Monday, August 01, 2016

Lust and Lush, the Accord of Rose and Peach: A Review of Four Scents and A Tackling of Two Classics

There are four words that peaches and roses share in the vocabulary description regularly: full, lush, lust, and ripe. It makes utter sense, if you wanted to take two symbols from the fruit and flower kingdom that had equal status in arena of sensuality these two would be it. Maybe it is fate that together they are one of those perfect pairings, like rose and oud, or gardenia and coconut. Today's review will be long and consider it a long view* of the combination of peach and rose.

There are two legendary perfumes that reign in the court of peach and rose perfumes: the 1979 classic that first became legendary for being a disaster but has now become considered a masterpiece in the history of rose perfumes, Guerlain's Nahema. The other legend is modern baroque at it its finest and was released in 1990, Lancome's Tresor.

I am not a perfect expert on the formulations and vintages of Nahema. The concentration I have is the eau de parfum of the modern formulation. After looking at various posts from lovers of Nahema most have commended it still has its original skeleton especially in its current reformulation.

Nahema is most definitely a full grown adult perfume. The opening is the game of chairs, you are getting all of the notes, and as it settles notes they are getting eliminated for the winners. Your beginning is strange confusion pink powder puff roses contending with cold green spices and aldehydes. Held from afar you will smell lovely delicate rose held close and suddenly you will smell rooty hyacinth and clove, it's rather trippy. As it settles the peach note begins to ascend and the peach is smothered in enough spice that I am reminded of Mitsouko thankfully the rose starts entering the winner's circle at this point and I don't need to worry about Mitsouko. What then follows is the melding of peach and rose. I can't help but think of a baked peach crisp that has lashing of tart roses and a splash of cream, there are spices accenting it, but this isn't gourmand. The rose here is lushly pink and powdered with hints of tart and yet at moments you suddenly will get get green. What makes Nahema so interesting for me is the game play of pink and green, at moments I think I am getting a fruity pink rose with powder hinting at a lipstick rose combination but then suddenly there will be a strike of green, it is an amazing balancing act. Eventually the green recedes along with the spices, what then happens is the love song of peach and rose on a bed of vanilla. This is an exquisite balance in my time with rose scents I can tell you one thing: frequently the rose will be overwhelmed by the other notes, yet in Nahema the rose note remains til the end. The ending of Nahema is shockingly delicate and rather pure, the triad of rose, peach, and vanilla keep up their sonorous song till the end.

The next scent to enter the arena of the peach and rose combination is Lancome's Tresor. Tresor is Tresor, it is a scent that dominated the romantic arena once it entered the field. To my nose it is like a combination of Nahema and Yves Saint Laurent's Paris, the peach of Nahema meets the powdered uber-feminine violet rose of Paris. Further connecting its heritage to Paris is the sandalwood drydown of both Tresor and Paris. The current formulation of Tresor sadly does away with its peach scent very quickly and what I get is mainly a combination of violet accented rose with hints of lilac and sandalwood. The woody dry down for this is rather intense and it feels like Lancome has stripped the legend of its once voluptuous peach beginning.

As I researched Nahema I found a question that constantly reappeared in conversations "Is there anything like Nahema?" Well, there is no dupe but I can say there definitely two rose perfumes currently being made that are most definitely of the same lineage as Nahema and part of me suspects were inspired just a bit by Nahema.

If you love the fruity peach moment in Nahema then I am going to implore you too seek out A Wing & A Prayer's Summer Afternoon. Summer Afternoon starts with gorgeous minted geranium rose, it's cool and vibrant. As the scent settles a light clove note enters but before the clove** can become too much the sweetest lovely combination of peaches and roses enter. The peach in Summer Afternoon is just a bit candied but intertwined with the roses it creates something akin to a peach rose preserve. What I particularily like about Summer Afternoon is that Jane Cate anchors the sweet rose and peach with an effervescent fir and rosewood with just the tiniest hint of vanilla, the light evergreen bottom truly allows the peach and rose to be both fresh and sweet.

If you love the Mitsouko spiced peach moment in Nahema then I am going to suggest you seek out DSH Perfume's La Reine des Fleurs. The vanilla too much for you in Nahema? Ever wanted a Mitsouko that was accented by rose? Then La Reine des Fleurs is definitely worth your while. La Reine des Fleurs is darker take on the combination of peach and rose. Far more subdued, it is a scent firmly grounded to the earth with a more prominent notes oak moss and patchouli these two notes push forward the spiced peach note. It definitely leans into chypre territory.

*Yes, this is most definitely the history major in me coming out.
**I should be honest I love the scent of cloves but find that frequently on my skin in does weird things, if it seems repetitive that I mention the strength of the clove it's only because I have clove weird skin.

First image from
Second image 'Salom̩' by Paul Antoine de La Boulaye. (1849 Р1926)
Third image from
Fourth Image 'White Rose in a Glass' by Piet Mondrian
Fifth image from
Sixth image from Miho Hirano
Seventh image from
Eighth image Hellen Van Meene

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