Incense Rose is nothing short of a magic: the kind that leaves you spellbound for hours on end. Somewhere around 12 hours to be precise: the amount of time I can smell it on my skin.
What makes Incense Rose unique, however, is not its longevity. It is is its fresh and radiant character that dodges all stereotypes of rose-centered fragrances.
Before I had experienced Tauer's creation, the words "rose perfume" conjured up three images:
- A heavy oriental rose accompanied by
- A jammy rose, the smell of which can raise your blood sugar just by smelling it (e.g. Rose Flash by Tauer Perfumes);
- A fresh, green rose recreating a walk on a cold dewy morning in a rose field.
None of these categories of rose perfumes are particularly bad, however, they are not very original. You smell one rose-based oriental fragrance and you've smelled them all. In terms of structure and execution, there are some great fragrances in this genre but they make me yawn.
What It Smells Like
Incense Rose, on the other hand, is everything else but a sleeper. The first spray hits you with a strong radiant, freshly cut rose. Imagine smelling the rose stem and the petals crushed together, rather than the rose flower itself.
The composition is characterized by some airiness. The rose note doesn't turn overly sweet or sticky. The jammy character of the rose is not present here. Andy Tauer reproduces the jammy facet of the rose in another fragrance (Rose Flash). Here, the rose stays fresh and airy.
The radiant character of the rose in Incense Rose is accompanied by fresh incense. Just like the rose, the incense here is fresh and ethereal. The heavy smokiness, characteristic for this note in other fragrances is not present. Instead of a burnt wood undertone, the incense in this composition has a soapy facet.
While the green rose and incense elevate Incense Rose, cardamom and orris root weigh it down and give it some masculinity. The balance between the green rose and cardamom balances the fragrance as unisex. Shifting the presence of either note would throw the scent off-balance and push it in the feminine or masculine direction.
Slowly, the rose note gives way to soft resins and patchouli. These notes never dominate the stage. Rather, they play a supporting role, helping the rose exhibit different facets of its character.
As Incense Rose dries down, the rose note turns sweeter but not to the extent of other rose renditions. The patchouli makes the fragrance become darker and more grounded. Combined with the balmy resins and the tempered sweetness of the rose, Incense Rose turns into a sensual scent
Where to Rock It
When it comes to versatility, Incense Rose gets 4/5. Because of the fresh floral note, I find it that it works best in the early weeks of spring.
I don't think anyone would be challenged wearing this scent in the winter but the green sharpness of the opening may not make it a favourite scent for those snowy nights by the fireplace.
I haven't tested Incense Rose in the dead of heat, so I don't know how it will perform on a hot summer day. Experience tells me, however, that the rose and resin notes may become overpowering in a very hot weather.
As far as occasions are concerned, Incense Rose would do great for a casual brunch date and for a date night sipping cocktails at a swanky bar.
Incense Rose carries certain gravitas and sophistication and it would suit occasions that could have a hint of casual formality. Put simply, don't wear this to the gym or while you build a wooden deck.
What The Frag Heads Think about It
The Black Narcissus says that Incense Rose has "an effortless integration of freshness...and a subtle insidious mysticism". Even though he admits that he wouldn't wear it because it is not his style of fragrance, he acknowledges that if he were to smell it on someone else, he would experience something close to hypnotism. (Read the full review here.)
If I Scent You A Day
Brian from I Smell Therefore I Am says that Incense Rose is one of a handful of fragrances he'd never go without. For him, Incense Rose is all about the frankincense, which creates an elevated feeling about the perfume. (Read the full review here.)
Incense Rose is one of the best rose fragrances on the market. Andy Tauer has successfully dodged all cliches of what a rose fragrance should smell like and has created a masterpiece. if you are a fan of rose fragrances, Incense Rose is a must try. If you are not a fan, still try it - it may convert you on the spot.
- Would you buy Incense Rose?
Absolutely! It is one of the best roses on the market right now.
- Would I get compliments wearing Incense Rose?
Getting compliments depends on a whole bunch of things. Provided you are approachable and look like a decent human being, you probably would.
- What rating would you give Incense Rose?
It is a solid 5 out of 5.
Wild Rose, Bergamot, Clementine
Incense, Orris Root, Castor
Cedar, Vetiver, Myrrh, Patchouli
What do you think of Incense Rose? Share your thoughts in the comments below.