I have to commend Rose Cut by Ann Gerard – its progression is really something. It manages somehow to lurch from a sickly sweet rum-and-aldehydes opening to a parched, mineralic dust in 2.5 hours flat. Has to be some kind of record for going from bad to worse.
The opening notes are a depressing microcosm of ‘niche’ – raspberry jam, rubber, rum, a pile of sugar crystals and the unnaturally white spackle of aldehydes. There’s an interesting rose note in there somewhere, but it comes and goes, and its pale little flutter gets covered up by a purple soap note and what smells like me to be mint. Something herbal and hotel-soapy anyway. It might be the peony. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the note that makes me struggle a bit with Dzongkha (although I respect Dzongkha and I keep trying with it).
It’s the base that I really dislike, though. It flattens out into a grey, mineralic powder that seems to emphasise the very worst aspects of benzoin, specifically that kind of bitter, resinous, catch-in-your-throat facet of bezoin. I’m less keen on that side of benzoin than on the vanilla and lemon cream side.
The oakmoss wood absolute, or whatever they’re calling the substitute for real oakmoss, is not a real replacement at all. So here we have the dry, salty woodiness of oakmoss but without the entrancing, deep inky sludge facets of the real deal. Again, like with the benzoin, this perfume is emphasising all the least attractive facets of the base materials and discarding the parts that make them smell interesting. In my opinion. (Anyone who watches the Good Wife will get that reference).
Honestly, the base just smells like hot, salt-encrusted rocks you find down at the seaside – all air-dried salt, minerals, and general grey stoniness. The patchouli is too pale and polite and cleaned-up to make any kind of impact. The rose has done a disappearing act. It has been “cut”. I keep catching a smell of rubber too – what IS that?