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 Velours 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.