For its new fragrance, Oeillet Bengale set out to make a smell inspired by “a rose that wants to be a carnation.” Created by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, oeillet is actually the French word for carnation but oeillet bengale refers to a specific type of China rose found by Aedes founder Karl Bradl in a book of botany photographs.
But who wants to smell like a carnation? Bradl was specifically drawn to the “shape-shifting” nature of the flora. A rose is always a rose, but a carnation, depending upon your own personal opinion, can be either a deli flower, the favored blossom of Martha Stewart, or, when set on a fire, a sexy, rich, flower turned exotic.
The exotic smell comes from the fragrance’s undercurrent of frankincense, a dark incense note that makes the carnation smell like it’s been set ablaze, paired with kicky spices like black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and saffron. Bergamot acts as the initial top note, with amber and sweeter balsams like vanilla and tolu in the base. Despite being a floral-inspired perfume, there are no obvious floral notes at all or grandmotherly connotations, unless your grandma happens to be Carine Roitfeld. It’s spicy, rich, sophisticated, and sexy, and changes facets as you smell it. It smells richer sometimes, more floral and restrained other times, and looser and deeper yet other times. If this fragrance were a room in a French château, it would be one with velvet chairs, incense, and lingering candle embers. It’s not the boudoir, but it’s the room leading up to the boudoir. You can find it at the Aedes de Venustas store.