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.
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.
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.