I was tempted to start this review by proclaiming that Rose Poivrée by The Different Company was a feminine rose. I had opened my notebook to take down some notes but immediately crossed out the words ‘feminine’. I measured myself and sniffed my wrist containing Rose Poivrée, and I thought for a moment: ‘My grandmother certainly would not wear this’. This is quite a naughty fragrance, with a prominent skank note woven in and out of some of the usual rose jollity. It is two-faced, the rose that is, and I detect a very carnal facet also – dirty, earthen, and perhaps even rooty.
After I had finished smelling the notes in the opening, I had gone about to run some other errands. Time had passed, and whilst doing something completely non-perfume related, I had caught a whiff of the most pinkest and fleshiest of roses; a note that was defined, crisp, and chic. It was tender, and dewey, and overall, quintessentially feminine. It was the same Rose Poivrée on my wrist. I had rushed back to my desk to report my findings. And with another sniff, the tenderness had already started to fade away; as the innocent creature was already morphing back into the carnal and scarily dirty beast.
Photo by The Different Company
This is a rather perplexing fragrance, as if two fragrant directions intersected and this is the product. True to the name, it is all about rose, and it is also all about that spicy pepper. Together on paper this combination sounds delightful – perhaps perfect in its orchestration of ‘softness meets roughness’.
It begins in the typical direction of a green rose scent, then immediately drowned in a dark black pepper note. The rose here is slippery and unctuous, augmented with the drama of citrus and berries. At this stage one could almost reach out and grab this dewey rose, with a facet similar to much less avant-garde fragrances; as if a rose was first constructed and then built upon.
Progressively a spiky and pungent cumin and civet accord appears. It is at once obvious and then hidden into the background, with a dirty lingering quality delivering both a fecal and animalic edge of severity. This calls to mind both sweat and simply, dirty underwear. The cumin and rose combo is relatively unique to this fragrance, that lifts the spiciness of the pepper and aligns itself brilliantly with the rose – however in the end it faintly resembles the cumin and immortelle bomb found in Amouage’s Fate Man, whilst indolic trails of florals present themselves quietly. Rose Poivrée however is more angular, and more readily dissected – at times showcasing a grassy, hay-like warmth with a vetiver based contrast.
This is totally not unpleasant, but nevertheless too close to referencing dirtiness to be worn with comfort. This is much like a flip of a coin, as at times the duality of two different roses combines wonderfully with an inherent geranium spike and juicy fruit to deliver a photorealistic rose; and on the other hand, there is a musty and spiced up accord of dirty skank, glorified with pepper and civet, made unapologetically warm, earthy, and ‘fresh’ with both culinary undertones of cumin and coriander seed.
Alternatives: Fate Man by Amouage; Lyric Man by Amouage; Nahema by Guerlain; and Poivre Samarcande by Hermés.
Peppery and herbal rose with a ferocious bite. Frankly, poopy.
Subjective rating: 2/5
Objective rating: 3/5