L'Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses



I rediscovered L'Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses during a severe bout of perfume ennui. I still loved my wild herd of woody roses: Malle Une Rose and Portrait of a Lady, Byredo Rose Noir, People of the Labyrinths A*Maze, Amouage Homage, Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Agent Provocateur Signature, but overfamiliarity with these high-rotation favorites had slightly stilled the thrill.

So I found myself cruising the perfume room of Liberty in London like Don Draper looking for his next extramarital conquest.




I wanted another sultry rose, and reconsidered some intriguing ones that hadn't yet made it across the velvet rope into my collection: Annick Goutal Ce Soir Ou Jamais, Creed Fleurs De Bulgarie, Keiko Mecheri Attar de Roses. Every time I smell them I go “oooohhhh!”, but in wearing them, they always seem a little emphatic: too puffy, too stuffy. I was in the mood for something leaner, something with less frills and ruffles. That something turned out to be Voleur de Roses.



Voleur de Roses was created all the way back in 1993 by Michel Almairac (Bottega Veneta, Gucci Rush), and anticipated the “stern rose” genre of dominatrixes like Une Rose (2003) and Rose Noir (2008): roses without the softening, “please like me” tics of vanilla or powder.

VdR's rose is so stern it stays stubbornly in the shadows of the composition, arms folded, letting the patchouli do all the heavy lifting. The perfume works that “goddess in a forest” effect of Aromatics Elixir, and in fact smells like a component part -- a stripped-down remix -- of that peerless creation.

(Considering VdR as a melancholic byproduct of AE makes me think of the recent remake/remodel of David Bowie's “Sound and Vision”, stripped of instrumentation and leaving only Bowie's voice, a plaintive piano, and Mary Hopkin's doot-doot-doo's. Listen to it here.)

VdR is redolent of wine and earth and glamour. There's an initial, twangy clash of sun-baked weeds and a kind of Good & Plenty, nail polishy sharpness. Then it settles into the scent of old leather suitcases, permeated with the perfume of party dresses that have been shown the time of their lives.

VdR's got some theatrically gothic mystery going on that puts me in mind of those sexy-campy Hammer Horror movies from the 60s and 70s, like The Vampire Lovers:



One sorrowful truth of Voleur de Roses is that it is fleeting. Its initial bold salvo implies a sillage-fest, but it quickly mutes and spends the rest of its lifespan in a barely-there haze of wine and roses.

To fall in love with VdR is to enter into a chase-the-dragon relationship with this quixotic perfume. But I willingly chase, and continue to spray spray spray on skin, clothes, and hair. As The Vampire Lovers' narrator might put it, I yearn for its "cold caress -- the kiss that kills". Kill me a little more, Voleurs de Roses.

Voleur de Roses is available from LuckyScent.com and Amazon.com, at $145 for 100ml
Top photo: Jane Asher in The Masque of the Red Death

19 comments:

  1. Isn't is available at the L'Artisan Parfumeur shops in London?

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    1. Hi Catherine - yes, you can find VdR at the L'Artisan counters in London. Annoyingly, L'Artisan's stand-alone boutique in Covent Garden has morphed into a Penhaligon's. And there are already a bunch of Penhaligon shops in town! Bah!

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  2. Me again, did you ever check out Roullier White in SE22 when you were in London?

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    1. Haven't managed to get my hindquarters down to SE22 yet. But knowing one of the owners as a man of great taste, I'm sure the place is a haven of beautiful smells.

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  3. I had a sample of this one once, but didn't care for it, although I couldn't put it into words. Maybe I wasn't ready for the less crowd-pleasing "cold" parts--the licorice and antique leather--to really appreciate it. I love it when I learn to appreciate something I just didn't understand before.

    Right now, the weather is still a bit dreary, chilly with gray skies, so I've been reaching for stuff that makes me feel warm, (vanillas, spices, etc.), so cold roses may have to wait! I think early autumn sounds like a time when I would enjoy VdR the most.

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    1. Nora, I was wearing VdR while swishing around late night Vegas blowing dough at ritzy hotel roulette tables. I felt very worldly and reckless and decadent. The perfume was the perfect smell-scape.

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  4. This has been on my "to try" lists for ages so will have to check it out at Liberty's when next in town. Another fantastic rose/patchouli combo is Guerlain Rose Nacree du Desert , I used to keep on going back toHarrods for re tests until my husband bought me a bottle last year. I think it is one of the most beautiful fumes available ,the rose is very natural and the earthyness of the patchouli counteracts the sweetness of the benzoin. I try not to use it too much as I don't think I could ever afford to replace it.

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    1. Oh Jaki, I love that Déserts d’Orient trio from Guerlain! That is an A#1 present from your husband!

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  5. One of my favorites Katie. My take on my blog was a bit different.

    "It is all about luxurious sex. Voleur de Roses by L’Artisan Parfumeur is a perfume of the body and the smells of being a bad boy all of which is sure to shock some in its honest sensuality. It is the lingering scent of a lover’s body when you crawl back into bed just after they have gone. It is daring, bold and utterly divine! ... If you dare to wear Voleur de Roses you may begin to write a blazing new page in your own life story. To have a reputation is ordinary to be come a legend is extraordinary."

    I love your take on it. That is the wonderful thing about perfume. In the bottle there is a unique story for every person who smells what is inside. Vive la différence!

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    1. PurrrrROW! Love the sentiment, LS. The last two lines should be L'Artisan's ad copy for VdR. (I nominate Bruno Acampora Musc as my "luxurious sex" perfume.)

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    2. Oh now Bruno Acampora Musc sounds Wonderful! I am going to get a sample from Lucky Scent right now! Thanks for the heads up Katie!

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  6. Have you tried . I never knew I actually like roses until I found this. Like you I don't like the cute, sugarey, girl-ness overload of most rose perfumes. This one though - LOrdy......

    "The dark magic potion is made of crushed petals and thorns, of cacao and spice and nothing nice. A gothic, bleeding rose, this is a fierce, passionate ...a promise and a threat "

    It has a slight metallic base, like blood, as if you've just pticked your thumb on a thorn. I chose it for my wedding day......not sure what it say's about me!

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  7. Just realized that if you wait too long to comment on a particular post it may no longer allow comments...was going to place my comment under you ' top picks from 2013-kids in candy store" because I loved that video sooo much I wanted to play along at home...Ordered up a bunch of the reviewed scents from Lucky scent - but - must have been inspired by this post, as well- Voleur was also in the shipment...You and Steven did not steer us wrong- what a lively bunch of samples I now have- thanks sooo much- as always..I just have one burning question, re Lab on fire- WWDIP is secret- Yes- it's super cheery and yums, but I have been scratching my head trying to think of what it reminded me of since receiving - remembering a girl I worked with in the 90's- searching images of 80's fragrances and then 90's fragrances- and finally found the photo that jarred my memory..I hope this is as in-offensive as possible- but does anyone smelling A Lab on Fire- what we do In Paris get Givenchy's Amirage ? or am I officially nose bonkers?..

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    1. Hard to say which part of your body is riddled with bonkers, pinkcash, but you've made a challenging assertion. I'll have to do a drive buy with Amirage and see I can smell what you smell.

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    2. And how funny-fun of you to play along at home!! You are a game gal for sure - I love it!

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  8. Neela Vermeire's Mohur is a beautiful, spicy rose with woods, amber and leather at the base. It's amazing. As a long time viewer, I think it might be your type of thing.

    BTW, I also LOVE B.A. Musc. So sexy, but also comforting. I can't go a week without wearing it!

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    1. Oooh, thanks for the tip on Mohur. I don't know it, and am always glad to try something new that's just my type.

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  9. I love Voleur de Roses! Have you tried Magie Noir by Lancôme ? Another earthy rose and patchouli combo

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    1. Scott, I've only scored occasional whiffs of the pre-reformulated Magie Noir, and it is BEYOND ULTRA! Long-time lovers of MN insist that the current version is harsh and skeletal compared to its original glory. But I'm glad you mentioned it - I'm going to give it another whirl when I'm next at a Lancôme counter.

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