Several weeks ago, just before I left Paris, I had one of the most special surprises of this summer. A reader has gracefully sent me a vial with a precious golden liquid and the essence took possession of my house immediately. This was the enchanted charm from when Sleeping Beauty wakes up in the bed of roses from the forgotten castle and the magic was a Chiris rose, produced by the famous supplier of raw materials, more than half a century ago.
Antoine Chiris was one of the oldest producer of raw materials in Grasse and a specialist in exquisite high quality ingredients. The company dates back to the XVIIIth century (1768) and at the end of the XIXth century their chemists invented a special extraction method to obtain the floral absolutes (PNSC). It was because of Chiris natural products that we had the beautiful perfumes from Rallet (a subsidiary of Chiris), Coty, Caron and Chanel. The father of Henri Robert, the creator of Chanel 19, was the technical director of Chiris in the 20's. The labs were very advanced and the technical knowledge of their perfumers was amazing in the first part of the XXth century. Like many other companies, Chiris slowly disappeared with the arrival of synthetics and the new vision of perfumery. The company was bought in the 60's and the knowledge was lost because in the next decades nobody needed expensive naturals.
Smelling now this rose product from Chiris I can almost feel the beautiful rose note from Chanel 19 with its spectacular velvety diffusion. The Chiris product is actually a rose composition dominated by an exquisite selection of rose essences and underlined by several synthetics. Today the rose is a very expensive product and very few perfumes contain the true material, usually in small amounts. But 70 years ago, there was not one, but an entire selection of rose products with different olfactory qualities and amazing scents. Selecting the rose was a job. The rose was always something like a "haute couture" product and producers made their efforts to obtain the best possible essences in the world. The rose oil/concrete/absolute has its own history and in the first part of the century this quest for perfection in tonality represented the credo of the perfume industry. This rose by Chiris is unusual by its power and tenacity sharing the qualities of the Bulgarian rose oil and those of the rose de mai absolute. It has an incredible freshness as if it was produced yesterday. It is more powerful, diffusive and tenacious than all natural roses sold today (but richer than any rose base) and I performed several tests to see that. The product sits between the rose rouge and rose wardia type and is a composition of several rose products (the best quality), rose molecules, some unusual essential oils and several synthetics. It was probably used as a "rose coupage" or "rose extender", to be mixed with the very expensive naturals inside luxury perfumes. It smells almost like Joy extract without the jasmine, with a delicious green pungent note (leafy green hyacinth), a bitter lemony aldehydic facet (C8-C9) over a very soft warm drydown with delicate sweet honey shades. It has the incredible beauty of rose buttons crushed in the hand and warmed by the sun when they slowly begin to scent the skin with a golden nectar "tattooed" like an oriental ornament in our memory. What is amazing with this product is not just the smell but the technical qualities. It is very diffusive, with a slow and linear evaporation. Its warmth is similar to the rose accords used by Sophia Grosjman in her perfumes - it smells like the heart of Paris, without the violet and the additional notes or like the rose note inside N'aimez que Moi (Caron). It is a nostalgic powdery "hug me" rose from a forgotten era and I am grateful I was blessed with the chance to find so much beauty in a precious drop.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art