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Friday, March 28, 2008

Perfume Review: Acqua di Parma Profumo

"Steps were heard at the door, and Princess Betsy, knowing it was Madame Karenina, glanced at Vronsky. He was looking toward the door, and his face wore a strange new expression. Joyfully, intently, and at the same time timidly, he gazed at the approaching figure, and slowly he rose to his feet." Lev Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

In the great and waning chypre genre, Acqua di Parma's Profumo is one of the most often overlooked and most easily available gems. It is everything a chypre lover might possibly want in a fragrance, the bright citrusy top, the sensual floral-spicy heart, and the opulent, dark woody-mossy base. It even has a very prominent animalic undertone, the kind of cumin-y, civet-y dirt without which, to me, a chypre is just not a chypre. It is full-bodied and graceful, infinitely feminine. It is perfect. What's more, whenever I smell this Italian creation, it, strangely, makes me think of Russia. It might be that the delightfully waxy smell that roses and jasmine have in this composition and its spicy-incensey undertone remind of me of Orthodox churches. Frankly, I don't know. It is one of those associations which, once inexplicably made, can't be shaken off. Not that I would want to.

And if I were to match Profumo to a book or a literary heroine, it without a doubt would be Anna Karenina, she who carried "her rather full figure with extraordinary lightness". I once read that for Tolstoy Anna represented his own sexuality, and because he was afraid of his sexuality, he killed her. Profumo is that inner being in us which simultaneously attracts and repulses us, because we feel that if we let it loose, the results would be, at best, cataclysmic or, most probably, tragic.

Profumo can be found at Sephora, $173.00 for 3.3oz.

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Blogger elle said...

What a perfect literary match! This really is such an overlooked scent. Love it!

10:10 PM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Wow. I adore Tolstoy's novel, and I love how you've used it here. You are going to make a grown up (read: chypre lover) out of me...

Will say that hearing those sorts of things about Tolstoy made me put off reading Anna Karenina for years and years. When I finally did I was overwhelmed by it and thought -- how could anyone think this man was a simple prude? What an amazing mind...

10:35 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

You know I was just in Barneys and I didn't see the profumo. I'll have to seek it out; it reads so lovely..

12:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Bizarrely overlooked, no?

6:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Maybe a prude. Maybe. But simple, no :-)

6:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You will love it. Maybe not for yourself, but you will love it.

6:38 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Halle-freakin'-lujah !

Thank you !

I love this baby BIGTIME- reminds me of Sortilege, another heartbreaker of absolute perfection.
I said it, and I'm glad.

I could smell this on Tom.
Tom- pm me, poopsie, I'll send you some.

[I sent some to Helg awhile back, and it opened up and stank up her place for quite awhile- albeit beautifully !]

7:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think I have a sample of Sortilege somewhere, must find it.

8:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's rainy and gray here today, and your post makes me want to spend the day holed up, reading a book. I love it when you match perfumes to novels.

9:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad you liked the post!

9:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful review, Marina, just beautiful. It created this bittersweet longing that I feel every time I read something about Russia, hailing back to my (German) High School days taking Russian, learning the language, hearing the music, singing the songs, reading Tolstoy. Ok, now let me come back from the clouds. So, we're talking perfume, eh? I love chypres, I just love'em. Have never heard of this one. Hopefully I'll make acquaintance one of those days.

10:07 AM EDT  
Blogger rosarita said...

Marina, your writing is so lovely. *happy sigh* I'm catching up on blogs today and have chosen OJ Woman from your earlier review this week; always enjoy your words!

10:41 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im with Chaya - her and I had a discussion about this not too long ago, I think.

I own a bottle of this and think it just magnificent. And Im happy its often overlooked b/c AdP is getting a bit too overexposed in my opinion, they've shot right off the luxury list so fast its not even funny. That said, I wouldn't call Profumo easy to find, its often times one of the only AdPs missing from displays. It usualy requires a bit of searching.

A Magnificent chypre, indeed - incredibly unisex. A must-try for Tom, indeed.

I just wish the cap wasn't plastic.

2:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only acqua di parma product i truly love. it is a queen among chypres. and i love that it dates to 1930. - minette

6:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And I studied German at school. And then I went to the university and had to learn English. And it totally demolished all my knowledge of German, ugh.

8:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much, you are very kind!

8:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Isn't it bizarre that Sephora of all places has it?

8:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

A queen indeed, truly Royal.

8:52 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Agree this one is underrated ... but by AdP as well as their consumers -- they really seem to have zero interest in promoting it.

9:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

How very clueless of them!

9:08 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Just checking in to add my voice to the multitude. I love this Agree that they are very foolish for not promoting it. Ordered the OW (that's the sound of my credit card as well as the initials of the perfume) even though I'm supposed to be on a "no-buy." Decided I couldn't live without it (though I also was pleased to read on Basenotes that LP herself didn't recommend the parfum for everyday wear; said the EdP was strong enough, which is certainly is on me. Will definitely try the parfum sometime--but for now, this will do). Thanks again.:)

11:31 AM EDT  

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