Jean-Charles Brosseau’s Ombre Rose Eau de Parfum (1981)

Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose © Victor Wong
Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose © Victor Wong

I want to kiss Ombre Rose in her face, but if I do, my lips and hair will be all covered with powder.

A few months ago I was talking to my hairdresser about discontinued perfumes, and she told me that she had missed only one perfume, and it’s called Ombre Rose Cologne. She was delighted that I could help her get a bottle, but she reminded me, “I want the cologne, not the perfume. Perfume is too strong.” I said, “hmm, I can try, but you know it’s discontinued, it might be expensive.” She replied, “I don’t care. I have to have it. They were in discount bins many years ago but I didn’t bother to get a few, and now they are no where to be found.”

It turned out that Ombre Rose Cologne wasn’t expensive at all. ($55 Canadian dollars/100ml.) However, my hairdresser wasn’t too pleased. “They have changed the formula! It wasn’t like this 30 years ago! I remember it was stronger!”

Ombre Rose was released in 1981. If I had smelled it when it launched, I probably would be kneeling before her sucking up her rose-petal infused powder sprinkled everywhere on the throne room floor. I have a feeling that Ombre Rose was a very influential perfume and a lot of perfumes had tried to copy it, and that’s why when I first smelled Ombre Rose, I thought it wasn’t very original. (It probably “inspired” Bond No, 9’s Washington Square) In fact, the exact opposite probably is true; Ombre Rose is the mother of all powdery rose perfume post-1980.

I also need to mention how crazy heavy the “rose part” of this perfume is. Cinnamon, tonka bean, honey, iris, vanilla, cedar, patchouli, geranium, yang, all super heavy hitter, it’s as ridiculous as a telephone booth stuffed with twenty people in a British comedy.

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