Serge Lutens is a parfumeur and creator of La Fille de Berlin. Photo: AFP UTE JUNKER SCENT NOTES Best seller Armani Privé 1001 Nights Rose d’Arabie (RRP $210) Heavy petal Jo Malone’s Cologne Intense Velvet Rose & Oud Serge Lutens doesn’t stick to the straight and narrow. It’s no surprise, therefore, that his newly released rose perfume, La Fille de Berlin, is not a floral fragrance of the type your grandmother would recognise. If the classic rose scent is sweet and soft, conjuring up images of a tightly furled rosebud covered in dew, La Fille de Berlin is grittier, almost dirty – a rose crushed underfoot. Lutens, a pacesetter in the perfume world since he launched Feminite du Bois for Shiseido in the 1990s, revels in unexpected scent combinations. La Fille de Berlin may open in a dramatic shower of crimson rose petals, but the floral notes are gradually submerged in animal undertones of amber and musk, giving a cold, slightly dirty tone. This is no delicate petal: it’s a tough perfume, one designed to be worn by men as well as women. This is not the first time Lutens has tackled rose: his self-titled collection includes two other rose-based fragrances. However, this outside-the-square floral is a sign of the times. Parfumeurs around the world are finding ways to reinvent the rose. While rose perfumes have always covered the spectrum from clear and green-tinged to spicy or even dark, today’s revamped roses use woody or oriental notes to create fragrances that appeal to a different type of customer. Both Cartier and Balenciaga have new woody roses available in store. Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose and Balenciaga’s L’Eau Rose are both surprisingly sensual, L’Eau Rose in particular leaving a lingering mossy impression. The most in-demand double act, however, remains the combination of rose and oud, a smoky wood used in traditional Arab perfumes. Armani Privé 1001 Nights Rose d’Arabie (RRP $210), a heavy rose-oud combination, was the best-selling perfume at Harrods last year. Armani is not the only company offering the rose-oud combination. Tom Ford, By Kilian and Roja Dove all offer variations on the theme. The latest contender, however, is somewhat unexpected. Jo Malone London made its reputation with perfumes offering a true floral scent. One of its long-standing best sellers, Red Roses, uses seven types of rose to create a pure fragrance that smells like a freshly cut bouquet. Even Jo Malone , however, is experimenting with oud. The newest addition to its line-up is Cologne Intense Velvet Rose & Oud, introduced to the permanent collection this year after a limited-edition release last year. It could not be more different from Red Roses: heavy where its predecessor is light, sensuous where the other is romantic. “The damask rose takes centre stage in the rich gourmand scent of Velvet Rose & Oud, offering opulent facets of fruits, spices and honey,” says Celine Roux, global product development director, Jo Malone London. The heavy scent of the damask rose, spiked with clove, helps balance out the strong notes of oud. “The richest essence of absolute rose is needed, so that the delicate note is not overpowered by the deep woodiness that is the oud,” Roux explains. The result is a rich, resonating rose: call it heavy petal. The Australian Financial Review Taylor Scott International
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