I was interested to hear that Rose Sawayaka from Baieido actually uses rose attar, something I would have expected to be at odds with the Japanese concept of rose given how intense and dark it is*. Unsurprisingly ,the amount used is almost non existent. The rose that I smell here is familiar to me from Japanese bath and body products: fruity, fresh and sweet with a clean, tidy feeling. There is very little complexity here and the fragrance feels a bit jejune or even childish. Instead of decadent, lush roses Rose Sawayaka is all about the prim, light pink variety– girlish and naive in the extreme with no depth or mystery.
This is not a strong or assertive incense by any means but it is much more fragrant (and true to the flower) than its sister incense, the pallid Baieido Lavender Sawayaka. Sadly tho, it’s not something I’m particularly interested in smelling.
*The strange thing about real rose attars is that they do not smell like fresh roses. Rather the distillation process works all kinds of chemical magic and the essence that comes out is dense, jammy, and thick– a total 180 from the delicate fragrance of a dewy rose petal.