In a 1984 episode of Tales of the Unexpected, a man learns that his wife, whom he wants to leave, apparently has a new lover. “I feel angry. Cheated,” he says, unsurprisingly. “But most of all, I feel jealous!”
“Jealous?” parrots his associate, perplexed.
“If he finds her exciting, why don’t I? What am I missing?”
This may be the strangest angle of jealousy that I have ever heard, but after sampling Les Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose, I suppose I can relate to being slightly jealous that I am not a pretty, porcelain teapot in which to brew rose tea from delicate rosebuds.
I think it’s fair to say that Un Zest de Rose is, first and foremost, a citrus perfume. It’s quite a different atmosphere from the richer, thicker, Ballerina series in the same discovery set I purchased. Listed “head” notes are citrus essence, bergamot, and orange peel. Its refreshing lemon scent reminds me of “awakening” hotel shampoos. It pleads on the wearer’s behalf to some unknown entity for permission to be young—that is, adolescent—again.
The rose is no truant, however, and appears in the heart notes, along with green tea and jasmine. It is a rose that has been plucked and dried before it has had a chance to bloom, like the bags of rose buds I used to buy from Chinese supermarkets to add to tea. They impart a wilted flavor, and this note translates in Un Zest de Rose, complementing the astringency of green tea and mate. Perhaps, if a rose could be zested like a citrus peel, this is roughly how it would turn out. Or, perhaps, the spelling of Zest (as opposed to zeste) implies a pun, which brings the meaning to something more like “taste.” A taste of rose?
I don’t really perceive the ambergris and white musk listed as base notes, but they are more like background players, smoothing out the floral composition and making this tea more drinkable. They turn the drydown scent from shampoo to body lotion, without losing the green background. The perfume doesn’t last beyond a few hours, so there is no fear of overpowering. It doesn’t leave a strong impression, either, but true to its name, it promised only the zest, not the whole rose!
[Next-day update: I had reapplied once in the afternoon, onto skin, and the whole night I kept waking up to wafts of a musky, mildly sweet, jasmine-tea base. Still going strong the next morning.]