Today I decided to go for Stella by Stella McCartney ($50-92, Sephora). I was lucky with this one, because I got in while the rollerball was still available, and it’s gone from Sephora’s website. I know a lot of people are leery of buying rollerballs, but I have so many different perfumes that buying a full-size bottle the first time I purchase a scent is usually not the best idea. I like buying smaller sizes wherever possible, at least on the first go-round, so that I can see if it’s something I’ll really wear regularly. If I run out of the rollerball/mini/whatever, then I can go back and get a full bottle.
Stella is a scent that is all about the rose. That’s a good thing for me, because roses are my favorite flower and quite possibly my favorite fragrance note. (Seriously, if it has a prominent rose note and is well done, I’ll wear it.) There’s also mandarin orange in the opening, peony in the heart, and amber in the drydown, but this perfume is rose all the way through. The rose-amber base reminded me a bit of the way-expensive and hard to find Ce Soir Ou Jamais by Annick Goutal, but without the boozy pear.
This isn’t a light, fresh, citrusy rose, or a straight-up one-note rose (what’s referred to in perfumery as a soliflore–Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose at one end of the price range and Creed Fleur de The Rose Bulgare on the other are prime examples)–it’s deepened and richened by the amber, and the peony gives the floral heart some complexity.
The projection on this one is pretty average, as long as I’m careful not to overdo it, which is easy to do with a rollerball. It lasts fairly well on me, about 6-7 hours. I think I’d probably rank it higher if I had never had my now-empty decant of Ce Soir Ou Jamais, because that’s a lot more complex ambery rose, but as it is I’ll give it 7.5/10.