Keiko Mecheri / Oliban

The smell of a secret garden.

Any woody rose is a rose I need to get with. I’d have said that my purchase last summer of Keiko Mecheri Oliban is what fired up my woody rose woody. But recently, while in a trancelike state triggered by too many blueberry buttermilk pancakes, I entered a past-perfume regression and recalled a teenage passion for Jean Couturier Coriandre.

Coriandre was a rose chypre, a green, spicy floral with patchouli. I say “was”, because Luca Turin reports that the stuff currently available at T.J. Maxx in no way resembles the tender minx of her old yearbook photo. I shall therefore content myself with memories of Cori in her prime. But since Oliban has reconnected me to my rose destiny, I’ve discovered, smelled and lusted after the following:

Agent Provocateur (rose-shaded Bal à Versailles)
Amouage Homage Attar (transcendently clear frankincense rose)
Amouage Lyric for Men (spiced green rose incense)
Amouage Lyric for Women (salty/nutty ylang-ylang & rose)
By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses (fresh woody rose jam)
Byredo Rose Noir (sharp rose chypre)
Chanel Égoïste (spicy sandalwood rose)
Czech & Speake Dark Rose (perfumey oud rose)
Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose (arid incense rose)
Frédéric Malle Une Rose (voluptuous rose skyscraper)
Grès Cabaret (dry woody rose)
Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance (buttered patchouli rose)
Montale White Aoud (powdered saffron rose)
People of the Labyrinths A*MAZE (oud rose wine)
Stella McCartney Stella (salty musk rose)
Tom Ford Private Blend Collection Noir de Noir (chocolate rose nuts)
Etat Libre d'Orange Rossy de Palma (metallic rose, cocoa & amber)

From here on out, roses and I are a never-ending story.

Fumies — roses, roses, bring me your roses! Tell me all about your favorite roses....


  1. Thanks Katie, yet another lemming is born! I had to get a sample of Oliban after hearing your comments and it was love at first whiff! I had loved Paestum Rose but Oliban has definitely displaced her in my heart. Oliban is just so much more warm and comforting, no austerely gorgeous but barely approachable beauty here, but a soft shawl of woods, incense & rose. Resistance is futile.

  2. Agreed, Dorrit - Oliban is a friendlier Paestum Rose. And the loveliness lasts and lasts on your clothes.

  3. Have you tried Yves Rocher's Rose Absolue?

    It has gotten some pretty good reviews and is supposedly one of the absolute best scents from YR together with Voile d'Ambre.

    Both are part of their Secrets d'Essences where YR employ renowned perfurmers.

    One review compared RA to Stella in terms of approachability addding that it is not as sophisticated as e.g. Lancomes Deux Milles et une Rose. Which I'm not familiar with. Yet.

  4. Junelady, haven't run across either the YR or the Lancome rose numbers. Let me know what your findings are if you track them down.

  5. Katie - I love this one, and you're dead-on when you say anyone can wear it. It's definitely one of those scents where you feel like you've stepped through some hidden portal into a different world.

    It's totally unique, and the interplay between the green notes, the incense and the honey aspect is wondrous.

    Keiko Mecheri's line is uniformly absorbing - I found out about her from Colonial Drug, which is THE SPOT to buy serious fragrances if you are in the Boston/Cambridge/Harvard area.

  6. Stefush, "Colonial Drug", huh? Thanks for the tip.

  7. wesleyhallparkerAugust 21, 2012 8:23 PM

    Hey Katie - I know this is an older post, but I'm still on the sniffing spree related to needing a date night perfume - and I just fell down the rose/saffron rabbit hole. OH MY GOD!

    I really enjoy Saffran Troublant (yum) - but it's Amouage Lyric Woman that makes my toes curl with pleasure. I've been wallowing in my sample. It's just heaven. But expensive... I've been wondering what else is out there in the land of dark rose gorgeousness.

    I've tried the following, but no hits so far:
    Agent Provocateur - too many dirty animals
    L'Agent - sexy and easier to wear - but didn't tickle me like Lyric.
    FM Une Rose - too sharp
    FM Portrait of a Lady - Not bad and expected to like this, but it's more severe than I wanted.
    Stella - perfectly nice and wearable, but not love
    Rose de Siwa - Yawn. Not dark enough. Though very wine-y.
    Juliette Has a Gun LV - Also yawn.
    Guerlain Rose Nacree du Desert - Hmmm! Good. But pales in comparison to Lyric. A slightly soapy note (surprising) by contrast.
    Guerlain Rose Barbare - Good, straight-up ladylike solemn rose. If I wanted one of those, I'd wear this. But I don't. I want that dark saffron/rose/spice accord.

    Anything else you might recommend in this particular area? I'm overwhelmed by how many roses are out there.


    1. Right off the top of my head, Wesley, you need to try Midnight Oud by Juliette Has a Gun. Good rose/saffron goin' on there. I've got a review on it. Also try By Kilian Rose Oud and People of the Labyrinths A*Maze. (I've got posts on those, too.) Oh yeah, and Montale White Aoud - have posted on that, too. And Trish McEvoy Black Rose Oud and Czech & Speake Dark Rose. Hmm! I seem to have a lot of rose saffrons at my fingertips. Out of all of these, the By Killian is the most lush, and the Trish McEvoy is a reasonable dupe.