I am quicksilver, the fox in the night, emotional about the poetry, love & desire in scent, read me.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Indelible Libertine Rose: Grandeur & Performance – ‘Rozy’(x2) by Vero.Profumo

Nobody knows this little Rose
by Emily Dickinson

Nobody knows this little Rose --
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it --
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey --
On its breast to lie --
Only a Bird will wonder --
Only a Breeze will sigh --
Ah Little Rose -- how easy

For such as thee to die!

I don’t think I have waited for something with as much anticipation and imagining as I have for the latest chapters of Vero Kern’s lauded and perfumed life. I cannot perceive my life without her fragrances invading my senses, reminding me skin is for anointing and worship. My passions are Onda and Kiki with a steadily growing obsession for the Mito Extrait, a shockingly green carousel of champaca and magnolia lit from within by the most incredible sharp, oozing lemon note and mulchy, rutting galbanum, all crushed blooms and dank undergrowth. Quite an achievement and one that drips like ochre sap across the skin, exploding a thousand shimmering gardens in the brain.

Now we are spoiled like wayward, beautiful children. Vero has given us two fragrances; both Rozy but very different in tone. One is a lush, fruity eau de parfum, dramatic and sweetly animalic; the other is another of Vero’s Voile d’Extraits that sit somewhere between her eaux de parfums and her precious extraits. This voile version of Rozy is breath-taking, a mix of plasticised paint effects and heady medicinal roses and a vortex of fractured petals whirling in a compulsion of sexual promise.

I have been thinking about these two beautiful fragrances for days now, ever since they arrived from Bloom in London after Vero’s superstar visit to Oxana’s boutique on the 9th April. They were accompanied by the sweetest postcard from Vero herself, sending her kindest wishes to myself and my fellow Garçon Mr E. The reviews have been coming thick and fast from writers across the blogosphere; nearly all of them superlative in their praise for the skill and originality of Vero’s scented art.  

There is nothing quite like the provocative sensuality and bravura assemblage of Vero Kern’s work; wearing her perfumes is like slipping on the mantle of other worlds, other desires. Her work is alchemy pure and simple. Vero recently changed the rules of perfumery a little by releasing her fragrances in a new and unique strength she has called voile d’extrait (literally.. a veil of extract…).This is not Vero just creating a new concentration but also a new style and interpretation of her extraordinary fragrances.  The voiles offer a very stylised, almost abstracted view of both her concentrated eaux de parfums and her powerful pure extraits. Each voile reflects, compliments and contrasts its source material in subtle yet inventive ways. The Kiki Voile d’Extrait is gorgeous… now I adore the Kiki… best lavender EVER, all caramelised and sunny burn, but Vero has added oppoponax and cassis to the Voile which seems to just melt across the skin like a languid caress in a hot still field. And I think if I wore my Onda eau de parfum, Onda Extrait and my Onda Voile d’Extrait all together, the world might stop turning on its axis.

The long-awaited Rozy, a homage to iconic Italian actress, Anna Magnani, is available in eau de parfum and voile formulations, both of which are utterly sublime, full of sensual rage and unconventional beauty. I have been waiting for Rozy for quite some time; the thought of Vero handling roses electrified me when she mentioned it to me last year. I just could not imagine how it would smell, I just knew it would of course be beautiful. Vero beautiful.

The inspiration is unique too; very Vero. Anna Magnani was an Italian actress of unusual force and conviction, famed for her striking looks and highly charged acting style. She came to prominence as part of the Italian neo-realism style of cinema with films such as Pasolini’s Mamma Roma and Rome Open City directed by Roberto Rossellini who she loved obsessively. Her harrowing death scene in Rome Open City is one of cinema’s most powerful and poignant moments. She became much more widely known outside Europe after starring as Serafina Delle Rosa in The Rose Tattoo with Burt Lancaster, the film adaptation of the play by Tennessee Williams. The play was originally written by Williams for Magnani to perform on Broadway but she was turned down it down due to her concerns about her English. But the film earned Magnani an Oscar for her incredible and emotional performance.

Watching Anna Magnani on screen now I am struck by the magnetism of her commitment to the cinematic moment, the passion and sense of woman in her performances. She seems stripped back, unadorned and raw. Her unconventional smouldering beauty was one of fire and explosive mood. Many of her directors were preoccupied in exploiting this elemental drive and Magnani’s roles were channelled into classic mother/Madonna/whore personas indicative of the grim anti-Catholic/anti-fascist cinema of the day.

Anna Magnani is a legend in Italy; an symbol of forceful female sexuality and raw cinematic power. When she died aged 65 from pancreatic cancer, Romans thronged the streets and she was honoured in way usually reserved only for Popes.  There has never been anyone like her since, a performer in complete harmony with her complex and simmering sexuality. Once seen, her performances are hard to forget. She had the most compelling eyes, shadowed and haunted framed by tousled hair. She was edgy, passionate, devoted, enigmatic and magnificent. An amazing muse for a scent.

Vero has said of Rozy: ‘This scent is supposed to be the rosy playback for the secrecy, the vibrancy and the divine in the rose.’

The Magnani theme is reflected through the two faces of Rozy, one voluptuous and earthy (the eau de parfum) and the other emotive and confrontational (the voile..). The eau de parfum is much more creamy and teasing with a delicious honeyed lick to the rose. Vero’s trademark passion fruit note is spread sexily through this version adding a touch of skank and bothered skin as the scent settles over the peachier rose midriff. This use of passion fruit is quite unique to Vero. In anyone else’s hands it would quite simply be rendered as a generic tropical facet, adding a hint of pina colada or fruit salad to an accord. But Vero has manipulated the weird, pulpiness of the fruit, that fleshy sauvignon blanc ripeness that seems almost carnal in its intensity. Vero has found her own musk, her dirty base, an element that is recognisably Vero.Profumo whilst adding luxury and difference.

The drydown in the eau de parfum is sublime, crystalline and delicate, far removed from the enormous curves and billowing hues of the opening. The voile version of Rozy is very different, much more intense and demanding. I loved it as soon as I sprayed it, it just felt so right on my skin, settled, ravishing and drop dead sexy. It fills the air around you like a gathering storm. The initial impression is one of hot plastic roses, an almost claustrophobic intensity of notes- the bitter crush of blackcurrant buds, more honey and a really sticky labdanum resin. This mix is so different from the sweetform petalage of the eau de parfum. It demands your attention, constantly pulling nose to skin, savouring the diversity of shift and ambivalence as Vero’s wicked rose seduces the senses. It is quite a feat to create one great rose; to create two seems crazy, but Vero Kern is one of the most remarkable artists working in scent today and when she turns her mind to a note or bloom you know the result will defy all expectations.

Both versions have the most remarkable sillage and tenacity. In fact the eau de parfum reaches the peak of its beauty about two hours into the wearing. Once the heady succulence has melted away, the Rose d’Orient glows like a watchfire, surrounded by a soft-focus lilac touch and the ambered radiance of hot honey. It is a parfum that takes it time, asks for a little patience and devotion. It is not much to ask for something so divine.

I do prefer the voile though; just personal preference. I keep returning to it over and over again, mesmerised by its most unfloral eccentricity. There is a sense of rawness to the mix, a begging to be worn, worn wildly. I smell fresh paint, turpentine, storm-torn gardens through open windows. I love the unsettling and most unexpected rubberised top to the scent, a whiff of perfumed inner tubes. Then the lovely lovely Vero rose, assembled with minute attention to detail, every twist and turn of shadowed petal, each bruised stem and twisted thorn has been carefully brought to decadent life. The cassis bud is a delightful touch, adding echoes of autumn fruit but also suggesting the slightly pissy off-colour green the fruit can sometimes bring. Honey is another Vero trademark note and used to drip warmth and sexy harmony through the composition. It adds animalic heat and purr, complementing the unexpected slink and roar of the voile’s structure.

Many perfumers, while seeking to radically re-interpret a bloom often forget what made the flower so arresting in the first place. By layering the true thrill of nature under gauzy tricks and aldehydic glare, the effects are muted and lost. Abstraction has its place, but one must be able to look deep into the heart of dizzying, fractural floral collage and be able to perceive a semblance of reality or the construct just falls apart.

Vero’s Rozy Voile d’Extrait smells remarkably strange and defiant, layers of carefully applied veils and guises to beguile the senses. Yet as a perfumer, Vero never once forgets the place and balance of her precious rose at the heart of this compulsive composition. It feels easy and fluid and yet the complexity of the build is astounding. I love this strange opaque veil she has created, unsettling, ambitious, profane and erotic. Vero has never shied away from the sex of scent; the libidinous collision of skin and aroma, reconnecting us to times gone by when scent ensnared and provoked, appalled and gratified. We must never forget the raw power of truly great scent to evoke carnality and light the edges of love. Don’t be afraid of roses, embrace their flickering darkness and love the rose within. Both incarnations of Rozy are quite extraordinary, quite an achievement by Vero Kern. I applaud silently in shadows as the rosaceous fumes roll around me like fire.

For more information on Vero Kern and Vero.Profumo, please follow the link below:


  1. Great post, I'll make sure we share it once Rozys arrive in London. (Otherwise it's just torturing the readers: 'read, don't smell')

    1. haha. good thinking… I've talked about them so much and have to keep reminding myself they are not quite available yet… but of course … all good things come to those who wait ;)