Monday 9 October 2023

AMBER ROSE by Shay & Blue

A bottle of Amber Rose perfume by Shay & Blue
The call that you’ll constantly hear in department stores up and down the country from fragrance fans is, “what’s new?” It’s always a difficult question to answer because, to quote Luca Turin, “every fragrance is new to someone”. This constant quest for “newness” in terms of time runs the risk of missing out on some cracking fragrances that may have escaped you along the way, or perhaps even ones that you’ve forgotten about, and so that’s exactly what you’re going to be treated to today. So, grab your party hats because we’re heading back to 2013 to celebrate the 10th birthday of Amber Rose from Shay & Blue.

Whenever the word “rose” is mentioned with regard to fragrances you are pretty much guaranteed to receive one of three immediate responses. You’ll either get an excited smile from the floral lovers, a disdainful glare from the rose avoiders, or the look of fear from men who feel that wearing a floral fragrance is going to somehow sap them of their masculinity. In truth, rose is an ingredient in nearly every fragrance, sometimes in the star role and sometimes in the chorus, and its importance in the creation of the perfect blend is something that should never be underestimated.

When Shay & Blue launched its debut collection of six fragrances in 2013, it was in response to the growing demand for gender-neutral and eco-conscious fragrances, which wasn’t being offered widely at the time. The founder, Dom De Vetta was already a seasoned professional, with stints at Chanel and Jo Malone London, but he’d noticed that the trend for overtly-sexualised and stereotypical scents was really beginning to saturate the high street. So, he partnered with perfumer Julie Massé to launch a debut collection that drew on his desire to bottle unique experiences, but always with a healthy dose of “flair, passion and warmth”.

The box for the Amber Rose perfume by Shay & Blue
The debut collection comprised Almond Cucumber, Atropa Belladonna, Blood Oranges, Sicilian Limes, Suffolk Lavender, and Amber Rose, but creating a rose fragrance that appealed to all genders was not common in 2013. So, Julie Massé extracted the masculine and feminine elements of the flower and carefully positioned them into a perfume that was distinctly more headstrong than “pretty in pink”. It’s also worth noting that Shay & Blue fragrances are 100% natural, yet Julie has created expansiveness within each of them that's truly magical. So, leave your expectations at the door, as we discover Amber Rose.

The fragrance opens with a note of redcurrant and lemon, so you’re immediately put into the mindset of tart berries, but there’s also a dewiness in here as well that adds a green sappiness to the opening. The promised note of rose quickly arrives, accompanied by a pink pepper and touches of clove, and it takes the star ingredient into a wonderfully androgynous territory. Alongside a hint of peony, you then get a wash of caramel, but it has a slightly burnt rather than cloying sweet edge, and again demonstrates that “two sides of the same coin” effect. The development of the perfume sees the amber accord appear, but this has a smoothness to it, and perfectly highlights the patchouli, a vetiver-washed labdanum and perhaps even a touch of whiskyed ambrette? Amber Rose is a beautiful fragrance from a fascinating brand, and perhaps the one to finally convert the rose worriers.

Amber Rose is available from the Shay & Blue website at priced at £25 for 10ml and £65 for 100ml. It’s also available as a 60ml Extrait for £145. [Sample provided by Shay & Blue]

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