I’ve always loved roses. Ever since I first visited Turkey to see the rose harvest I have been inextricably linked to the Damascus rose. It has led to some strange incidents and memorable moments.
I watched Rose Otto being distilled in the Valley of the Roses, Bulgaria, where the communist arms factories still sit next to the rose gardens. I visited the Moroccan rose gardens and the remnants of rose production in Grasse. The strangest moment had to be when I stripped down to my underpants and jumped in to a carpet of roses in a rose factory in Turkey. We have developed a close relationship with our Turkish rose suppliers. This might have been helped by me taking my clothes off. The year before my daughter Imogen came along, Agnes, our essential oils buyer and myself were invited to our supplier’s wedding. This was a great honour and we participated in a great party which ended in the father in law shooting a pistol wildly into the air after drinking a bottle of potent Raki.
So when Vicky, my fiancé, did fall pregnant and we began to discuss baby names, Rose soon became a firm favourite. Several months into the pregnancy I had a dream that I was holding a tiny baby girl and her name was Imogen Rose. And so when on July 31st at 21:22 our daughter arrived, we welcomed her into the world as Imogen Rose. Elated and exhausted we brought her home and just a few months later I began to create the perfumes for the show.
It seems natural that I would have been completely pre-occupied with baby stuff throughout the creation of the perfumes but I tried to keep a clear head most of the time. However, when I began to create my homage to Rose, just a bit of my ‘new daddy’ glow rubbed off.
I had been desperately trying to capture the fragrance of roses from nature; the aroma of standing in a rose field or as the bags of petals are delivered at the factory. The fragrance is unbeatable. Rich and floral it’s the concentrated mass of millions of delicate flowers, handpicked and carefully distilled. I wanted to keep this freshness without creating another ‘granny’ rose scent. So I tried and tried and eventually realised that I had somehow incorporated a touch of soft baby skin, a puff of talc and wisp of fine baby hair into the finished perfume.
I hope that the fragrance seems both fresh and floral – a true representation of the Damasc Rose – and that it’s a suitable monument to new fathers and the baby girls they love very much.
Imogen Rose fragrance is available to buy from Gorillaperfume.com.