Monday, September 13, 2010
Rochas - Femme Rochas
Femme Rochas was created in 1944 by the young perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, one of the 20th century's most famous perfumers, who went on to create the best lily of the valley perfume ever, Diorissimo. Rochas wanted a perfume that exuded sensuality and was unforgettable. Rounditska proposed a new direction from the popular leather-tobacco, green chypres of the day – a fruity-chypre with spices.
My sample of Femme Rochas EDP opens with a sharp sour fruit note, while still wet, that passes quickly. It could be the bergamot, which I'm having a problem with lately. But after that, the peach and plum fruits take over. They're wonderful and covered in spices. I smell the cumin and a tiny bit of cinnamon and I thought maybe cardamon as well, but that might be me associating cumin with Indian spices. The reformulation in 1989, by Oliver Cresp, apparently added the cumin note. Cumin in perfume can be divisive, but I guess I'm on the "love it" side. In Femme Rochas, it adds a sensual, personal skin note that's very sexy. It makes the luscious fruit warm, but never sticky sweet.
Under the stone fruit and spices is a chypre base. It's earthy and dry and woody with a touch of smooth sweetness. Fragrantica lists leather in the base notes, but I don't smell it. Maybe leather was part of the original formula, which would make sense if Roudnitska was playing with the leather chypre ideas of perfumes like Tabac Blond or Bandit, released the same year.
Some may find Femme Rochas to be too much; it certainly isn't as light as many of today's releases, but I think it's divine. Femme Rochas is all woman and maybe you'd like to come up and see her sometime.
Nose: Edmond Roudnitska (original) Oliver Cresp (reformulation)
Notes: Top: Bergamot oil, Peach notes, Plum notes Heart: Jasmine absolute, Bulgarian rose oil, cumin oil Base: Oakmoss absolute, Patchouli oil, Vanilla extract
Photo: Mae West