If you’re anything like me, you have
a crippling and unquenchable thirst for fragrance a lot of perfumes! You’ve probably blind bought at least a few, and while there can definitely be some serious successes and happy accidents along the way, you’ve probably ended up with at least a few that make you go meh. They’re not bad, per se, just quantifiably okay, capably pleasant in a pinch but too familiar or faceless to really thrill. So, in honor of these less-than-stellar entries in the annals of perfumery, I thought I’d start keeping a running tally of all the fragrances I encounter that are certainly good enough to wear, but mostly because they’re better than nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Fine Fragrances.
First up, we have Yves Saint Laurent’s pretty-in-pink flanker, Paris Premieres Roses.
From what I can tell, Paris Premieres Roses first launched in 2003, was at some point discontinued, then started to reappear as an annual limited release in 2010. It’s a muskier take on Sophia Grojsman’s 1983 powder powerhouse original, and each year comes with new packaging and slight tweaks (allegedly) to the formula. I’ve got a bottle from the 2014 release, which came from Dominique Ropion, and as you’ve probably already guessed, it’s fine!
The opening is a rather sheer rose and a hint of violet, somewhere in the realm of Paris but stripped of the powdery iris that completes the original’s holy trinity. It segues into more rose with soapy lily of the valley and musks, then basically fades away. Paris Premieres Roses feels more muddled on skin than it does on fabric, but either way it’s a wearable, adequate rose-centric floral.
My guess is that Paris Premieres Roses is Paris for people who don’t like iris, which is fair, because whenever I wear a fragrance with iris, I can’t every decide if I really like iris, but heaven knows I keep getting them. If that’s the case, you might say that Paris Premieres Roses is a friendlier, less “offensive” rose scent than the original, but the joke’s on whatever focus group decided that iris is the problem, because I’ve been told by at least one office crush that they can’t stand the smell of roses. And thus concludes today’s reminder that even pretty people can be WRONG.
Anyways, the problem I keep encountering is the age old question: For why?!? If Premieres Roses is meant to be an ode to the first roses of spring, I can get behind that, and using a bit of muguet to green it up is great (I thought they fit particularly well together when I caught little wafts from my shirt), but it feels counterintuitive to Gaussian blur all that freshness with a bunch of musks that offer little added value over a splash rose water and a spritz of Diorissimo. I know I’m being partial, but I want more from and better for an homage to Grojsman’s sublime original, particularly from someone of Ropion’s stature. Sure, Paris Premieres Roses by any other name would probably smell just as sweet, but I’ll settle for a soliflore any day.