Rose Silence by Miller Harris

“Rose, oh pure contradiction, joy
of being No-one’s sleep under so many
lids.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

Lookit me getting all cultured.

Anyway, onwards to the perfume. This is a rose-heavy perfume. You worked that out from the title of it, I hope.

I’m not normally a fan of the full on florals because too often they stray into sickly, headachey or just synthetic smelling but this is really rather pleasant. I’ve worn it for the last two days and find myself falling for it more and more.

The brand

Miller Harris is the brain child of founder Lyn Harris who trained in traditional perfume making and then paid her dues mixing bespoke perfumes for clients before founding Miller Harris in 2000.

One of the selling points that Miller Harris have is their claim that they use natural ingredients in a complex and unconventional way. I think that’s overstating it a bit. Whilst some of their stuff is nice, I have yet to smell anything from them that I’ve had the “WOW! That’s unusual.” flurry of excitement from (and if you’re wondering I DEFINITELY got that when I first smelt Byredo’s fascinating and genuinely unusual concoctions).

Miller Harris also has an incredibly annoying website which actually made me want to punch my screen when I was trying to navigate it.

Top notes

I get two main notes from the first spray of this, overwhelmingly rose with a nice splash of geranium to counteract the sweetness. I checked the scent notes for this after I had written my own, and geranium is not listed. What I think I am picking up instead is the blackcurrant, but to me it smells exactly like the slightly sour, almost acrid smell of a crushed geranium leaf. Mandarin is also listed as a top note and I cannot smell this at all, which is disappointing because I really like the idea of mandarin and rose together.

Heart notes

I found this perfume to be quite linear in as much as it doesn’t seem to change very much as it dries and warms up. The initial burst of geranium (or blackcurrant if you want to be pedantic) does fade and allows the heart of rose to really come forward even more than it did initially. This will be too much for some people who don’t like florals. There is also a very powdery note and working with the rose it smells like body cream that your nan used to wear in the 1980s. All in all there is something really quite 1980s about the whole of this perfume. And if you wear it you will smell like your nan. After a bath. But that’s ok, your nan was a nice lady.

If I had read the scent notes beforehand for this perfume I would have believed that it was a fruity floral but that really isn’t the case. It is a full on floral with a couple of dashes of other things in there, but not really enough to balance the rose notes.

Base notes

The base is one of my favourite parts of this perfume. There is a subtle musky note there that smells like clean skin and it really is delicious. There is also a lingering rose note that just doesn’t quit too. I don’t get sandalwood from it at all, which is another one of the “complex” ingredients listed on the scent profile. Maybe it’s just my chemistry and maybe it just isn’t as complex and interesting as it would like to be.

It’s also worth mentioning the silage of this perfume here too. By silage I mean the scent that surrounds you as you wear it but which is given off from your body, what your friends will smell when you go to give them a hug. The silage of this fragrance is very different to what I smell when I sniff the points where I have placed it – and I liked that. The silage is powdery rose through and through, but when I sniff my wrist I get the base notes more clearly. It’s an interesting little aside to a fairly routine perfume.

The other stuff

Despite there being some downsides to this perfume (lack of true complexity, overwhelming rose) I do like it. It is an easy wearing rose perfume, which is more sophisticated than Jo Malone’s Red Roses. The rose scent is true and stays on the right side of “sweet but not too sickly”. That said it’s a bit run of the mill. I was desperately hoping for some shot of something unexpected in there and there wasn’t anything. The notes that would have given it that are so low down in the mix that they are, at times, undetectable.

The wear quality of the perfume is good though (again it far outstrips Jo Malone). I could still smell it at the end of the day.

I don’t think it would hurt Miller Harris to take a few more risks with their perfumes, throw a few curve balls out there. Even the bottle is totally pedestrian. They aimed for the middle of the road and hit it spot on.

As a bonus though, you can quite often pick up Miller Harris cheap at TK Maxx, I have noticed. If you are willing to take a punt on something you may not have smelt before, you can get yourself a real bargain if you’re lucky.

Rose Silence is available direct from Miller Harris and retails for £95 for a 100ml bottle. I think this is a touch expensive for a fairly unadventurous perfume. That said, it lasts and you don’t need a lot.

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