Monday, May 24, 2010

Ferre Rose Princesse: fragrance review

Like Bryce Dallas Howard's milky skin and diaphanous eyes there are fragrances which are delicate yet at the same time forceful: You just can't deny their presence. Gianfranco Ferré's Ferré Rose Princesse for women is one such fragrance. It was composed by perfumer Karine Dubreuil and is a fruity floral inspired by the Princesse de Monaco hybrid tea rose, standing as a flanker besides the older Ferré Rose (you won't confuse the two as this one is brightly pink-looking).

Brightly pink, I said? Well...let's see. Officially, the perfume opens with sweet-sourish notes of Sicilian bergamot, Spanish sweet orange, Mexican lemon, wild blackberries and green apple. The heart encompasses notes of wood lilac [sic], pear flowers, rose princesse, damascena rose, white magnolia and violet leaves, while the base is composed of soft musks and woody aromas – sandalwood and palissander wood. Going over the notes however doesn't beging to give the impression that the fragrance conveys: The introduction of obvious berry notes is tart, fused with a strong salicylate "solar" effect comparable to the one in Si Lolita by Lolita Lempicka.

Usually the salicylate "solar" accord reads as a sandy, warm, brightly expansive feeling with a hint of mentholated floral note in the breeze. Now a perfumer is at ease to work with this in two directions: Tilt it at one angle and work around an ambery and ylang ylang or orange blossom theme (or more contemporarily tiare) and you have an excellent almost tropical-smelling sun worshipping composition that recalls bodies sprawled on the beach with no care in the world; baking under an evil sun scorching one's limbs as if it's a pre-Colombian sacrifice. Witness Patou Chaldée, Aquasun by Lancaster, the more refined of them all Vanille Galante in the Hermessence series or more prosaicaly Miami Glow by J.Lo.
Tilt it at another angle with wintergreen methyl salicylate alongside either naturally camphoraceous flowers (tuberose) or alternatively cooler blossoms (rose, peony) which would naturally bind well with undergrowth smells, and you have quite a different effect: A hint of mothball, but also a staggeringly modern expansive effect when paired with tart notes. See Carnal Flower by F.Malle. Indeed the two fragrances mentioned above, Ferré Rose Princesse and Si Lolita, share this characteristic rather prominently amongst the newer mainstream releases.

In Rose Princesse, although very fruity in the opening, I hardly detect any citrus presence. It's there but it's not what you're getting. Very girlish, very berry-rich, the scent slowly loses the piquant camphoraceous character and becomes extremely soft and gentle with a strong musky powdery feeling. Among the excellent and sophisticated Ferré range (see Ferré eau de parfum from 2005 or Ferré Essence d'Eau from 2003), it is an anomaly, but an interesting anomaly nonetheless. Not something I would personally wear a lot, due to the sweet berry-ish character, but not an air-headed girly fruity floral either. Girls could do much worse, I guess.

Ferré Rose Princesse is available in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml of Eau de Toilette as well as in a 200 ml body lotion at major department stores.


  1. I'm trying to think of what someone could say to make me interested in trying a perfume called "Pink Princess." I can't come up with a single thing. I don't think even you could talk me into it, E.

  2. SS,

    touche! Think of it as "hybrid of tea rose" rather than pink princess :p (spmeone up at marketing probably suggested that the name would be a double entendre and that that would be a good thing; obviously not to hard-core perfumista us, LOL)

    Hope you're well.

  3. At least they have photographed the right rose: I've studied HT rose hybridization ever since the age of 10 and can tell you that 'Princesse de Monaco' (1981) isn't known in the rose hybridization circle for its fragrance. Sure, it has a pleasant, fruity scent but it's often described as mild. Even for the iconic French rose-breeder Meilland the scent isn't the focal point--it's the pointed buds with the reflexed petals edged with pink and the mildew-resistent foliages. At least the house got a great spin though. (Sigh)

  4. Hello dearest A! How ARE you??

    Thanks for the detailed info. I'm totally lame at gardening and have absolutely no knowledge of hybrids apart from the essences rendered through them, so it's ever so useful to have on board someone who knows what's what. Like I said, it doesn't smell rosy, really. Maybe faintly. So maybe the tea rose Princesse image is more of an image than of essence (pun intended)


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