Ballerina – Review: Parfumerie Générale Brûlure de Rose

I had not one, but two samples of Brûlure de Rose in my box and not only since yesterday, they were in there for quite some time already, but never moved me enough to actually try them. Shame on me!

Thankfully my success with Tonkamande and Praliné de Santal, the two latest limited edition releases, propelled me into full PG mode and Brûlure de Rose got to see the light. And so did I.

Created in 2003 by Pierre Guillaume, Brûlure de Rose includes notes of raspberry, rose, cocoa, vanilla, musk, ambergris and palisander .

It is meant to showcase the lifetime of a rose from freshest young bud to mature, almost wilting full bloom. This means a big evolution is going on, the perfume develops across quite a spectrum, and it does so beautifully. Like two, or three perfumes in one, Brûlure de Rose impresses me with its tender beauty in every stage.

What also got me thinking was the name of this perfume. Brûlure means burn, scald, burn mark. I found no other reference to it. Why did PG equate the natural (d)evolvement of a rose with its being burned? Burned by the sun? Is the natural cycle of life an injury? Or is something important lost in translation for me? French people, please speak up!

The beginning is fresh, green and rosy, the image of a tightly closed, dew-drenched rose bud in bright sunshine comes to mind, slowly it becomes sweeter, less tart, the rose note gains strength and the darker undertones become apparent.

This is no happy perfume, it has the rose including its shadow right there, but it is comforting and incredibly tender throughout. The notes make this sound like a dessert, but it is far from it. I’m no big fan of gourmands, but PG does them wonderfully. The drydown is a soft, sweet, plushly bedded rose with strong vanilla and musk accents.

During its life-time of the skin of about four hours, Brûlure de Rose gets progressively darker, sweeter and softer. The aging and maturing is done very well and  – like life – it is bitter sweet (in feel, not smell this time 😉 ).

Brûlure de Rose is very feminine, it makes me feel delicate and light, weightless. I am reminded of my days as a ballerina (I danced throughout my childhood), the pink color of tutus, the elegance, the seeming airiness and lightness, but the darker underbelly of sweat and pain never far away.

Brûlure de Rose always smiles, even if the smile not always reaches her eyes.

Image source:,

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38 Responses to Ballerina – Review: Parfumerie Générale Brûlure de Rose

  1. Undina says:

    It sounds like a perfume I will like: I’ve noticed that I like “complex” roses. How does it compare to Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille or Rose Praline by Les Parfums de Rosine? From the description it’s somewhere “in the vicinity” but the impression might be wrong.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I don’t know the Rosine, but Brulure de Rose and Un Rose Vermeille differ first and foremost in volume. A Tauer comes with its own fully-manned symphony orchestra playing Bruckner in fortissimo, while the PG is more of a string quartet performing a second movement of Mozart. Both have their time and place, but they are different.

  2. Ines says:

    Maybe it’s a reference to life as a fire. In this case a rose – it reaches its fullest bloom and then it dies. Like a fire, burns brightly and then dies in embers. That would be my first association with the name.
    And the perfume sound good too. For some reason, I never tried this one. I realized I’m not terribly drawn to perfumes with roses in their name even though I now love that note in its many guises.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Fire – that seems like a beautiful (and plausible) explanation.
      I am the same, it says, rose and I am not very interested. This is why those samples have been lying around for years! 🙂 But it is good to see how many treasures lie dormant in supposedly uninteresting sample boxes. 🙂

  3. anotherperfumeblog says:

    Beautiful review. I like the image of the “young” rose with its shadow self always there, waiting to emerge and express its aging and demise. A very tragic image in the best way. And I am like Ines, realizing that I tend to skip over fragrances with rose in the name, even though I often quite like them. I need to stop doing that, obviously!

  4. Marie says:

    I love rose scents, and with raspberry and cocoa thrown in, I should be in rose perfume heaven with Brûlure de Rose 🙂 Roses are often at their most beautiful just before the wilt and fall apart – their beauty at that stage can be quite heartbreaking as well, and sometimes too much to bear.

  5. ki says:

    I like the idea of a rose perfume with fruit and chocolate notes 🙂 I should try a sample!

  6. Tara says:

    The evolution of this rose sounds beautiful. It makes it so much more interesting, though perhaps a little melancholy.

    I’m not at all surprised you were a ballerina, B!

  7. Alex G says:

    Thank you for your wonderful blog and your beautifully written insights! I’m just getting into the world of perfumes and I was wondering: what are your recommendations on getting samples? eBay seems like the obvious place, but not when you’re interested in niche / non-mass-market fragrances.

    Any tips would be appreciated 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Alex,
      welcome to my blog and the world of perfume! 🙂

      There are many places to get samples, but ebay is the last resource I would recommend!
      In the US (but shipping worldwide) are the two big decanting sites – The Perfumed Court and The Posh Peasant, both offer samples and decants of pretty much everything. In Europe First in Fragrance is a good place to buy samples, with an order you get to choose three free samples or you can just place a sample order as well. Please check out my shopping links on the blog, all are sites I like and can recommend.
      If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask any time! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      What I forgot to say: many lines offer sample sets directly on their websites that are a good way to get to know the line and most of the time they are a good value. I especially recommend the Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set and the sample set of Parfum d’Empire, both lines have a very high quotient of great perfumes in their line up.

    • odonata9 says:

      Luckyscent is another good site if you can’t find what’ you’re looking for at TPC or The Posh Peasant, and they sell full bottles as well.

  8. Lucy says:

    That PG is a genius, that is all I can say.
    The perfumes call forth all kinds of complicated beauty.

  9. Lavanya says:

    This sounds lovely! I never thought I would seek rose perfumes either- but so many of my current favorites are dark/spicy roses that I am always curious about complex roses..Rose and Vanilla don’t always work together for me (remind me of rose flavored peppermints)- but I’ll definitely check this one out!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is definitely a lot better than the notes list makes it sound. That is true for all PG’s, they read like a candy store, but they are not, they are mostly perfect. 🙂

  10. Oh, what a beautiful review! I love thinking of you as a ballerina, that makes total sense to me. I don’t always do well with rose, but there are always exceptions (like Opus V), so I don’t count anything out these days… unless there’s cumin in it. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Carrie!
      No cumin in here, that is for sure! 😉

      Off topic: Did you ever try Amouage Jubilation 25 (since you are in a major Amouage phase)? If not, no need to bother, massive cumin overload, regrettably. 😦

      • Believe it or not, I really like Jubilation 25! It must be the fact that there’s not much cumin and the other spices & incense overwhelm and squash it for me, it smells like straight up Arabian incense on me, minus the cumin (thankfully).

  11. Hazel says:

    I will have to try a sample of this one.
    I love the scent of a Rose.
    It is one of empowerment in my mind.

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  14. florence says:

    Dear Birgit, I finally found again, in my box too, my sample of Brûlure de Rose I had tested in my lovely perfume shop Sens Unique in Paris, I had liked it but nothing more and was still afraid because of rose. Rose is my enemy since many years, even hidden in a soap or a skincream…..But here, no evolution, just a burnt rose, burnt petals? incense, vanilla and cocoa and this “musk of raspberry”, this blend makes me dream, I feel light too, so feminine, not old, not young, like Absolue pour le Soir MFK, Oriental Brûlant (still burning something), Ambre MdO, it makes part of me, not ON me……..Your photo of the ballerina is a gem, it’s the perfect feeling and kind of beauty for this scent.
    I’m not surprised either you used to dance, your face and your elegance reveal this.
    I’m so happy to share, once more, your feelings about a perfume and you helped me to open again the box and the sample, thank you, Birgit!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Dear Florence,

      I saw your SotE on FFF and I’m so happy you took the time to leave a comment here. Brulure is really not your typical rose, and knowing your gourmand leanings, I’m not surprised you like it. I think the ballerina is a very apt representation of this elegant and delicate perfume. We are truly scent twins, aren’t we? 🙂

  15. raab says:

    yes, we are! :-))

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  19. Priscilla says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button!

    I’d most certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed
    to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

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