Roja Dove is one of the biggest personalities in all of perfumery. He is also one of the most ardent ambassadors for olfactory art there is. He believes in the power that perfume can have on a person. For many years when I have seen Mr. Dove speak he has related the story of when he also learned of the intimate connection fragrance can make. That was condensed into a paragraph in the press release, for his new perfume, by Mr. Dove to read as, “I remember vividly being about 6 years old and seeing my mother standing in the doorway of my bedroom wearing a gold lame cocktail dress, the light from the landing coming over her as if she had a corona around her. Enchanted by this vision, as my mother came and kissed me goodnight, her scent together with the smell of her face powder pervaded me. Her scent, intertwined with that image, will always stay with me.” The most recent recitation of this story was at the recent Sniffapalooza Spring Fling as he was the final speaker of the morning. By the time he was done the entire café was in tears. One of the great attributes of Mr. Dove is you can tell he feels perfume and when he talks about perfume his audience also feels it. With all of us brushing tears away he presented the perfume based on that Roja Parfums A Goodnight Kiss.
As he spoke about the fragrance he mentioned that this was a perfume he had to be convinced to make. It was his belief that this was a singular experience for him personally and not easily translatable. Thankfully he decided to risk putting a personal olfactory statement like A Goodnight Kiss out. It was released on January 6, 2015; his mother’s birthday and immediately sold out. It has taken until now for it to be available again. It is intensely personal but it is also a shared experience as I also treasured my mother’s goodnight kiss and much of what Mr. Dove captures here is that idealized version of all mothers as they look in on their children before sleep.
A Goodnight Kiss is meant to be a perfume reminiscent of another time. It opens on a classic aldehydes and bergamot piece of elegance. Because so many of the great classic perfumes start with this it almost acts as a mental placeholder preparing me for something similar for the rest of the way. The heart is a convocation of florals as jasmine, rose, carnation, ylang-ylang, violet, and orange blossom rise out of the top notes. It is rich and opulent and as a guess this is meant to recreate the perfume Mr. Dove’s mother was wearing that night. The florals are very powerful but underneath there is a bit of real delicacy to be found. I am not sure I would have found it if Mr. Dove hadn’t shared it with me. There is an orris scented rice powder accord which forms a transparent shell around the floral heart. Once I was clued in to its presence it was as noticeable as the powerhouse florals. To me this is the kiss as a powdered cheek leans close. The remainder of A Goodnight Kiss is to create a leather accord like the purse his mother carried to hold all of the fragrances of perfume, powder, and lipstick. At this point A Goodnight Kiss almost turns photorealistic as it smells a lot like my mother’s purse which contained all of these as well. The leather accord is joined by cedar and musk, primarily, to provide the final moments.
A Goodnight Kiss has 14-16 hour longevity and prodigious sillage.
That Mr. Dove succeeded in turning these primal emotions into a fabulously representative perfume is to be applauded. It is difficult to put your heart on display. Thank you Roja it is now A Goodnight Kiss for all of us who love perfume and what it can do.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Osswald NYC.