The All-Time Best Rose Fragrances

Stop and smell the roses, indeed.

dried roses and bottles on a table
(Image credit: Getty)

Ah, rose perfumes. For milliennials and zillennials, this fragrance category has, along with vanilla, earned itself a bad reputation over the last two decades, rife with headache-inducing memories of cheap body sprays spritzed copiously in school hallways after gym class. Rose, however, is a key fragrance note that belongs in anyone and everyone's perfume collection, and comes in a variety of forms, from strong to subtle—so you can rest assured that when you indulge, you won't smell like your overzealous sixth grade classmate.

"Rose-based perfumes are suited and appropriate for any occasion and time of the day," agrees Anne-Lise Cremona, CEO & daughter of the founder of Parfums Henry Jacques. "The Rose has always had a place in the heart of any good perfume collection; her scent is attractive and represent for many an absolute essential in perfumery." She adds that the rose scent can even be comforting, and is suitable for any occasion, day or night.

Meanwhile, MEMO Paris co-founder, Clara Molloy adds that there are a variety of rose perfumes on the market, and that the option best for you "depends on your mood and personal taste."

Below, we describe some of the best rose perfumes money can buy, and provide a bit of fragrance shopping advice from Cremona and Molloy themselves. The rose perfume of your dreams is well within reach.

Finding the Best Rose Perfume for You


I believe that you should wear whatever you want, whenever you want, but conventional wisdom advises many of us to opt for light, bright scents during the day while going with muskier, heavier options at night. That may lead one to believe that rose perfumes should be relegated to one or the other, but Molloy reminds us that's far from the case.

"For daytime," she suggests, "don't hesitate to embrace the lightness and freshness of a delicate rose fragrance, while reserving the deeper, more intense variations for the allure of evenings or special events. Whether you prefer to imagine a special day adorned with the intoxicating blend of damascena rose and its captivating intensity, or the embrace of woody, spicy notes, it's up to you! And for a touch of French elegance, let the Provence rose bloom as you wish! Don't forget that rose is a resolutely unisex ingredient, whose timeless charm appeals to men and women alike."

Other Scent Notes

When shopping for any perfume, you'll find that the brand lists top notes, heart notes, and base notes, and that it's rare for any fragrance to be composed purely of rose, patchouli, or any other element.

"The artistry lies in the adept blending of various elements to craft a harmonious and exquisite fragrance," says Molloy. "Roses have a way of playing well with others ingredients, enhancing and complementing the overall olfactory masterpiece."

More specifically, she explains, "Whether it's the timeless pair of rose violette for a classic hint, the sweet touch of rose with fruity pear notes, the comforting embrace of rose vanilla, the earthy richness of rose entwined with woods like oud, patchouli, and cedarwood, or the daring mix with leather—each combination unveils a realm of possibilities to craft perfumes that are both unique and utterly captivating." Cremona adds that rose can be combined with oud elements for an earthy, heavy scent.

And what does rose, in particular, bring to the table in a perfume? Cremona says, "Rose brings softness, femininity, and sweetness to the fragrance, creating a sense of well-being and an unforgettable presence." She also says that rose "can bring freshness and softness to a very masculine perfume."

Rose Type

Did you know that there are many different kinds of roses, and that the type you opt for changes the fragrance profile of your perfume?

"In the world of perfumery," explains Molloy, "artisans often weave the essence of two kind of roses: Rose damascena, renowned for its intoxicating blend of intense sweetness and spice, and the delicate Rose centifolia, also known as Provence rose, imparting a breath of lightness, greenness, and freshness to the magic of fragrances."

So, next time you're shopping for a new rose-based scent, pay special attention to the rose type listed on the ingredient list.

Meet the Experts

Anne-Lise Cremona
Anne-Lise Cremona

Anne-Lise Cremona is the daughter of Parfums Henry Jacques' founder, Henry Cremona. She now sits at the helm of the brand as CEO.

Clara Molloy
Clara Molloy

Clara Molloy founded MEMO Paris is 2007 with her husband, John. Currently based in Paris, she is also a poet.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.