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PG 26 Isparta – The perfect winter rose - December 1, 2014 New Fragrance Listing

Image-Wikimedia - Rose Petals by Atonin, 2007

A while back, I was helping my youngest niece with a school project on Shakespeare’s Love Labour’s Lost. I hadn’t read the play since studying it in university, but reading it again, I was struck by the imagery, the language and just the beauty of the poetry. Just as I was marveling at the genius of Shakespeare I came across this:

At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

Lord Berowne is arguing for enjoying all things in good time, and I generally agree, but Lady Gwendolyn does desire a rose at Christmas: PG 26 Isparta EdP.

Part of Parfumerie Générale’s Numbered Collection, PG 26 Isparta was named after Isparta, the city in western Turkey that is known for growing Damascus roses and producing so much of the world’s rose oil, the most expensive essential oil in the perfume industry,  that it is called ‘Rose City’.

The rose harvest in Isparta is short - usually running between late May and Early June. These summer roses are harvested at the crack of dawn before the flowers are completely open and at their most fragrant. Then they’re distilled right away to preserve their rich fragrance in oil.

PG 26 Isparta was launched in January 2014 and while winter might seem a like an odd time to launch a fragrance based on a summer rose, to me it makes perfect sense because PG 26 Isparta is the essence of summer roses preserved so they can be enjoyed in the dark of winter, like the thick, jammy rose marmalade sold at the markets at the Rose Festival held every year at harvest time in Isparta.

PG 26 Isparta opens with a gorgeous note of rose that is fruity, thick and jammy from the type of damascones (the chemical compound that give roses their distinctive scent) used. I smell raspberries and they just amplify the fruity, jamminess of the rose. As it blooms, it gets resinous from Peru balsam. Peru balsam also has vanilla and cinnamon facets and these make the rose sweet and spicy.  A note of calamaus strengthens the spiciness with its soft, cinnamon aspect while vanilla-scented benzoin and sweet, earthy ambroxan sweeten it. Then patchouli and incense take PG 26 Isparta all the way to the dark side. The rose is still there, but now it’s surrounded by rich, sticky resins and sweet, earthy ambroxan. At the base, agawood give sit a rich woodiness that balances the sweetness while musk gives it a warm sensuality.

The drydown is rich, lush and sexy. Instead of the delicate floral aspect of summer rose, nose Pierre Guillaume has gone for the darker, preserved one – and created a perfect winter rose, so thick, rich and sticky I half expected to find a small spoon in the box the EdP came in.

My niece got an A on her project and I’ve got a rose frag that would take the discontent out of anyone’s winter. As for Lord Berowne, well, he regrets his ‘all things in good time argument, when Rosaline asks him to wait a year until they marry. Still, as a great man once wrote, all’s well that ends well.

PG 26 Isparta is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00.