Byredo's new fragrance can't turn back the clock, but it might make you smell younger.
On September 2, the brand will introduce a scent dubbed "Young Rose" to its lineup, home to cult favorites including "Mojave Ghost" and "Bal D'Afrique."
When conceiving of Young Rose, Creative Director Ben Gorham took inspiration from China — specifically, the generation of burgeoning creatives he encountered while visiting the country. Translating the promise of youth into something fresh for the nose, Young Rose layers notes of Sichuan pepper on a heart of Damascus rose, a combo that contrasts tradition with novelty.
With the fragrance, Gorham follows in the footsteps of several brands attempting to give rose perfumes a facelift.
Transforming the old-fashioned rose into something radical is a feat perfumers have long endeavored to accomplish. Two early ’00s fragrances, Le Labo's "Rose 31" and Frederic Malle's "Une Rose," were more earthy than floral.
Unlike traditional takes on the blossom, they sought to capture a distinctly sexy, mysterious mood.
More recently, scents such as Aesop’s "Rōzu" and Boy Smells' "Rose Load" merge the flower with dark, woody notes commonly used in cologne for an unexpectedly masculine flavor that softly clashes with the rose's delicate presence.
As an increasing number of consumers eschew conventionally gendered beauty products and turn to unisex fragrances, the rose bush is prime stomping ground for experimentation.
Stripping the flower of its traditionally feminine connotations, Byredo's Young Rose offers an androgynous take on a bloom rich with symbolism. It pushes us to reconsider the seemingly arbitrary association we draw between smell and gender, upending the famous words of Gertrude Stein: "A rose is a rose is a rose."