This is the first perfume I have smelled by Rogue Perfumery and I need to know more. I am in love. Described by the company as an ‘indolic dirge’, Flos Mortis, or Flower Of Death, is a tuberose and jasmine tincture of potent florals over leather, osmanthus and redcurrant that, despite the thematics of decay and floral decadence, is in truth more like a fresh and scintillating Lazarus (‘wow, that is so vivid‘ said Duncan when he smelled Flos Mortis last night).
This is a perfume that truly leaps from the bottle : alive, with an onslaught of pungent, but pure, wintergreen notes that make Tubereuse Criminelle seem like a cowering ninny in comparison. The clean, accompanying jasmine absolute that tangos with the tuberose puts one in mind, at certain moments, of Sarrasins, as well as Lust by Gorilla Perfumes (which is fascinating and ravishing on some people, but just too indolic for me, like suffocating on mothballs), while the beautiful, natural tuberose absolute at the centre of the perfume – green, creamy, pink – blowing concurrently hot and cold – does at times, as you might expect with a high percentage of natural tuberose oils, also remind you, albeit briefly, of the seminal Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle, which is greener, transparent, more ‘scientific’.
Despite these tuberose and jasmine remembrances, Flos Mortis works entirely in its own right, with a discrete identity fully intact, and on my skin, rather than the faecally sour indoles you might expect from the perfume house’s descriptions (its “sweet, deathly opening“, its “dark-minded Victorian themes”), the central locus of the perfume is more comparable to vintage Poison: rich, a bit dangerous ; warm; glowing; gorgeous.
15 responses to “KILLER FLORAL : : : : FLOS MORTIS by ROGUE PERFUMERY (2019)”
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SENDING ME THIS, TORA – IT IS FANTASTIC .
I am going to get a bottle.
I have heard wonderful things about this house but haven’t tried any yet. I feel satisfied with my selection of tuberose fragrances, but your reference to vintage Dior Poison caused my ears to perk up. I loved and wore gallons of that when it was first released. Someone sent me a sample of Derviche that I haven’t tested yet, will have to remedy that asap.
So many perfumes in this world now (haven’t heard of Derviche )- we have to preserve some distance for sanity from overload reasons. But I think you would agree with my assessment of this one: mentholated tuberosa leading to Poison. Love it! Really high quality and not insanely expensive.
Perfect review! I forwarded it to Manny Cross who made Flos Mortis. He will like it!
Well I like him so it is mutual! What are the others in the range like?
I love Manny’s philosophy and his Rogues. I’m so glad you think the same. “Bureaucracy destroys art!” “Unhindered fragrance art. No EU restrictions.” Hallelujah.
I’ve tried three and have three bottles of same coming my way from California: Champs Lunaires, Mousse Illuminee and Chypre-Siam. Of those, the latter is my personal favourite, because I’m a sucker for vintage-style beauty with lots of layers and an interesting evolution, and a little bit of filth — just enough. This one delivers magnificently, with so much velvety oakmoss and the kind of floral combination that manages to be utterly familiar and totally unlike any other combination I’ve ever owned or sniffed. It has that kind of sense of inevitability that belongs to things like Shalimar or No 19: that it was waiting to be discovered by someone, fully formed. You’d love the concept, I know, especially the Southeast Asian inspiration, complete with kaffir lime leaves (below, from Manny’s notes):
“A still-life moment in the tropical eastern forest captured in a traditional chypre structure. Chypre-Siam is a vintage-style chypre fragrance, complete with nitromusks and a huge dose of oakmoss! Opening notes are kaffir lime and basil. Jasmine and ylang sweep across the forest floor and rest upon a warm base of oakmoss, sandalwood, spices, benzoin and civet.
The idea for this fragrance came to me after sampling Coty’s original Chypre back in 2012. I was already a fan of the genre, but Coty’s original was THE epitome; I could smell the framework of so many of my favorite fragrances that were slowly disappearing from production.
I was in my garden picking kaffir lime leaves for a curry my wife and I were preparing for dinner, and their bright fragrance instantly reminded me of the Chypre de Coty sample from days prior. I smelled the leaves again and realized that I was also catching whiffs of the jasmine blossoms on the other side of the yard! That was the moment; I thought how novel it would be to recreate, not the original Chypre, but rather the experience of the original using Southeast Asian materials (namely kaffir lime, holy basil and lemongrass -jasmine, ylang etc, of course, have already been mainstays of the perfumers palette).
Chypre-Siam took five years to complete. I’ve created a beautiful jasmine base that utilizes an even lovelier jasmine absolute, which helps meld the civet notes seamlessly into the benzoin base. What you get in the end is a “chypre experience” moreso than just of a list of notes. I wanted this fragrance to be able to briefly transport one back 90+ years. Enjoy!”
Champs Lunaires is another tuberose, but I would think more feminine and “easier” than Flos Mortis. I think you’d like the coconut in it. It works so well with the floral notes. Very, very creamy.
I bought Mousse Illuminee for Ric. It’s quite a monster, performance-wise, I would say linear in a good way, and still melts nicely into his skin. It’s perfect for Ric’s lumberjack aesthetic, outdoorsy and natural, but to the nth degree. Here are Manny’s notes:
“A dreamlike forest. The green lichen emanate. A bright, silver glow. Notes include: Treemoss, Frankincense, Green Cypress, Artemisia, Laurel Leaves, Cedar, White Floral Notes, White Musk.
Mousse Illuminee is built around a lovely treemoss absolute from Robertet. The absolute smells dry, resinous, sweet…of the forest.
I decided upon an early 80’s style men’s powerhouse fragrance. I went heavy on floral Lyral and clean white musk notes for the base. Artemisia, laurel leaf and cypress were used to accentuate the bitter spicy green notes. I then completed the composition with big notes of frankincense, lending a piney, camphor-like opening.”
By the way, Neil, his customer service is extraordinary. He’s been so good with communication all the way along, a pleasure. I’m so glad to be able to support him. And I’m glad you’ve discovered Manny, too. I don’t get too excited by many indie houses the way I have with Rogue Perfumery.
Fantastic to read this. I also have a sample of Champs Luminaires which is lovely and was obvious it very intrigued by Chypre Siam though wonder about the wearability of the kaffir lime and holy basil.
I shall definitely investigate further !
I’m glad you’re going to keep exploring Rogue, Neil. For your sake and Manny’s, because his kind of talent deserves recognition and success and you’re the high priest of fragrance experts with a lot of clout 😉 . (I’m serious but I knew you’d roll your eyes so laid it on thick.) I think his prices are much better than with the smoke-and-mirrors high-concept indie houses, which can also be more narrative/personality- than ingredient-driven.
Oh, yeah, I know what you mean about the kaffir lime and holy basil. I tried it on skin before I ever read the notes. I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years. Chypre-Siam is actually quite a sleeper, in a way. It’s quiet and elegant and very, very blended. No notes stick out awkwardly. It’s all quite French, retro, understated, harmonious, etc. I think that’s why I love it, at least one of the big reasons. Manny isn’t trying too hard to make some kind of contemporary splash or put some big personal stylistic stamp on it. But it is a little slyly subversive. It’s for people who have been exposed to a lot of old stuff, old-school stuff. The civet and nitro-musks work some kind of smoldering magic around a classical construction. Either Manny has smelled a lot of vintage perfume or he’s just a freak talent. Maybe both.
Fuck it, I bought a bottle. Haven’t played blindly in a long time and sure, I have Tubereuse Criminelle, Carnal Flower, Sarrasins and Lust so most probably didn’t “need” this Flos Mortis thing, but I’m a tuberose and jasmine fanatic so why not? Keeping my fingers crossed for falling madly in love 🙂
If not I will buy it off you.
Fantastic review of Flos Mortis! I was so glad to see this. I was introduced to Rogue Perfumery through a Basenotes sample pass, and within minutes of applying Champs Lunaires, I ordered a bottle. I didn’t need another big white floral, but I couldn’t resist Champs Lunaires’ perfectly calibrated balance of creaminess, airiness, and indoles. Manny Cross deserves every success. I completely agree with Robin that this is not a “smoke and mirrors” niche house. I think he’s the real thing, an indie artist making beautiful perfumes out of honest (but not fetishized) materials without hype or pretension. Truly, I don’t need another chypre, but I think I need a bottle of Chypre Siam.
Loved reading this, G. Makes up for some of the irk I feel when another overhyped Idôle gets unleashed on us!
I think I have tried them all. I now own Le Canotier (a glorious white tobacco flower and my hands down favourite), Siam (the kaffir dries down in 20 min to leave a very capable, yet subdued oakmoss forward chypre) and 40 Rogue (nice, polite, dandy husky-powder). Next will be Flos and Tabac Vert (swoon worthy).
My best brand find of 2019.
ooh I am liking the sound of the Canotier immensely and really need to try the Siam as well. Tell me more about Tabac Vert please!
I think I might need to order the full sample set.