The Guest Nose: Rochas Femme

By Junelady

I received Femme in the mail today after ordering it unsniffed -- I had only read the reviews on Fragrantica, etc, and a few comments on this blog.

Given 10 minutes, Femme is easily one of the most satisfying fragrances I've ever had -- it's so well rounded, no hollow pockets where one note or another should have been. I often get that sense of disappointment with fragrances that are supposed to be risque and very womanly. The letdown usually happens in the base notes, where they go flat and a bit simple.

I don't think I will have such an experience with Femme. It's a scent that walks you all the way home and tugs you in before leaving. I love the peach and plum notes in combination with the woods. There's supposedly a rose somewhere too, though I can't detect it just yet. I suspect that the cumin note contributes to what I perceive as depth.

I don't really get much of the so-called personal aspect of the scent -- not yet, anyway (it seems quite "civilized" for lack of a better word) -- but maybe that aspect of it comes from wear throughout an entire day. So far, I've just been sitting in my sofa sniffing my arm. I do find it sensual, and it seems to blend well with skin.

Femme could be the overtly erotic and expressive cousin of Boucheron. Boucheron has very little, if any, of the sensuality of Femme -- it's classy, but it seems relatively body-less, more head and style than flesh and inclination.

Now I can have it both ways depending on my mood and the occasion -- though I'd love to wear Femme to a meeting at work, just for kicks. I wouldn't go the other way round -- wearing Boucheron for a come-hither moment. I wouldn't want B to just sit there and analyze and evaluate and not take part in the fun. For that reason, I'm very happy to own Femme.

Femme is available at, starting at $20 for 50ml (edt) and $59 for 50ml (edp)

Image: Charlotte Rampling


  1. Hi Jake - I just saw the parfum on Amazon, as it happens. And yes, I do remember smelling an earlier iteration of Femme in the 90s, and it was WAY too insinuating and womanly for me back then. I'd love to revisit it now.

  2. Junelady, I liked how you cast Boucheron as a voyeur.

  3. Great review! Did you purchase the edp or the edt. I think they are both very good, especially for a modern reformulation of a classic, but they do smell different from one another.

    I just received some vintage parfum (and no, I don't believe the parfum is made anymore) and it is very lovely and *very* Charlotte Rampling. I'm not a total vintage lover, but I love this one. And again, it made me appreciate how well the modern one is, especially given how many modern formulations are obliterated versions (if that!) of the classic with the same name.

    Lastly, if you are looking for vintage Femme, you don't need to get too fixated on the parfum vs. edt vs. edc-- in my experience, they are all very good.

  4. Katie, when I smelled Femme it struck me what it was with Boucheron that I hadn't been able to put my finger on. I like Boucheron for what it is. It is well thought out, the blue print is very skilfully drawn, and it has a certain class, but it is also unengaging, and the dry down is a bit shallow. But sometimes that's just what I want. Something that will mind its own business. So, no complaints as such. But Boucheron is no partner in crimes passionelles.

    Femme is a whole different game of something really enjoyable. It appeals to my senses and spells abandon.

  5. Jake, it the parfum is even more Femme all resistance would be futile - it's exactly the seamlessness that is so stricking. It wouldn't hurt to see what's avaiable.

    Dea, I got the Edt - not purposefully, so to speak. It was what was available at the seller that happened to mail me a newsletter, and the purchase was practically a stroke of good luck. The only Rochas perfume that I was familiar with was Rochas Femme which was actually what I was looking for - but then I saw Femme advertised next to it, read a review and bought it. The review also mentioned the re-orchestration, I believe, and since there was no "and then they went and ruined it" agony, I took a chance. I'm not into the vintage scene either. Yet, at least. But I can see why it would be interesting to compare.

    I guess I'm ambivalent when it comes to re-orchestrations. I would hate to have one of my own favorites altered. However, I suppose that some "old" perfumes would be unwearable today, at least for a larger audience if unadapted. Chandler Burr has deemed Miss Dior unwearable today, and it didn't seem that he was referring to the (alleged) alteration of the fragrance - it was simply the composition itself. I hate to admit it, because I wore MD for years and years when I was quite young. However, I do find it harder to wear today - our expectations and sensibilities change along with whatever is in fashion at any given time, and I am aware of the way others would probably experience e.g. MD these days - I would expect that most people would perceive it as old-fashioned and overpowering compared to today's fruity florals.

    I guess it really would be interesting to see what was deemed dated in Femme....just for educational purposes.

  6. Junelady, both your comments nicely sum up how big a role cross-referencing and changing perspectives play in assessing perfumes. Sometimes, the only way to understand a perfume is to smell it next to something else as you discovered with Femme and Boucheron.

    Oh, and dea's comment nudges me to heartily recommend that you visit her wonderful perfume store online, Rei Rien. She's got every flavor of Femme your heart might desire, including vintage. And you will be inspired by her beautifully-curated selections in the rest of her offerings.