Every season of the year has some good and bad things about it. When it comes to Autumn I don’t really fancy the fact that days are becoming much shorter and there’s less and less day light to enjoy after you leave from work. On the other hand I love that part when all the foliage in parks and forests becomes rusty & develops different shades of yellow, orange and brown. But it’s red leaves that are my favorite. They have such a beautiful, warm tone that makes you want to take another photo. I found similar, red warmth and comparable beauty in new Van Cleef & Arpels release. A rose.
The opening of Rose Rouge is composed in a transparent manner while the perfume as a whole is a bit of chameleon. At first the smell is watery with rose as a primary ingredient. Like a rose water – dewy freshness of braided green and flowery nuances that suggest nothing else but innocence. So wrong, the perfume will soon evolve into something far from being like that. As minutes pass the rose petals that were pale pink as a maiden’s blushing cheeks become richer in color, reaching the intensity of a bright red lipstick. This swift change is a premonition that things will only be more complex from now on.
While rose was reaching its bright red color I noticed a fruity undertone happening on a 2nd plan. It made me think of peach skin but that’s just my own remark, oficially this fragrance has no peach. The intense tone of rose becomes oriental. Rose Rouge develops a gorgeous, full-bodied richness that wears incredibly well on skin as soon as colder weather starts to kick in. Additionally the perfume has been enriched with cocoa accord. Unlike chocolate in perfume, cocoa is more raw and less sweet – it still adds a gourmand-ish vibe to the scent but with a more powdery sensation.
Cacao in Rose Rouge also introduces a thin layer of warm spiciness. It sure is a sensual and sexy ingredient in a perfume but the spicy, tingly sensation actually comes from pink pepper. These peppercorns are quite popular among perfumers for the last few years and can introduce sparkling tinge of spice that feels more refined compared to black pepper and doesn’t have metallic facets. Another important part of new Van Cleef & Arpels creation is the use of blackcurrant. Used as absolute it should introduce tart and raspy characteristics of this little black, bead-looking fruit.
It should and it does however this particular facet doesn’t in this form for long and undergoes quick changes. As we speak it began to develop some sweetness and as a result it smelled to me almost like creme de cassis. Further into Rose Rouge development even more weird/funny thing happens – blackcurrant liquor aroma starts to remind me of a raspberry syrup and after a bit longer it even started to veer towards lychee. Note – raspberry or lychee impressions come only from me, these are not among given notes. I’d be curious to learn if someone else smelled similar things.
Drydown of Rose Rouge has a good level of substantivity. There’s quite a lot of vetiver with more woody scent profile that I can enjoy as a person who’s not that much into vetiver. Plus that Turkish rose peeks through it with such elegance and grace. There’s also Rose Essentail molecule for extra rosy kick. Warmth of the musk gives a softer base to this composition and at the same time it helps late drydown phase to blend with own body scent and enhance it with a supple hint of rose. Patchouli adjusts dimensional effect, providing depth and volume to all ingredients.
There are many rose fragrances on the market and every season… bah! every month some new ones appear. But after testing Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Rouge for some time I think it’s one of the nicest roses a perfume scene could get recently. It’s a great addition to Collection Extraordinaire in my opinion. I can only congratulate Julien Rasquinet for composing this beauty. It’s a breath of something new and well-done. A rose fitting autumn and winter months. The fragrance is available as eau de parfum in 75 ml flacons (possibly 45 ml too). I’m thinking of one after I finish a decant.