Monday, January 25, 2010

The dark trees that blow, baby, in the dark trees that blow...

L'Artisan Drôle de Rose

Roses are lovely. Real roses, that is. Many, *many* industries have tried to approximate their natural beauty, and failed utterly. Whether it is really tacky rose patterned wallpaper or thousands of failed art student efforts at still lifes or just some really unappealing fragrances, the rose is a fickle mistress few can tame. This week I'll be looking over a few of them.

For my 27th birthday, I had what remains the best party of my life. I trapped about fifteen of my friends in my apartment over spring break, borrowed a projector and dvd player from campus I.T., put together games including BINGO! and -- okay, yes -- a drinking game, made tons of food, bought myself a very fancy professional bakery made cake, and forced everyone to watch the entire first season of Twin Peaks as well as the prequel film. (Season 2 wasn't released on DVD yet.) David had, as a gift, purchased me an honest to God surprise barbecued brisket from my favorite BBQ place in Texas and had it shipped to Portland, Oregon, and we all just ate, and drank, and weirded ourselves out to David Lynch's PNW opus until 3am. It was wonderful. One of my favorite scenes is the scene with Lil, the girl in the red dress with the blue rose. I even hand wired fake blue roses to pins for everyone to take home as souvenirs.

Drôle de Rose, created by Olivia Giacobetti in 1996, is described by L'Artisan as
Embodying the perfumer's memory of her mother kissing her goodnight before going out for the evening, this is the smell of expensive face powders and lipsticks. Endlessly, unashamedly feminine, the fragrance is centered on a luscious rose note. The presence of violet and iris enhances the gracefully powdery aspect of the note while aniseed, almond and honey bring out the delicious, almost edible quality of the petals. A touch of leather in the drydown is sensual and a little bit dangerous. Chic and charming, this is a rose like no others.

Notes: rose buds, aniseed, orange blossom, rose petals, white iris, violet, almond, honey, rose powder, leather.
On me, Drôle de Rose is a rose with bite, with a scent closer to climbers or miniature roses than your traditional rose scent, which is associated mostly with the popular hybrid teas. It's got a bitter edge to it that I really dig. It has a dry powdery aspect that might get it associated with the dreaded "old lady" perfumes, I think it is a lovely rose with a bluish hue. It's not in line with the modern movement in roses -- all patchouli and earth notes to get to a sultry rose. Instead it's a classic that still holds mystery. In fact, in my mind, I associate it mostly with the that scene with Lil, the woman in the red dress with the blue rose attached in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Maybe, for some women, a rose made of blue silk and attached to a plastic stem might read as cheap or tacky, to me it's full of wonder and mystery. In fact, for those who don't know what I mean, I offer this clip:

In case you couldn't get the clip, or simply didn't want to watch it -- here's the critical piece.

Agent Desmond: Did you notice what was pinned to [the dress]?
Agent Stanley: A blue rose.
Agent Desmond: Very good, but I can't tell you about that.
Agent Stanley: Can't?
Agent Desmond: No. I can't.

That's it right there. "No, I can't." The mystery the blue rose holds is too weird, too wild, too fantastical and possibly dangerous for your understanding. And that's what's hiding in the dry leather, the anise seed, the bitter edge of orange blossom. The weird. The wild. The fantastical. So don't put it on, think "powdery rose," and blow it off. You'll miss it.

And I *still* have my blue rose pin.

Drôle de Rose is available in 50ml for $95 and 100ml for $135. You can get samples from Luckyscent and direct from the perfumer. It is also available in a lovely scented candle.

"And I'll see you.
And you'll see me.
And I'll see you in the branches that blow
in the breeze.
I'll see you in the trees,
under the sycamore trees."

- "Sycamore Trees," Jimmy Scott (written by David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti)

Want more? Try...
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Sweet Diva

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