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


Guerlain Rose Barbare

I should not read reviews of perfume before I've made my own mind up ... and yet. I do.

This morning, in the middle of plumbing problems that will involve snakes and seals and tree roots, I needed something to cheer me up. But not too cheery ... it's a typically rainy early spring day and I didn't want to jar my system. Any more than the plumbing had.

So I dig in my sample pile and pull out one of the recent Guerlains, Rose Barbare.

I love rose in all its manifestations. It is the only fragrance in which I can tolerate fruitiness ... because I know it doesn't really mean it. If it is fruity now, it is only a metaphor for greater things later, and I can be assured no syrup is intended.

Rose Barbare, whose name had prepared me for something a bit more ghengis-khanish, is sweet and fruity. And I don't care. Ordinarily a fragrance like this would have been kicked out of bed forthwith, but this is rose. And I have to give it a chance to reveal its true nature.

While I'm waiting for the revelation, I google the scent and find that Chandler Burr, of Emperor of Scent authorship, has opined.

His elaborately researched and documented thought: Rose Barbare, created in three weeks by the briefless (Oh. That's not right. Briefless means he was given very little direction on what the scent should become. Not that he's missing his boxers. Although I don't know the man and am unaware of his underwear proclivities.) Francis Kurkdjian is a reconceptualization of the vaunted Guerlain, Mitsouko.

That's right. Plug in rose for the jasmine, toss in some C-14 for the peach, add the aldehyde C-11, some Hedione and musks ... voila.

This does not move me. Vast expanses of who knows what teratogenic chemicals in my fragrance do not move me. Do you understand now why I should not have read the review?

But I did. And I'm still enjoying Rose Barbare. That is the wonder of fragrance, its ability to overcome intellect and grab your heart.

Behold, the revelation is at hand ... I can feel the chypre quality moving slowly toward me and the sweet rosiness.



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