The craving for roses goes unabated. A perennial trend, particularly in Tokyo, where the rose is a dependable fallback. Women love roses here, the word either the same – ‘rose’– , pronounced in an inimitable, sensual way here – or else as the Japanese original ‘bara’.
Couple that love with the lovely froufrou Parisiana of Diptyque’s signature designs that light up the corner of any department store ( I was prowling the newest skyscraper destination in Shibuya yesterday among thousands of other shoppers on the national holiday before seeing Ari Aster’s Midsommar), and both the beautifully packaged candle – Paris En Fleurs – and the new eau de parfum, Eau Capitale, are surely destined to become big hits in Japan.
The Diptyquians have not taken any risks here with this rose release : the scent of this perfume immediately familiar in its full richness of rose and patchouli, the classic olfactive pairing that put me in mind swiftly of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Voleur De Roses, Sisley’s Soir De Lune, and Frederic Malle’s Portrait Of A Lady. It is assuredly done, with the usual pink pepper, quite enveloping – if not entirely tingling to my own senses – but with its ‘unisex’ labelling and fullfledgedness, I also look do forward to smelling theses roses on boys around town (the barazoku, or rose tribe, is the code word in Japanese for the young homosexual man).
Real roses, fresh dawn roses, are emotionally imploring : cut to the quick. I have always found them very innocent, protective : a whole world unto themselves : “Love is a rose, but you’d better not pick it “ said Linda Rondstadt: “…… it only grows on the vine”. Rose Trocadero is one of those courageously uninhibited soliflores that tries to capture that moment of leaning into an erect stem of pure tea rose in the early morning dew of May or June. Simple, nostalgic, with its touches of black currant bud over a bed of gentle white musk, the perfumer Yuri Gatz has successfully shied away from overdecoration.
Not so at Tom Ford :
where the luxurious provocateur continues his pattern of naughtily titled perfumes (Lost Cherry, etc).
As a child, I was captivated by roses in fairy tales: the stolen white rose by Belle’s father leading to his incarceration by the beast; the prick of blood on a young maiden’s finger leading to incantations cast by covert sorceresses ( or later, vampires : Mina, her back arched in ecstasy in the moonlight rose bush gardens of Bram Stoker’s Dracula ): the power of the thorn / flower dichotomy always irresistible.
Instead of Snow White, the screen advertisement for Tom Ford’s latest outré product push features music more suited to a horror movie, as knife edges slash through white suede, and roses spill their seed, oozing like light pink matte paint ( this colour – which I adore – perfectly suiting the thick, sweet, clinging tonka beaned, coumarinic turmeric base of the gourmand amber/patchouli heart, peppered with Sichuan I personally find rather airless and suffocating). Once again, Mr Ford has ripped flowers from their natural habitat and twisted them for his own urbanic delectations. The problem is, that despite the sexual innuendo of the name, and the promise of ‘juiciness’, the alleged profusion of Bulgarian, Turkish and May roses in the blend lacks generosity, fullness:; fecundity: a prick, for me has always sounded long, bony, thin. I much prefer a dick, or a cock.