The Perfumed Baker’s dozen: Thirteen roses for anyone feeling unlucky in love 

If a Dandy can’t love himself who the devil’s going to love a Dandy?

Well, so say I.

And yet, as souls sleep in the East, the public houses of London call last orders and people all over the Americas prepare for home time there will be Dandies and Dandiladies who are unhappy, unsatisfied and frankly insatiable.

But why? I hear you cry.

Well, dear fiends, they have been unlucky in love.

They may be with many or entirely without lovers. Indeed they may enjoy lovers and love of the highest order. That is not the kernel of their disappointment. They are be-fretted Dearhearts for they have not had their olfactory needs met.

Their noses have been ignominiously ignored. Or, worse still insulted with silly low grade scents.

Fear not for The Perfumed Dandy is on hand with a hastily assembled receipt for aromatically induced happiness. What follows is a list of 13 – oh yes, a Baker’s Dozen, one above the average – fine rose scents both reasonable and tres cher that in this Dandy’s view can be worn equally as well by Man or Woman.

So my pink petals of perfumed petulance, if you seek solace search no more. Consult the The Perfumed Dandy‘s list and on way to habitation tonight or as soon as merchant opens in the morning and indulge yourself in the gift you truly deserved.

For, to paraphrase that green-carnationed acquaintance of mine ‘everything in life should be resisted except temptation’.

1. L’Aimant by Coty

Do not recoil in horror my Dandyphiles. For on closer examination this ages old nearly-but-not-No5 is actually a stalwart of the scented community. Her brusque manner with a blunt waft of aldehydes at the start set to one side, she warms into a smiling sandalwood and rose affair with a warm heart. Endings with her are all afternoon teas and vanilla biscuits.

If you really want to do a dowager, the way to play the grande dame here is to oil up with the body lotion, powder down with the talcum, give yourself a whizz of body mist all before applying perfumed creme behind the ears and spraying on the parfum de toilette. And given the prices being charged all this can be achieved for the same price as two goes on the pump with an Amouage.

2. Kelly Caleche by Hermes

The Dandy can picture the marketing meeting. Take the Kelly bag: iconic, perennially fascinating, occasionally totally on trend. Wheel out Caleche, that old thin lizard of an aldehyde, and bring them together in’a pink liquid’ and a rather gimmicky bottle with trinket catch. Surely we have a licence to print money, no?

Well they didn’t reckon on two things: one, the fickleness of the young female public who never really seem to have gone with the concept and, two, Jean-Claude Ellena’s capacity to surprise with even the dullest of briefs.

What we have here is a sparse airy rose floral paired with a pared down version of Hermes signature leather.

Do not let the sickly citrus at the beginning fool you, this a complex and competitive scent suitable for both sexes.

3. Potrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle

Not much to say here: a rose bush, a rose garden, acres of roses, a whole Royal Park of the beautiful things.

A little smoke, a touch of patchouli, subtle spice and sharp summer fruits.

Simple? Yes. Well? No. Its perfect execution just makes it seem so.

4. Declaration d’Un Soir by Cartier

One of the most complex mass market ‘male’ scents out there that totally belies this house’s somewhat unfair staid image.

South Asian spices and pepper come together to (almost) form an analogue of an oud that introduces a perfectly cultivated but intentionally imperfect rose that starts cleanly and then decays over a long summer of a night. It’s grand and grand on everyone.

5. English Rose by Yardley

This crew started making soaps over two centuries ago and along the way they picked up powders and lotions and ultimately scents. First in their signature lavender range and now in around a dozen or more faux ‘soliflores’.

The English Rose is just lovely, simple and honest and honestly flower-like. There are geraniums, some white flowers and the obligatory powdery musk here, but they do little or nothing to detract from the main event.

You will need to desperately over apply, or double up on products – the assumption one assumes – to make any real impact, but at these prices who can complain. Great for bed and even better for layering particularly with spicy woods for men.

6. La Nuit de Paco Rabanne by Paco Rabanne

Oh my goodness gracious. If ever there was a contrast with the Diary of an Edwardian Lady politesse above, this is it.

As dark, dank, skanky and utterly animalic a floral scent as you’re ever likely to find these days.

There’s a beautiful, slightly antisceptic rose at the centre of this but you’ll have to fight the hoard of mediaeval warriors and mythical beasts out the way to get at it.

Triumphant. A tragedy that it seems to be being or has been discontinued.

Made for women the Dandy is reliably informed that, from the start, this has always been appropriated by men.

7. Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior

What to say – the souk, the strange wood and woodsmoke, the tannery, the mysterious man, the sweat, the stolen kisses.

A Persian epic of a perfume that starts all Oud and then goes gooey resinous rose that washes itself clean with time.

Incredible longevity on the Dandy‘s ‘haven’t eaten for a week’ hungry skin.

Why, on asks, do houses even bother denoting pretend genders on these high end niche offerings?

8. Sa Majeste la Rose by Serge Lutens

It’s all in the name. If one wants the royalty of rose scents this is just the ticket.

Roses, honey, honey bees, some of the nice and not so nice things they land on.

What’s all that jasmine queen of florals rose king of florals stuff again? Look, to the Dandy‘s mind you don’t have to be royal to wear this ergo…

9. Nuit de Noel by Caron

Bizarre imported rosebush in a bottle. As if someone tried to compress an entire European attempt at an oriental garden into a scent and then it all just went nicely horribly wrong with everything except the roses and a stray ylang ylang escaping.

This always makes the Dandy think of the far east between the wars, of desperate and disfunctional diplomats – second consuls in unhappy marriages pretending at Christmas in ninety percent humidity.

One of the best Caron perfumes around and the perfect expression of that house’s central accord.

The Dandy wore this festively this holiday and received more compliments on his smell than he can remember in a good many a year.

10. Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligons

Stepping forward all dapper in an immaculately tied dickie bow he’s an upfront and honest Euro-centric attempt at a fake oriental rose. The whole effect actually does resemble something of the smell of a better Turkish bath – including the detergent and medicinal notes.

This is potent and potently floral stuff and insofar as the Dandy has signatures this is one of his marques. However, it’s easy to see both men and women shying away from it’s antique intensity while others just as gladly embrace it, tweeds, flannels and all.

The Dandy adores the stuff.

Only ever to be worn with confidence and a good dash of insouciance.

11. Amouage Memoir Man or Woman

On reflection, I think the Dandy far prefer’s Woman to Man in this case, though both are very much to be sniffed at. A surprising choice many of you may feel as rose is buried down beneath a pile of stronger notes, most notable spices, leather and smoke. However, for the Dandy at least, our flower of the day comes riding through on a jasmine white charger to steal the show in the later stages of the scent.

When she does she’s just breathtaking.

This house as a whole draws from an ancient tradition of perfumery that is not nearly as gender specific as today’s. As such the Dandy takes what he can from where he can.

Indeed given the tres cher nature of things in these parts all crumbs from the table are gratefully received.

12. Saffron Rose by Grossmith

A personal hobby horse of the Dandy‘s and one he is slightly affeard to share with all and sundry. But, as I am amongst friends, and on condition you will spread the word no further… This is a masterpiece.

The Dandy‘s view is that masterpieces require no introduction and should be allowed to reveal themselves to you in their own time.

As such an uncharacteristic silence will now fall.

13. The Noble Rose of Afghanistan by The 7 Virtues

To be broken only with a fanfare of hope.

The Dandy‘s final fragrance is the result of a truly brave enterprise. A daring Canadian entrepreneur decided for both personal and professional reasons to Make Perfume Not War. She applies this dictum quite literally.

A tiny house by global standards, The 7 virtues operates on the basis of working with local producers in war torn and disaster stricken regions around the world to source ingredients and on the principle of paying above market rates to stimulate the local economy and, in the case of Afghanistan, dissuade farmers from other far less benign cash crops.

Do not be deceived, however, the purchase of this perfume on your part is not an act of charity for it is truly a noble scent.

Like much of the nobiltiy it makes every attempt to keep its blood line clean, so this is not a convoluted or over complex rose in any way.

What it does it to be a pure rose perfume and that it does excellently.

And what better way to conclude, dear friends, than with a fragrance not only to console your lovelorn hearts but through which to communicate your love out to the world.

In matters of the heart, so the Dandy believes, it is best to both give and receive.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy

The Perfumed Dandy


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27 responses to “The Perfumed Baker’s dozen: Thirteen roses for anyone feeling unlucky in love 

  1. This is an embarrassment of riches… “second consuls in unhappy marriages pretending at Christmas in ninety percent humidity”… I’d wear that for the literary value alone… Nuit de Noel, but I have to say I’m intrigued by the “perfection” of Saffron Rose…
    Thank you, Dandy!

  2. Now I know who broke the bank at Monte Carlo…It was the Perfumed Dandy shopping for a baker’s dozen bouquet of roses! Such an embarrassment of rosy riches both main house and out back niches! Wonderful, stupendous, resplendent post. Now let me tell you what I really thought of it. The post was Great! I am dying to try some of these, especially Kelly Caleche, La Nuit, the Caron, and Saffron Rose. On top of all of that the 7 Virtues sounds wonderful and such a great idea.

    Oh …I want to go perfume window shopping with The Perfumed Dandy!

    • Lilybelle

      Those are the very same ones I want to try: La Nuit, Nuit de Noel, and Saffron Rose. I sampled Kelly Caleche a few years ago, and I don’t remember caring much for it. I adore classic Caleche.

      • Now My Dear Lilybelle
        I can quite understand why a devotee might take an instant dislike to the upstart Kelly. She’s an entirely different thing.
        She may indeed be too light for a woman of refined perfume tastes; however, on a gentleman her softness and rose on light manicured leather is divine. She has won me many compliments, especially in the summer months.
        If only Caleche herself were what she once was though. Poor soul.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Your article can be quite prophetic at times….ah but alas that is the “dunyah” or the life as we say. Some of us are just destined to be that which makes others appreciate what they have all the more. So I will simply anoint my bruised heart with some rose attar and start the day afresh.
    You should know by now I have a deep unquenchable thirst for all things rosy. Ohh …I thought Saffron Rose was our secret! Alas we are among friends who know the value of a veiled secret. Maybe next time I will make it into The Square Mile to locate this treasure instead of lounging by the sea inhaling the salty air.
    All of your suggestions sound delightful and your article makes us crave more, and more of which you have promised. I shall go off now to savor my macaroon until we are presented with another of your delicious passages.

    Yours Truly, Rose

    • My Dearest Rose of the Nile
      Be-still your tormented heart with rose attar – for was it not ever the part of the heroine?
      Of course I thought of you my blossom when roses came to mind.
      Fear not though, for I feel that the secret of the Saffron Rose is safe – we are amongst the best of fragrant friends here – The Dandy admits no others to his company.
      Enjoy your macaroon and I promise, more words soon.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Looks like a trip to Paris may be in order! I’m with Lanier, I’d like to go perfume window shopping with The Perfumed Dandy!

    • Dear Friend
      Nothing would please me more – but hols on, for in lieu of our visit I hope to transport us all back to Paris – or its outskirts – once more with my next post.
      To keep those keen eyes peeled!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. batkitty

    What an inspiring bouquet of roses, long-stemmed, ladylike, wild, tamed…. Some old favorites (La Nuit conquers again!) and several to investigate further! I’ll be dreaming of rose gardens all day.

    • Thank you Kindly Miss Bat Kitty
      Yes. La Nuit is something of a favourite. In these winter months it’s good to gather round the royal hearth drink mead and cuddle up to a stray beast for warmth. Just as long as I keep my eyes and nose focussed on the rose!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Lilybelle

    I ordered samples of La Nuit and Nuit de Noel today. I’ve always been curious about NdN, and I don’t know what to expect from LN (!!). I imagine Kelly Caleche smells great on you. I will give her a second chance and keep an open mind. My preferences have changed over the past couple of years anyway, so everything is new to me again. I am looking forward to new scent journeys. 🙂

    • Dear Lilybelle
      I wish you the very best with both – quite different and each slightly alarming in its own way. La Nuit is a monster and Nuit de Noel comforting on the surface with something most unsettling underneath.
      I do hope you will let us all know of your experiences with these two and if you try Kelly Caleche again. This ‘Miss’ Caleche is fresh and simple in a complex way that is Ellena’s very signature.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        Thank you! I will be all too happy to share my impressions. I confess: I have yet to acquire a taste for JCE’s style (unless we’re talking about VC&A First). I can appreciate the artistry (if it’s explained to me, lol!), but there are others I would sooner reach for, swoonier ones. It’s like trying to convince someone who enjoys a fruity oaky Calif chardonnay to try an austerely beautiful Chablis. But I will keep trying. Actually, I would prefer the Chablis, I just used that as an example. Furthermore, I seldom drink white wine anyway, as it gives me ferocious headache. Ok, well, you get the idea. Maybe Kelly Caleche will be my gateway.

      • Dearest Lilybele (and what a charming name – so close to our dear Queen Elizabeth’s nom en famille)
        I think the analogy with wine is perfect and Ellena’s compositions are very much in the manner of a bone dry chablis.
        Except I would say Sisley Eau de Campagne which has the green markings of an Entre deux mers and Kelly Caleche, which is lighter like a Fench rose, though not as sweet as a Zinfandel.
        Lordy love use, we have hit the bottle so soon into our adventures.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  7. Jose Marcos

    I have been a big fan of Kelly Caleche’s for quite a while and just about a couple of weeks ago talking to someone about the rose in KC he asked me if I knew that in the Middle East rose was a male scent? No, I didn’t, and to be honest I haven’t try to find out if that is true or not. It just gave me another reason to “possesse” KC. What a nice article. I had no idea about the Cartier Declaration d’un Soir, among all the scents you mention the easier for me to find. I live in the jungle, sir. Well, life may not be a bed of roses, but we try our best, don’t we?

    • Ah so true Mr Marcos
      We must all try, I do so agree.
      Your confidant is quite correct. In the middle East, the Levant and Maghreb, the rose is associated with perfume for men as much as for women. The growing markets there have led many houses to cater more for these tastes, which I think in part might account for Cartier’s release that I spoke so warmly of. Do try it and do buy Kelly while you can, one never knows how long these not-as-popular-as-intended fragrances will last. You will smell sweetly of roses and leather – very gentlemanly indeed.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Jose Marcos

        Thank you for your kindness, but please, don’t call me Mr. Marcos is my second christian name for once upon a time, here in Brazil most men were Joses so a second name was very handy to separate who was who. Also, please, no need to post this. Have a nice Sunday. Hope to read some more drom you soo. Yours, JM

  8. dalybeauty

    I had a bottle of La Nuit de Paco Rabanne when it came out & have no idea where it went. You and The Non Blonde have me craving another bottle. Do you have a preference re edt or edp?

  9. As a lover of roses, the scent reserved for man, in my fragrance, I salute to the author this article and all fragrances featured within.

    • The Dandy thanks you handsomely Mr Chau and welcomes you most heartily to his salon.
      Yes, I too would contend that the rose is as much the man’s flower as the woman’s. For, after all, has it not thorns?
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy.

  10. Reblogged this on The Perfumed Dandy. and commented:

    Last year, for those unlucky in love I made a suggestion of a few roses one might buy oneself should the world not have furnished one with sufficient flowers on St Valentine’s Day. This year, I reblog that same list by way of prophylaxis: why not grab yourself a bloom today just in case someone fails to do the honourable thing tomorrow?!? You deserve it after all!

  11. Cheryl

    ‘And given the prices being charged all this can be achieved for the same price as two goes on the pump with an Amouage.’…You’ve made my day, which is under a foot of still falling snow. On the strength of your review, a friend gave me La Nuit for Christmas, and I adore Nuit de Noel. Now what can I live without this month so that Saffron Rose can take it’s place?

    Happy Valentines Day, dearest Dandy, and many thanks.

    • Dearest Cheryl
      A foot of snow! Lordy, and here we are moaning about rather heavy rain, though to be fair some of The Dandy’s fellow countrymen are under several feet of water.
      I’ll be wandering by Fortnum’s this weekend and will check on Saffron Rose, I’ve heard murmurings it’s been altered, which I find slightly hard to believe, but will report back if it’s anything other than excellent!
      Happy Valentines day to you too.. though there’s plenty more to come on that tomorrow.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  12. SallyM

    Dear Mr. Dandy,
    I must say, your power to persuade me to try rose again is increasing with every post closer to the Lovers Day. As previously mentioned, I was encouraged to try to make rose water by a favorite – but admittedly singularly odd – aunt when I was about 10. She cheerfully advised me to simply steep some rose petals in water in the sun and VOILA! I would be the next Coco Chanel. Well, after all of the neighborhood rose bushes were suitably denuded and petals added to as many receptacles as my long suffering mum would give me, I decided that a great place to put them would be on my bedroom window seat/sill. Of course, being a 10 year old with the attention span of a shrub (and having a mum who believed in learning from mistakes) I went about my business until the whole project morphed into a rotting, moldy, goo that *did* smell of roses but in the way I would imagine things would be after the “Rose Apocalypse.” Since then I haven’t been able to pass a rose without shuddering.
    BUT that being said, perhaps it is time to wake up and smell the roses again. After all I LOVE Nuit de Noel, although I get the oakmoss, ylang ylang and powder musk over any rose that may be lurking. Perhaps that would be a good one to start with…

    • Dearest Sally
      The Dandy works in mysterious ways!
      I’m still laughing at your “Rose Apocalypse”, though surely some niche house must have released a scent with that name by now!.
      Nuit de Noel, I adore it too, yes the interplay between oakmoss and ylang ylang is special, but I can always sense the rose beneath, glimpsing through when given the chance.
      Caron is always an excellent place to start!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • SallyM

        And to add – Portia sent me a bottle of LUSH Rose Jam shower gel as I missed the boat here at Christmas and I must admit that its wonderful. The Geranium and Goji berries are what I get first and then the rose, so its not too heavy hitting. I was reluctant to try it because of my rose aversion but everyone was going on and ON about it 😉 and I needed to be in on the chatter …

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