These are my two favourite roses at the moment, with ''the moment'' being defined as last ten years.
Tea Rose by Perfumer's WorkshopTea Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. A huge rose, very rose-y indeed, and as some reviewers mentioned, with a hint of the leaves and stalks and even thorns. It lasts and projects. No more and no less. You get exactly what you pay for and you don't pay much at all.
I have a slightly ambivalent relationship with florals, not because I don't like certain flowers' scents but because "floral" fragrances are often awful. Or really, really sweet. Or both. Still, I do love some specific florals, particularly jasmine, rose, neroli (and iris though I don't think of it as floral ;)
At the same time I was reading the Luca Turin book for the first time ever (2008? 2009?) I was also slightly obsessed with rose notes. The proper floral rose, just as it grows in the garden, not rose jam or rose-based fragrances. And so I was on a search for a rose soliflore, trying to get the desired effect from rose essential oils and testing various fragrance (Bvlgari and Paul Smith were two that proved somewhat thin and unsatisfactory). When I'd read the Guide's notes claiming that the PW's Tea Rose is "huge painted in watercolour and has the species name written below it in cursive" I thought it was worth a try. I discovered that it was available really cheaply from American eBay, I bought three (THREE!!) of those giant 120 ml bottles and drenched everything in that scent for as long as it lasted.
It didn't put me off, though I got my fill for a few years I guess because I didn't replenish for a few years. I got a new bottle at the very beginning of re-establishment of my current ''collection'' few months ago and it's all still very much there. A rose that's a rose that's a rose that's a rose.
Fragrance wise, it reminds me most of those little folksy-painted turned wooden boxes that housed a small bottle of Bulgarian rose oil that one occasionally came across growing up in the 1970/80's behind the Iron Curtain. Fabulous as far as roses go and brilliant for layering.
Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection from Etat Libre d'OrangeI was reluctant to buy this as I have a thing (a Bad Kind of Thing) about celebrity fragrances but Rossy de Palma ain't Paris Hilton or even that horselike woman from that TV series, after all. So after a sample vial made its way to me somehow, I bought more, and used it, and decided that just as the Tilda Swinton ELdO one, this was a clear winner and as for now probably my favourite "proper fragrance" (i.e. not a plain one-note soliflore) rose.
The official notes are as follows:
Top: ginger, bergamot, pepper
Middle: geranium, jasmine, rose
Base: frankincense, patchouli, cocoa and benzoin
For a change, the official notes reflect what I can smell pretty well, though the rose is present throughout, not just in the middle.
But it starts truly gloriously, in some dry and warm place where citrussy green of bergamot meets a small roadside rose bush and they roll on a ginger bed for a while.
So it's all lovely, but after few minutes geranium raises its weird, cloying head. Luckily, not for long and what happens next, and what remains for the next ten hours (I did apply LOADS, though, because I couldn't get enough of that first accord) is an aromatic, not-at-all sweet yet not-at-all sharp or jarring rose: peppery, incensey, warm yet not cloying.
The non-celebrity part of the name, Eau de Protection is well chosen. This scent has quite a talismanic, even battledress of sorts, feeling for me. Maybe it's the incense lurking at the base, maybe I'm being influenced by the blurb, the name and the colours. But maybe it is the composition.
If the Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop is a rose to lounge on a veranda to, all chintz and Earl Grey, Eau de Protection is one for when you need to kick ass - or just feel more together.
Oh, and I agree with the Fragrantica reviewer that this is indeed a rose-based floral for someone who wears a tattered leather jacket and jeans. I do.
Try it if you like rose scents at all. Actually, try it even if you don't like florals unless you hate rose because it might offer a moment of epiphanic conversion.