Strangely, I read the other day that Eau De Rochas is currently this venerable company’s best selling scent in France (I have never seen it sold anywhere else, although there is still a bottle on the dresser in the guest bedroom back in England).
There is a vintage bottle, also, in my collection, but for some reason I seem to never want to wear it.
Perhaps because this sharp, lemony perfume is an anomaly in the world of citrus perfumes. A depressed, serotonin-dipping citrus – the image evoked, for me, of a valiumed up California housewife, staring out, trapped in suburban hell.
The sun blazes outside her white 70’s condo. But all she sees is clouds, in her pressed, grey slacks. The shadows under plants, and nothing, despite outer appearances, really, to ever look forward to: a curiously affecting, schizoid effect achieved with two very opposing accords that constantly dim and sync with each other: a bright top note of Calabrian lime, tangerine, bergamot and Sicilian lemon, giving a quick flowing glimpse of freshness and easy optimism. Deceptive, though. Her inner world, where the lights seem to have gone out, stems from a much darker undertone of patchouli, narcissus, Croatian oakmoss, and sandalwood.
She blinks for a second.
Straightens the ironing board:
wills herself to get ready.
59 responses to “YOU LOOK RIGHT THROUGH ME : : : EAU DE ROCHAS (I970)”
Haha, I was thinking of acquiring this one out of interest, maybe not! Have you tried Eau d’Hermes?
No, don’t listen to me. Eau De Rochas is actually really good, which is why I was so amazed, last time I was in Paris, probably eight years ago or so now, it was stacked in all sizes and formats on the shelves of Sephora on the Champs Elysees. I was amazed.
I love citruses to death, and this is a good one. It’s just…..for me, there is something in that undertone I find really dour. Maybe in the current version you could get the citrus lift without that, but for me, that moss is a downer.
Unless I am wrong, Eau d’Hermes is nothing like this. That is very much more in the decadent animalic scale of things. Quite interesting but I have never worn it. I think I mentioned that one in my Dandy post.
I used to adore Eau de Rochas, then one day I just did not any longer. It does have a dark undertone to it, but that was what always hooked me in. Wish I had not sold off my bottles, now it feel like revisitng it 😦
Have you ever got more bottles since this time? (sorry I just noticed I failed to reply the first time!)
Funny you should ask. About a month ago I found a pristine bottle of the splash, from way back when it was called Eau de Roche and it is absolutely gorgeous.
I am really glad I found this one again, it was like reuniting with a long lost relative. Just the kind of balm my soul needed.
This, along with a few Guerlain eaux, Ô de Lancôme and Eau de Givenchy will be perfect for hot summer days.
How citrussy is it now: have the notes been preserved?
And which of the Guerlain Eaux do you like best?
Oh I could see the sun moving across the sky in accordance with those top notes, what a great auteur-like snapshot. The light going out inside, :(!
As much as I have tried to love this scent, I always get that blow.
I adore this Rochas. It has exactly that flat bleached feel I associate with 70s cinema, from the wide angled shots of Kubrick’s work, to Forbes’ Stepford Wives and even Lee’s homage The Ice Storm.
It is hollow, haunting and yet strangely enticing, an empty eyed temptress from Greek mythology transferred to an America Ford-era supermarket aisle.
Compelling, and utterly wearable on dowdy, humid London days when one’s looking to scare Post Office counter assistants.
The Perfumed Dandy
HOW could I have missed this comment?
I really am a crap ‘blogger’.
Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:
Calling all Narcissi. I am currently writing about citrus and colognes for my book. Any citrus favourites you might like to share? Any lemon oddballs like this one that I should include?
I own these citruses: Whip and Eau Noble by Le Galion, Cologne a l’Italienne by Institut Tres Bien, Eau du Sud by Annick Goutal and Eau de Cologne Astier de Villatte. I tend to only wear them when the weather is hot, which it hasn’t been here since June last year.
Eau du Sud is quite a recent acquisition, bought as a cheap lucky dip on ebay because it had lost its label, so I don’t know it terribly well. Love both the Le Galions and should really wear them more. From memory, Whip is more herbal, Eau Noble has a very fresh lemon topnote and a mossy base. Cologne a l’Italienne is orange and slightly salty. The Astier de Villatte (another ebay purchase) is proper short-lived but refreshing cologne to douse in when you’re too hot.
Very interesting, thanks. Funnily enough, Sogo in Yokohama has just started selling Le Galion, and I liked their Cologne and Cologne Nocturne – will try Whip properly on Thursday and check if they have Eau Noble. Also smelled the Astier de Villatte range in Shinjuku at the weekend – I quite liked the Orange Amere up to a point, and there was a gorgeously hay-like mimosa I want to smell again.
Definitely agree about only wearing these when it is hot : here in Japan it is delightfully warm compared to how it was in England which is probably why I am in the mood for writing about citrus. Bring on the spring and summer!
The mimosa sounds lovely – is that Grand Chalet? It’s been on my list for a while and if you like it I will definitely make an effort to smell it.
D didn’t like it, but then again he hates mimosa. Yes it was the Grand Chalet – to me it smelled very natural and fresh, not sweetened at all. I want to smell it again.
This is one that I am not familiar with.
Do you ever go for citrus?
Not much of a citrus person, but on the odd occasion I am in the mood, it is Dior Eau Fraîche that I prefer. Haven’t smelled it in years, but I also used to like Guérlain Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat as well. I never liked Eau de Rochas, always preferred Eau de Givenchy.
But that is so marine for me somehow (really like that scent). I would love to smell Eau Fraiche. And YES to Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat! Smelled it again on Saturday – absolute lemon heaven.
Love that description! (Although I feel anything but a desperate housewife when I wear Eau de Rochas. It was the first fragrance Ric ever bought for me and the sentimental value must trump any of its depressive powers.)
I wish I could come up with some oddball citruses for you, Neil. The only weird-ish one that comes to mind is Guerlain AA Pamplelune because of its alleged “cat pee” note, which I don’t find in it myself. I l think it’s beautiful. But I will think some more today and hopefully something will pop into my head. My favourite citrus might be Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Bergamotto di Calabria: the best first ten minutes of anything I’ve smelled in this category.
Excited that you’re starting work on The Book.
I have no choice!
Do you think it is ok once in a while for me to ask for suggestions like this? I have my own ideas of course but it is nice to have other input from equally obsessed perfume people.
As long as we get a cut of the profits.
But seriously, we love you and would be honoured to throw out some ideas to support the writing of The Book. Whatever sticks to the wall.
And curious and beautifully coincidental that Eau De Rochas was the first perfume he bought you. At your request, or by himself?
I do like it, I must admit, even though it has disappeared from the world (except in Paris, where at Sephora the last time I was there there were whole shelves of it with the shower gel, deodorant, the works. It must tap into some French nerve).
By himself, that amazing man. Excellent instincts. He’d never owned a fragrance in his life except the Avon Wild Country his mum gave him in the seventies, golf-bag bottle and all. (Excellent stuff, btw. I tracked down another vintage bottle for him all the way from New Jersey. Seven bucks, I think, original box and all. Classic fougère. Nothing like the current dreck.)
Strange that Eau de Rochas thrives in Paris and has dried up everywhere else. Ric’s was a full vintage bottle. Slightly shaky at the top but settles down nicely. I have no idea where he might have found it out here in the middle of nowhere. I’ve asked and he won’t tell. He loves mystery.
So do I.
Love your description for this fragrance, Neil. Rochas Pour Homme is also worth sniffing out.
Tell me more.
And no other citruses?
COME ON, PEOPLE !
Howzabout 1969’s Ô de Lancôme by Robert Gonnon, the nose behind Mētal, Sikkim, Empreinte and Anaïs Anaïs?
Preaching to the converted.
Should check out the latest ‘version’ as well I suppose.
Can’t imagine it is as good as it was when it was oakmossed to the hilt, but it might still be alright.
Any other citruses you have come into contact with recently? (you seem to be one of the very few who are willing to play this game with me!)
Well, it’s not earth-shatteringly oddballish, but kumquat isn’t a citrus note I see very often: it’s the centrepiece of Hermès Le Jardin de Monsieur Li. I find it delicious and it unfolds beautifully, as simple as it is.
Yes, I quite like that one. A successor of Roma Biagiotti and the like – citrus and cute vanilla.
Oh, god, Roma in its day was a force. I would never have connected it with Monsieur Li: opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum, citrus notwithstanding. Interesting!!
Monsieur Li’s true charms have eluded me I will confess
Monsieur Li is a funny one. I scrubbed it off sharpish but a lot of reviewers had very different experiences. Also don’t like Arquiste L’Etrog much.
Have you tried The Different Company’s Sienne d’Orange? It has an oddball collection of notes: orange, green cardamom seeds, dill, carrot essence, carrot CO2, apricot wood, white leather.
I haven’t. I think I saw that one at Hankyu Department store actually. Might have to go back and check it out. Does it work? I usually shudder at the mere mention of carrot in anything (except in food: : :: love it)
The carrot note in Hiris gives you the shudders? NO!!
As soon as I wrote that I had already exempted Hiris in my mind. You miss nothing!
It does work, oddly. It comes across as mostly a bitter marmalade type of orange, without sugar, and with a rooty undertone from the carrot. I like it, though I’m not much for citrus-focused fragrances.
Hermes Eau d”Orange verte is lovely on a hot day, not so keen on the grapefruit smell in Sur Le Nil though.
My feelings precisely. I adore Orange Verte – there is a mystery to it and a dark summerlight crispness.
I do like the grapefruit opening of Sur Le Nil, again a bit surprising to me as I don’t tend to go for citrus-forward scents. I don’t dislike them, I just don’t tend to seek them out.
I have a small bottle somewhere.
In general though I must admit that those thin Ellena scents somewhat bore me.
I understand! I think of most citrus fragrances as somewhat thin — are there any “heavy” ones?
Just woke up after dreaming about you and Duncan. Must’ve been because I’d commented here before I went to bed last night. You’d sent me a huge surprise package crammed with all sorts of obscure and fantastic fragrances. The dining room table was covered with bottles. Then you and D. showed up at my place, jet-lagged and hungry, and wanted to try the little Japanese take-out down the road. It was such a blast having you here. I guess getting to know you through theblacknarcissus got into my subconscious?! Cool!
I love it.
Sounds like my dreams.
The original Aqua Di Parma Colonia is a favorite. Bright beginning with a nice drydown. Dior Escada line has some great citrus scents. Portofino is one of the line, but I don’t believe it is in production anymore.
Oh yes, I felt a slight Dior shaped hollow the other day – they weren’t on display (what do you think of Diorella?).
I couldn’t quite get a handle on the Aqua di Parmas the other day but do remember liking the dry down in the original. Quite soapy and comforting (unlike, say, the Atelier Colognes, whose beginnings I love but whose flat musky dry downs don’t usually do that much for me).
I haven’t tried Heeley Note de Yuzu but it seems to have been quite a hit.
Yes : it’s very clubby- I can imagine
The Eau de Roche de Rochas I have is super old, so it is a pretty intense citrus with all the fabulous old fixatives they used. I do not know how it compares to modern versions, because none are to be found anywhere near me.
My two favorite eaux from Guerlain are Impériale and Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat which is amazing. Both of my bottles are from the 90’s so they still have some of the old lasting power to them.
I actually wore Eau de Givenchy today and my clothes still smell strongly of it, in the hamper, almost 13 hours later. That one is a fabulously tenacious one, lots of orange blossom in it.
Oh, how I adore mes eaux.
I do love the fact that, on spotting a hermetically sealed bottle in my favourite discount shop, I can return home and just discover
that you have written all I need to know about it. Hey presto.
I imagine that being great on you !