Smolderose by January Scent Project


Notes: Damask rose, bergamot, saffron, roasted seashells, frankincense, elder flower, patchouli, cade, agarwood, and labdanum.

I feel a bit embarrassed that I’ve been into perfumery for so many years now, yet I’m only now trying January Scent Project. What took me so long?! This is one of the really creative indie houses out there right now. John Biebel is the perfumer. He also creates artwork for each of his scents. You can see the mini retro poster for Smolderose in the photo! I ordered the January Scent Project discovery set back in February and I’ve had such a fun time trying all the different scents. Smolderose is one that stood out to me right away. It’s floral, and yet has so much depth. It was a perfect scent to wear during this past winter.

Smolderose opens, of course, with the Damask rose. This is a crisp and clear rose. I actually get the frankincense here in the opening as well. It wafts and weaves its way around the rose. The scent is so clear and vibrant that I can practically visualize incense smoke curling in tendrils around a rose in a vase. It’s quite stunning. I also get a hint of bergamot to add more vibrancy. Overall, it’s a well-balanced opening. It has a prettiness to it and there’s enough depth with the incense to really grab your attention.

Smolderose develops in even more interesting ways from here. One note that stood out to me when I first glanced at the list of notes is the roasted seashells. I can’t say that I’ve ever encountered that before! As Smolderose wears and settles into my skin, I smell something a little salty mingling with the rose. It doesn’t smell like a seashell to me, but more like being at a clambake! This sounds quite strange from a rose fragrance, but it somehow works. There’s a texture to this seashell note. I can sense something fleshy, like the meat of clams or mussels. It’s absolutely fascinating and it mixes shockingly well with the rose note. It works for me because the rose remains quite crisp and pretty. It doesn’t develop into a full-bodied floral, which actually works here. In this case, that funny clambake texture adds the full-bodied fleshy aspect. And the salty roasted accord blends into the frankincense, patchouli, and cade of the base.

The dry down is definitely a smoky/earthy accord on me. The patchouli runs very earthy here. I was afraid the cade might turn a little too smoky and birch tar-esque, but it sits just on the edge of wearable for me. I tested Smolderose alongside Tauerville Rose Flash just for a fun little wear test. This really brought the more earthy aspect of Smolderose’s dry down into relief. Smolderose also held up really well in terms of longevity. Rose Flash is one of the longest lasting scents I’ve tried recently, but I still get a very respectable 8-9 hours from Smolderose.

I can’t wait to write about more of the JSP scents from the discovery kit. One of my issues with discovery sets in general is that they can be overwhelming. I usually like to try 3-4 scents at a time. Any more than that and I can’t properly concentrate on the scents! I chose to focus on Smolderose and give it several good wear tests before writing about it. This just means that it will take me more time to write about some of the other scents. But overall, the discovery kit is well worth it if you’re interested in trying out this house! Smolderose stands out for me as a creative way to showcase rose. It’s also a beautifully balanced composition, which I always appreciate when evaluating scents.

What have you all tried from January Scent Project?


I ordered the JSP discovery set directly from January Scent Project. Smolderose is available as an individual sample, a 30 ml EDP, a 100 ml EDP, and a perfume oil. Personally, I really appreciate the options! There’s truly an option to suit everyone. I’d love to try Smolderose in the oil format.

The info on notes is via January Scent Project.

The photo of my sample + mini artwork was taken by me.

8 thoughts on “Smolderose by January Scent Project

  1. I haven’t tried anything from this house but I am aware of its existence. From what I have read the fragrances can be challenging to some. Also, the perfumer is a huge fan of Mandy After and none of her fragrances work for me so I haven’t really actively pursued them . But I am very curious as to your opinions of the other offerings from this line and I look forward to your reviews.

    1. I could see you getting along with Smolderose, or at least testing it! Some of the scents are definitely challenging. I’m taking my time testing the discovery kit because these scents are demanding and I want to pay attention! They are not necessarily easy-going scents.

      I tested Cèpes and Tuberose from Mandy Aftel ages ago. I didn’t really get along with it at the time, but it was very early on in my perfume journey. I should test again because I’m sure my opinions have changed — and my skin chemistry may have changed with time also.

      1. I have revisited the Afteliers for many years…something in them just doesn’t agree with me no matter how many times I try them. Which is just as well for they are pricey! I know she has a huge following so I don’t feel too bad about that!

        1. Well, you tried to make it work! It’s frustrating when your skin chemistry doesn’t agree with something because there’s really nothing you can do about it. But yes, she has many, many fans.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.