I Drink Roses

I am a sucker for a pretty bottle. Marketing folks in the perfume industry know I am not alone, and the bottle design on a new fragrance can make or break the product. Think of Thierry Mugler’s Angel star, or Jean Paul Gaultier’s corset bottle. I am also a sucker for all things pink. So when I walked past an organic food store in my neighbourhood last month, I was instantly drawn to the display of bottles filled with pretty pink liquid.

Except this wasn’t perfume. This was a beverage.

Sence Nectar is made from “rare” Bulgarian roses. It’s essentially rose petal juice, sweetened slightly and available in a regular and “silver” version with 1/3 sugar. Think something of a cross between rose water and a thicker sweetened rose syrup.

Unfortunately, the guy at the health food store was better at selling it than the Sence website, which appears to be geared toward marketing it as a cocktail mix with a variety of drink recipes, and testimonials from bartenders, fashion designers and media. In fact, like rosehips which make great tea, Sence is high in Vitamin C, and is actually quite refreshing, if you’re into flowery flavours.

Greg didn’t like it at all, and I had the whole 1 litre tetrapak (about half the price of the swank bottle) to myself. Oddly though, despite my initial enthralment with the stuff, and despite the fact that I did really like it every time I had some, I ended up dumping about a third of the container when I realized it had passed the expiry date after sitting in my fridge for a month.

Maybe because I don’t drink a lot of cocktails (I kept meaning to use in it a martini with Hendrick’s gin, which also has some rose flavour), I didn’t get a chance to use the whole thing up, but it often seemed too sweet to drink more than a small glass at one time. It was refreshing when I was really parched, but the rest of the time it was a bit overpowering.

The company selling the stuff is based in Las Vegas, and the website claims there will be a rollout of related products such as truffles, preserves and even personal products like moist towelettes.

I think I probably succumbed to the same marketing machine that sells those pretty perfume bottles, without really caring about what was inside. I like rose-flavoured things, but it’s a flavour that is best in small doses. A whole litre of sweet rose juice is probably too much for one person, pretty bottle or not.