication she envisaged. She also spoke of her wonderful experience working with Yann Vasnier on Mythique. It was a perfume which she had long envisioned,
    based on Florentine orris butter, a passion both she and Vasnier shared.

    Parfums DelRae is truly a niche operation, releasing only eight hundred to a thousand bottles at a time, and that includes all six scents. Any large perfume house, such as Guerlain, for instance, putting out such small numbers would call then limited editions and charge accordingly. Nevertheless, DelRae's fragrances, given their quality and small production numbers are remarkably reasonable, even compared to some other niche houses.

    DelRae is very conscious of elegance and simplicity of composition in her house's perfumes, of using only the finest and costliest of both natural and high-end synthetic ingredients to make for the most exacting standard of quality. She also expresses this in the elegance of the bottling and labeling materials (you can feel the raised engraver's ink on the bottles' labels), and right down to choosing the most intriguing and evocative names for each release. She constantly bears in mind the needs and desires, the tastes and expectations of her public, and the joy of finding a community of kindred souls who share her refined vision of what fine scents can and ought to be.

    Just to give an example of the kinds of things that can inspire a notion of a great perfume, I'll tell you her story about the making of Mythique. It is my most recent Parfums DelRae purchase, and I'm still so taken with it that I pressed her on the subject. That led to a conversation about a trip she had made to the Louvre, during which she saw a portrait of Diane de Poitiers, who in the sixteenth century was the mistress of King Henri II of France, and the great rival for influence over him of his formidable wife, Catherine de Medicis. Henri gave Diane the royal château of Chenonceaux in the beautiful Loire valley. He loved Diane de Poitiers because she was the perfect ideal of courtly love. The dying strains of this ideal in European literature echoed in him because, as a child captive in Spain during one of his father's wars, he had read the late medieval Romance of Amadis de Gaula. This is the very same courtly romance to whose notions of perfect chivalry the great Cervantes ascribed the madness of Don Quixote. Diane was a great equestrian who loved to ride daily; her rival Catherine de Medicis came from a Florentine family. So if you detect the orris butter of Mythique, and perhaps also a (semi-secret) note of suede leather, you might put two and two together. The fleur-de-lys of the Kings of France and the Dukes of Florence, the heraldic iris of both their coats of arms and the real Florentine iris of the perfumers, unites in Mythique with the riding leathers of Diane de Poitiers, the flowers of her gardens at Chenonceaux, and the musky passions of Henri's love.

    Now there's a conceit of extraordinary complexity and inspiration that beats any of the "briefs" of the big
    perfume conglomerates! This is more like what I would call the fiery imagination that makes great works of art. Match that with the quest for perfection in materials and composition that Parfums DelRae so avidly pursues and you have a winning combination.

    If you love fragrance and you ever get a chance to talk with DelRae Roth, don't miss it!
    post #2 of 3
    WOW! Now this sounds interesting, Jaime! Knowing that niche lines with smaller selections generally release only their most tried and true ideas, I suspect that these are all excellent. But I'm glad that your focus here was on Mythique, because THAT is the one that my wife would find most interesting. She is fascinated by all things Roman and Italian, and picked up an interest in iris solely because of the Florentine connections. SO, this may really be one she could enjoy on many levels. To say nothing for myself. Yann Vasnier! Oh, yes!

    The coming spring scent has me intrigued, too. I will be in the vicinity of a Barney's in spring for sure, and will definitely look into this line. In fact, I just checked their store locator. The line is there!

    I'm always a sucker for scents with stories, and this line looks to be the real deal, that way. And I hate to admit it, but I'm a bottle guy, too. And their bottles are GORGEOUS.

    OMG - they have a sample pack, too! With free shipping! Sorry, Jaime, but I'm outta here!
    post #3 of 3
    I am desperately in search of Delrae's Début after discovering it in a Barcelona boutique. Sadly they were sold out of the two bottles in stock (talk about ltd distribution). Does anyone know where it is sold in Brussels?
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    10/17/09 at 11:50pm

    JaimeB said:



    I was extremely fortunate today to spend a half-hour or more chatting with DelRae Roth, the motive force behind Parfums DelRae. She was spending the afternoon at Barneys, San Francisco, showing and discussing her six meticulously planned and sparklingly sophisticated perfumes, and dropping intriguingly vague hints about another to be introduced in the spring of 2010. The perfect name, she confided, has already been found, but at this point, even that is a tantalizing secret!

    DelRae Roth is an engaging and very personable woman with an obvious passion for scents. Her point of pride is her collection of six fragrances: Eau Illuminée, Bois de Paradis, Amoureuse, Début, Émotionnelle, and Mythique. [I am the proud and happy owner of five out of the six. You can read about my first encounter with the DelRae line here.] The first five of these she conceived and executed with Michel Roudnitska (whose Noir Épices is included in Frédéric Malle's Éditions de Parfums line). He follows fittingly in the footsteps of his father, Edmond Roudnitska, who was a prominent nose and designer of classic scents for houses such as Christian Dior, Rochas, Hermès, and Elizabeth Arden. His Parfum de Thérèse, designed for his wife in the 1960s, has a melon top note that was considered too avant-garde for the market of its time; it was finally released after his death (in 1996) by Frédéric Malle in 2000. The sixth DelRae offering, Mythique, was created by Yann Vasnier, a leading nose at Quest International who has designed scents for Parfums Divine, Comme des Garçons, Elizabeth Arden, Donna Karan, Keiko Mecheri, and Cerruti.

    DelRae chose Michel for Parfums DelRae's first creative nose because she felt he could interpret her perfume notions into the reality of quality and sophistication she envisaged. She also spoke of her wonderful experience working with Yann Vasnier on Mythique. It was a perfume which she had long envisioned,
    based on Florentine orris butter, a passion both she and Vasnier shared.

    Parfums DelRae is truly a niche operation, releasing only eight hundred to a thousand bottles at a time, and that includes all six scents. Any large perfume house, such as Guerlain, for instance, putting out such small numbers would call then limited editions and charge accordingly. Nevertheless, DelRae's fragrances, given their quality and small production numbers are remarkably reasonable, even compared to some other niche houses.

    DelRae is very conscious of elegance and simplicity of composition in her house's perfumes, of using only the finest and costliest of both natural and high-end synthetic ingredients to make for the most exacting standard of quality. She also expresses this in the elegance of the bottling and labeling materials (you can feel the raised engraver's ink on the bottles' labels), and right down to choosing the most intriguing and evocative names for each release. She constantly bears in mind the needs and desires, the tastes and expectations of her public, and the joy of finding a community of kindred souls who share her refined vision of what fine scents can and ought to be.

    Just to give an example of the kinds of things that can inspire a notion of a great perfume, I'll tell you her story about the making of Mythique. It is my most recent Parfums DelRae purchase, and I'm still so taken with it that I pressed her on the subject. That led to a conversation about a trip she had made to the Louvre, during which she saw a portrait of Diane de Poitiers, who in the sixteenth century was the mistress of King Henri II of France, and the great rival for influence over him of his formidable wife, Catherine de Medicis. Henri gave Diane the royal château of Chenonceaux in the beautiful Loire valley. He loved Diane de Poitiers because she was the perfect ideal of courtly love. The dying strains of this ideal in European literature echoed in him because, as a child captive in Spain during one of his father's wars, he had read the late medieval Romance of Amadis de Gaula. This is the very same courtly romance to whose notions of perfect chivalry the great Cervantes ascribed the madness of Don Quixote. Diane was a great equestrian who loved to ride daily; her rival Catherine de Medicis came from a Florentine family. So if you detect the orris butter of Mythique, and perhaps also a (semi-secret) note of suede leather, you might put two and two together. The fleur-de-lys of the Kings of France and the Dukes of Florence, the heraldic iris of both their coats of arms and the real Florentine iris of the perfumers, unites in Mythique with the riding leathers of Diane de Poitiers, the flowers of her gardens at Chenonceaux, and the musky passions of Henri's love.

    Now there's a conceit of extraordinary complexity and inspiration that beats any of the "briefs" of the big
    perfume conglomerates! This is more like what I would call the fiery imagination that makes great works of art. Match that with the quest for perfection in materials and composition that Parfums DelRae so avidly pursues and you have a winning combination.

    If you love fragrance and you ever get a chance to talk with DelRae Roth, don't miss it!

    10/18/09 at 7:40am

    Redneck Perfumisto said:



    WOW! Now this sounds interesting, Jaime! Knowing that niche lines with smaller selections generally release only their most tried and true ideas, I suspect that these are all excellent. But I'm glad that your focus here was on Mythique, because THAT is the one that my wife would find most interesting. She is fascinated by all things Roman and Italian, and picked up an interest in iris solely because of the Florentine connections. SO, this may really be one she could enjoy on many levels. To say nothing for myself. Yann Vasnier! Oh, yes!

    The coming spring scent has me intrigued, too. I will be in the vicinity of a Barney's in spring for sure, and will definitely look into this line. In fact, I just checked their store locator. The line is there!

    I'm always a sucker for scents with stories, and this line looks to be the real deal, that way. And I hate to admit it, but I'm a bottle guy, too. And their bottles are GORGEOUS.

    OMG - they have a sample pack, too! With free shipping! Sorry, Jaime, but I'm outta here!

    10/30/09 at 12:03am

    Suzanne said:



    I am desperately in search of Delrae's Début after discovering it in a Barcelona boutique. Sadly they were sold out of the two bottles in stock (talk about ltd distribution). Does anyone know where it is sold in Brussels?





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