Natural perfumers were the ones to show me that I can wear and enjoy rose perfumes. Thicker, darker and often sweeter, these compositions never go sour on my skin. Instead, they evoke whatever emotion that's behind these roses, be it a happy pink one or a gothic red. Rose Bohème by perfumer Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co. is closer to the latter, but not quite. It is deep and serious, but doesn't go all "vampire with a soul"* on me.
From the name and the notes I worried a little that Rose Bohème might be too hippie and Woodstock for my taste. I shouldn't have. The patchouli in this Providence composition is a little vintage, but not cheap. It's woody and spicy, wears brocade and not tie-dye and the very distinct oud note keeps Rose Bohème on the elegant and expensive-smelling side of its bohemian style. It's like finding a great DVF dress from the 70s in a NYC. You're not getting a bargain but you will look fabulous in the printed silk dress.
An interesting aspect of Rose Bohème is the lack of fruit or any kind of sweetness in the composition. Even the patchouli is stern and not chocolate-like. As a result, I think that men who are not afraid of rose perfumes might find this Providence perfume very wearable. As long as they like patchouli, that is.
Notes: aged patchouli, fir, red tea, oud, saffron, Turkish rose, rare white rose essence & artisan rose petal infusion.
* Yes, a Buffy/Angel reference. It's been a while.
Rose Bohème by Providence Perfume Co. ($115, 1 oz EDP) is available from providenceperfume.com. My sample was sent by the perfumer.
Photograph by Norman Parkinson.