All Beauty Natural

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

by Harper Hilton

I just came into the possession of the most marvelous rose-scent: L’Artisan Parfumeur’s “Voleur de Roses”. I acquired this through swapping. For those of you who are not familiar with swapping, here is how it works in a nutshell: “I don’t like this product anymore. Do you have something I might want? Oh, you do…ok, I send you mine, you send me yours.” This swapping has been elevated to the purpose of existence on … every fragrance-junkie’s swapper heaven. I go there every day, just about. Fragrances abound.

Now on to the wonderful L’Artisan Parfumeur “Voleur de Roses” (Thief of Roses in English.) The name alone is enticing, isn’t it? The fragrance is fresh and somewhat rose-y in the top-note, with a hint of fruit (plum). It becomes deeper and spicier, plummier and more earthy as time goes on. My nose detects patchouli and something really dry, maybe vetiver? There’s coriander in there, and the whole thing becomes dry and slightly floral, with a hint of fruit and a wealth of earth. The legendary walk in the woods in fall: this is it (to my nose). Perhaps you are going on a hike on a sunny fall-day. The trees have turned color, everything smells of leaves and earth. You walk through a tiny hamlet, with wild plum-trees lining the street. You pick up one of those juicy fruits and bit into it, as you walk by an old wooden fence overgrown by roses. A few are still blooming and perfume the air. At the end of the street you can see the edge of the forest, which you are heading for. You can already sense walking though fallen leaves and moss.

You can have a look at the whole line with great pictures and descriptions at the French site (and in the French language) . The following sites carry part of the line and also have nice descriptions in English (particularly Aedes): and

“Voleur de Roses” is marketed as a men’s fragrance, but of course I don’t believe in any such thing: it’s just a wonderful, earthy-woody plum-rose scent. This fragrance develops on the skin into something a little sweeter and a lot deeper than what you smell at first. It stays true to the top-note in your clothes, and that, too, is a wonderful scent. “Voleur de Roses” comes in a 1.7oz eau de toilette and in a large 3.4oz bottle. There is no other formulation (no edp, no perfume).

All of this leads me to what was, actually, my first brush with the scent of roses (aside from growing up in a garden full of them). I received this also in a swap maybe a year ago: 1000 (Mille) de Jean Patou. This is actually not so different from "Voleur de Roses", but sharper, with no sweetness, maybe a little heavier on the amber and with a whole armful of very fragrant, pungent flowers. The rose, though, comes through. Here, too, is the freshness of coriander, and the top-note impression is very similar. However, the dry-down of 1000 is actually drier, if more floral. There is an enticing “sweaty” note here (that I personally find very sexy). 1000 comes in parfum, eau de parfum and eau de toilette, as well as in a solid perfume. I mostly use the edt in one of the old splash bottles (which are heavy and a pleasure to handle). I also have a solid perfume, which is softer, heavier on the floral notes, and not as deep. You can get 1000 de Patou at Perfumebay as well as on Scentiments. Occasionally, there is a good deal to be had for this in Ebay. And Makeup Alley is always worth a try.

Another, actually more prominently rose-y scent is Czeck & Speake “Rose”: it is similar to the others, but much lighter, much clearer, and less deep. It starts out very rosey (really lovely), and dries down to a slightly woody-fresh, slightly spicy fragrance. There is coriander again, there is geranium (giving it a hint of green), there is, of course, a lot of soft rose, and then there is patchouli in the dry-down, making for the woody-ness (but not smelling of patchouli, really). This comes in a cologne (probably one of the reasons why it’s lighter) as well as in a bath-gel. I have only tried the cologne, and really like it: the roses in this one are more summery, more reminiscent of the actual flower, than the roses in the other two scents. This can be had (and looked at) at Aedes again (actually, I have not found this line anywhere else on-line). Btw, if it’s not on their web-site, they DO carry it, so call them (1.888.AEDES.15). Also, if you don’t have one yet, do by all means call and request their annual catalog. It is to drool over: gorgeous pictures and descriptions of scents and lotions and potions…I keep reading this all year long, until the next one comes out.

A fourth rose scent, and one which I tried only recently and then swapped away (for said “Voleur de Roses”) is Comptoir Sud Pacifique’s “Eau de Rose”: a clear, spiced-cider-tinged, lovely rose-scent: it smells faintly of cardamom and cinnamon, has loads of soft roses, and all bedded on a faint hint of amber. I have no idea if this can be bought I the U.S., but you can get it through the Paris store by calling 011-33-1-42-61-74-44. Other CSP scents are available at Beautycafe, Aedes, Beautyhabit and Four Seasons Products (this latter also carries L’Artisan).

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Harper Hilton is the Fragrance Editor at Face Online. See her work here: Fragrance Section


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