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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

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, $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).


Blogger tmp00 said...

Talk about psychic friends...

I was looking at and wondering about these- as usual, luckyscent's plummy descriptions are seductive as all get-out. Sorry to hear that they weren't quite all that.

I'm also very curious as to the price-points in Italy- I'll have to send an email out about that....

11:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Whoever writes the descriptions on Luckyscent, should start a blog (s)he would be a joy to read.
The scents are nice, but not as amazing, out of this world wonderful as the talented writer from LS made them sound :-) I think you would at least like Patchouly or Thundra. Perhaps Santalum too.

11:25 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

There were a couple I thought I might like, but at that price point, they shoulld buy me dinner first.

11:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Too right!

11:41 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I agree that the Luckyscent copywriter is an expert at perfume porn--so much so that I tend to distrust the descriptions, and, in fact, barely noticed these. Glad to hear I don't need to run out (on the internet) and buy them:)

6:38 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...


My credit card, and I , thank you heartily...

And Tomlettino, they ought to buy us both dinner first [I was tickled at that thought !]

I would love to write perfume porn, myself- OR J Peterman copy...

7:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This review comes a day too late for me, I ordered a couple samples of them yesterday:-( Oh well! It's always fun to sniff anyways. I can tell you there's no way these cost as much in Italy as they do here, I've been to Italy and know quite a few Italians that would never pay this much for just some smell good!

7:14 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marina,
I´m pretty sure they cost about 140,- € in Italy which is still a lot, if you ask me.
Moreover, Luckyscent doesn´t carry the ones I´m most interested in (= Confetto & Dulcis in Fundo).
May I ask how sweet do you find Fiori d´Ambra? A bit or very sweet?

7:24 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

What pure joy to read these reviews. I may read them to my cc as a bedtime story. Sounds like I might have to get decants of Patchouly and Thundra, but that shouldn't be too painful. Grazie!!

7:29 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Wow, you have saved me some serious dough! ;-)

I agree about the Luckyscent copywriter(s). But what are they gonna say? "This stuff smells okay, but a little harsh and unfinished, and definitely not worth 180 bucks..." Nope. Instead they're gonna blow in your ear...

7:53 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

March--spitting coffee out of my nose while reading your comment! You're right, of course--and they beat the hell out of Serge's incomprehensible fantasies (though I still will try SL 'fumes every time:)
PS DH loved the CB Musk on me too--esp. in the leather combos:)

7:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Patchouly, Thundra, maybe Santalum might be of interest to you, but I am not sure whether you'd really love them.

9:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You and your credit card are welcome. :-)
LOL at "perfume porn".

9:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, you ordered samples, not full bottles unsniffed :-) They are worth trying.

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

140,- € is a lot, in fact it probably more or less equals $180. Wow.
Fior d'Ambra is sweet. Not cloyingly sweet, but sweet neveretheless.

9:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Anytime! :-) These are the decants I might get too, and, strangely enough, Acqua di Sale, perhaps next summer. I can't believe I liked that "aquatic" one more than others.

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, Aedes just mostly sticks to the facts: notes, etc. LS like to elaborate a little :-)

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

SL can do anything he wants and we still will try his new scents. He has us wrapped around his little finger :-0

9:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I like too but too am doubtfull of whether it is worth this much $.

11:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Lisa Olga said...


Just buy you dinner? At that price the dinner should be a cabana boy on a silver platter holding out a plate of filet mignon with truffle butter - and a side of framboise liquer for later activities.

12:54 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Funster- I think that's more what I should get as a gift-with-purchase from Clive Christian ;-)

3:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reviews! I have a feeling I'll end up liking the Amber and Thundra, possibly but we shall see.

5:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I too think that you would like Ambra and perhaps Santalum.

6:03 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Acqua e Zucchero.... A very expensive Pink Sugar!!!! Whatta dupe!

2:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep, you are right. BUt Acqua is not quite as sweet and intense, to my nose.

4:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Victoria said...

I purposely didn't read your reviews till I finished mine. I think I liked the line more than you over all, being really taken with Fiori d'Ambra. (But then sweet ambers are my favorite.) Priced more reasonably and I would buy the amber, the Santalum, the Patchouly and the Zucchero. But even at 1/2 price and bottle splits, I just don't think I can buy more than one. Oh and PS the review I did earlier in the year, I guess the bottle was mislabeled. It must have been Acqua di Sale and not Zucchero. Very odd.

2:21 AM EDT  
Blogger bonnie said...

I can assure you, that they are expensive in Italy as well. The scents are according to Maria Durante specially made and the price of the smallest size (15 ml-and suits me fine!)is 30 euros. As I remember the price for the 100 ml is between 105 and 135 euros-and the range covers about 20 scents-not all listed on their homepage.
Greetings Bonnie

2:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Fiori is lovely. If only there weren't this expensive, I'd have also bought several. But they are not worth this much money for me :-(

8:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much for the information! I wish Luckscent caried the small size. I wish every perfume line sold bottles of that size!

8:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Rome I've paid 120 euro, i.e. 160 dollars,for a bottle of Fumidus by Profumum.

10:17 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello, just yesterday i checked at the perfume store in rome and acqua di sale costs 135 euros. yowsers! thats 213 dollars! better to get it in the states for 190 dollars at this point...

5:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week i was in the Profumun store in Rome. I didn't buy the 'Acqua Di Sale' because of the price... 135 Euro ( around $240 USD) That is an outrageous amount to spend on purfume!
But the scent has not left my mind! I was finishing my unpacking today- and found the paper with the name on it!
(I actually asked a sales lady in rome what she was wearing, and she wrote it down.. and I walked MILES to this store! I skipped going to the Coloseum for purfume- no harm done! ) I think i might actually splurge and get a bottle! (YIKES)I love the smell- and it wont leave me alone!
Oh well- it just looks like i wont be going to Sephora for 2-3 months!

11:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I bought a bottle of Acqua di Sale in Rome for 150 euros. The price point on Lucky Scent is spot on.

11:01 PM EST  

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