Unapologetically fem with a beautiful violet opening note that makes me think of Parma Violets. I get a retro feeling from this similar to the feeling I get from Dior's Cuir Cannage. The lipstick smell is so well done in both.
Perfumer Ralf Schwieger really hits it out of the ballpark for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle with Lipstick Rose (2000). You get the smell of lipstick and rose , with little embellishment. Of course, we're not strictly talking drugstore lipstick or even the OPI stuff you can get at Ulta, but the super high-end haute-bourgeoise lipstick like the kind you need to shop at Neiman's or the Nordstrom flagship in Seattle to get, but turned up to tacky levels of intensity. This stuff is so delightfully feminine, gaudy and flippant, it riles me up quite so, and without coming across as too gauche, I'd love to wear this as a man to turn heads. In stark contrast to the later Un Rose (2003) or Portrait of a Lady (2010), rose itself is not really the main attracting of Lipstick Rose, but rather the overall aura of a rose perfume accentuated by the smell of a woman's makeup. This is almost a Byredo piece in the way it tries to evoke images of a memory, but I won't insult Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle by comparing it to a house that is generally just smoke and mirrors with a high price tag. Frédéric Malle isn't exactly a value either, but they generally do more than try to deliver nostalgia in a dour-looking bottle. Instead, we get lofty proclamations of expert curation and artistic freedom, which are also things that come with grains of salt tossed over the shoulder, but I guess if you are considering niche perfume to begin with, you've already come to terms with the puffery found in this tier of the market. By contrast, there is zero puffery in the overall aesthetic of Lipstick Rose
The best parts of the iris found in Dior Homme (2005) or Guerlain Shalimar (1925) merge with a wonderful violet and grapefruit to form that semi-powdery lipstick aura in the opening, which eventually melds with a bright clean tea rose note. This remains the bulk of the wear and may come across linear or tiresome to people used to a ton of development in their fragrances, but here the star of the show shines so bright that everything else around it acts like a supporting cast member. Orris butter is the root cause for such a strong iris note (pun intended), and this is dried up rather sharp with vetiver too, before white musks and the warmth of amber help anchor everything to skin. There isn't a traditional top/heart/base structure with Lipstick Rose, just an opening salvo and then a semi-powdery but smooth finish, like some classic perfumes from over a century past. Lipstick Rose is at once retro and modern, because it has that postmodernist trash culure streak with the subject and style, but also the polish and refinement that could only come from a properly-trained perfumer with financial backing, and not your local swap meet perfumer who makes her smelly sauces from essential oils she buys from a craft catalog. All told, Lipstick Rose is irreverent, fun, and so jarringly feminine in that Cyndi Lauper kind of way, it ends up being a blast for any gender to wear, although I know a few friends who like to dress in drag that need to get well acquainted with this perfume; it's just so perfect for them. One warning though: this perfume has nuclear longevity and sillage, so go very easy with applications, and wear wherever you want to turn heads, because you're going to regardless.
Lipstick Rose is that rare niche perfume coming from an uppity hoity-toity house that betrays its origins. This is not a perfume that will make you feel like a perfume snob wearing it, not one that will incite tons of compliments or questions about what you're wearing, but it will set carefree mood when you put it on. I mean, this basically is Betty Boop the Fragrance, so how can it not put a smile on your face if not actually make you laugh? The power of orris, violet, rose, and amber in one perfume can make this a bit grating if you're not entirely on the same page with it, but Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle has plenty of other florals or rose perfumes if you're looking for something more serious and less deliberately "perfumey" like Lipstick Rose. This stuff isn't cheap, but on the lower end of what the house likes to charge, putting it in the same realm of accessibility as the aforementioned Byredo, or something from Tom Ford, plus most stores who carry the house tend to have a tester of this on display, as it seems to be one of the better sellers for Frédéric Malle. Lipstick Rose is not a perfume to be taken lightly, despite its quirky nature, since performance is so overwhelmingly strong, but little from the Malle range seems to be for casual use anyway, so I'm not telling you anything you likely don't already know. That's it really. Another "unsure if I could really see myself using a whole bottle" kind of fragrance, the combination of quality and novelty factor of Lipstick Rose has me taking a bow to a house I usually look at with derision, so my hat's off to the brand by way of Ralf Schwieger. Thumbs up!
Magnifique! Although I seriously doubt I would shell out the clams for this one... It IS divine! Powdery dry, first whiff. Bright rose. Sweet floral. Muted, woodsy musk. Candied vanilla cookie smell, that later turns into caramel. The caramel aroma eventually, suddenly drops like a brick off a tall building, transforming into the most beautiful of lipstick scents. Expensive lipstick - nothing drug store about its aroma, this. Lipstick rose is a masterpiece, in my opinion.
The title hits the nail on the head: creamy lighthearted lipstick, bright, a touch creamy and waxy; this is combined with a bright, fresh rose. The rose is neither green nor woody; as a matter of fact, there more of a fresh-ish and fruity than a woodsy character present in the rose. A splash of modern and unstuffy powderiness rounds off the top notes. Bright red lipstick comes to mind.
The drydown adds a pleasant violet component, which blends in well with the initial notes. Until now the sweetness is very restrained.
Later on it turn a bit sweeter, but still not very sweet, and it is never heavy or cloying. Vanilla and white musks combine to create a very light ambery tone towards the end.
I get moderate sillage, very good projection and a splendid longevity of eleven hours on my skin.
A bright and youthful spring fun scent, quite playful and unencumbered by darker elements. Pleasant, but a times a bit too generic. Still, just good enough for a positive score. 3/5.