Saturday, November 20, 2010

Outlaw Perfume- Rose Of Cimarron by Bellyflowers

*If you're new to the Outlaw Perfume Project, please read this first*

Long before Bonnie Parker fell in love with Clyde Barrow and joined his outlaw life, there was Rose Dunn in the Wild West. Fifteen year old Rose met professional outlaw George "Bittercreek" Newcomb and fell in love. Rose already knew how to ride, rope and shoot, but was more famous around those parts for her beauty and gentleness and was nicknamed "Rose of Cimarron". Her lover and his gang were busy robbing banks and stagecoaches and Rose got them supplies and tended their frequent gun wounds. Rose of Cimarron fared much better than Bonnie. Two years late, her older brothers had enough of their own outlawish ways, became bounty hunters and turned George & co. in when they stopped by to visit Rose. Lawmen killed the gang and Rose was an honest woman again and lived to old age as a politician's wife.

Perfumer Elise Pearlstine of Bellyflowers Perfumes created Rose of Cimarron as an homage to the woman who put her love before danger. The perfume starts sharp, peppery and a little menacing before the heart unfolds and it's all rose and jasmine, a little green and crisp but also as round and floral as they come. Wearing Rose of Cimarron for a couple of days made me realize that I've nearly forgotten what a true rose and jasmine perfume smells like. We've become too used to those synthetic department store variations, either a laundered rose in a dryer sheet musk or sticky rose over a too sweet plastic amber. The real thing is raw and foreign at first, before smells and mementos from long gone days start flooding one's memories. A precious vial of rose oil hidden in a drawer, sachets of rose petals, crisp white sheets with handmade embroidery and lace laundered and starched in the closet.

Isn't it astonishing that these very ingredients- rose absolute, jasmine absolute and ylang-ylang, materials that once perfumed just about everything, are now heavily restricted and regulated by IFRA, to the point that a scent such as this is an "outlaw"?

Rose of Cimarron's full and complex base (labdanum, patchouli, angelica root, ambrette seed, blond tobacco and amyris) is spicy and has a chypre air. I was actually surprised not to see oakmoss listed as a note because it seems like it's there, especially with the hint of soapiness I get here and there. In any case, once the abundance of pepper dries down, this Bellyflower creation becomes almost familiar and quite  easy to wear. Longevity is excellent and there's quite a lot of sillage for the first three or four hours.

Rose Of Cimarron by Bellyflowers ($40, 10ml) is available from the perfumer's website,

Photos of Rose Dunn from

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