Perfume Review: Profumum Fragrances
Profumum is an Italian line, established in 1996 in Rome by Celestino and Lucia Durante. Like every self-respecting perfume line, Profumum promises that their scents evoke emotions and memories and are made of the highest quality ingredients. They also apparently promise to max out your credit cards, because the bottles cost $180.00 a-piece. Are they worth it? Well…
Acqua di Sale. Described by Luckyscent as “the most realistic ocean scent”, with notes of “aroma of salt on the skin”, myrtle, cedarwood and marine algae, it was meant to be my least favorite of the bunch. It is actually not bad on me at all, i.e. it is not too obviously, too nauseatingly aquatic. In fact, it is really quite good. It is the scent of the skin after a long swim in the sea. In a cold, Baltic Sea. I don't know why, this is how it smells to me. It is understated but still has a presence and certain sensuality about it. It is slightly minty, very subtly sweet, and a little spicy. It is very nicely done, it surprised me. If ever I were on the market for this kind of scent, this would be the scent I’d buy.
Acqua e Zucchero. The gourmand one. With notes of orange blossom, wild berries and vanilla, it smells like a fluffy desert made of blackcurrants, vanilla and cream. It is undeniably delicious and rather reminiscent of Fleur des Comores. Unlike the latter, however, Acqua e Zucchero lacks a certain depth, richness, as if its base was completely missing. It was rather fleeting on my skin. Lovely, but not worth $180.00 for me.
Antico Caruso. They were not lying when they said that this scent was “inspired by the scent and atmosphere of a classic, old fashioned barbershop”. This is a sharp, bracing “men’s cologne”. The citruses are tart, the sandalwood note is rather pale and the almond, which was hiding in the beginning, went a little sour on my skin. I will most certainly pass on this one.
Fiori d’Ambra. Decadent, sugared amber with a little somethin’ wild in it that they call “opium”, but that to me smells like cinnamon and cloves. It is a languid little scent that, if only it had a little more spice, a little more wickedness in it, could have been a very fun scent to know and love. As it is, Fiori d’Ambra is not making the earth move for me, which is exactly what a perfume would have to do to justify this kind of price.
Ichnusa. A perfume line wouldn’t be complete without at least one fig scent, now would it? Profumum’s version is bright, dry and a little spicy. This is the smell of fig leaves and a fig tree more than that of a fruit. What’s nice about Ichnusa is that it does not have the coconut undertone that seems to haunt almost every fig scent on the market. I am not a big fan of fig fragrances, so I won’t be buying this, but lovers of very green, not too sweet fig fragrances should give Ichnusa a try.
Patchouly. An expansive, full-bodied patchouli scent with generous helpings of sweet amber, velvety sandalwood and a dry, dark incense note that, from the middle stage on, seems to overwhelm the aforementioned amber and wood and to rule the blend alongside patchouli. I liked this one a lot. I am not sure I will be buying a bottle, I am not that big a fan of patchouli and will never be able to finish a 100ml jug…I must also add that it layers wonderfully well with Fiori d’Ambra and Acqua e Zucchero, adding to them the depth and the va va voom that both are missing.
Santalum. Sweet, spicy, snuggly sandalwood with a prominent myrrh note and quite a bit of cinnamon. It seems to be exactly the kind of scent I usually enjoy, and yet, again, something is lacking. Perhaps originality? Somehow I feel I smelled this piquant woody scent so many times before. It reminded me of several scents at once, from, believe it or not, Opium, to Chaos, to Wenge, to Padparadscha. I will pass.
Thundra. With the name like that, this was the one Profumum I wanted to like the most. And it is quite nice, in fact, along with Acqua di Sale, it is perhaps the most interesting of the eight scents I’ve tried. This is a minty, green patchouli fragrance that smells of wet earth, brown leaves, of the somber, autumnal day maybe not in thundra but somewhere on a marsh in England, where the air is foggy and melancholy. Thundra really is rather interesting; my only wish is that it were more forceful, had more richness. For $90.00, I would have already bought it, but not for $180.
All these scents can be purchased on Luckyscent.com, $180.00 for 100ml. A sampler set is available, $28.00 for 8 samples. I would love know how much the Profumum fragrances cost in Italy, so if anyone has such info, please comment. I wonder if the line is as overpriced in the US as I Profumi di Firenze (the latter cost €18.00 on their domestic soil).