Of all the gardens in all the world… Une Rose by Frederic Malle The Perfumed Dandy’s Rose Scented Letter


Today the flower bed is Flanders Fields.

The few fool hard February roses are poppies made.

Protruding on precarious stalks from sodden earth turned clay with endless winter’s rain.

One, though, remains almost the same.


Identical in raw silk swirls to last summer, when, dressed in fatigues, he tapped your left shoulder, made you turn, scurried round to steal a kiss upon a your right cheek.

Then behind his back, with hidden hands, lest you chastise him for his horticultural crime he removed a whole corolla from its stem. Bringing forward and together cupped palms, offered you a bowl of crimson petals.

Holy roses.

You lean in to smell the bloom before you now, its perfume pathetically diminished.

All season-sapped strength has been coraled into this fine display, leaving nothing behind for scent.

“Of all the rose gardens in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine.”

You’d said it as soon as you saw her name.

He, predictably, replied:

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Or the end, you thought, as his hand, calloused by army drills linked with yours, hardened with pruning and hoeing and weeding.

His khaki, your park keeper’s green, merging into camouflage you wished could hide you from the world and his call back to Helmand.

The aroma from half a year ago returns.

Inside, but not in approximation, no: hi definition news channel fidelity.

That same smell. Precisely.

Glace fruit, green at once wooden stem, the taste of red wine on his blistered lips as they search to find your mouth, the buzz of bumble bees, the musk of his armpits.


That one rose.


Your six foot frame, normally so composed, as athletic as his soldier’s, still as supple as the dancer you dreamt of being, is about to give way.

The flourish from “Gone With The Wind” bursts forth from your mobile phone.

You redden. An elderly Japanese woman in an immaculate Macintosh of the type the British themselves never wear anymore looks across bemused from a nearby bench.

His face a few inches square on your screen.

New message.

“Here’s looking at you, kid!”

The roses in the mud look all the more like opium poppies now, and Wilfred Owen’s lines run through your mind.

Une Rose by Edouard Flechier for Frederic Malle is a narcotically, deceptively simple floral.


A truth serum scent that remembers in hyper-reality an exact fragrance belonging to a certain flower at a determined time.

This is, as the name suggests, the smell unique to a strain of rose, perhaps even a specific plant, possibly just in one season, week, hour or moment.


It is the memory of how a flower seemed, smelt, just ‘then’, rendered chemical, bottled, shipped and sold.

That said, it is not straightforward, for roses aren’t.

If other flowers contain olfactory kingdoms, roses are continents.

Here we have an opening that is full with fruit, sweet, too sweet perhaps for some, leaning a little to a bath oil and attars.

Then nature intrudes, a wood that is more green stalk than tree, a hint of honey and other flowers and something that adds depth, frivolity and flirtation.

Red wine: Beaujolais rather than Bordeaux, playful, young, mischievous.

Yet, all said, just as wine, for all the allusions it contains, still invariably tastes of wine, so this perfume is pervasively, inescapably, all about rose.

A sculpted, complex, personal, sexual, recollection of a rose.

Play it again, Frederic.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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8 responses to “Of all the gardens in all the world… Une Rose by Frederic Malle The Perfumed Dandy’s Rose Scented Letter

  1. Lilybelle

    I’ve never sampled FM Une Rose. There are so many to get caught up on. What a lovely, romantic review, Mr. Dandy! ♥

    • Dearest Lily
      So many many scents, so little time.
      One would need to have as many lives as cats and all with the spans of oaks to try them all.
      Yes, a little romance for St V, The Dandy’ couldn’t help himself.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Nena

    Do you think this would be worth trying when I’m in Melbourne and I go to pick up a bottle of Portrait of a Lady?

    • Dearest Nena
      In short…. Yes.
      Quite different all of Malle’s rose perfumes (I’ve yet to write on Lipstick Rose), but definitely all worth trying in their own way.
      I liked this one, for as with our hero it reminded me of a very specific flower with a royal name, yellow in colour, a bed of which flowers by some very regal gates in Queen Mary’s Garden’s every summer.
      Happy hunting.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. rosestrang

    That brought a tear to my eye, most evocative. And what a rose in the photo! A sleeping beauty fairy-tale crimson rose-garden rose.
    I agree, roses are continents, it’s amazing how differently they can be rendered in perfume.

    • Dearest Rose
      Thank you.
      Yes, it is a little bitter sweet this one.
      Don’t ask me why, but it brought to mind those Gerhard Richter paintings where everything is photo-realist except one part: a face, an architectural detail and car passing. Somehow that deviation from the absolutely current makes it a memory and a haunting one at that two.
      Strange and wonderful, especially if, as it did with me, it rang the bell if a very specific variety,
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. batkitty

    Marvelous review, and what a rose this is, etched in sharpest detail!

    • Dearest Batkitty
      So pleased Une Rose has another fan… they seem to be a little think on the ground!
      So accurate is this that it reminds me of one of those paintings so precise that it resembles a photograph.
      Sharpest, razor-sharpest detail indeed.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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