Shades of a rose, Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours

In the middle of 2013, in June, a new perfume name appeared among the other seven fragrances in the exquisite and luxurious Collection Extraordinaire from the French fine watch and jewellery brand – Van Cleef & Arpels. The line was inaugurated in 2009 with six compositions and since that time every now and then a new composition joins the high-end tier of a perfume shelf.

Rose VeloursΒ is undoubtedly a rose centric perfume, but oh what a gorgeous, charming and captivating composition that is! Fragrant molecules of the rose become visible immediately after the perfume is on the skin. That’s when the real magic and mystery begins. Rose made for Van Cleef & Arpels isn’t just one more rose in my opinion. This perfume is the perfect example that there’s never a final word to any accord available in modern perfumery.

At first glimpse Rose Velours unveils the rose accord with a shy manner. The flower is very airy, subtle and delicate for the initial 10-15 minutes. I find a trace of geranium crispiness blended into the composition at that stage. The green freshness shortly subsides and rose becomes more mature, it grows up, becomes more self-confident. With every couple of minutes you can notice the progress from the ethereal flower, through the slightly herbacious tea rose variety. After 30-45 minutes the composition is slowly getting closer to May rose in full bloom, attracting attention with its full-bodied, voluptuous aroma.

This rich and sensual aura of VC&A Rose Velours is the longest lasting part of the rose accord, it can stay on your skin for the next 45 minutes, more or less, depending on your skin profile. At 1,5 hours rose petals turn bloody, scarlet red and they’re immersed in the aromatic honey. You can notice as those velvety flakes dive deeper and deeper into the dense, golden sea. The sweetness of honey is moderate here, well-balanced between gourmand and aromatic vibe. Honey is a lustful part of Rose Velours. It is worth to mention here that this particular accord didn’t make me feel like this perfume was more suitable for woman. To me it’s a unisex composition. Period.

After 2 hours from the moment of applying, the latest Collection Extraordinaire blend becomes a little bit weaker, but only for a while. Due to presence of violet leaf, Rose Velours tends to show its fresh, crispy and crunchy facet that is also tinged green. At some point you will probably get an impression of this perfume becoming more aquatic and somewhat ozonic. And you won’t be wrong – that’s exactly one part of this perfume development. It won’t stay in this form until the end, I can promise you that. After a while you will notice that all these watery, ozonic notes start to fade.

When they begin to get weaker, at the same time Rose Velours is slowly getting more substance. It becomes woody. The concept of using cedar for a composition like that didn’t appeal to me at first. I was just afraid that it might introduce the sweaty facet to the composition and ruin it all at once. Luckily the perfumer, Antoine Maisondieu knew what he was doing. He managed to introduce only the woody aspect of cedar to this perfume, avoiding the part with a sweat. Thank you Antoine!

What more? In addition to all that he paired the hefty scent of cedar with a sheer tenderness of the iris. In result a perfect balance was achieved between that, what is heavier and that, what is lighter. Iris is a little bit powdery in Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours, making the woody accord more subtle. There’s also a little bit of a make-up vibe accompanying this note. I find it to be the closest to the smell of pressed face powder (glad it’s not like a lipstick) but I can imagine that those perfume lovers that don’t like a maquillage vibe in their perfume might dislike this fragrance just because this one accord. That happens.

I was meaning to ask you if you too can still smell the rose going on around this perfume, but I forgot that you’re not testing this perfume along with me, arm by arm (that would be fun though, a live sniff). In the drydown, at 5 hours mark you might notice that benzoin is trying to add a whisper of density to Rose Velours. It does it alright, though it’s not really heavy or something. Composes really nicely with rose note, which happens to be the strongest note later in the composition.

It’s now a bit more oriental, dark and not earlier than at this point of development, Rose Velours begins to smell more like it was dedicated to women. It’s a perfume that can show some sharp claws and teeth when it’s necessary. The chemical molecule of ambroxan finishes the composition with a smooth, bright and shiny hue of elegance. Hints of vanilla detected! As for the scent itself I met several opinions when women said that Rose Velours smells incredibly good on a man. I agree with that, it’s kind of chameleon perfume. It adapts to you instead of you adapting to it. This perfume is a very sexy, sophisticated and kind of classy take on a traditional rose theme in perfumery. It’s true and not true, I will leave the decision to you if you try it.

Some Fragrantica members suggested that Rose Velours is similar to La Fille de Berlin from Serge Lutens. That got me curious and I happened to have a sample of a latter one, so I sprayed it on the other arm to compare. Honestly I don’t see much resemblance between them. SL is a colder, metallic, urban rose while VC&A is warmer, more tart and more sensual take on the rose.

Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours from Collection Extraordinaire was launched in 2013 as the 8th composition in this exclusive collection. It offers a great progression of the scent, nice, “elegant” sillage and longevity of 8-12 hours (depending on weather conditions). The packaging is exquisite too. A hard outer box hides a 75 ml simple flacon with a thick glass base. There’s a string around the bottle neck with VC&A metal tag. The label is made of textured paper and the cap is lacquered and heavy. Rose Velours has a concentration of an eau de parfum.

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34 thoughts on “Shades of a rose, Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours

  1. jilliecat says:

    Yay! A live sniffathon! Wouldn’t that be great? Obviously impossible because your readers are spread out across the world, but it would have been fun.

    This was another brilliant review, Lucas, and once again you made me want to try a perfume I hadn’t thought about before. It seems that Rose Velours is a very grown-up fragrance, with a terrific development and really quite complicated. How lovely when you think of all the simple (dare I say cheap?) formulae that dominate the market.

    I must have picked up on your rose vibe as today I am wearing Cartier’s So Pretty which is, like its name, very pretty but not in a fluffy pink way. It reminds me of Guerlain’s Nahema, but has less of the “grande dame” about it. Another sad loss as – of course! – it has been discontinued.

    • lucasai says:

      I know it would be hard, especially with the 9 hours difference between me and people in the US! But it would be fun for sure.

      Thank you Jillie, glad you find the review appealing. Rose Velours is really worth a try. I would say that it’s a “grown up” perfume, but not “very grown up” – I mean I didn’t feel too young to wear it πŸ˜‰ It develops in a really nice way and the level of complexity is fine.

      Haha! Enjoy So Pretty today πŸ™‚ We don’t like fluffy pink perfumes, do we? I haven’t tried Nahema (or I can’t remember I did) but I tried So Pretty.

      • jilliecat says:

        What did you think of So Pretty?

        • lucasai says:

          I especially like its neroli accord πŸ™‚

          • jilliecat says:

            Isn’t it strange, I don’t really detect the neroli, although I know from its list of ingredients that it is there. I suppose we all have very different perceptions – that’s why perfumes adored by some are hated by others. I like the fact that in So Pretty the sweetness of the rose is balanced by a lovely chypre. Come to think of it, I like a lot of rose chypres.

            • lucasai says:

              It’s more beautiful than strange I think.
              Each nose is more sensitive to some aromas (and we can be influenced to smell what we want to smell!)
              I like rose chypres too! Might wear So Pretty tomorrow πŸ˜‰

  2. Lyubov says:

    Hallo, Lucas,
    I can see a clear tendency for the perfumers and perfumistas craving roses these days!
    I guess it is due to the spring prevailing outside in the Northern hemisphere! Rozy, Isparta, Mohur extrait…
    And I wanted to tune in – today I’m 2 feet above the ground with Brulure de Rose!
    Thanks for the review of Rose Velours! Do you consider it powdery as a whole? Haven’t tried it but I am a sucker for roses, so I would most probably like it, though the honey is a bit tricky with me. My favorites from the Collection Extraordinaire are Cologne Noire and Orchidee Vanille (who doesn’t like it…).

    • lucasai says:

      Yes Lyubov, in the last 2-3 years perfume brands are revisiting this classic theme of rose in their perfumes. And that’s good. As I said – there’s never a final word to any perfume note. There’s always one more way to do it differently.
      Yes, the beginning of spring influences that to some point.
      I have not tried Brulure de Rose! yet!
      You’re welcome! No, I wouldn’t give Rose Velours a tag “powdery” for the entire composition. It’s part is powdery, but it’s not powdery as a whole

  3. hajusuuri says:

    M.U.S.T. H.A.V.E. N.O.W.

    Seriously, Lucas, you are sending me to the poorhouse with this review!

    • lucasai says:

      Really? Actually I’m thinking about buying this one too. It would be nice to have a second VC&A Collection Extraordinaire, next to Bois d’Iris.

      I suspect you’ll LOVE LOVE LOVE this perfume!

      • Undina says:

        Do you really have to make it sound so appealing? πŸ˜‰

        When a rose centric perfume works for me – it really works for me. The rest are just awfully soapy on my skin. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what I’m hoping for with this one πŸ˜‰ but I’ll try it when I get to the store where they might have it.

        • hajusuuri says:

          Well, it sounds like the triplets are in for a potential shared love. I smelled it at Bergdorfs today and wowzer but no spontaneous buy since their discount event is at the end of the month!

          • lucasai says:

            Yaay for a triplets perfume love!
            I’m glad it made you “wow” πŸ™‚
            Do you think you’ll get it with a discount event later this month?

            EDIT: Sheesh, someone was sellinh it at Polish ebay at half the price, but someone else bought it before me! 😦

            • hajusuuri says:

              I may get it along with a FB of Bois d’ Iris…you know how perfumes bought during one’s birthday month is always considered discounted πŸ˜‰

              And that is too bad about the Rose Velours being bought by someone else!

            • lucasai says:

              So march is your bday month? When exactly?
              Oh, nice. We’d have another perfume in common, as I have Bois d’Iris.

              Regarding Rose Velours, the person who bought it decided to split it at Polish perfume board. I bought 10 ml decant from her.

              I will buy some new perfume after Esxence. Probably the new release that will impress me most during the fair

        • lucasai says:

          Yes, I DO have to make it sound appealing because it’s very good and it deserves praise πŸ˜€

          In my case many rose centric scents work for me, but not all of them, this one definitely does work for me!
          I think you know what you’re hoping for with Rose Velours, you’re just afraid to admit it?

  4. Holly says:

    Another exquisite review, Lucas. I suspect I would love this one. Onto the STC wish list of infinity! πŸ™‚

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks Holly!
      When are you going to test it all!?

      • Holly says:

        Thanks for asking. I actually have a lot of samples to get to. Testing it “all” is another matter. Perhaps when I have the bank account of infinity. πŸ™‚

        I’m wishing you well on your exciting trip to Milan, and very much looking forward to all you will tell us about it.

  5. Excellent review Lucas. You’ve certainly got me interested. I love a good rose, but as you say, there is no final word, and Rose is always being explored in perfume. I wouldn’t mind checking this one out and will look out for testers and samples.

    best wishes

  6. Lovely review and it does seem that there are a lot of roses coming out at the moment. You have made me very keen to try this.

  7. Mary K says:

    I like the way this one sounds. I wasn’t crazy about La Fille de Berlin – it didn’t smell bad or anything on me. I just didn’t care for it that much, as it just seemed too “big”. I’m more of a sheer rose person and not sure if Rose Velours would be sheer enough for me, but It’s definitely worth trying.

    • lucasai says:

      Good! I wasn’t crazy about La Fille de Berlin too, it was too cold for me.
      Rose Velours isn’t very cold on the other hand, hope you will be able to give it a try soon.

  8. kewart says:

    I too need a rose perfume in my collection! I have Paris but find it too shrill so
    Rose Velours (love the name!) has my name all over it. How does it compare to
    Voleur de Roses, which I really like? Thanks for the review Lucas.

  9. rickyrebarco says:

    This sounds like a really beautiful fragrance. I will have to get a sample. Right now I am testing and loving Phaedon’s Rouge Avignon. Have you tried it? It’s a beauty that would work really well on a man and I love it, too. It’s a spicy oriental incensy rose, very lovely.

  10. rickyrebarco says:

    I love your reviews, they are so detailed. I feel like I almost “know” the fragrance before I test it. That’s an advantage for sure.

  11. It is fine even if the scent become a little weaker for a while after two hours of use. I think freshness is more important and violet leaf is there to take care of this aspect.

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