Years ago, I thought the rose was a precious and delicate flower reserved for rare occasions, not wedding-arrangement filler that's readily available at my corner bodega. And while its fragrance in a bouquet is intoxicating, when bottled up it automatically ages by at least a hundred years. Don't even get me started on creams and potions that look and smell as if they were found in an 18th-century vanity, or perfumes that seem better suited for use as embalming fluid. Part of my war on the rose stems from the fact that so few seem able to capture its fresh, youthful and truly lovely attributes. Luckily I've managed to find four brands that give rose a good name.
By Terry: Terry de Gunzberg scents loads of her skincare and makeup products with unusual hybrid versions of the flower like the Alba. Her Rose de Rose sheer liquid blush in Fresh Rose imparts cheeks with a freshly-plucked intense pink glow and smells just like the real thing.
By Kilian: Kilian Hennessy (yes, of the Hennessy clan) is the dark prince of fragrance. His blends are almost narcotic, and the addicted can buy them in chic black flacons or liter-size barrels. His Liaisons Dangereuses perfume is a primarily plum and prune fragrance, but the addition of a sophisticated and piercing Damascus Rose accord that enhances the primary notes makes it worth a mention. Look for his latest, Arabian Nights Rose Oud, which combines the bloom with Oud, the note of the moment, later this month.
Korres: The Greek apothecary brand has quite the love affair with the rose -- it perfumes the bestselling Wild Rose moisturizer and even a chiclet-like Rose gum. Our current crush is reserved for its new Japanese Rose scent. The fresh and sweet budlike aroma comes bottled up in a body butter and a shower gel.
Ren: I must be swayed by this British brand's modern packaging and eco-friendly reputation because, in truth, there is a very traditional bent to its Moroccan rose scent, made with fair trade rose extract. Thankfully, though, the classic elements are countered by an exotic musk. I'm particularly fond of the Sugar Body Polish.