Friday, August 27, 2010

Fragrance of the Moment

Valentino Rock 'n Rose (2006) is a favorite fragrance of mine in the rose-violet family. Officially, it's in the Floral olfactive family, although I find it leans towards Gourmand / Oriental due to the heavy sweetness anchored in its vanillic-sandalwood-musk base. The sweetness of it implies berries. For comparison, I find Rock 'n Rose more subtle than Givenchy Hot Couture or Anna Sui, but saucier than Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte, which only hints at berry sweetness underneath the aldehydic maquillage powderiness. There is some powderiness in Rock 'n Rose, probably due to iris and heliotrope, but in this composition, the powderiness takes on a candied vibe, modern and youthful in the vein of the original Juicy Couture fragrance. Sensual and juicy pop meets classical floralcy in this ultrafeminine creation, in the tradition of many rose-violets that have won the hearts of perfume lovers since the beginning of its incarnation: Caron N'Aimez que Moi, Les Parfums de Rosine La Rose de Rosine, Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, Versace Red Jeans, Borghese Il Bacio, Elizabeth Arden Red Door, Gale Hayman Delicious, Fred Hayman Touch, Lancôme Trésor, Guerlain Insolence and Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne.

Although I have often found the rose-violet combination to be jarringly hypersweet, sometimes, it's that raspberry jammy kiss of scent I crave when I've tired of the less risque brands of properly unsweet perfumes. However, this sweetness in all its provocative allure is still a classy scent; the perfumer, Françoise Caron, is the composer of another favorite Floral of mine from some years ago, Kenzo by Kenzo (1988, in the floral-motif bottle). You might also be familiar with other works by the venerable perfumer, such as the punchy raspberry musk, Emanuel Ungaro Apparition (2004, with Francis Kurkdjian) or the 1992 hit Giorgio Armani Gio. A lesser known creation I fell in love with not long ago is Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger 27 (2006). I believe this perfumer does the best work in the sweet, even hypersweet, Floral - Floral Oriental range. Somehow, even heavyweights seem effortlessly light and airy, the sillage a soft waft of freshness emanating from clean skin. Rock 'n Rose may seem light due to lily of the valley top notes, or the transparency gives it the overall lift.

I tend to enjoy scents that have some element of nature in them, even if in the intellectual sense; this scent is mostly the tactile rose and violet with other delicious elements (gardenia, orange blossom, vanilla), maybe too simple for the more complex scent lovers. Still, there is enough abstraction in Valentino Rock 'n Rose to keep it modern and interesting. It's not quite "vinyl rose" as YSL Parisienne, but that's OK. Sometimes, I want to smell like wine red cheeks and Chanel lipstick, and Rock 'n Rose gives me just that.