When Frédéric Malle launched his niche fragrance company, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, in 2 000, it was a novel idea for the perfumer’s name to be featured on the bottle.
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Since then the Paris-based niche fragrance company has built its sought-after reputation on a succession of high-quality, classic releases created by the world’s top perfumers, including Jean-Claude Ellena, Dominique Ropion and Olivia Giacobetti.
Launched in 2003 and created by Edouard Fléchier, Frédéric Malle Une Rose EDP is one of these classics. It may not be as well-known as its stablemate, Portrait of a Lady EDP, but those who smell it are in for a superb olfactory experience.
The cylindrical-shaped bottles for Frédéric Malle fragrances have become instantly recognizable due to their labels. These feature the name of the perfume and perfumer in black, red, white and gold.
They’re presented in a stately red box that lets you know you’re investing in something special – a work of perfume mastery containing only the best ingredients.
Turkish rose absolute, geranium, wine dregs, vetiver, castoreum, truffle accord.
“A dark rose. An earthy rose is tinged with Périgord truffle for a subtle taste of the gothic. This crimson femininity is bound by wine dregs to a darker base, the rose’s secret roots. A garden flower with hidden depths.” – fredericmalle.com
By modern standards, Edouard Fléchier isn’t a prolific perfumer, but the Frenchman is highly regarded for creations such as Davidoff EDT, Montana Parfum d’Homme, Christian Lacroix C’est la Vie EDP and Frédéric Malle Lys Mediterranee EDP. His place in perfume history is assured with the 80s classic Christian Dior Poison. Most recently, in 2018, he created Aramis Tobacco Reserve EDP.
There’s no doubt that this is a rose fragrance from the opening, but it’s no ordinary rose. It’s rich, deep and full-bodied with fruity and honey undertones, courtesy of the Turkish rose absolute. The production of this extract is a costly process, hence its use only in the finest perfumes.
This rose is prominent throughout the stages of the fragrance, but its character morphs as other notes come into play. At times, there’s a slight sweetness to it, but mostly it’s dramatic and uncompromising.
While taking in the beauty of this rose, the wine dregs add further character and depth to the mix. They bring woodiness to the scent.
Geranium is often paired with rose in perfumery and it’s used to great effect in Frédéric Malle Une Rose, adding a herbal facet.
While many rose fragrances peter out with blandness, Une Rose is increasingly intriguing as it progresses to its drydown. The base notes of castoreum and vetiver work well together to complement the earthiness of the truffle accord. Like its edible counterpart, this accord is not for everyone and emphasizes the dark aspect of the rose.
Remarkably authentic from start to finish, Frédéric Malle Une Rose is a standout in a category where there’s no shortage of competition. It’s expensive but well worth every hard-earned cent.
Who would like it
Sophisticated and luxurious, Frédéric Malle Une Rose is a top choice for rose perfume aficionados. Those who are new to rose perfumes might find it a bit bolder than they’re used to.
It will appeal to anyone who values craftsmanship at its best. Officially a fragrance for women, it’s perfectly unisex.
Where to wear it
Although it’s described as a dark rose, Frédéric Malle Une Rose is eminently wearable and fairly versatile from season to season. It’s heavy and performs well, so approach it with caution if you decide to wear it to the office. It’s at its best in the cooler months and at night. It has special occasion written all over it.
Similar fragrances to consider
From the same brand, Portrait of a Lady EDP and Lipstick Rose EDP would be other superb options, of course. Also in the niche category, Byredo Rose of No Man’s Land EDP and Acqua di Parma Rose Nobile EDP are worth sniffing out too. You can’t go wrong with Narciso Rodriguez Fleur de Musc EDP and Chloé EDP from designer-land.
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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.