Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, created by perfumer Ralf Schwieger, is a girly rose scent sweetened by violets, and when I wear it I feel like I am the maraschino cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.  It is sexy in a sweet, uncomplicated way; it is a statement underlined in cherry red or hot pink, very direct in its declaration.  Like the woman who wears clingy, candy-colored sweaters or silky pink lingerie, Lipstick Rose says, “I am a girly-sweet treat, and if you want a lick of this lollipop, you’ll adore me as such.”  Notes for this fragrance according to the Frederic Malle website are rose and violet against a backdrop of musk and vanilla, with a hint of vetiver and amber.

myself tiptoeing back to it again and again, realizing that, no, this isn’t a rose and violet bouquet from the garden, this is a rose and violet confection of the type you find in candy (like the jellied centers of dark chocolates—the kind one finds in an assorted box of Russell Stovers) or in vintage cosmetics (the waxy lipsticks from the 1960s that used to line my mother’s makeup drawer).  And Lipstick Rose does indeed remind me of a plasticky-sweet maraschino cherry, but for whatever reason, I like it now—a lot.  Perhaps because it reminds me of a

I'm not a girly girl, but I own a small, travel-sized bottle of Lipstick Rose (the 10 ml. size) and can envision myself someday owning a full bottle.  It is a scent that upon first smelling it seemed plastic and fake.  And then I found

April 14, 2008:

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie, as described on Creed’s website, is “a gorgeous and sophisticated fragrance made from the rarest Bulgarian rose essences with ambergris and musk to provide depth and tenacity.  Based on a perfume created by Creed in the nineteenth century for Queen Victoria.”  While this description is mostly accurate, I beg to differ with Creed in that this is not a sophisticated fragrance.  It is quite a simple fragrance really, but simple in an elegant way: Fleurs de Bulgarie is a sunny rose softened by musk and combined with a good dose of soapy ambergris.  In fact, the ambergris is so prominent in this fragrance that I think it might better have been named Ambregris et Rose, because the rose seems to enhance the ambergris and not the other way around.  If you don’t like soapiness in perfumes, then don’t even bother with this one, but if you’re like me and enjoy the smell of expensive soaps, this scent is a delight.  To me it is a reminder of the pleasures of le toilette: the hot and soapy morning bath, the thin veil of humidity that clings to your rosy skin as you brush your hair and dab on a little makeup, and the studied decision about what outfit you’re going to wear.  As mentioned above, I tend to reach for this scent on sunny days—on hot, humid days, too—when I’m so happy and content that less really does feel like more.  Give me summer weather, a day in the garden, a book to read in the sun and the shade, and a small spritz of Fleurs de Bulgarie.  Oh, and a tomato sandwich, if you have one.  My tastes are simple come summer.

yesteryear that most likely exists only in my foolish imagination, when a woman could easily right her day by patting on some Rosemilk hand cream after the evening dishes were done, refreshing her lipstick and retiring to the porch with a cocktail or a cool ice tea, leaving her perfect kiss upon the glass.

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie eau de parfum can be purchased at Nordstom.com, where a 2.5 oz bottle is currently priced at $305 (BUT it can usually be found at some reputable perfume discounters, as well as Amazon.com, for a whole lot less). I purchased my bottle from Imagination Perfumery, although that discounter no longer seems to be in business. Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose can be purchased from Barneys.com, where a 1.7 oz bottle is currently priced at $185.


Images: photo of Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie bottle from the Creed fragrances UK website; photo of Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose bottle from Barneys.com; Blonde in Red Bathing Suit is from AllPosters.com.

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Nostalgic Roses: Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

and Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Rose perfumes.  Love ’em or hate ’em?  While they get less wear than a lot of the other fragrances in my collection, I am solidly in the camp that loves them.  The rose scent I wear most is the sinfully dark Black Aoud by Montale, but there are two other rose scents that I refer to as my “nostalgic roses” which occupy an important place in my fragrance wardrobe, even if they are not worn as frequently: Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie and Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose.  Both these fragrances have a retro-vibe to them that remind me of simpler times and of sunny days.  Cliché as it sounds, these are scents that lend me a rose-colored glasses view of life, and maybe that’s why I tend to reach for them when the weather of both my interior and exterior world is equally sunny and warm.  They enhance that feeling of gladness and carefree joy—make me feel even further in alignment with it.