The world is divided between birthday deniers and those who love celebrating the day they were born. Haute perfumer Roja Dove, it appears, falls into the latter category. And with his big day, his 57th, falling on September 25, he is giving the world a present: the fragrance that he created to wear himself – Roja Haute Luxe.
“Having been asked constantly, ‘What are you wearing?’, usually followed by, ‘Can I buy it?’, I decided to make a small quantity available,” he says. It’s fascinating to discover what an haute perfumer, whose fragrances sell in their thousands at Harrods, actually puts into his own “juice”, as it is known in the trade.
Firstly, Dove put no budget on his eponymous fragrance – it even contains 24ct gold leaf, which he says is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on the fact that the ingredients used for the composition are vastly more expensive than gold. Bergamot features as the top note, joined by rose de mai, jasmine, oakmoss, labdanum – a rich brown resin sourced from the rock-rose shrub – and orris. He describes it as warm and dry, rich, soft, spicy, powdery and sensual. Might Freud suggest that he is describing himself?
It is a seductive and creative fragrance that describes the world of Roja Dove – one of the world’s most respected perfumers with a nose for the most delightful concoctions. But the new scent is not the whole story, as it is presented in a silk crepe de Chine-lined white-lacquered box created by Carrs of Sheffield, famous for its silverware. The flacon is topped by a gold-plated clasp and 14 Swarovski crystals specially produced in violet – Dove’s favourite colour.
But why did he wait so long to share it? “It was never created to be shared,” he replies. “I have never given a sample of it even to my closest friends. But somehow the time seemed right to let just a little of it into the world.”
Be warned, however: after falling in love with Roja Haute Luxe, don’t think you can stock up. Sales are strictly limited to one flacon (£2,500) per customer. After all, it’s up to the birthday boy how many presents he bestows on the world.