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January 25, 2006

Fragrance Review: L'Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses


Rose is often considered as a quintessential feminine flower, a flower that represents woman in different stages of her life, a flower that men traditionally give to the women they love. The pronounced rose notes in the modern perfumery are usually reserved for feminine compositions, despite the fact that this fascinating flower appears into 75% of all modern fragrances and into 10% of all men’s scents. In the Middle East, where rose is traditionally considered masculine, the yellow rose being the symbol of Islam, it finds way into fragrances intended for men much more often than it does in the West. Since rose is usually interpreted as sweet, lush and soft, it is interesting to experience creations that highlight its masculine side, such as Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit, Les Parfums  de Rosine Rose d'Homme and L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses.

Created by Michel Almairac in 1993, Voleur de Roses speaks of rose blossoms covered with wet soil. Patchouli creates a heavy feeling that pervades the atmosphere after the rainstorm as the humid vapours rise over the drenched vegetation....

The mass of red petals is mixed with the oily darkness, their sweetness losing itself in the pungent camphorous cloud of patchouli. Tart fruity juices drip through the earthy layers, adding a bright touch that dissolves the dense heaviness of the composition.

While woods, especially sandalwood, have a tendency to suppress the arrangement, patchouli makes it explode. Its effervescence creates an almost dynamic effect conjuring a vision of the wind ripping the petals off the rose bushes. As the fragrance dries down, the subtle sweetness of the rose loses itself in the resinous woods warmed by the musky breath. The earthiness persists into the drydown, and at one point, the composition shifts slightly to resemble not a handful of dirty roses but a slice of hot rye bread. Crimson rose petals swirls above the darkness of the base, slowly disappearing into its fold.

For all of its interesting facets, Voleur de Roses is not among my personal favourites, because its earthiness has a transparent quality, whereas I would have liked for the drydown to be more fullbodied and perhaps less dry and camphorous. For those who wish to explore further the marriage of rose and patchouli, I would recommend Les Parfums de Rosine Une Folie de Rose. Indeed, if one found Voleur de Roses to be too heavy on patchouli, Une Folie de Rose might be a gentler, less challenging fragrance to wear.

Notes include rose, plum, patchouli. L'Artisan Parfumeur fragrances are available at Aedes, Barneys New York, Beautycafe, Bergdorf Goodman, Bluemercury, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and Theperfumeshoppe. European shoppers can find the line at First-in-Fragrance.

Photo: Roses from



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