Blog post by Gwen

Rose Pivoine – floral and fresh and summery

Photo: Rose pivoine/Rose peony by perfumeniche

Spring is a transitional time of year. We come out of hibernation and shed our winter clothes and ways with spring cleaning, spring colours, and spring foods that lead the way to summer living.

We need to have warmer temperatures for new life to begin, but sometimes Mother Nature needs a nudge. Where I live, we’ve occasionally had more snow in April than in February. I know spring is coming, but it’s too slow getting here. I want that soul-stirring slow dance to summer to start now. When I feel this way, relief is often found in a perfume bottle. Right now, it’s in a bottle of Rose Pivoine from French niche line Nicolaï Parfumeur-Createur, formerly known as Parfums de Nicolaï.

Patricia de Nicolaï was born into the Guerlain family, studied chemistry, earned a degree in perfumery and was, many believe, on a trajectory to being the in-house perfumer for Guerlain until she hit a glass ceiling - only men from the family worked on the Guerlain brand.

So, she launched her family line, Nicolaï Parfumeur Createur, with her husband in 1998. Since then, she has created some of the most beautiful fragrances I know. And Luca Turin backs me up on this, saying she is “…one of the unsung greats of the fragrance world…” in his book Perfumes: The A-Z Guide.

Rose Pivoine is a stand-out in a strong fragrance line. 

It opens with soft, citrusy bergamot balanced with a gentle, sweet, fruity note of apricot. Right off the top, it’s light, elegant and feminine. A sweet, tart red fruit accord is here too. It’s a smell I always associate with spring/summer scents, and I always smile when I find it here. Roman chamomile, a member of the daisy family, adds an herbaceous green dimension to the fragrance. It also has sweet and fruity aspects that bridge the opening to a fresh, fragrant heart of opulent Bulgarian rose and Bourbon geranium that dominate the fragrance and create a rose/peony effect. The surprise here is how light the rose is. It’s not a deep, heavy, diva rose – but a light, wafting rose that's casual yet elegant. At the base, ambrette seeds make it musky and vegetal, as black pepper warms it up.

Rose Pivoine is pretty much a soliflore – it doesn’t evolve much and feels like the rose/peony accord is surrounded by other notes instead of being transformed by them. In many ways, that’s one of the things I like most about it. The drydown is floral, fresh and a little spicy.

The Nicolaï Parfumeur Createur website says Rose Pivoine is “A rose and peony explosion in a green June garden!” any time of year.

Take that, Mother Nature!

Check out Rose Pivoine in our Shop.