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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's a Sniffathon! Part 3 - Profumum, Durbano, Dr. Vranjes & Ajne

Last 8 fragrances. I can do it, I know I can! Here we go…

Cassiopea by Dr. Vranjes. Pleasantly candied little floral, in which I mostly smell roses, ylang ylang, some jasmine and something fruity …Slightly rotting plums? Overripe apples? Synthetic cherries? Extremely forgettable. I could wear it everyday for several months (and no, I don’t want to) and then probably would not be able to recognize it. Before I looked at the BeautyHabit site, I imagined that such a scent would cost about $60.00 for 100ml, and I thought I was being generous…it turns out, this insipid concoction goes for the whopping $225.00. That is not even funny.

Elettra by Dr. Vranjes. I don’t know who the good Dr. is, and I am not captivated by his scents enough to want to find out, but perhaps he shouldn’t quit his day job just yet. Elettra is marginally better than Cassiopea, but not much so. It is a thick, languid, enveloping, at times overwhelming blend of very sweet myrrh, very sweet amber and very dull-smelling flowers, which may or may not be jasmine. Boring and shockingly overpriced at $225.00 for 100ml.

Esperia by Dr. Vranjes is an aquatic fragrance that as such would have been annoying and unwearable were it not so incredibly bland. It has a rather appealing salty and slightly herbal undertone and might even be quite nice worn on a very hot day…but not for $225.00!

Rock Crystal by Durbano. The scent really doesn’t bring anything particularly new and original to the incense-woods genre, but it is sophisticated, warm, tranquil and comforting – all the things I expect from my incense fragrances- and, at $105.00 for 100ml, not too outrageously expensive. The incense note here is warm and “substantial”, made thicker and “rounder” by the presence of sandalwood and myrrh (I swear I smell amber too). The spices add an interesting, bright zing to the composition, and all in all Rock Crystal is just a pleasure to wear. One minus- the scent stays extremely close to the skin and has rather poor lasting power.

Amethyst by Durbano. With notes of bergamot, pepper, grape, raspberry, incense, palisander wood, jasmine, orris, amber, sandalwood, musk, vanilla, Amethyst is incense made almost delicious. No, not quite gourmand, but the berries and vanilla do add a lovely, mouthwatering little twist to the blend. I think I actually like it even more than the rather solemn Rock Crystal. Those who, like me, are not generally fond of fruits, should not worry, Amethyst is all about incense and woods, but the pleasant, colorful sweetness makes it not just soulful and meditative but also joyful and full of life. $105.00 for 100ml at Luckyscent.

Savoir by Ajne. Sous le Vent on steroids. This 3rd eye Chakra balancing, 100 % non-synthetic, pure and ultra-Rare & Precious essential oils and absolutes combining blend was downright scary on me. Incredibly sharp, overwhelmingly herbal at first, it had a strange almost-rotting undertone. As the scent progressed, it softened a little, became warmer, and, by the beginning of the middle stage, turned into the sultry, clover-full…Opium. On the right skin, this strange brew might possibly be quite striking and attractive. I shall pass. $220.00 for 1oz at

Alba by Profumum. “The darkness that covers the wood and the moors of the forest ripped by the golden ray of the sun that filtering into the foliage of secular oaks, recreate an ancient magic of light. It is called the dawn.” It is also called copywriters on drugs, but I digress. I have yet to find a Profumum scent that would impress me to the extent that I won’t mind parting with $195.00 (the cost of a nice “niche” Guerlain, more than a Chanel Exclusif or a bell jar), and Alba is certainly not the scent to make me reach for my credit card. It is a rather unexciting blend of, I believe, heliotrope, amber, woods, and some sort of herbs. It does not evoke moors, oaks, magic or dawn. I am hard pressed to come up with an image it does evoke in my mind. I better wash it off, the scent is so dull, it sucks all creative force out of me. Available at

Ambra Aurea by Profumum. Now this is much better. It is not making me race to place an order, simply because I am not a big fan of amber “soliflores”, but the connoisseurs of amber should take notice. Ambra Aurea smells raw and slightly salty, animalic and a little wet and slimy, very…alive somehow, very …organic. This is one of the Profumum scents that is probably worth the $195.00 they are asking for it, as – regardless of what it actually was made of – it feels as if it was in fact made with “100% non-synthetic, pure and ultra-Rare & Precious essential oils and absolutes”. Available at

And that concludes The Sniffathon. It is over to Tom tomorrow. I need a break.


Blogger tmp00 said...

My mini-reactions:

As ever I like the Profumums, and might have even bit if they came in smaller sizes at a lower price point. I vote this house most likely to be adversely affected by eBays new and draconian rules about decants. Senti bimbi: quarter sized bottles, quarter sized price. You are delicious, but those bottles are big and pricey for us niche frag hags.

Dr. Vranjes: you better be able to prescribe something interesting or have topical botox or liposuction in there if you expect to get away with that price point. Thanks Columbina for sparing me the effort.

The Durbanos I sniffed and enjoyed. I want them to do well: love them for holding the anti-fruity-frag-flag high. I liked them both and hope they get a wide audience. Once again I sniffed them and didn''t get DECANTS that I could REVIEW IN DEPTH. NOT THAT I'M SHOUTING THAT YOU NICHE HOUSES SHOULD CARE BOUT THIS!

Ajne: once again I am left in the weeds. Have no idea. I guess I've gotten two of the four houses, so that's okay.

12:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

EXACTLY! NO DECANTS - NO REVIEWS! GOT THAT, VERO BUGGERS? Sorry, didn't mean to shout either :-)

12:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

durbanos were a big bore... that crystal MESS was like some cheap sandalwood from any-healthfood-store-usa... dark? (yeah right)... and not to mention that nasty amethyst !! - a way disgustingly girly twirly fruity flop... BUT !!!... i respect profumum... truly roman... heavy-duty stuff from a city that I will forever claim as "home"... AND i love that profumum is not geared for cheapskates... sort of like how the arclight hollywood weeds out the flotsam and jetsam for movie go-ers

1:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've not sniffed any of these but wow, M, am I impressed or what with your whiz thru the world of scent. And now, deep breaths followed by breathing in your favourite Diors...

5:11 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I got Vranjes samples from BH, but haven't gotten 'round to testing them yet; after reading your reviews, I may never do so. With you, I think I (to my surprise) liked the Durbano Amethyst better than the Rock Crystal. The RC was nice, but reminiscent of too many other scents (esp. Bois d'Encens on me); the Amethyst seemed to have a little extra oomph. Unlike you, I very much liked the Ajne; it worked well on my skin (although I haven't yet run out to buy it). And I also liked the Profumum Amber--very much (though again, I am resisting a purchase; I will probably eventually cave for a DECANT here--if I can find one:)

6:47 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Feel blissfully smug reading the Dr. Vranjes reviews and knowing I've saved $675. just this morning! :-) The Profumums have not struck me as FBW so far. Oh, and LOL about "copywriters on drugs."
I really need to work to get past the press on that Ajne scent.

7:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

They are not geared for cheapskates, no. Which is why I probably would never own a single Profumum :-)

8:35 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! *sniffs deeply from a bottle of Diorama*

8:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh so I am not alone about the Amethyst. I hear raves about RC everywhere, and it IS good, but A was better I thought.
See, I knew on the right skin that Savoir would be great. Mine was decidedly not the right skin :-)

8:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You've (y'all, not just you in particular :-)) been dodging the lemmings all week. That's not right. Tom Fords are coming next week though. Ha.

8:39 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Amethyst sounds good despite the scary grape note. I'm glad I have a sample on the way. It was pleasant from the scent strip but too grapey. Hopefully, it will not be grapey on my skin.

9:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I totally concur on the Profumums, I just can't find one to make me part with the money. I don't find them terrible, unless writing skills count in the equasion, just not memorable?

I'm digging the Durbanos. I swear I got a very skanky piece out of the Rock CRystal that shocked me, and it lasted quite a while. Still haven't tried the other one.

There is so much money saved in this post, I think I'll go bid on that vintage Dior. :) *adjusting budgetary halo*

9:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What vintage Dior?! :-D

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Tom-- BTW, I am now adding companies that we believe to be doing VeRO complaints on my little decanters resource page. These are based on things that get pulled from at least two decanters

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I get no grapes at all, absolutely none. The fruitiness there is very vague and abstract on me.

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Patty, That's right, lets blacklist them.

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

*ignores M's question and hides eBay listing*

Not that it will help, I'll just get way outbid by the perenniel outbidders.

:::sighs and slunks away to up snipe bid)

9:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yup -- This little game can absolutely work both ways.

But right now striking Calvin Klein and Baby Phat from my list doesn't seem to be a hardship *snerk*

10:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I will find it and I will out-snipe. HAHA. Diors are mine, MINE.

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

True. I am hard-pressed to think of one CK I don't find unwearable.

10:07 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

OOh lovely, thanks Marina! Money "saved" if you know what I mean....

10:58 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

CK and Baby Phat? Hilarious. Can't figure which house is more Klassee...

Arclight weeding out the flotsam and jetsam? C'mon: it's the same eleven bucks at the Grove. Maybe 5 years ago...

11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You are welcome :-)))

11:01 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Whew, that was exhausting -- how did you do it? 8 fragrances in one day, and some days I can't even manage 1, LOL...

1:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I didn't sniff them in one day, or I'd be dead now, but I did write about them in day. Anything to clean up the mountain of samples :-)

1:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boo hoo. Nobody appreciates Savoir 'cept J and me. Poor thing. I think I'll go give her a hug.

I get some skank, too, from RC. First time I tried it at the Sniffa I thought it was too "sweaty." Now I'm digging the "dirt."

I'm glad you like the Ambra Aurea. I loooooove it! For me, it some serious comfort scent, which I've needed lots of lately. Know what I mean?

2:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Do I know what you mean? Hmm, let me think...Yes I do :-( (((hugs)))

I don't get any sweat/dirt in RC at all, sadly.

3:33 PM EDT  

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