Someone commented on the Lucky Scent site under Montale Musk to Musk:
"Probably smells like crap! Never tried it, never want to. Take a hike, Musk to Musk."
That makes me laugh every time I read it.
Have you tried Czech & Speake Dark Rose? I can never quite remember where it falls in the monkey-Neanderthal-man parade, along with Montale White Aoud and People of the Labyrinths A*Maze.
I haven't smelled Dark Rose but knowing Czech & Speake, I bet it smells like a dark basement. Or maybe a dark sewing room. With the windows closed for three years. And the roses are dark because they're dead. Because no one watered them. Because they're dead, too. Everyone and everything smells dead in C&S perfumes.
Okay, I just looked up Dark Rose on Basenotes and the first line of the first review says, "Think funeral home."
I agree! Like the Musk to Musk commenter, I love having strong opinions on perfumes I haven't smelled. First, they're almost as valid as my opinions on ones I have smelled.
Plus, it reminds me of a funny scene in Whit Stillman's Metropolitan, in which Audrey is arguing with Tom about the novels of Jane Austen, and Tom finally admits to never having read them. But he says he's read much about them (enough to argue), that he prefers reading literary criticism to actual novels because then he gets not only the critic's ideas but the author's, and in a conveniently condensed manner.
In keeping with this, I've never smelled Dark Rose and I probably never will (god willing), but I say Dark Rose smells like a funeral home. An English funeral home, with musty antique furniture and carpets that still carry the stench of the previous funeral director's fat old incontinent cat. And dead flowers. And dead people. Take a hike, Dark Rose!
See, if you sound sufficiently opinionated and you throw in some specific details, you don't even need to sample the stuff.
Every time I've taken a sniff of Dark Rose at the Scent Bar, I've spontaneously emitted a pleased and surprised "Hmm!" I do like it. You need to pop on your sample so that we can have a focus group.
Okay, I'm currently wearing Dark Rose, and it's definitely of the same stripe as Montale's softer ouds, Red Aoud specifically. Which means it smells like the paste used in Happy Hall Nursery School in 1970. (I can't speak for what they use today.) It's actually kind of nice. As ouds go.
Dark Rose softens nicely. It's definitely not for me, but it turns somehow sweeter and powdery. I think it's my favorite Czech & Speake. Which is like saying "Touch Me" is my favorite Doors song.
Which it is, but still....
I'm wearing Dark Rose, and I have no earthly idea what kind of Shangri-La paste you kids were snorfing back at the Happy Hall Nursery School. Dark Rose leans in the direction of Agent Provocateur's saffron rose, without being as high-pitched as AP.
I can't smell any of the advertised oud, at least not the way oud is presented in Montale, Le Labo and By Kilian. Something about the patchouli and busyness in Dark Rose puts me in mind of Clinique Aromatics Elixir.
Dark Rose is “perfumey” and a bit soapy. I'm pinning responsibility for the soapiness on the white musk. As it lingers, it starts to resemble the drydown of Creed Fleurs de Bulgare, with its powderiness.
My conclusion on this matter is that Dark Rose is a theatrical, feminine perfume with a vintage flair.
Photo: Butterworth funeral home in Seattle, 1900