Rose is one of those notes that is almost synonymous with perfumery itself. Not only has its use been around for hundreds of years, but it retains an appeal and relevance today which is unsurpassed.
Rose can be lipstick and powdery, fresh and budding, or dark and brooding and it is this latter category we are capturing here. The best spicy, moody, dangerous roses, roses at their most seductive. Approach with caution, for these are roses which are mad, bad and dangerous to know.
If you’re looking for scents with a particular vibe, also check out our features on leather perfumes and fruity perfumes.
Le Mat by Talismans
Le Mat is one of the Talismans range from Mendittorosa Odori d’Anima and it is the darkest of dark roses. With listed notes of nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, geranium, rosa centifolia, patchouli, cashmere wood, and immortelle, this fragrance brings a good deal of spice to the rose game. Fleshy, mysterious and fascinating, this scent take you from a spice-laden market stall to an English country garden without breaking its stride. This is a very special rose scent, one of our favourites, and a great place to start if you are looking for a rose that is that bit different.
Ducalis by Angela Ciampagna
Ducalis by Angela Ciampagna is another scent which combines spices such as nutmeg with a beautiful and poetic heart of rose. Here the rose can be liquid and boozy at times and is contrasted with a dewy, salty opening. The rose is the thread that binds the narrative of this scent, whilst everything else around it moves through massive changes: from morning and urban, to evening and more wild. With listed notes of nutmeg, geranium, salt, rose, may lily, cyclamen, ylang-ylang, acacia, cedar, sandalwood, rosewood, leather, amber, musk and vanilla, this is a rose to wear if you want to feel that there is a story in your fragrance.
Ruh by Pekji
The fragrances of Pekji Istanbul have a spellbinding quality to them and Ruh was perhaps our favourite from their collection. With listed notes of amber, cardamon, coffee, jasmine, musk, oud, patchouli, rose, saffron, and sandalwood, this fragrance contrasts the floral aspects of rose with the darker, moodier, sexier aspects of oud and patchouli. There is a smouldering sexiness about this fragrance and it is one to wear if you feel like you want to inject some va-va-voom into your life.
Chocolate, Rose and Oud by Aaron Terence Hughes
Chocolate, Rose and Oud is one of those fragrances that aims to satisfy. It’s not very floral at all, but it’s a great way to wear a comforting blanket of a scent which will comfort and uplift all day. The longevity of this fragrance is excellent, and the listed notes of Turkish rose, tonka bean, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, and Burmese oud will smooth away your cares. Chocolate, Rose and Oud has a very light rose touch to it, so you may find the more floral aspects obscured by the chocolate and oud, but this fragrance is a great place to start if you want to ease yourself into wearing a rose scent.
Megalium by Carner Barcelona
Megalium by Carner is a fascinating scent, a modern recreation of the perfumes used by the Romans in their bath houses and private bathing rituals. It has a smoky aspect which sits beautifully alongside the rose, and a white pepper note gives the whole scent excitement and anticipation. The listed notes include cinnamon essence, cinnamon tree leaves, mandarin, calamus, nutmeg, pimento berry, white pepper, Bulgarian rose, olibanum, myrrh, opoponax, and styrax resin, so a mixture of spice, smoke, and sweet resins which really do make this a fascinating and complicated fragrance. Despite the complexity though it’s really easy to wear, and the sort of scent which will exude a timeless quality whether you wear it to the office or for an evening event.
Bed of Roses by Maison Sybarite
The fragrance of Maison Sybarite are based in a water and oil mix, rather than alcohol, so great for those who don’t wish to use alcohol on their skin. Bed of Roses includes notes of saffron, cardamon, mandarin, bergamot, rose, orris, cedar wood, patchouli, and tolu balsam. It starts off with a citrusy brightness, but smooths and softens with amber and resins. The fragrance flirts, at times, with being a creamy rose, but swerves away from that in its final phase of wear, shading the blooms with deep patchouli and balsams. It’s an interesting take on rose in a scent that never does quite what you expect.
Douleur by Bogue
Douleur is a complete riot of a fragrance. What starts off with a sweet and sticky candy floss top turns into a screaming rose banshee of a scent. It’s utterly unique and unlike anything else you will have smelled. Douleur has a dangerous, almost predatory edge to it, so it’s great to wear when you feel like you need to be tough and on top of your game. The most important thing about this scent though, which contains notes of aldehydes, benzoin, brown sugar, candy floss, cedar, civet, lavender, melon, mint, oak moss, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, and seaweed, is that it IS very wearable. Despite it’s boldness, despite the shadowy nature it possesses, this is a scent you can wear and feel great doing so.
If you haven’t found your favourite rose scent on our list of these dark-hearted blooms, drop us a line and let us know what dark rose scents you really rate.
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