New Perfume Review Roja Parfums A Goodnight Kiss- It Started with a Kiss


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.

roja dove 1

Roja Dove

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.

Mark Behnke

Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2015 Wrap-Up- Karens in the Sky with Diamonds

To make it through the year with all of my enthusiasm intact I need spaced out booster shots of time with other people who love perfume as much as I do. My end of spring burst comes courtesy of Sniffapalooza Spring Fling every May. Once again the best smelling group of olfactory glitterati convened in New York City for a weekend of perfumed experiences. This year’s edition was loaded with some of the biggest names in perfumery and some really special new releases just for this event.


Roja Dove

It always starts early on Saturday morning in the café at Bergdorf Goodman’s. I was especially pleased this year to have the opportunity to introduce John Molloy of Memo Paris who after four years was finally showing his excellent line of perfumes to an American audience. For me there were two other releases which caught my attention at breakfast. The new Brioni creatively directed by Raymond Matts and composed by Frank Voelkl is a beautifully done masculine perfume. It is every bit the singular fragrance as a Brioni suit is. Roja Dove finished the morning program. My favorite story he tells is of this goodnight kiss his mother gave him which set him on the path to being Roja Dove. He has captured that moment in a perfume called A Goodnight Kiss. As he finished the story about the perfume there wasn’t a dry eye in the place including Mr. Dove’s.


Takasago Presentation boards for lunch talk

After two hours of power shopping the Bergdorf’s Beauty Level we all headed to lunch. I am used to being the speaker on Sunday but this year I was also asked to introduce Colognoisseur to the Saturday crowd, too. The highlight of the lunch were the presentations from Kelly Jones of Takasago and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. Mr. Dove had passed out strips of the raw materials he uses in his perfume at breakfast. Ms. Jones who was accompanied by Kent Lombard took us through the citrus raw materials from the Takasago orchard in Florida. Christophe Laudamiel was promoting the Academy of Perfumery & Aromatics. To that end he shared a sniff of vintage L’Air du Temps with the crowd. I have become more interested in both the history and the building blocks of perfume. These lunch presentations fed my appetite for that.


Robbie Wilson of Orlov Paris (l.) and Karen Dubin

The final event of Day One was the premier of the Orlov Paris line of five perfumes complete with caviar and champagne at Black Label Wine Merchants. Robbie Wilson introduced the line in a wonderfully opulent setting which showed off the diamond inspired perfumes like the jewels that they are.

Day Two opened at the Birchbox store downtown with a presentation from Harvey Prince on their line of fragrances and ancillary products. Afterward we wandered on Elizabeth St at Le Labo and Atelier Cologne.


Mark Crames and Miriam Sangster presenting Tomboy

We headed for lunch and a very special line-up. Usually when I emcee the Sunday lunch it is all about new perfumers and their emerging brands. Not this year, I was handed an all-star lineup. Sue Phillips of Scentarium introduced her fragrance kits so you can have the custom perfume making experience Ms. Phillips provides at her Scentarium space in your own home. I had never met Mark Crames of Demeter prior to Sunday and he along with artist Miriam Sangster presented their combined visual and scented installation called Tomboy. Ms. Sangster challenged Mr. Crames to capture her Tomboy which was inspired by a clip from the cartoon Powerpuff Girls. Next up was Irina Adam of Phoenix Botanicals as she presented her latest release Ella. She also shared some vintage raw materials she had obtained with the audience. As they were passed around I was sitting with the next speaker Christophe Laudamiel and we were intrigued at the quality of these very old ingredients. M. Laudamiel again promoted the Academy and tried in vain to share an even more vintage version of L’Air du Temps than he had the day before.


Jacinta Bunt aqnd Michael Edwards (r.)

The final speaker of the day on Sunday was Michael Edwards of Fragrances of the World. I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with him. He spoke about how his reference book came to be and how it has grown over the past 31 years. I asked him if the word Niche was still relevant. In his guide he has already decided it doesn’t and has now come up with four categories which cover what we called Niche previously. At the prodding of Karen Dubin he gave some personal non-perfume details. He likes Italian food, attending art exhibitions, and working through his Netflix queue. It is always a pleasure to hear Mr. Edwards speak and it was the perfect way to end the 2015 version of Spring Fling.

As always thanks to the Karens for allowing me to participate in this year’s events. I am already looking forward to October and Fall Ball.

Mark Behnke

All photos by Karen Adams from the Sniffapalooza website.