It’s hard not to adore a perfumer who looks this much like Mario, but I promise that I have several far more legitimate reasons for highlighting Maurice Roucel today. A Roucel perfume is instantly recognizable. His work is joyfully exuberant, boisterously playful. At a time when so many perfumes are soulless, focus group-tested creations, Roucel’s fragrances have personality. I respect Roucel because his work is never trivial or insipid. His mainstream fragrances are just as good as his niche creations (and sometimes even better!). Today I will be discussing eight of Monsieur Roucel’s creations. Please share your own opinions of these perfumes in the comments, or suggest more Roucel fragrances for us to try!
Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
Musc Ravageur has received nothing but adoration from perfume lovers since its release in 2000, and I am not about to break with that grand tradition now. Despite the name, Musc Ravageur is actually an amber fragrance. Its clove and cinnamon top notes positively sizzle, eventually giving way to a terribly sexy, warm amber-and-vanilla dry down. Believe the hype about this one.
Bond No. 9 Broadway Nite
Broadway Nite has what so many modern perfumes lack: excitement. Roucel’s pairing of electrifying aldehydes with bracingly green violet notes resulted in a perfume that crackles and sparks with tension. I am too boring to wear this perfume, but I highly recommend it.
Missoni by Missoni
The discontinuation of this Missoni fragrance after only a few years on the market came as a surprise to exactly no one. First, the bottle. That bottle was bad, y’all. The juice itself was also somewhat perplexing. Missoni is essentially an inedible gourmand fragrance. It features a prominent chocolate note, but juxtaposes the chocolate with bitter grassy notes. It’s actually pretty great, but I can understand why no one particularly wanted to wear it.
L de Lolita Lempicka
This is the happiest perfume ever created. It opens with sweet orange and incense, and then becomes an addictive salty-sweet combination of vanilla and immortelle. The dry down bears a fair resemblance to Musc Ravageur, but Musc Ravageur’s top notes are so fantastic that I consider them both necessary. L de Lolita Lempicka has been discontinued in the U.S. I cannot stress this enough: if you find it, buy it.
Hermes 24, Faubourg
24, Faubourg is one of those rich, grand jasmine-and-amber fragrances that were so popular in the last century, but 24, Faubourg is much sexier than most of the other scents in that category. It is sweet and powdery, but far from girlish or insipid. Highly recommended to fans of classic florals.
DKNY Be Delicious
I suspect that when Roucel begins work on a new perfume, he thinks to himself “Go big or go home”. The vibrant, exhilarating DKNY Be Delicious is proof that Roucel has yet to go home. Be Delicious is an apple scent, but it could not be further from the standard sweet, demure apple fragrance. No, Be Delicious is a spectacularly tart, fluorescent green apple, the likes of which have yet to be genetically engineered.
Le Labo Jasmin 17
This is the one Roucel creation that I can’t get particularly excited about. Jasmin 17, oddly enough, does not smell like jasmine. Instead, it is a perfectly pretty soapy orange blossom fragrance. There is little to distinguish it from the hundreds of other soapy orange blossom fragrances, although it does lack the unfortunate screechiness that is becoming common in those scents.
Bond No. 9 New Haarlem
First, I must point out that New Haarlem is virtually identical to Rochas Man, an earlier Roucel creation. Rochas Man is much cheaper, so if you are not a bottle ho, you should buy that instead. (I am a bottle ho. No shame.) Having said that, both New Haarlem and Rochas Man are deliciously golden woody fragrances. The Bond website alleges a coffee note, and I can see that connection, but New Haarlem is not so literal as to actually smell like coffee. It does, however, have a pleasantly roasted quality.