The desire to escape the daily routine has intensified (perhaps proportionately with work stress), and although we are planning to take some time off soon, so far I have been making do with looking into—or out of, via a crowdsourced quarantine project called WindowSwap, which I won’t link to here because even though I think it’s brilliant, I’m not sure how long it will last in its current state—other people’s windows, virtually. A little change in perspective can go a moderate way, too: my other half filmed a time-lapse video of the sunset out of our own window, and just watching that made it feel like someone else’s world for a few minutes.
This week I’ve been wearing samples from Les Parfums de Rosine, which I was quite happy to buy for 25 euros with free shipping from Paris to the US. The pack contains 12 vials, and a pink ribbon wraps around for a final touch.
As the name of the house suggests, they are all rose perfumes, which mark familiar and favored territory for me—a nice break from studying other materials. So far I’ve only had the chance to try the Ballerina collection, which is numbered from 1 to 5, with N°2 excluded from the sample pack. I know next to nothing about ballet, but I appreciate the dichotomy of hard work in the background to present effortless elegance to an audience with high expectations (of magic).
This is the baby ballerina, taking her first steps on pointe. The milkiness is one of the first things I notice, and it’s overall comforting, like a gentle lotion applied just before bedtime. The delicate rose is accompanied by something fruity, reminiscent of a shampoo. This child will fall down and get up again, over and over, and smile at the end of the day thinking of her accomplishments.
The ballerina is a blossoming femme fatale now (a Black Swan, according to the intentions of the brand), and the rose is serious. The perfume opens with the chemical urgency of a thick crimson lipstick, but this quickly fades into a darker red fullness on a bed of vanilla, to me reminiscent of Lancôme Rouge Now or Never. The woody blend gives it supporting structure. This is my favorite in the collection.
After several hours, ambrettolide reveals itself in the drydown, but this is easily remedied by a reapplication.
Is this still a rose perfume? Not really—it’s a generous bouquet of white flowers, much like Le Labo Lys 41. Rose leads by following, this time. There is orange, and something praliné. Bright (in a fluffy-cloud way) and uplifting throughout, but not shy about dessert. The White Swan is olfactorily satisfying in a different way.
This opens with a mélange of candied fruits—berries, perhaps—but like how with most candy, you can taste the processing, the scent quickly descends into aggressive air freshener territory. The almost desperate sweetness turns syrupy. An exotic fantasy interpreted awry. Fortunately, it turns down its volume pretty quickly.
It’s good to be able to write rose prose sometimes.