What Do Roses Smell Like?

Roses are known for their vibrant colors and unique scent. From a beautiful bouquet to a sidewalk lined with rose bushes, the smell of roses of well-loved — and for good reason. 

Roses have been used for centuries for their aroma, but what do roses actually smell like? We're going to explore the floral fragrance and unlock the secrets of this iconic flower. You'll be ready to sniff and fall head over heels for the captivating scent of roses, and we have a few recommendations for you to try! 

What Does Rose Smell Like?

Rose scents are timeless and cherished in the world of perfumery. It's also one of the most recognized floral fragrance notes. The flower is often associated with love, passion, and romance. Whether it's a single red rose or a bouquet of different shades, they express admiration. 

A symbol for love wasn’t the first reason they became popular. Roses were revered initially for their therapeutic properties. In 2,500 BCE, ancient Egyptians cultivated and used roses in rituals, perfumes, cosmetics, and religious ceremonies. 

During the Renaissance, European nobles valued rose-scented waters and perfumes. The Ottoman Empire welcomed European guests by sprinkling rose water on their hands to display their hospitality. By the 19th century, modern perfumery took the iconic rose fragrance to new levels, and we continue to use it today. Roses are versatile ingredients that can add a delicate touch, richness, or a light-hearted element. They work in everything from daytime scents to more seductive fragrances. 

Now, let's get to the main question — what do roses really smell like? 


Roses' scent is a blend of subtle sweetness, floral goodness, and slightly spicy notes. The aroma develops over time, like a slow burn. It can start fresh and spicy and turn into something sweet and floral before finishing with rich, soft notes — but because roses are flowers, all rose scents have a solid floral smell as their foundation. 


Roses can also smell powdery and musky, meaning they pair well with musk, vanilla, and even tobacco scents in fragrances. 


Roses also have a subtle fruity element that paves the way for a lighter touch. Pairing the smell of roses with fruits like strawberry or cherry, for example, can bring out the fruity side of the flower. 

The smell of roses can evoke strong emotions and transport you to a different time. It could be the memory of receiving your first bouquet at a dance recital or smelling your mom’s perfume on the way out to dinner. These memories make a rose fragrance much more than just a scent — it's sweet nostalgia. 

What Scents Pair Well With Rose?

Pairing the right scents with rose can help you create your own unique signature fragrance. Whether you do this through layering or by choosing one of our high-quality fragrances at Snif, the right scent combos can make all the difference. 


When rose combines with vanilla, the result is a sweet but natural scent. This combination doesn’t lean into the “childish” world of sweetness, but it also doesn’t smell overpowering like the perfume section of a department store. The natural elements of rose help balance out vanilla’s sweetness for a perfect middle ground. 


Rose and cherry make for a sophisticated scent experience that’s perfect for big events, date nights, or everyday errands. This combination is decadent, but not overwhelming. 


Pairing rose with musk can help add depth to the fragrance and balance out the more powdery side of rose’s scent. Rose and musk make for a complex, mature scent.


Tonka bean helps add an almost nutty touch to the smell of rose, and this scent combination can help tone down rose’s light, bright floral elements for a deeper, richer fragrance.

What Are Some Scents That Use Rose?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about some of our favorite scents incorporating rose. 

Vow Factor

A romantic scent for any occasion, Vow Factor is a fig fragrance that will have you ready to say I Do — or just run some errands. 

The fragrance combines the fruity, citrusy notes of green fig, mandarin, and neroli with alluring hints of rose. The scent of orris, cedarwood, tonka bean, and ambrette seeds round out this unforgettable fragrance. It's a fruity, fresh, clean scent with warm, feel-good vibes that will sweep you off your feet. 


Looking for a rich, mysterious scent? Suganami is the way to go. It's a smooth, modern, genderless fragrance. It seamlessly blends natural, woody iris with rose, incense, myrrh, and amber. The result is a creamy and smooth scent with a slightly powdery after-effect. 

Burning Bridges

Not every burnt bridge is a loss. Burning Bridges is a go-to smoky scent for many, and always makes a statement. The fragrance is infused with spices and tobacco while relying on rose, absolute, and iris for a boost. It's finished with a healthy dose of Madagascar vanilla to balance out the stronger scents. You'll become addicted to the fragrance with a single inhale. 

Tart Deco

Tart Deco is a juicy cherry fragrance combining the sophisticated scent of muddled cherry and rose. It also blends birchwood, vetiver, and vanilla for a woody, sweet effect. It's a luxurious scent that feels slightly indulgent and fresh. 

Wake Up and Smell the Roses

The sweet, floral scent of roses is a captivating aroma offering endless versatility. There are so many ways to infuse your life with the smell of roses, from candles to fragrances. There's a rose scent for everyone, and Snif has the perfect options to consider. You'll be sure to come up smelling like roses in any situation. 


Greek Gods and Religious Practices | Essay | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

More than the Name of the Rose: How to Make Computers Read, See, and Organize Smells | Oxford Academic

Everything You Need to Know About Roses | Gardenista

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