Sali Loves: Aerin Rose de Grasse
Aerin Rose de Grasse

After a lifetime of avoidance, Sali Hughes has finally put on her rose tinted spectacles. And it’s all down to this.


Sentences I never expected to write: I’m in love with a rose perfume. Unexpected, because although roses are my favourite flowers, and nothing smells more beautiful to me than a freshly cut bunch of wet, velvety red Grand Prix roses, I never really want to wear them on my skin. I love the scent of rose room diffusers wafting through the house, and of sumptuous rose oil in face or body creams, and of pungent, carnal rose candles burning in a steamy bathroom, but as a personal perfume, I find rose either too blowsy and loud, or too clear and virginal. Even the classics like Frederic Malle Une Rose, Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’eau (which I adore on my boyfriend and in the only slightly reinterpreted form of a Baies candle) and Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit – while all beautiful and interesting and very much in my collection – are never found on my neck and pulse points.

So yeah, about this rose that’s shattered my belief system. It’s Rose de Grasse by Aerin. Again, not at all expected. When I think of Aerin, I think elegant, appropriate, timeless (like her wonderful Iris Meadow, for instance), for sure. But I confess I don’t really imagine scents that will radically change how I think about an ingredient. This has. Let’s get the nuts and bolts out of the way first: This is a wet, slightly mossy, even a little sour, rose scent. It’s stronger, deeper and richer than Aerin’s earlier scents. The other thing that must be said is that Rose de Grasse is expensive. It’s the first release in Aerin’s new Premier Collection of luxury perfumes (I don’t yet know what’s coming next, but this debut is an extremely good omen).

I can turn a blind eye to the cost here, because I know how many stops were pulled out for really top notch ingredients. Hand picked hundred-petalled Rose Centifolia from Grasse, the world’s capital of fine perfumery. Rose Otto Bulgarian, a dark red, rich smelling flower from Bulgaria and Turkey. Soft, velvety precious Rose Absolute from Turkish roses. These gorgeous and extravagant ingredients are at the heart of the scent, but what makes it so gamechanging, to me at least, is the soft Violet Wood, warm Ambrette Seeds and sexy Musk giving the whole thing a sophistication that lifts it cleanly out of “cuddle from Nana” territory. It’s lush and wet, feminine but not too much so. It manages to be clean and bright without being at all insipid. It’s smart without being cold, sexy but completely without bawdiness. It’s not sweet, but also only a little spicy. It has that faintly Eastern richness without the weighty blow of Oud that so many luxury scents seem to deliver nowadays (sorry, Oud lovers. I have tried and failed to get onboard). It’s a rose perfume for women who don’t really like rose perfumes (I’ve now spritzed it on two likeminded rose haters. One entirely agreed with me). Truly, it’s one of the few fragrances I wear that works just as well for casual day as it does for an evening dressed up to the nines, and crucially, lasts from one to the other without further application.

Finally, a word on the bottle because I am essentially shallow. It’s gorgeous. The same signature Aerin shape, but in opaque white glass, almost like porcelain. It’s a good call because as much as I adore many of the other scents in Aerin’s range, for me, this is a much less clear message and with plenty of surprises beyond the surface.


AERIN Rose de Grasse is out in April, at £135, exclusively at or at Harrods.

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