Arabian perfumery is no stranger to the amorous coupling of rose with oud or saffron. Guerlain is no stranger to opulent florals with woody underpinnings highlighting their thorny beauty (just witness Nahema, a lush fruity rose and Rose Barbare, a chyprish, woody one). Imagining the two directions -Arabian & Guerlain- combined gives you an idea about how Rose Nacrée du Désert smells like. But that is only the beginning...
According to perfumer Thierry Wasser, Rose Nacrée du Désert is a mysterious fragrance one can lose their heart to, thanks to its very formula. "Mystery often comes from intense and deep notes such as patchouli or oakmoss. Chypre perfumes also can reveal a mysterious character because one can perceive notes which are sometimes woody, sometimes ambery or floral. And of course the more a fragrance makes us dream of far away lands, the more it is laden with mystery too!" This is why Wasser reveals he searched for a Persian rose that was difficult to harness and rendered even more cryptic thanks to its alchemical alliance to woody notes, such as oud and patchouli.
Rose and oud are a trend we're going to be seeing a LOT of in the coming season. Already there are quite a few perfumes with the exact combination (the ubiquitousness of oud notwithstanding), such as those below, as well as Midnight Oud (Juliette has a Gun), Rose Oud (Kilian), Rose d'Arabie (Armani), Mirroir des Voluptés (Thierry Mugler) or Portrait of a Lady (F.Malle) and we're going to witness even more. Fine by me, as this gothic style of rose is simpatico to my sensibilities (I told you I had trouble with liking too prim or Victorian roses, didn't I? This is why the rose-patchouli dewy woodiness of Voleur de Roses is among my favorite rose fragrances.)
|from L to R: Oud Ispahan (Dior, 2012), Velvet Rose & Oud (Jo Malone, 2012), Rose Nacrée du Désert (Guerlain, 2012), Al Buraq, by Al Haramain.|
Arguably therefore the less "original" in the trio (vaguely reminiscent of Amouage Epic for Women for its treatment of rose and oud) Rose Nacrée du Désert, Guerlain's take at the Damask rose and oud combination, is at once dusky and velvety, gothic, dusty and with a beautiful sheen like hammered gold. The sweetness is pervading, even more than the previous Déserts d'Orient examples, with nuances of loukhoum rosewater and copra powder enrobing the yummy delicacy.
The mouth-watering gourmand quality is very Guerlain; rose and sugar are eager bedfellows with passionate results. The woodiness of patchouli and oud are brimming with promises of sensuous adventures in a land of buried treasures in the sand; full of mystery, full of languor.
still from Pretty in Pink by John Hughes starring Molly Ringwald via jbtaylor.typepad.com/
pic of bottles of various brands in middle by parfums-tendances-inspirations.com