Best fragrance (not strongest, but best)

Bob_B(Sunset 14, Ca.)July 26, 2011

I've seen many posts dealing with the best or most fragrant rose. Generally, people seem take this to mean intensity. I'm wondering what you think in terms of the most pleasant smelling roses (intensity aside). I realize how subjective this is, nevertheless I am interested in your thoughts.

Personally, I like the fresh, fruity smell of Double Delight, and I enjoy the peppery smell of Cecile Bruner. Tamora is the most intense smelling rose I have come across, but I find the fragrance over-powering and almost like over-done perfume. Thoughts?


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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Jude the Obscure is new in my garden this year; finally had one bloom on it and yes, the grapefruit smell is absolutely incredible.

I too enjoy Double Delight, which is next to Secret in our garden. I consider both to be very strong and lovely.

Veteran's Honor smells lightly of raspberries to me and I find it very pleasing.

Tahitian Sunset has a hint of licorice and I enjoy that also.

World War II Memorial is simply glorious, as is my OGR Madame Hardy. I can smell M Hardy all around the house during her one spectacular flush.

My favorite, though, is the lemon cold-cream scent of Blue Girl.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 2:12PM
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Maryl zone 7a

I like Tamora's Myrrh fragrance but I know many people do not. My favorite fragrance though is the "tea" fragrance that gives HT's their name. Olympiad has such a distinct tea fragrance and even though others might be more powerfully sweet, I enjoy her blooms immensely. Crabtree and Evelyn has replicated that sharp tea fragrance in their Rosewater room spray. It is wonderful to spray a little around the room during the depths of winter, sit down with a good book and have a hot cup of real tea.......

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 3:22PM
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amandahugg(SS19 CA)

The fruity fragrance of Julie Newmar is fantastic. And I really like the clove fragrance in Ebb Tide. When it comes to powerful, though, Memorial Day delivers.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 3:57PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

I gotta get out there on my hands & knees tonight, then and crawl around the new plants. I have Ebb Tide 2 feet from Memorial Day and the blooms are only a few inches off the ground, so I haven't poked my nose in them yet.

Looking forward to a happy surprise later!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 4:07PM
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My favorite rose fragrance in my garden is Chrysler Imperial. To me, the rose has the perfect form and absolutely the perfect fragrance. Not overpowering, but quite amazing. I'm not good at describing fragrances - but smelling that rose really makes me smile.

Then - I can't really rate any of the following higher or lower than the other - but I love all of their fragrances: cl. Aloha, Pink Promise, Blue Girl, Heirloom, Double Delight, Crimson Glory and Fragrant Cloud. Every one is different, and every one is wonderful.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 5:20PM
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seil zone 6b MI

That's such a hard question because I like them all! Golden Celebration's scent drifts down from it's lofty heights and it's wonderful to walk under. Reine des Violettes you can smell from several feet away. For up close and personal (stick your nose in) blooms probably Double Delight and Angel Face. But then there's Garden Party and Peace too.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:42PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

The spicy clove scent of Secret Garden Musk Climber -- it got a place here just for that scent, which is wholly unlike any other rose I know of.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:43PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

You mean besides 'Evelyn'?

'Firefighter'. It's always rosy-perfumey-complex, but never overwhelming or cloying. And the fragrance lasts until the flower falls apart.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 6:02PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

My favorite is Charles Darwin....very nice smell of lemons!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 6:20PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

For me, it's a tie between Evelyn and Frederic Mistral.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:37AM
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Very hard to pick, as they are so different. The relation between strong and best might be related; the ones that have only slight fragrance tend to lack the notes that make a difference.

Among the red roses maybe Empereur du Maroc is my favorite, because it is so light fresh and wonderful. Other hybrid perpetuals have very similar fragrance though.

I also like albas, and Felicite Parmentier is a favorite. It differs from other groups, and is very light and fresh too.

I also like La France and Royal Dane, both are right on top of the list too.

Regards :-)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 5:36PM
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organicgardendreams(z 10)

The fragrance that I like best in my garden is the one of Zephirine Drouhin, as a matter of fact I grow this rose mainly because of the delicious fragrance. It is fruity, lemony, and very fresh. It is also very strong and even wafts.

My favorites after that are Yolande d'Aragon, Grandmother's Hat, Reine des Violettes, Rose de Rescht, Mme. Ernest Calvat.

From the modern roses I would choose, Frederic Mistral, Mister Lincoln, Pope John Paul II, Cymbaline, Memorial Day, Bewitched.


Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Garden Dreams

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 9:06PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I sniffed a whole bunch the other day at Otto and Sons in Fillmore, CA. Not everything was in bloom, but of those that were I liked Bishop's Castle and Crocus Rose the best.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:33AM
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kevin_mcl(S Ireland)

Mrs M, an unimpeachable source in these matters, declares that Gertrude Jeckyll beats all our other roses by a mile.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 2:39AM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

I love the scent of Paul Shirville, a very pretty salmon pink colored hybrid tea, the smell radiates through my kitchen, as it's planted right outside my window, however; this is the second year that I'm having problems with black spot on the leaves of this bush, so I'm thinking of removing it from my garden.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 1:01PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Charles Austin - it smells strongly of peach. I mean exactly like a peach. I love it. Plus it gets lots of blooms.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 4:39PM
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mike_in_new_orleans(9a/ coastal LA)

Several of the Roses people have listed I have not had the chance to sniff. So curious now about Gertrude Jeckkyll! : )
It is a good point about Powerful fragrance not necessarily equalling favorite. I used to grow Fragrant Cloud, certainly a powerfully fragrant rose. But in addition to fading quickly and in an odd way, the fragrance to me was always sharp, pungent, almost bitter. Not my favorite. The damask scented roses are wonderful: Papa Meilland, Chrysler Imperial, Mr. Lincoln, Deep Secret, Crimson Glory. But I like the fruity and sweet fragrances; the raspberry of Erotika and Veterans' Honor; Alec's Red is fruity and powerful, too, though I would not call it raspberry. The clovelike climber America, and floribunda Ebb Tide are great. Better than all those to my nose are the simply strong and sweet roses, Tiffany and Blue Moon. I got to smell a Dolly Parton rose years ago and remember it being powerful, though my memory of the exact nuance of the fragrance may not be too accurate. I'm thinking it was halfway between Tiffany and the damask-scented roses.
Finally I want to mention the most distinctive rose scent I know. It is not very strong, actually, in hot weather, but is much better in our moderate spring and fall seasons. That is Valencia, which I have to describe as a combination of rose and vanilla. I've never smelled another rose like it, so I think that counts for something.
: )

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:47PM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Oklahoma. Sister seedling to Mr. Lincoln, both of them offspring of Chrysler Imperial. I don't know how you would describe it - old-rose fragrance I guess, it reminds me of my great grandmother's cold cream. It doesn't produce well in this climate but I keep it for that fragrance.

When I give people one, they always exclaim over the fragrance - Oh! that's how roses should smell!

I do tend to prefer the old-rose fragrances I guess. They remind me of my great grandmother, not that she grew roses, but I was fascinated by her old-fashioned dressing table with all her little rose-scented concoctions and tools of the trade of a pre-WWI lady. There was nothing like that in my parent's house, that's for sure! My mother didn't have a dressing table at all! and only wore hypoallergenic, unscented makeup.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 11:51AM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

I love the smell of The MacCartney Rose. Also, Pope John Paul II and my newest rose, Peter Mayle.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 11:56PM
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rosetom(7 Atl)

I'd have to say Crimson Glory. Although, I like all of the Gamble award winners. Sunsprite has me baffled, though, it seriously stinks to my nose. I can't imagine anyone saying it smells good.??

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 7:10PM
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rosyjennifer(z 6/7 MD)

Gertrude Jekyll is rosy, candy sweet and I love it.

Papa Meilland is an excellent, strong true rose and is my hubby's favorite

Cymbeline and St. Cecelia are the most complex, sophisticated rose fragrances in my garden.

Thanksgiving smells just like Froot Loops to me.

Jude the obscure smells like tangerines - just wish the midges would give me a bloom past the first flush.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:07PM
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blendguy(Oxford, England)

This is too hard! At first I think it must be the amazing citrus scent of Jude the Obscure for me. Although, I'm just as tempted to say St Cecilia, which has a deep, wonderful scent that makes me think of candy! Then I start to consider the fruity wine scent of Jubilee Celebration, or the delightful myrrh scent (yes, I love it) of Scepter'd Isle. But I might just settle on the classic, sweet bourbon scent of La Reine Victoria.

I can't choose, but these are my top contenders.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:48PM
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You might consider Cinco de Mayo. The scent is wonderful and reminds me somewhat of raspberries.

Apparently the developer didn't want to claim moderate scent for Cinco de Mayo (judging from its description at HMF), but that is the way I'd describe it half the time. A small amount of the time, it's mildly scented... and the rest of the time, it's strong.

I can smell its scent easily, and even my husband can too. (He used to be a smoker and lost some of the ability to smell.)

This rose probably breaks the inverse proportionality rule between scent and substance. The petal substance is above average (if you don't have hybrid teas, that is) and it lasts maybe 5 days in a vase, or 3-4 days longer than Duchesse de Brabant.

The only negative for this rose is that it's thornier than average. But the copious foliage is particularly interesting, and it's quite a healthy and easy to grow rose.

Best wishes,

Here is a link that might be useful: Cinco de Mayo information

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 7:32PM
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I swear I almost fainted the first time I smelled R. MOSCHATA in-mass.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 1:42PM
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I always vote for New Zealand as my favorite, and it still is. I believe Edmunds Roses says it's been its best-seller for years on the basis of its scent.

But asking about more subtle fragrances makes me want to list both Clair Matin --which is just an amazing, easy, floriferous rose which definitely earns its 8.7 ARS rating (and has the most beautiful little almost-red buds and healthy, red-rimmed leaves) and Lyda Rose. I would describe both as "fresh", though I know catalogues often use that adjective to mean "almost no smell at all." (Lyda, incidentally, rates an 8.9)
Beyond that, I'd have to agree that the queen of scents is Gertrude Jekyll.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 5:01PM
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petaloid(SoCal 10a/24)

I really love the scent of Lemon Spice, a favorite yellow hybrid tea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lemon Spice

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 11:58PM
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A hedge of the straight species, R. rugosa, smells quite nice- like fine french milled soap. I'm also a big fan of the alba powder puff scent.
I love the fragrance of the Crimson Glory, Chrysler Imperial, Oklahoma, et al line. If you like those, the two to try are Sombreuil and Rose de Rescht.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 1:53AM
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I also love Lemon Spice, Memorial Day, Angel Face, and Don Juan. And of course,the pedestrian ABe Darby.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:46PM
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stlgal(south z5)

Of those I grow, Evelyn has that perfect mix of old rose and other unusual more fruity scents, maybe a little myrrh too, Jude the Obscure is fantastic (I've heard it described as guava), Gertrude Jekyll is great for a pure old rose fragrance, and Sharifa asma hasn't been mentioned here but also has a complex, delicate and exquisite fragrance.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 11:51PM
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I always tout the old floribunda "Ivory Fashion", which smells like cloves. Apricot Nectar smelled good, too, when people used to grow it. Currently Yolande d'Aragon takes the prize in my back yard.

In the past I have loved Blossomtime, Grenada (rather evanescent, petals fall off), and more recently Memorial Day. The Scots rose, Kakwa, smells good to me. And also Sonia Rykiel, one of the best.

Sombrieul and Jaune Desprez are two climbers with magnificent scent. Mermaid is fabulous in Mediterranean gardens though not quite hardy enough and too huge and thorny for most home gardeners in the USA.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 1:51AM
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White Dawn! I don't usually like apple-scented roses, but this one smells perfect! I'm in zone 4 and this was a $2 one from Hortico a couple years ago that I thought would die. It stayed small and grows along the grass trying to get out of the shade where I stuck it. I think it's my favourite smelling rose, and it's healthy, but it doesn't look like anything special.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 4:02PM
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My favorite rose scent is probably rugosa, that wonderful blend of cloves and damask. After that I like damask scent from any rose, which is one reason I love Oklahoma, After that comes a quite different perfume, the scent of Rosa moschata.

However my favorite flower scent isn't roses at all. It is lilac.

And my favorite scent of all is line-dried cotton, which I find intoxicating. In fact, weather permitting, I dry most of our laundry out of doors just so I can smell that wonderful fragrance on a regular basis.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 4:24PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

My favorite is and always has been Double Delight, followed closely by one that few people have, Dennis Bridge's Carolina Moon.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Campanula UK Z8

there never has been, and never will be, a rose to top the smell of spring primula, english bluebells and japanese honeysuckle - these are the scents of my childhood and resonate for me more than even the most fragrant rose. In truth, fragrance is an optional extra for me, when deciding on what rose - I tend to grow wildlings and singles anyway, which can never compete with philadelphus or deutzias.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 6:42AM
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iowa_jade(C 5b H 6)

Patrick, I remember you talking about your run in with "R. MOSCHATA in-mass."

I agree that "Felicite Parmentier is a favorite."

Now this may seem strange as my wife cannot smell this rose what-so-ever is French Lace. It is highly sharp, refined, and with no coyness.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Quatre Saisons the most pure Damask sweet and fresh and along with that similar damask scented roses such as La Reine and souv.malmaison- then bourbons with damask+fruit such as Madame Issac P.

Damask scented modern roses I love are

Chrysler Imperial
La Reine
Perfume Delight
Papa M.
Frederic M.
Huntington Rose (Alan Titchmarch)

And Damask+citrus are

Pink Peace
Lemon Spice
Amazing Grace
Memorial Day
Sonia Rykiel
Radox Bouquet
Pope John Paul II
Lagerfeld (starlight)

Then damask+fruit

Abraham Darby
Jude the Obscure
Rouge Royale
Sterling Silver
Angel Face
Love Potion
Sweet Afton

Spicy Sweet roses

Double Delight and Scentimental

The lemony Damasks are my favorites. I really like Tiffany and Pink Peace and JPJII but the complex fruity ones like Jude, Love Potion and Sterling Silver are so changeable and exciting. They can be fascinating and mysterious.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 11:20AM
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