There are choices to make when releasing flankers. You can add another ingredient and depending what it is append a season to the name. You can go deeper and call it intense or noir. Or you can lighten it up with L’Eau being a favorite way of distinguishing this stylistic choice. It is this latter case which I think is more difficult. All versions of flankers to be good require some re-balancing. It is much tougher when you are changing the concentration of the focal point ingredient. In Maison Francis Kurkdjian L’eau A la Rose a different choice was made on the way to a lighter rose perfume.
The original A la Rose was released in 2015. It was a rose soliflore featuring two sources of rose; Damascena rose from Bulgaria and Rose de Mai from Grasse. Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian mixed them into a central accord of rose where the Bulgarian rose had the lead over the one from Grasse. The character of A la Rose came from the overdose of both rose ingredients. To lighten things up for L’eau A la Rose M. Kurkdjian flipped the concentration profile having the Rose de Mai prevail over the Damascena rose. It forced some choices on how to create a different style of lighter rose with the change in concentration.
L’eau A la Rose opens with that Damascena rose out first. In these higher concentrations the inherent fruitiness within is more easily detected. I’ve always thought of that fruit as pear-like. M. Kurkdjiaqn adds a crisp pear to amplify and delineate that quality. It gives the Bulgarian bloom a more defined profile than in the original. Almost as if it is standing up straighter. The Rose de Mai also has a facet only evident in overdose, too. There is a sun-kissed glowing honey within this rose. To form a more diffuse sweetness M. Kurkdjian uses the slightly syrupy lychee to attenuate some of the honey quality while adding a lighter version of it. It also keeps the Rose de Mai from sliding into its sultry seductress in favor of a smartly dressed version. A veil of white musks provide lift and transparency from the base.
L’eau A la Rose has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
L’eau A la Rose is the kind of spring rose perfume I can get behind because it isn’t trying for insipid transparency in its desire to be lighter. M. Kurkdjian tells his spring rose to whisper its story so that you lean into it. L’eau A la Rose is worth leaning into.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.