What can one say about rose that hasn’t already been said? We already know that by any other name, it would smell as sweet. And that it’s a rose is a rose is a rose. Based on fossil evidence, roses have been around for 35 million years, and according to archaeological records rose hips and wreaths made of rose have been found in digs as far flung as Europe and ancient Egyptian tombs. The Romans scented their wine with rose petals in an effort to stave off drunkenness, and Nero was said to have spent the equivalent of $120,000 on perfuming just one of his parties where he had slaves throw rose petals out of specially constructed cavities in the walls.
Rose technology improved in the 11th century when Persian philosopher and scientist Avicenna invented the refrigerated coil for use in the distillation process. Popular in the ancient Arab world, rose was one of the first subjects of Avicenna’s experiments and rose water became one of the first distillations he made with the new refrigerated coil. 16th century Mughal perfumer Asmat Begum was said to have invented rose oil when she noticed the residue accreted on jugs of hot rose water and collected it. She then realized that the oil (which we now call rose attar) had smoothing effects when rubbed on the skin. Rose has a history of being used in medicine -- Pliny used rose oil as a headache treatment in the 1st century. In aromatherapy, rose is used for anxiety and depression, and rose is an excellent ingredient in skincare because of its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties.
So, our love for roses has us following in the footsteps of many through the centuries. From Cleopatra, who famously filled her apartments with rose petals to exhibit her opulence and make Marc Anthony recall her every time he smelled or saw a rose, to Josephine Bonaparte whose rose garden established at Malmaison after Napoleon divorced her led to a resurgence of interest in the flower in 19th century France. In modern times, roses fell somewhat out of favor as an old-fashioned perfume note, until Stella McCartney’s eponymous fragrance launched in 2003 and the past decade has seen a return of the classic scent.
Our favorite rose perfumes range from a modern, fresh and somewhat minimalist interpretation to a refined blend inspired by Dolley Madison's favorite perfume.
From our Dark & Stormy collection
A very fresh realistic red rose that includes not only the fragrant petals but the green stem and woody thorns. Underpinned by sweet cedarwood. Wear this if you want your rose modern and clean.
From our 1928 collection
Roses and apples are botanically related, and they meld beautifully in one of our best-selling fragrances. Tea rose has a slightly green nuance which is echoed in the note of cut grass for a sunny, bright scent. Wear this if you want your rose fresh and fun.
From our First Ladies collection
This white rose is crisp and lemony sweet, elevating the slightly powdery violet. Inspired by the Caswell Massey White Rose cologne worn by Dolley Madison, whose social graces earned her the nickname “Queen Dolley” it shares her vivacity and feminine charm. Wear this if you want your rose uplifting and refined.