Monday, 25 June 2012

Quest for the Best Rose Perfume: Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare by Creed

I have decided to kick off my series of rose perfume reviews with Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare by Creed as this is the perfume that re-ignited my quest to find the best rose perfume; in fact, it turned it from a simpe quest to an obsession! I had never heard of the perfume house Creed until I read the article Aromatic memoirs of a movie icon before Lauders and Ardens in the Sunday Telegraph's Sunday Magazine. As soon as I read the following statement, Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare is part of Creed’s Private Collection. The crisp fragrance has none of the musky dustiness of most rose styles and is considered one of the best rose scents ever made, I became obsessed with Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare. I was a women on a mission. My ambition in life became to smell this fragrance.

Creed was founded in 1760; however, it was only launched in Australia in October 2011. Creed is the world's only privately held luxury fragrance dynasty, passed from father to son since founding, and is one of the oldest family businesses in the world. Strangely, Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare only comes in a 250ml bottle, which, at $452 you would want to make damn sure that you like it. I managed to find a seller who bought a 1000ml flask from the Creed store before deciding that it was too much juice for one person to get through so was selling smaller, more reasonable sized decants. I managed to pick up one such decant.

What they say (from the Creed website): Fleur de The' Rose Bulgare was made for the wife of an historic U.S. President. The distinguished lady from New York first encountered CREED on her extended honeymoon in Europe. When she returned to America, she wrote to CREED requesting a custom fragrance made with Bulgarian tea roses she had smelled during her sojourn abroad. For her, CREED created Fleur de The' Rose Bulgare, which evokes endless honeymoon romance. It also evokes the beauty and destiny of the gracious woman who became First Lady a few years later.

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, citrus notes
  • Middle Notes: Chinese green tea, Bulgarian rose
  • Base Notes: Ambergris

What I Say: As my quest for the best rose perfume did not end upon smelling his one it obviously wasn't the perfection in a bottle that I was seaking. I had built this fragrance up so much in my head that realistically it was never going to quite live up to my expectations. I imagined that it would smell exactly like walking through a field of red roses in bloom - heady and euphoric. My very first impression was that it smelt like rose pot pouri. However, I was 7 months pregnant when I first smelt it and pregnancy makes my sense of smell become incredibly sensitive so I put the perfume away until after I had given birth. Interestingly, when I first sprayed it I was in a room with three other women and they all immediately said that it smelt exactly like fresh roses.

Second impression - it is definitely a very true rose scent, though, to my nose, seems to be missing the sweetness of a fresh red rose. Initially I can detect the citrus top notes though these have all but disappeared within 5 minutes leaving the Bulgarian rose middle note to dominate. The other middle note is green tea and I think that it is this note that takes away the sweetness of rose, making it a drier scent. I have read reviews that say they can smell the tannins in this and while I can't say that I know what tannins smell like, there is a slight sharpness to the fragrance that does remind me of the bitterness of tannins in tea. This dry rosiness then lasts for hours and hours so, if you like how the fragrance smells after 5 minutes you will also like how it smells after 5 hours as it doesn't change or evolve.

I was wearing this fragrance on the weekend, whilst I had Kiki in her carrier, and a friend came up to me to have a look at Kiki. She exlaimed 'oh wow, she smells just like roses' whereby I then took credit for the beautiful smell! So, it seems that when I am wearing it the scent others pick up is a very true rose scent and it is just when I sniff my wrists up close that the bitter dryness of the green tea is more noticeable.

I have seen some reviews that suggest this fragrance could be unisex which really surprised me as I don't see rose working on a male. The fragrance does lose some of its femininity by not having the sweet element to the rose but it is still a strong floral fragrance and not one I would associate with a man. To be sure, I used my husband as a guniea pig and sprayed it on his wrist. I could actually detect the citrus notes a lot more strongly on him than I did on myself. I was surprised that it wasn't too feminine on my husband, actually we were both quite surprised though he did say that it is not a fragrance that he would ever wear. I think the mear association with rose makes it too girly.

This is a very sophisticated, high quality fragrance and quite a poweful one. It is a serious one as opposed to a fun one - I would wear it in situations where I want to be respected. It does not smell cheap or tacky. The lasting power is quite incredible - I easily got 5+ hours out of it and that is strong scent - the perfume could still be weakly detected on my wrists the following morning. The sillage, that is the trail of scent left behind by a perfume, is high being evident by my friend thinking my baby smelt like roses.
How does this perfume rate as a rose perfume? Near perfect in my eyes - if it were only slightly sweeter then it would probably be perfect. I am going to experiment with layering with other fragrances to see if I can bring out the sweetness I am looking for.

Modern or classical? Definitely classical. It is a fragrance that you could imagine a mature women wearing. In saying that, it is not an old lady's fragrance - or at least I didn't think so but it doesn't have any notes in it that scream modern.

Day or night? Mostly night though it would also be appropriate in serious or formal day situations such as important meetings.

Summer or winter? This is actually a year round fragrance. The greeness of it would make it appropriate for summer yet it is quite heavy so it does not seem out of place in winter,
Would I buy it again? Probably. The only real thing holding me back is the size of the flask it comes in and the price. If it were ever to be release in a smaller sized bottle then I would definitely buy it again.

Where to buy? In Australia you can get it from the Creed Boutique in Double Bay, Sydney, online at Libertine Parfumerie or at the Elizabeth St David Jones Store.

Does this fragrance sound like your cup of tea? Had you previously heard of Creed? Does it do anyone elses head in that the company Creed has been around longer than the country we live in (or at least it was around before white settlement occurred in Australia).

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This perfume was purchased by myself with my own money.