The Goldilocks Rose – Review: Guerlain Rose Nacrée Du Désert

By Michael

I recently caught up with a friend recently who waxed lyrical about Guerlain’s Rose Nacrée.

“Oh yeah? I’ll try it sometime” I said and proceeded merrily to forget it existed.

Then, no more than a two weeks later, a lovely little package arrived from the UK coincidentally containing a little decant of this very fragrance.
Of course I tried it straight away and oh boy was my friend’s recommendation right.

Rose Nacrée du Désert is a fragrance created by Thierry Wasser for the house of Guerlain in 2012.

RN Bottle 1

According to Guerlain, Rose Nacrée du Désert is a Woody Floral fragrance and contains the following:

Top notes: Saffron, Persian rose, Patchouli.
Heart notes: Cardamom, Curcuma (turmeric), Cedar wood, Oud accord.
Base notes: Myrrh, Benzoin.

I will admit that I have difficulty wearing rose fragrances. Please don’t misunderstand, I do love the smell but I often can’t escape my western perception of the note’s femininity.
Despite this I’ve tried many many roses but because of how I perceive the rose note, I do struggle.

Portrait of a Lady? Too pink. Too load.

Voleur des Roses? Too boozy.

Une Rose? Too bombastic. I don’t need my fragrance to shout “ROSES!” from 50 paces.

Rose de Nuit? Almost there, but maybe just a touch too powdery. I do love its animalism.

La Rose de Rosine? Put me in a frilly dress and call me grandma (sorry Rosine fans!!!)

Rose Nacrée du Désert on the other hand is my goldilocks rose – just right.

Rose Nacrée du Désert opens with a dark viscous rose and a smooth mix of spices and woods.
Over time the rose becomes creamier and more and more rounded.
You will find none of the typical Guerlain bergamot sharpness here.

Dark creamy red lipstick or deep glowing red nail polish could easily come to mind.
I prefer to think of dark red luscious almost oily rose petals, slightly warmed in your hands.

As it starts to dry Rose Nacrée du Désert becomes creamier and slightly softer in tone than before.

The smoky and ambery tonalities then begin to appear. The smoke is neither liturgical nor particularly wispy or ethereal. It’s the smoke of the finest toasting wood while the amber is soft and sweet.

The spices slowly become more prominent into the mid phase providing an added dimension to the fragrance rather than an overt spiciness.

Eventually the rose starts to become just a little powdery but on my skin but it is blended so seamlessly with the woody/incensy, smoky and spicy notes that it never smells typical powdery.

Finally the fragrance becomes just a little skanky with the some dirty oud notes settling into a naughty skin scent.

dried roses

Frankly this is the type of fragrance that makes me a Guerlain/Wasser fan. There are countless Rose/Oud/Wood fragrances but I haven’t smelled any this smooth and nuanced.

Rose Nacrée du Désert is creamy, smooth and exceedingly comfortable to wear.

I came to this Middle Eastern Guerlain line with more than a little cynicism but I am now completely convinced. This is a beautiful Middle Eastern rose perfume composed in the quintessentially French style that only Guerlain and Wasser can produce.

Read about the other perfumes in the middle eastern-inspired Guerlain collection here.

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain, Rose and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Goldilocks Rose – Review: Guerlain Rose Nacrée Du Désert

  1. Sandra says:

    Beautiful review for a gorgeous rose! I loved it so much and then it turned sour on my skin. Crying shame…

  2. Mahesh says:

    Ah you must try aqua di Parma Rosa Nobile. It is like putting your nose right into smelly rose petals. I’ve been smitten by that. I found guerlain a bit sweet for me. Rosa Nobile is sweet but not candy sweet, rather rose sweet.

  3. Tara says:

    It was meant to be! Lovely review. I’m definitely a member of the Guerlain/Wasser fan club.

    A couple of other masculine roses in this vein are Isparta by PG and Lyric Man by Amouage but I guess you’ve filled that gap now.

    Enjoyed your thoughts on the other roses too. I want to try Voleur des Roses and Rose de Nuit at some point.

    • Michael says:

      Thank you so much for the lovely package Tara!
      Isparta I’ll add to the list – never tried.
      Lyric Man? I love it too and already have a bottle (because I’m greedy!) 😀

  4. rosestrang says:

    That sounds lovely – a smooth, creamy, smoky and slightly powdery rose!
    You’re not alone in finding rose a bit difficult, I find Une Rose very impressively rosy but it reminds me of bathroom air fresheners, Portrait of a Lady is another I admire but rarely wear (I actually find the patchouli dry-down a bit rough, though I like the opening). I do like Drole de Rose, but it’s a bit prissy. Then La Fille de Berlin is full of character, with lovely facets of violet but again it has that classic loud rose feel that I’d describe as ‘hot and soapy’, almost sneeze inducing. Rose Essentielle by Bulgari, too prissy and sour again. Ombre Rose – yikes, makes me think of obsessively crocheted baby clothes in pink. But still I”m determined to find the ‘right’ rose. In real life I don’t like the scent of tea roses, but love those common purple-ish velvety 4 petalled rose bushes which smell to me a little like turkish delight, I’d love to find that in a perfume, but rarely do. I must order a sample of Rose Nacree du Desert..

    • Michael says:

      I agree with your assessments rosestran and yes, finding the right rose fragrance is tough. While on your testing journey do try Rose de Nuit and Lyric Man. They may be different enough to the more common rose presentations to be appealing.

  5. Asali says:

    Yes, one of the very very few roses I can do too, and which don’t bore me to death with their Oud/rose combo. Basically, one I actually enjoy wearing and feel good in. So far I haven’t dared to splurge on a FB but I have a sizeable decant though, and I love my songs d’un bois d’ete, but of course that’s another story…

    • Asali says:

      Ha, damn autocorrect, songes etc…

    • Michael says:

      It’s a great line isn’t it Asali.
      I’m also loving Encens Mythique D’Orient at the moment. The ambergris is quite prominent on me and it’s so rarely real or obvious in any modern fragrances.
      Songe d’un Bois d’Ete I need to test but if it’s anything like the the other two then I’ll love it as much as you 🙂

  6. Suzanne says:

    I love a number of rose-heavy perfumes, and you make this sound very tempting to try. Speaking of rose scents, I do remember that you liked Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose at one point and was wondering if you still do? For me, that’s an easy rose to love, more cosmetic than rosy.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Suz, it is Michael’s review, sorry.
      I do rember falling for Lipstick Rose of course and I still have a 10ml spray that I wear now and again, although I find it very strong. I’m so easily overwhelmed by perfume these days… 🙂

      • Suzanne says:

        Ah, you know, I was thinking that it didn’t quite sound like your voice, B. 😀 Anyway, glad to hear that you still like a touch of Lipstick Rose from time to time, though I do understand how you’ve gravitated towards the more delicate end of the perfume spectrum.

        And regards to Michael on his perfume review. I enjoyed it!

        • Michael says:

          Glad you enjoyed the review Suzanne.
          I also enjoy Lipstick Rose. It’s a fun cosmetic smelling scent. It reminds me specifically of the smell of some 80’s lipsticks mum used to wear. Naturally this means I wouldn’t wear it much but it’s fun to experience the time warp now and then.

      • Undina says:

        I can swear it didn’t say “By Michael” when I read it first last night and I also thought that it didn’t sound like you and was surprised not to find references to some of the roses that I knew you liked (Rose Ikebana, for example) but decided to re-read it in the morning 🙂

  7. fqjcior says:

    This one is beautiful indeed. Have you ever tried Rose from Le Labo? You could like it. 🙂

  8. Michael says:

    Yes fqjcior I’ve tried both Baie Rose 26 and Rose 31 and like them very much. What are your thoughts?
    Generally, I find them much easier to wear than the heavily rose dominated fragrances mentioned above.
    Sort of “roses light” if that makes any sense?

  9. Tina G says:

    Hey Michael, This goldilocks of a rose/oud fragance has gone on to the must-try list, sounds quite seamlessly beautiful. Of the three in this series I’ve only tried Songe d’un Bois d’Ete which I enjoyed very much, a warm spicy wood opening with a well balanced jasmine piercing the heart of it, that turns animalistic during dry down. Fab. But I’m nearly out so may pick up the three next time around. Thanks for the heads-up – great review!
    Tina x

  10. scottyctl says:

    Wow! That is a great review. I’m so glad you loved it, I told you it was a masculine rose 😛

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