Truth be told, I am not typically drawn to rose perfumes. It’s not that I don’t appreciate or even enjoy the scent of rose, I do. I actually love rose in body and skincare products, but in terms of perfumes being focused on rose, it’s not what I seek out when perusing fragrances. Recently, I had the pleasure of trying out perfume samples from Lalun Naturals and Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery, and was quite surprised to be most impressed by their rose offerings.
Rose Encens, from Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Perfumery, opens with Italian blood orange and Mexican lime, full-bodied citrus notes that match the rich and fleshy floral bouquet of the rose. Because this perfume is in a jojoba oil base, the aroma is smooth and the opening lacks any sharpness that you might expect from citrus. This allows the blood orange and lime to be juicy, enhancing the voluptuousness of the rose. Upon application of this luscious oil, you feel as if you are walking amidst roses in full bloom.
Once the topnotes dissipate, the encens facet of Rose Encens begins to emerge. You will notice that you have now moved from the garden, and into a more resinous venue. Frankincense is at the helm now, morphing the roses into a deeper powdery form. Interestingly, the rose in the drydown still maintains its vibrant and fresh character, but it is more mysterious, having taken on the basalmic quality of the frankincense. After several hours of wear, there is a yet another phase of the drydown which is an absolutely radiant honeyed rose that is warm and perfectly sweet. Laurie Stern, the nose behind V&SP, harvests honey and beeswax from the bees in her garden and it’s not difficult to imagine being in her rose garden among the bees and their fresh beeswax. Divine!
Qajar Rose from Lalun Naturals is another striking rose perfume that is laden with rose ottos from Iran, Turkey, and Russia. In the topnotes, Qajar Rose employs rose otto, tagettes (marigold), chamomile, pomegranate and galbanum for a truly unexpected but pleasurable olfactory experience. All combined, the rosy opening is sharp and green, yet sweet and haylike. Complex to be sure, but in a compelling manner that draws you in gracefully.
There are many notes and nuances to discover within the heart and base of Qajar Rose: saffron, coffee, davana, Buddhawood, sandalwood, oud, ambrette, and patchouli to name a few. Like I said, it’s complex but wholly approachable as aspects of each note undulate as the perfume evolves. There are moments when coffee is more pronounced, and then recedes allowing the chewy-leathery quality of oud to move forward then gives way to the rich and earthy patchouli. This interplay of notes and melding of contrasts with the backdrop of a regal and romantic rose is expertly executed by Maggie Mahboubian, the creator of Lalun Naturals. Qajar Rose, such a fascinating and deeply alluring rose fragrance.
Rose Encens is $64 for a 5ml roll on in a jojoba oil base.
Qajar Rose is $95 for 15 ml spray bottle.
Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by the brands. All opinions are my own and I am not financially compensated for my reviews.
Image of Rose Encens is from Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery
Image of Qajar Rose is from Lalun Naturals
Image of Roses of Heliogabalus by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1888) from Artmagik
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