“The beauty and the scent of roses can be used as a medicine.”
— Nikola Tesla
MY LOVE OF ROSES was first kindled when some friends and I skipped class and hung out at my best friend’s house. There, we secretly tasted a sweet liquor handmade out of rose petals by her mom.
I’m not sure whether it was the alcohol content (it was just a few sips, honestly!), or the secrecy of the whole situation, but that flavor has been etched in my mind as one of the most unusual, unexpected, rule-breaking and enchanting in my life.
After all, I’d never known before that roses weren’t merely for smelling, but for tasting.
MANY YEARS LATER came my love for rose perfumes. I’d never enjoyed their scent; for me, it was strongly associated with a certain type of obnoxious old lady, and in most cases it was strong, musty, choking.
That was during the last year of my master’s program, and I was dreaming, as travelers did in the good old days, about taking a few months off to enjoy the Grand Tour. Then, one day, stopping at a nearby Anthropologie, my attention was caught by a beautiful jar of perfume: inkwell-shaped, emerald-green, vintage-looking, topped with a floral pincushion and Victorian-inspired pins.
And it was rose.
Though not the stale, vigorous rose I expected, but a very light, refreshing, crisp, and uplifting rose. I fell in love with the scent instantaneously, though I still can’t believe it.
Rose Perfume and me?
OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS on my way home, I stopped at the store, approached the green sample bottle, and sprayed some perfume on my pulse spots, secretly hoping that the magic would be gone, that those heavy undertones would come out, and I would return to my anti-rose normal.
But the scent stayed strong — fresh and attracting. I started doing more research and found the description: “Inspired by The Grand Tour — a trip across Europe enjoyed by young ladies in the 19th century as a finishing course to their education.” Everything came together, and I realized we were meant to be together — me and my precious Rosa Alba 1842 by Happ & Stahns.
MY ROSE FASCINATION QUICKLY GREW, and my personal collection of rose favorites was expanding: Traditional French rose-petal jams; English rose tea by Whittard, brought by a friend from Cambridge; rose-flavored mints I spotted in Charles de Gaulle airport; rose macaroons from Ladurée on the Upper East Side; Heritage Rose Petals Rosewater from Whole Foods (my obligatory companion on all flights); and oh, that divine rose-flavored ice cream I found at the Chicago Paciugo near my music school.
Rose scents and flavors of rose have become inseparable counterparts for me on my life adventures.
It’s a well-known fact that smells in particular bring back memories, and for me, they are always emotional and nostalgic, rather than concrete and detailed.
SHARING MY LOVE OF ROSES, and my rose favorites, is emotional and nostalgic for me as well. And so I hope some products may become your true companions, and help to create your own stories — sweet, fresh and invigorating.
Editor – David Podgurski