New Perfume Review: Aesop Rozu- A Better Designed Rose

As much as I complain about the numerous spring rose releases I receive each year there is always one which stands out. This year that is Aesop Rozu.

Dr. Kate Forbes

I only discovered the Aesop line of perfumes a few years ago because I was a fan of their shaving products. The collection is small, Rozu is the fourth release, but particularly well-curated. Dr. Kate Forbes has been teaming with perfumer Barnabe Fillion for the previous two releases which continues here.

Barnabe Fillion

The inspiration for Rozu was the life of architect Charlotte Perriand. M. Fillion spent time with her family doing background research. He decided to feature the time Mme Perriand spent in Japan during 1940-41. It also intersects with a visit M. Fillion made to the Japanese town of Wabara where he visited the rose producing farm there. While there he would learn of the newest variety cultivated named after Mme Perriand. This is the rose used as the keynote in Rozu.

The reason I tend to be so dismissive of the spring rose releases is they all go for the same fresh scrubbed debutante aesthetic. Rozu goes for a modern design with a rose which carries a different scent profile. The Charlotte Wabara rose carries a richer fruitier scent profile. M. Fillion’s job is to highlight the differences while also designing the right frame.

Rozu opens with the Charlotte Wabara rose right there. M. Fillion pairs it with an icy green frost of shiso leaf. It is like finding an interesting bloom with the last hints of the overnight frost. Baie rose coaxes out the fruity facets. A gorgeous slightly smoky guaiac finds the black tea grace note within this unique rose. The green of the shiso is recapitulated through an equally sharp vetiver. It all comes to rest on a sandalwood focused base accord given warmth through myrrh and patchouli.

Rozu has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Because this is not the typical fresh rose of so many spring releases it is wearable by either gender. I think this will be a hit among male rose perfume lovers. I like it because it proves a better designed rose can rule the spring.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Aesop.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aesop Hwyl- Cypress Incense

I am notoriously difficult to but a gift for because I buy what I want as I want it. Yes, I’m one of those. One of the beneficial aspects is when I get gifts they are things I didn’t know about. A couple years ago I received a gift of Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum from an Australian brand I had never heard of called Aesop. When I used it up a few months later I ventured to the local Washington DC store to replace it. When I walked into the store I didn’t know they made perfume. It turned out to be my lucky day because they were featuring their perfume, Marrakech Intense. This was a perfume right in my spicy woody sweet spot it has been one of my favorite fall scents since I bought it.

Dr. Kate Forbes

I again headed to Aesop a few weeks ago and this time I coincided with the release of a new perfume. I wasn’t sure I’d like it as much as I did Marrakech Intense. The new perfume is called Hwyl. Hwyl is inspired by ancient Japanese hinoki forests.  Creative director at Aesop, Dr. Kate Forbes, re-teams with perfumer Barnabe Fillion, who was responsible for Marrakech Intense, for Hwyl.

Barnabe Fillion

Hwyl does carry a strong cypress facet evoking hinoki but what is really striking is the use of incense. There seem to be multiple sources which form an overlapping resinous accord at the heart of Hwyl. There is also strong green thread running throughout. It is different style from Marrakech Intense entirely. The definition of hwyl is “a stirring feeling of emotional motivation and energy” The perfume delivers on its name

Hwyl opens with very herbal thyme which provides a place for baie rose, elemi, geranium to attach to. The very clean cedar-like nature of cypress provides the hinoki inspiration point. Then the incense starts to form up at first a familiar metallic frankincense finds a dynamic partner with the thyme. Softer myrrh and olibanum add softer facets. Finally, there is a smoky version of incense I couldn’t place. It is combined with a classic vetiver for the base accord. The smoky incense and the vetiver particularly provide a pleasing final few hours.

Hwyl has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

The layered incense accord at Hwyl has captured me from the moment I smelled it on a strip. M. Fillion has delivered a delightful resinous layer cake on a cypress plate. If you like incense you should discover your local Aesop boutique. There are surprises to be discovered there.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample form Aesop.

Mark Behnke