Morph Parfums Cruda: Rollercoaster Rose

Exploding roses, 3D roses super concentrated to feel like an attar, divaesque roses that sing arias at such bombastic decibels that Maria Callas would be embarrassed… Cruda from Morph Parfums evoked all those thoughts and more. It is a wild ride that felt like a rollercoaster and, unfortunately, it sometimes feels as crude as the name.

Cruda bottle and box via

Cruda bottle and box via

Cruda is an extrait-strength parfum that was released in 2013 by Morph, a relatively new Italian house. Like its iris sibling, Montmartre, Cruda comes with a long story, this time about a woman and the purity of the smell of her skin. Honestly, I see no link between the story and the actual perfume, no discernible point to it at all other than a story for story’s sake. It doesn’t even briefly mention any of the notes in the perfume, so I’ll skip it entirely. Morph doesn’t have any note list for Cruda, but First in Fragrance fills in the gaps:

Top Notes: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Cumin
Heart Notes: Damask Rose, Cinnamon, Carnation
Base Notes:  Ambergris, Patchouly, Cashmerewood, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Musk, Tonka Bean



If you ask me, there is a very specific, intentional reason why the expensive, hand-done, Italian linen box is such a flaming shade of purple, and that’s because Cruda opens on my skin with a torrent of purple grapes. A positive deluge of grapes, in fact, sometimes akin to the American Welch’s grape jam, but usually more intense and combined with fresh grapes stomped into fleshy, sweet chunks. They slather the rose which follows, a rose which is the undeniable star of the show and which is so rich, so sweet, that it feels like a very expensive rose absolute oil has been used.

There is far more to Cruda’s opening bouquet than Concord grapes and roses. In full, it’s a very spicy, fruited sweet floralcy infused with sour tanginess and tartness, then sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s an intensely concentrated mix that is rich, heady, almost fiery in its spiciness, and syrupy sweet, though it isn’t gooey. At least, not at first. Instead, the opening is simultaneously too tangy and too sweet. The bergamot isn’t distinct at all, but something about Cruda’s fruits reads like lip-puckering, mouth-watering, extreme tartness that lies right next to ridiculously candied Welch’s grape compote. It’s like a really intense, concentrated version of a Jolly Rancher candy which is overly sour and sweet at once.



Neither of those things seem to stem from the damask rose itself, particularly the fruity sweetness. Instead, the flower feels like a completely separate thing with a beefy, heady, very narcotic aroma that instantly reminds me of a concentrated rose attar. The spices amplify the flower’s innate attributes, but are never so strong as to detract from it for feel like a separate layer.

For those of you who are cumin-phobes, let me say right now that I never detect the note in any strong or individually delineated way. For the most part, Cruda merely has a general spiciness that is initially a little fiery red in nature, and then, later, occasionally translates as either nutmeg or cinnamon, depending on the moment. The cumin, though, is always fully subsumed within and doesn’t generate any dusty, stale, sweaty, or bad body odor aromas on my skin. At most, there is a tiny whiff of something earthy later on, but I think that stems from the patchouli instead.

All those small parts come together like praying supplicants at a towering altar of the almighty rose, melting together to create the main bouquet which is really a super bright, over-saturated, 3D rose. Its innate fruity, spicy, sweet characteristics have been amped up by a 1000, then boiled down to be reduced even further in concentration, before being glazed by a mix of ridiculously candied grape jam mixed with mouth-puckering, tart citruses.

"Rainbow Rose" by D3ADJFR33MAN on Deviant Art. (Direct website link embedded within.)

“Rainbow Rose” by D3ADJFR33MAN on Deviant Art. (Direct website link embedded within.)

It’s simultaneously too, too much and, yet, oddly alluring for precisely that reason, drawing me in against my will and despite almost all my usual feelings about certain notes, perhaps because the intensity and richness are so completely bonkers. It helps that Cruda feels overwhelmingly dense and opaque, as dense in feel as an Amouage attar but with significantly greater projection in the opening minutes.



Unfortunately, 20 minutes in, my partial fascination has faded and my tolerance worn thin. Cruda’s sweetness has ballooned to a painful extreme, radiating dark purple, Concord grapiness to such a degree that I feel as though I’m teetering on the verge of a sugar coma. I have a low tolerance threshold for extreme sweetness in general, and it was quite exceeded even at Cruda’s start, but the spiciness and tanginess of the rich bouquet kept me hanging on by a thread. Now, however, the two redeeming facets have been engulfed by what has become a virtual tsunami of purple grape goo, which dilutes them enormously, and effectively blitzes the few counter-balances to the syrupy excesses. They flee before the onslaught and retreat to the sidelines, much to my regret.

Yes, this is the richest fruited rose I’ve come across in a while and, yes, it has a truly heady, floral lushness, but Cruda has now gone several steps beyond bombastic and entered into ridiculous territory. The sharpness of the changes gives me whiplash, but the lack of balance between the notes is what’s really disappointing. When I start to feel actual, grainy sugar at the back of my throat, that’s where I draw the line. In truth, it’s an exhausting over-saturation, and I came close to scrubbing Cruda a few times during the first hour.

Photo: John Fowler  via (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo: John Fowler via (Direct website link embedded within.)

Cruda continues to shift and change. 30 minutes in, vanilla, woodiness and patchouli (both the spicy and fruitchouli kinds) appear in the background. They give out little puffs, the vanilla most of all, but they’re not as evident as the dollops of tart citrus, nutmeg, and cinnamon that wait on the sidelines. They work indirectly from afar, giving Cruda’s 3D rose a lightly dusting of spiciness and a subtle tart tanginess, but the individual notes aren’t really clear in a separate, distinct way. The cinnamon is the most defined of the supporting players and it sometimes tries to dance with the rose and grapes on center stage, but, generally, it hovers at the edges. Near the end of the first hour, it’s the same story with the vanilla which briefly steps out of the shadows, but it doesn’t last long and soon retreats back. The woods and patchouli make the same effort, but last even less time. Throughout it all, the grape-slathered, lightly spiced rose bellows out floral sweetness with divaesque intensity and off-key balance.

The vanilla finally merges with the fruity, spicy rose at the start of the 2nd hour. The fruited patchouli (fruitchouli) now trails a feet behind, but the dry woods still hover in the far distance. Cruda is primarily a fruity, vanilla rose infused with a quiet, light sprinkling of spiciness, and even quieter slivers of tart fruits and woodiness. In all honesty, it feels like a more concentrated version of any number of existing fragrances on the market, perhaps something from Mancera, one of the more exclusive Guerlain collections, or a higher-end, non-synthetic version of one Dior Poison flankers. All that separates it is its super-concentrated richness and full-bodied heft.

"Lighthearted" by Jaison Cianelli at

“Lighthearted” by Jaison Cianelli at

Things finally settle down about 2.75 hours into Cruda’s development. What’s left is a truly pretty (I mean that honestly!) spicy rose coated in creamy vanilla softness and with a surprising balance in terms of both fruitiness and sweetness. Glimmers of woodiness shine quietly in the background, as well as a spicy, brown patchouli. I’m rather stunned that all the goopy horrors, grape, and sugar have receded almost to the point of irrelevancy, but they have. The rose now bears an unctuous creaminess that evokes images of velvet or clotted cream. The spices continue to add a nice touch, too. They’re mostly a shapeless mix, but the nutmeg stands out on occasion.



Unfortunately, the rollercoaster ride isn’t over yet. As the 5th hour draws to a close, there is a sourness to the rose, as if the citrus had returned. At the same time, the lovely creaminess weakens, the perfume turns drier and thinner, and a tiny whiff of carnation appears in the background. In essence, Cruda is now a sour-ish rose infused with fluctuating levels of spiciness and woodiness, but only the lightest streaks of vanilla. Wisps of a ghostly carnation float about from time to time. So does an occasional suggestion of something vaguely earthy, perhaps from the patchouli, but it’s so minor and indistinct, it’s hard to pinpoint.



Making matters harder is that everything is now a haze except for the rose. The notes overlap, but every time I think something has vanished, it comes back to some degree or another. For example, the top of the 7th hour marks the return of the sweeter fruits, though it doesn’t always feel like grapes, per se. Cruda fluctuates between a lightly spiced, sour rose with woodiness, and a sweeter, fruitier version with an occasional grape facet. All of this is really a question of degree, though, a matter of the extent to which the supporting players impact Cruda’s main bouquet. That continues to be some form or another of a very basic, fruity rose. Cruda remains that way until its very end, finally dying away as a simple floral sweetness with a vague fruitiness about it.

Like its iris-incense sister, Montmartre, Cruda has excellent longevity and its projection generally averages out to moderate after an opening that is very strong. It also leaves a moderate sillage trail. Using 3 small smears equal to 2 sprays from a bottle, Cruda opens with a dense, heavy cloud that radiates about 5-6 inches, before dropping to 2 inches after 90 minutes. There, it stays for a while, only turning into a skin scent 6.25 hours into the perfume’s development, though the scent still wasn’t hard to detect up close. All in all, Cruda lasted 14 hours, just like Montmartre.

I haven’t found any blog reviews for Cruda and nothing is written on its Fragrantica page, but there is a comment on Parfumo. It’s not hugely positive, though one of the main issues seems to be Cruda’s lack of distinctiveness or originality in light of the company’s marketing strategy. (The bottle gets some flack, too, as being “plain” in reality.) “Gold” entitles her review, “New Stories for Well-Known Fragrances,” and writes:

“Morph” is a new house, but that doesn’t mean “Morph” sell new fragrances. Creating a genuinely new perfume seems to be extremely tough those days, and I guess that “Morph” didn’t even try. Instead, they invented a clever marketing strategy. Each fragrance is accompanied by a very short story, and the marketing people tell us it is a “beautiful short story”, each and every time, a different one for each single fragrance.
Well, I wouldn’t call the stories “beautiful”, but at least they are quite inventive (yet often ultra-tacky), written in order to conjure up different pictures/emotions which we, the consumers, are supposed to link to the fragrances. I for my part don’t need a short story of any kind in order to enjoy a perfume. On the contrary, those prefabricated notions rather annoy me. But Dr. Andrea Angelino, the artistic director, wants to guide us into a specific direction. Together with perfumer Maurizio Cerizza, he built a story around “CRUDA”, a fragrance which is supposed to be perceived as ultra-erotic. [¶][…]

What we actually get here when smelling “CRUDA” is a basic amber, an aromatic-sweet scent, featuring cedarwood, cinnamon, tonka-bean and a musky vanilla base. I’ve smelled this a thousand times before, but I can’t say that should be a reason for me to dislike “CRUDA”. The packaging is purple and designed by the Italian company Fedrigoni, relating to the Fedrigoni scale of colours (other fragrances feature white, red, green etc.). But the bottle looks plain, in spite of the company’s effort to make their basic glass bottles seem unusual (the small twist of the vessel is not particularly impressive, let alone attractive).

Other fragrances in the range are called “Antigua 1937”, (copying the structure of “Aria di Mare” or “Malaga 1964”, a sweet, flowery fragrance which smells a bit like the ice-cream marketed in Germany under the name of Malaga (sweet, vanilla, raisins).

All Morph-scents have great staying-power (33% concentration) and most of them deliver, i.e. they smell pleasant/fine/okay/nice. They all relate to well-known and firmly established niche-scents which have been around for a couple of years already and which managed to capture the hearts of their clients without using mini short stories. I’m sorry to say so, but not a single one of those new Morph-frags smells unique.

I completely understand her feelings and share a number of them, particularly about Morph’s lengthy stories that, so far, seem to bear no relation to the actual scent that I tried. And, as I’ve said, I don’t think Cruda smells unique or distinctive, either. It could easily be something from any number of niche houses, though Guerlain is what came to mind most often during the creamier, more vanilla-ish, middle phase.



That said, I’ve found that people seem to love rose fragrances more than any other floral genre, and fruity roses are immensely popular no matter how much overlap one scent may have with another. So, I could see a hardcore rose lover of either gender completely falling for Cruda’s 3D richness, though I would only recommend it to someone who also enjoyed very sweet, very fruity floral fragrances. (Ideally, they wouldn’t mind grape notes, either.)

For someone who met those criteria, then I would recommend sampling Cruda, particularly as it’s not hugely expensive at €115 or €116 for a 100 ml bottle of high-quality, smooth, very concentrated pure parfum. At the current rate of exchange, that comes to roughly $128 which I think is a great deal for a large bottle that yields a positive explosion of roses with various facets, saturated heft, and great longevity from even a few quantity. Right now, the entire Morph line seems to be sold exclusively in Europe, but samples are easily obtainable both there and in America. And European retailers like First in Fragrance ship worldwide.

In short, if you really adore rose fragrances and have a high tolerance for sweetness, then give Cruda a sniff.

Cost & Availability: Cruda is a concentrated “eau de parfum” (really an extrait) that only comes in a 100 ml size. Its retail price ranges from €115 to €120. Morph is not currently sold in America. Morph sells Cruda for €1115, and seems to ship worldwide via courier. Their Conditions page states shipping is €17 within the EU, and €30 for everywhere else. First in Fragrance has Cruda for €116, with a sample, and also ships worldwide. ParfuMaria in the Netherlands carries the Morph line, but Cruda is not currently listed. Other retailers are: Italy’s FourSeasons51, Germany’s Parfumerie Brueckner which sells it for €117, Spain’s Tienda for a surprising €225, Romania’s All-Shops, and Russia’s Essenz. Samples: First in Fragrance, ParfuMaria, and Surrender to Chance are the only places that I’ve seen that sell Morph samples. The latter’s price starts at $3.49 for a 1 ml vial of Cruda.

12 thoughts on “Morph Parfums Cruda: Rollercoaster Rose

  1. Pingback: Morph Parfums Montmartre 1894: Iris Melodies - Kafkaesque

  2. Thank you for bearing with it to the end instead of scrubbing it off. I detest grape jelly and will not eat it. Ever. Maybe if the cumin note was detectable, it may have improved Cruda. Funny you mentioned crude, but I was thinking crud. Oops. When you got to 2.75 hours I exhaled, but I see what you meant by the rollercoaster ride. 🙂 Will you be reviewing any other of Morph’s perfumes?

    • I’ve ordered a sample of Morph’s Nudo from First in Fragrance. It’s supposedly got frankincense in it with green leaves, but all the other notes have been kept secret by the company, though the long story does mention cocoa. I don’t know when I’ll receive it, so this is it for the next few weeks. 🙂 And if you loathe grape jelly, I think you should stay away from Cruda. lol

  3. This morning I visited Morph’s website, as I was really curious after reading yesterday’s review. The website is oddly constructed; the notes for all the perfumes are actually there (with a scent pyramid schematic, too), if you click on the box that says “Go to the _____ parfum” at the bottom of each perfume’s story.

    As to Cruda, well, what a roller coaster indeed!! You know I’m a rose fiend, but I’m not that keen on the uber-sweet, nor have I ever been a fan of either Jolly Ranchers or grape jelly. I was reminded of your review of slumberhouse Zahd, actually. Is there a similarity?

    This review was a pleasure to read, dear Kafka, which many notable highlights: :” . . several steps beyond bombastic and entered into ridiculous territory . . It’s simultaneously too, too much and, yet, oddly alluring for precisely that reason, drawing me in against my will . . . perhaps because the intensity and richness is so completely bonkers. . ” Oh, I MUST try this. . .but. . .

    In spite of being a rose lover, I bet I won’t like it. This is one of those times I find this, um, hobby quite amusing. I was nearly anxiously awaiting your review of this rose scent, and I read it with much vicarious pleasure. It was one of those times, too, when I wish they’d hurry up and invent a way for us fragophiles to sniff along, so to speak. . .


    • I searched that blasted website with no success for notes, alas. I clicked on the positive sign, clicked on the arrow, clicked on the Go To sign, went to the other page, then went back to the original one, but nothing showed up for me somehow. Perhaps I’m inept. lol.

      As for the grape or the sweetness, no, I see absolutely no similarity to Slumberhouse’s Zahd at all. None whatsoever. While Zahd had some sweetness, it was wholly of a different, very balsamic, very dark kind and the perfume as a whole never felt like ridiculous goo. (In contrast, Sadanne *did* have that feeling when a significantly large quantity was applied and it *was* like a fruit jam as well, though strawberry Smuckers instead of Welch’s grapes.) But if you’re expecting something like Zahd, even slightly, think again because this is a purely traditional fruity floral without any streaks of darkness or counterbalancing dryness.

      As a rose lover who might enjoy a few hours of a bonkers experience, I think you’d have a lot of fun with Cruda but I don’t think that would last throughout the whole trip or perfume and, honestly, I think you’d be bored well before the scent ended.

      • Dearest Kafka, I haven’t gone to the Morph website but I wanted to mention that the browser you use could have something to do with not seeing something. In my case, I typically use Firefox and there were two examples where Safari ended up being the “better” browser: 1) the PdE website via Firefox did not allow me to place an order! this went on for about 2 months before I decided to try Safari; and 2) in Firefox, the Suleko website defaulted to French but in Safari, I was able to switch to English (heh, and Russian if I wanted to).

        • Browser issues never once crossed my mind! Thank you, my sweets, I appreciate the reminder, since I stick to Chrome absolutely every time and never think of trying a different system. How interesting that you couldn’t place an order at all on Parfums d’Empires website using Firefox. Wow. (Someone should tell them! lol.)

          • I use Chrome exclusively, fyi. The Morph website is wonky, though. Issues of sites working on different browsers and on different operating systems are a big headache for website designers (and users, obviously). In many instances I noticed perfume sites are so design heavy that the “designers” have left usability in the dust. With the Cruda site, I fear there may have been an unconscious desire for most of us to not read more than “The Story.” I kid you not, as I’ve noticed this tendency to hide the real info on a number of websites. . .but I digress. . .

            As to the Zahd comparison, I think I got Zahd and Sardanne confused, at least as far as your reviews go. I do have a sample of Zahd, though, and it had such an intense jelly roll/fruit roll up smell that I really didn’t like it as anything but a novelty. I did not find it dark in the least. Hmmm.

            So, yeah, I’ve probably enjoy a sample of Cruda as a “bonkers experience.”

          • With regard to Zahd, I thought you experienced some darkness from the Trisamber that, if I remember correctly, you struggled with for some of the same reasons as I did. I remember you had much more cranberry than dark undercurrents, but I thought there were some, no? Perhaps I’m misremembering in the fog of sleep deprivation. lol.

  4. Ok, I really do loathe grape jelly due to when I was in elementary school my lunchbox contained a soggy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich quite often, although I never told my mom, who packed my lunch, that I HATED grape jelly!
    lol. Hey, why don’t you offer to write Morph’s stories? Surely you could do better.

  5. Pingback: Tauer, Tom Ford, Euphorium Brooklyn, Morph & Elisire - Kafkaesque

Comments are closed.