Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On – Review: Guerlain Rose Barbare

Rose Barbare is part of the L’Art et la Matière line, but it stands out, together with Cruel Gardènia as the only floral in the line. My favorites (Angelique Noire, Cuir Beluga and Tonka Imperiale are traditional Guerlainesque gourmand-orientals. Not so Rose Barbare. It is a rose chypre, characterized as “heady and incisive” by Guerlain.

In my opinion it is neither.

A soft, plush, dark and jammy rose it evokes the word delicious in my mind, and thus fits perfectly in the more gourmand direction of the others in the line.

Rose Barbare was created in 2005 by Francis Kurkdjian and includes notes of honey, rose and spices.

Rose Barbare opens spirited and lively, with a rose that is fresh and dewy. The spices are present, but very discrete and in the background. The longer it is on skin, the more prominent the base of honeyed patchouli becomes, darkening the rose petals. This rose morphs from pastel pink to deep fuchsia over time.

There are not many rose perfumes I love. Most of them are dark and heavily ornamented roses (Ta’if, Lyric, Mohur) no fresh, cute ones for me. Rose Barbare is not as dark and dense as those others, it is the freshest rose I have ever fallen for. If you want to compare, it is closest to another gourmand rose I have in my collection – Brulure de Rose by Parfumerie Générale.

It manages to walk the line between good cheer and thoughtful depth, between carefree sunshine and darkest night. It is a perfume of dusk and dawn, of the the times that bridge night and day.

A perfume that belongs to the space in between sleep and wakefulness. The place where dreams are still palpably near, but their colors are already fading. Where emotions are not yet entirely under rational dominion. A place very close to your true self.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Prospero, The Tempest. W. Shakespeare

A perfume that makes me not only remember, but cite Shakespeare with abandon in front of toddlers, is by default considered a winner in my book.

What perfumes make you hear poetry in your head?

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About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Chypre, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Gourmand, Guerlain, Guerlain L'Art et la Matière, Oriental, Rose, Vanilla and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On – Review: Guerlain Rose Barbare

  1. lady jane grey says:

    I spritzed it last time at Harrods, but I was so enthusiastic with other scents that this one was able to keep my attention for a few seconds only. It’s a quiet beauty, the shy sister of Iris G., Cuir B. and Tonka I.

  2. I remember not being entirely enamoured with this one but your review really makes me want to try it again, I think I may have missed out on something. I’ll be hitting that Guerlain counter shortly to find out 🙂

  3. tara says:

    I think we have a similar taste in dark and/or gourmand rose perfumes and your review of this is so beautiful. I’ve tried very hard to steer clear of Rose Barbare because I love way too many roses as it is, but what do we say when this happens? Just one more…

    Botrytis was the last perfume that spoke poetry to me. It’s nice when that happens.

  4. Suzanne says:

    I like the darker roses, too, so I don’t think this one is for me, but still it was so lovely to read your review, see that gorgeous photo of a dewy pink rose, and enjoy some Shakespeare in the middle of my afternoon. I really love that last line, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”

  5. unseencenser says:

    A friend who has a special relationship with roses was looking for a rose perfume when I dragged her to the Guerlain counter last year. She had a particular vision in her head, which I think never works out well, but she thought Rose Barbare came the closest of anything she’d smelled yet. A *rose* rose.

    • Olfactoria says:

      How interesting. I wouldn’t have thought Rose Barbare to be so close to a realistic rose…

      • unseencenser says:

        I’m going to go smell it again. To me it smelled like a Guerlain rose… but a fresher and greener rose than the usual rose oud or rose incense. I do like a rose rose.

        Roses by Ava Luxe is probably my favorite simply ROSE rose. ALL THE ROSES IN THE WORLD. In a bottle.

  6. Undina says:

    I wore Rose Barbare today (after reading your review last night). I think I like it though (whispering) there is not enough rose for me in there. It doesn’t make the perfume worse for me, I’m just trying to describe how I smell it.

    When I was testing SSS’s To Dream I kept repeating in my head words from The Impossible Dream. Not exactly Shakespeare, I know.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Do you mean that the gourmand base is drowning out the rose for you? I can see that, although I don’t mind it a bit. I don’t like rose soliflores so much. 😉

      I love that perfume makes us recite poems or lyrics, I like to file perfumes in my brain together with a fitting verse.

  7. I like this one! I snagged a decant in the recent Posse swap. In spirit it reminds me of Liaisons Dangereuse or even a little bit L’Arte di Gucci. There’s a certain tart snappiness to the opening.

  8. flittersniffer says:

    I do like this one a lot, and find the opening tartly snappy too! It is snappy *and sappy*, and quite a spiky green initially, like thorns almost. I can’t rightly recall where it goes after that, though it must get more gourmand as the honey note does definitely come through. I can see how that might echo the trajectory of BdR from morning to night, though – curiously – on my skin BdR kicks off at late afternoon, hehe ie I don’t get that fresh morning phase. With Rose Barbare, it doesn’t get sweeter for a while as I recall – can’t give you the exact time : – ) – but it is sort of the reverse of that. Must did out my sample again – you’ve got me curious to observe its development again. Anyway, lovely review – this is very much an inbetween-y rose scent on a number of levels!

  9. Eva S says:

    I’m planning on trying this one, I like rose-patchouli although perhaps a bit darker than this?
    At the moment I’m thinking of perhaps a bottle of Lumiere Noire pour femme, another rose-perfume (spicy rose) by FK, do you know if they are in any way similar?

    • Olfactoria says:

      As far as I remember Lumiere Noire, it is much heavier on the patchouli and the rose turned very sour on me. The Guerlain is sweeter, softer, warmer – altogether much more my kind of thing. (But that is just my personal perspective of course. 🙂 )

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