To smell a rose...

Extract from "Colloque du Centenaire de la Roseraie du Val-De-Marne" - (1994)

"When addressing scientists, technical specialists or professionals in the perfume business, things are crystal clear for them. Unfortunately, they rarely address the general public, perhaps for fear of trivialising their subjects, or perhaps because they don’t want to share their knowledge, which is nevertheless essential for appreciating a scent in the right way. This knowledge is relatively simple. Everyone can grasp it once they know how to go about it.


A key notion : the intensity and composition of a scent varies. We cannot claim to find what I call the same olfactory landscape with a rose all through the same day, as this will change depending on the state of the rose, bud, open flower, in full bloom and also depending on the time of day. The rose, just like all living organisms, seems to have an internal clock with differentiated internal cycles that we still don’t know much about. We know that a rose does not express its scent in the same way at different times of the day in terms of intensity or structure.


Smelling is also a technique ; if you don’t know how to smell, you won’t be able to enjoy the perfume that’s there.




At the Roseraie, the Guy de Maupassant variety, baptised upon the hundredth anniversary of the Roseraie, expresses an original scent of green apple.


Let’s take a rose and remember one or two facts :

- the scent is composed of gas molecules that travel from the rose to your nose. These molecules come from the petals, pistil  , sepals and the rose in general ;

- for these molecules to be released, various specific conditions must occur at the same time :
- optimal temperature (18 to 22°)
- no wind,
- no interfering odours due to someone who’s smoking or wearing perfume next to you,
- silence is preferable.


Your nose is capable of being extremely sensitive when you smell. After some practise, it is able to analyse a wide diversity of olfactory notes, note them and distinguish them in their order of arrival, since some arrive very quickly (in a few tenths of a second), and others much more slowly.

All of this is good news. The bad news is that your nose is fragile, and if you leave it for more than two or three seconds over one flower, your cells will fast become saturated to the point that you’ll no longer be able to smell anything.


Smelling a rose is like smelling wine. In a way, there is a first bouquet, a second bouquet, perhaps a third, and then that’s it.

Luckily, with a rose you can always come back later to smell its perfume.


This explains why some roses that have very intense perfumes at certain times or stages smell of nothing or almost nothing at others. If you are unlucky enough to smell them at these times, you’ll join the masses of other people who say that roses don’t smell of anything. You have to be patient and come back. You’ll then observe not only the presence of a scent, but also a change, which will encourage you to spend time around them, treat them with a certain respect and a certain consideration for an organism that is born, grows up, becomes adult and one day will die.


On the basis of these stages, cycles and sub-cycles, roses offer us moments of exchange and immense pleasure."