my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


But A Rose is Not A Rose is Not A Rose

The common word on rose scents is that ... they're common. Ask many sophisticated fragrance lovers and they'll be quick to disclaim any affinity for the hackneyed, overdone, old lady perfume that is rose.

But a rose is not a rose is not a rose.

There is a subtle subset of unexpected rose fragrances designed (sometimes I think in defiance) by the most accomplished and least known perfumers in the world. Montale Rose Petals is one of them.

On my first sniff, Montale Rose Petals is a rich, deep rose with something green/herby underneath, maybe something of coriander or some other pungent/bitter spice. Very, very rich. Not sweet. A serious alternative rose in the school of Frederic Malle's Une Rose. With a somewhat unsettling drydown. Nicely unsettling.

But I wanted to give you more substance about Montale and about Rose Petals. I dutifully googled and dogpiled (multi-engine search) for anything new to report to you ... and I just come up with what I already know from the few people (apparently in the world) who have tried this line and this fragrance.

I can tell you that, as Robin of NowSmellThis told you, "Montale is a Paris-based perfumer with two lines: an oudh line based on the precious oudh (or agar) wood frequently used in Middle Eastern fragrances, and a regular perfume line," and that precious little else is known about this fragrance house. (But here's their website: ) (I have big hopes that Robin will use her demonstrated interview skills to scoop major media and tell us the real story on Montale.)

I can confirm that this beautiful rose is blended with teak and oudh (the teak and oudh notes per Elena at Montale, via MUAer Paschat).

And, extrapolating from that, I can tell you that Ed Shepp, on his scentblog, notes that teak seems to be a dark, dry wood with an almost moldy note. That would explain this fragrance's kinship to Une Rose, I think. There is a faint, not unpleasant, fermented quality to this in drydown, as is also found in Une Rose.

Rose Petals never makes you comfortable. It never accepts the defining homey quality of rose. Instead you're rewarded with the richest layer of deep red rose eventually joined by the dark quality of the teak and finally eclipsed by spicy green depth of oudh.

Tina -- who understands the love of unsettling rose scents, including Ormonde Jayne Ta'if -- shared this wonderful fragrance with me. Thank you.


Blogger Annieytown said...

Thanks so much for reviewing this fragrance. I love rose based fragrances and have been drooling over this one just based on the name. This review is the best I have read so far. Huge thanks from ytown tonight!

5:34 PM

Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Great review, I can't wait to try Rose Petals! For that matter, I have a sample of FM Une Rose that I haven't even opened yet...must get to work here.

7:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mereille, I enjoyed your comments on Aoud Roses Petals. I, too, have had difficulty finding out much about Pierre Montale's perfume house. Their own site says precious little in English, French or Arabic.

I have learned some about Roses Petals though, the top note -- the somewhat bitter spice -- you perceive is a pungent saffron. It is so tangy that it can smell medicinal momentarily. I find that if I spritz in the air, that is intensified. If I spray close to my skin, I avoid that medicinal quality and sense only the pleasant sharpness.

The roses do indeed seem mixed, they have both a full, ripe rose quality and there are also roses in this that have a slight overripe, mildly fermented but nevertheless languidly and evocatively pleasurable like a fine, french potpourri.

The wood oils are very fine and aged sandalwood, teak, blue cedar, bois de kayack (which from what I have found out is an African Mahogany) and their vintage aoud.

8:54 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home