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Monday, January 08, 2007

Perfume Review: Il Profumo Ambre d'Or, Chocolate Frais, Patchouli Noir and Vetiver de Java

Il Profumo is an Italian company, a brainchild of the perfumer Silvana Casoli. The scents are inspired “by the rhythm and the scented messages coming from nature”; they are divided into three groups, Classic Line, Osmo Line, and Floreal Scents. The latter apparently have the maximum concentration of essence obtained from petals of freshly picked flowers. Osmo Line has a complicated-sounding premise, which I invite you to study in detail at Il Profumo site. Basically, the Osmo perfumes are unique due to a special “preparation formula , with a slow “evaporation curve”, which allows a very intimate and sophisticated use of the perfume, defined at “short range”… I am sure you understood that just as well as I did.

Tom talked about Musc Bleu and I once wrote about the rather interesting if not entirely wearable Encens Epice. Today I am briefly reviewing four more Il Profumos.

Ambre d’Or. Rich, sweet, almost sugary amber, it becomes more resinous and balsamic as it develops, and dries down to a cuddly, fluffy ambery-vanillic blend. The official list promises a wide and very appealing array of notes: mandarin, white peach, grey amber, ambrette, datura (!), opium flowers (!!), white iris, myrrh, rose wood, patchouli leaves macerated in citrus fruits and honey…but all I get is basically amber, more amber, vaguely fruity sweetness (that would be mandarin) and vanilla. Amber “soliflores” are not my thing, as you can plainly see by the fact that I have next to nothing to say about this attractive but ultimately (for me!) boring fragrance. Objectively speaking, however, I believe that amber aficionados would love Ambre d’Or.

Chocolat Frais. Let’s say you are a big fan of Angel. And let’s say you are just not satisfied with the amount and variety of Angel-like scents on the market. You have tried every fragrance that smells like it, offered by mainstream brands, found in Sephora, Nordstom and at Sentiments.com. Well then, here is a new, obscure, niche treat for you! I am not saying that Chocolat Frais is absolutely identical to Angel. For one, it is not nearly as sumptuous. It is paler, a little more delicate and with a more pronounced berry accord…but if a person next to me in an elevator was wafting the Chocolat Frais sillage, no way would I have been able to guess that it was a hard-to-find Italian concoction inspired by “the scented messages coming from nature” and not Angel or one of its garden varieties. So if you are one of the Angel Collectors, get thee to Luckyscent.com. If, however, you feel that perhaps there are already a million too many Angel-like perfumes… Chocolat Frais is probably not for you.

Vetiver de Java. Vetiver marinated in dill, was my first, bizarre impression. After the bracing, herbal, sharp beginning, when Vetiver de Java smells like it would go nicely with Vodka, the scent becomes smoother, “rounder”, sweeter even. On my skin, Vetiver de Java has a hazy, shapeless feel of a fragrance abandoned half-way before completion by its bored creators. Strong, at times even aggressive, it is strangely characterless and was a big disappointment for this fan of vetiver.


Patchouli Noir. All that talk about the maximum concentration of essence and a slow evaporation curve couldn’t have been just marketing blah-blah, now could it? At least one of the Il Profumo scents I tried had to deliver, and Patchouli Noir certainly did. I am not a fan of straight patch at all, but even I can appreciate the attractiveness of the note here. The rich, dark scent portrays beautifully the two sides of patchouli, the almost-gourmand warmth and the mentholated, dry coolness, combining a bitter, lush chocolate-like undertone with a nose-chilling camphorous leitmotif. Unbelievably gorgeous, it is a must for patch-hags, and even I am tempted to get a bottle.

Ambre d’Or and Chocolate Frais are sold at Luckyscent.com, $80.00 and $90.00 for 100ml respectively. Vetiver de Java (€ 84.00-109.00) and Patchouli Noir (€ 109.00) are available at First in Fragrance.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Evisceration complete! Or at least, seeing as I have some difficulties with amber, am bored by Angel clones, and believe that the moniker Vetiver de Java should be reserved solely for Patricia de Nicolaï's exceptional room scent / candle (wood, leather, glory), I'm put off by these.

However, I'm a long way from a patch hag, yet you're selling the lasty to me. So, eviscerated, but with one tasty organ left intact.

4:22 AM EST  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Hmmm. . .Do I have a sample of PN somewhere? I believe I do. . .now I just must search for it *groan--must get more organized!*

I have tried this Vet de Java (meh) but I didn't know about the Nicolai room scent--another lemming born!

6:34 AM EST  
Blogger Cait Shortell said...

Complete obliteration of any desire to get these pretties. Heh. How does the Patch compare to SL Borneo 1834?

7:45 AM EST  
Anonymous newproducts said...

I'm a fan of straight amber, so Ambre D'Or sounds very appealing to me. Now if only I wasn't on a no-buy...

8:06 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Ow!!! What Leo said! Actually, when I think of our various blogging styles, you're the one I can turn to for some good, old-fashioned take-it-to-the-woodshed fragrance trashing (didn't you set the standard with your review of ... what WERE those things ... the Nelly Rodis!!)

Hugs and Kisses -- your snarky fan

10:09 AM EST  
Anonymous Ina said...

All of the ones I've tried have had a "been there, done that" impression on me but you make the patchouli one sound way too appealing. By the way, I love that new Bond Pucciesque bottle design. ;D

10:54 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

As Cait Shortell said, I would like to know how it compares to SL's Borneo 1834. I am obsessed with Patchouli at the moment. OK, well maybe not obsessed but in this cold weather I am drawn to it with my Yatagan and Casual Friday constantly being bumped to the front of the fragrance rotation.

11:02 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Leopoldo,
You make me sounds like a butcher. Like Hannibal Lector The Blogger :-) "One tasty organ intact" :-) Here, have some nice chianti with that.
Well, you just have started a lemming. I haven't even heard of that room spray before. Darn!

11:42 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Judith,
(You don't know what chaos is till you saw my "sample drawers" :-))
I though the Patch was quite gorgeous. And I am also lemming that room spray now...

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Cait,
Patch Noir is sort of darker, warmer, more "opaque" than Borneo. Although present, that mentholated thing is much more subdued.

11:45 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

M,
Ambre is a very lovely amber. If you are an amber lover, I think you'd find it wonderful.

11:45 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
What! I am sweetness itself. I am not snarky, am I? :-) I do have grumpy moments, when some pretentious thing like that MuslBuddnonsense or scents not available to buy over the phone or online get to me...but otherwise I am very nice...aren't I? :-)
(Well, OK, Nelly Rodis were horrific on me)

11:48 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Ina,
I love the design on the new Bond bottle too...I am not the fan of the colors though...those kinds of colors give me headache. I know, sounds very silly :-)

11:49 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Kelley,
Is Casual Friday by Escada?
As I said to Cait, Patchouli Noir is darker and warmer than Borneo. Borneo is an artistic, dare I say "artsy" interpretation of the note. Patch Noir is the straightforward and very beautiful patch with no embellishments, you know?

11:50 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Funny how individual chemistries are- I tried these and was not impressed: Ambre d'Or seemed timid and a bit lifeless compared to say Ambre Sultan; I found Patchouli Noir to be a lot more camphorous than Borneo: but I agree that it's the best of the bunch, and if I didn't have a bell jar of the Lutens I would be happy to get this one. It did make me go back to Borneo and smell it with fresh, er, nose? There is more camphor in the opening than I initially got, but I like the roasted cocao in Borneo better.

As far as being snarky, I don't think you are. I'm probably snarkier than you.

12:19 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
Interesting that you get more camphor in Patch Noir...

Of course I am not nearly as snarky as you are...*I* don't have a stalker who may or may not be French, he he. :-P

12:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

I love Tom's stalker! The anonymous commenter, right? Ha! I want to get me one like his'un!

Sorry for the Lecter refs - I was alluding only to your rapier sharp use of language and knifelike dexterity with a sentence.

12:31 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Leopoldo,
You say the nicest thing...:-)

(I am secretly envious of the anonymous stalker too, by the way )

12:33 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marina,

Yes, Casual Friday is an Escada creation. I have been gathering information about it for a while and am preparing a review of it. It is one of my current top 10 frags.

4:52 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Kelley,
Wonderful! cannot wait to read the review!

4:58 PM EST  
Anonymous timam said...

I used to like Ambre d'Or a lot, is is a very interesting amber IMO, not very common, somehow reminiscent of my beloved L'Occitane Relaxing Pillow Mist in a way (if the latter existed in a perfume form and married Amber, Ambre d'Or would be their baby ;)). but then I found out I'm actually not such an amber lover and wouldn't use it all that much, so: BANG!, this lemming was dead for me. from the Il Profvmo line, I like Mandarine and Musc Bleu the most; Gardenia Royal was too much of (guess what?) gardenia for me, and the others didn't impress me either. which is actually a good thing as I already have enough other lemmings on my WL to last me for a lifetime ;).

5:58 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Tina,
I am going to get some of that Mandarin for the next winter holidays :-) Apart from Patchouli, I am yet to be impressed by this line. Which is just as well, since my wishlist is also veeeeeeery loooooong. :-)

6:01 PM EST  
Blogger The non-blonde said...

Encens Epice worked nicely on my skin. It felt warm and friendly. I have a sample of the Chocolat that I have yet to try, but I'll have to relable it with a warning sign. Angel makes me want to join the nearest Satan worship cult, just to get free from the torture.

The patch one sounds heavenly. Why don't the good people of Luckyscent have it?

12:01 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

The on-blonde,
I do wish they carried the Patch. They are actually LOTS more scents in this line...Il Profumo seems to be very prolific :-)

8:24 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Have to go retry PN. Immediately. Also the VdJ. Dill? Ears perked up there. I've got mixed feelings about vetiver, but dill fascinates me. Seriously doubt I'd want to wear VdJ, but definitely want to give it a sniff and I know I have a sample lurking about somewhere (yet again reminded of why I MUST organize my samples).

8:20 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

L,
But please try it with a nice chilled shotglass filled with Stoly or Absolut on hand :-) Na zdorovje!

8:24 PM EST  

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