I always ignored Profumum Roma when in a perfume store for the simple reason that there were just too many bottles. Thirty identical flacons in a row – too intimidating, too much effort needed, too easy to pass up in favor of other things seemingly more accessible.
A lovely reader (Thank you, Isabeau!) has done the work of plowing through the line for me and sent me samples of the cream of the crop, so to speak. I loved going through these samples as each and everyone has some appeal and if my monetary situation were (a lot) different, I’d buy at least three of them.
As it is, I have to think carefully, since the perfumes only come in 100ml extrait concentration, which is not to put too fine a point on it, quite stupid. These perfumes last the day, one spray gets you enough sillage and weartime to make the most scent-swallowing skin happy, but you need to buy a vat of fragrance for a huge sum of money. Things like that do not make me happy…
So these gripes aside – here are my impressions:
Dulcis In Fundo:
Bright, creamy orange on top of delectably soft, but potent vanilla – this is a simple, but gorgeous mixture that is unabashedly gourmand, unapologetically decadent and therefore undoubtedly irrestisible. A huge hit with the 3-6 year old set, Dulcis in Fundo reminds me strongly of Guerlain Gourmand Coquin of which I own a bottle, so I’m all set in the sweets department.
Flügelschlag – the flutter of wings. For once I love the German word more, because it manages to convey in one compact little word what it takes the English four, the Italians three to say. Battito d’Ali, aside from the adorable name, is a lovely warm and cosy vanilla scent accented by cocoa powder, orange blossom and myrrh. It is delicate, tender, but has a definite presence. It is enveloping, but never smothers, it is warming, but not stifling. Soft, but tenacious.
A very soft and understated amber, Fiori d’Ambra opens spicy and softens into a warm vanilla-leaning amber accord. It lasts very well, but is not big on sillage. As ambers go, this one is of the tender, very wearable variety, not a killer amber like it’s cousin Ambra Aurea, which I find a bit hard to take – beautiful, but heavy.
Vanitas is another vanilla scent in Profumum’s line up. They sure love their gourmands. This one pairs vanilla with myrrh, giving the scent a cool resinous vibe in the beginning that is only slowly getting warmer and sweeter over time before giving in to full on vanilla about a half hour into its development. Vanitas is rich, very much so. It is too frothy, whipped and white for my idea of a vanilla scent, but I cannot deny that it smells good. It is rich and has depth, even if I wouldn’t wear it, smelling it now and again is a very restorative experience. Vanitas has the soothing powers of an experienced nanny. To smell it is like a good hug when you need it and then, when all is well again, you run away to play.
Interestingly enough it is very similar in the drydown to another Guerlain, Myrrhe et Délires, that I compared to an innocent child in my review. So we now have child and nanny happily united in these two perfumes.
Acqua e Zucchero:
A marshmallow scent that is tooth-achingly sweet. Very similar to Kilian’s Love but even more sweet and sugary, if that is possible. It feels like living in a cloud of spun sugar. A bit much for me and more of a novel experience than a wearable fragrance. But still – well made and lasting forever and a day.
Alba was the one perfume from the line I tried in a store, because I was very attracted by the description on Luckyscent:
“The perfect antidote to a stressful day. This incredibly comforting scent takes rich, warm woods – almond wood, hazel wood and sandalwood — and blends them with powdery amber to create a cashmere soft fragrance that caresses the senses. Alba means dawn, and this is sunrise in a pristine forest – hushed and tranquil. Pine needles cover the forest floor; there is a circle of ancient oaks and a pile of moss covered stones. The cool gray mist slowly melts away as the hazy sunlight begins to filter in at the edges and touch the forest with rose and gold. Reassuring and subtle – the woods and powder warm together on the skin like the trees in the sunshine. Peaceful and cozy.”
That is hard to resist, isn’t it? My experience with Alba was interesting to say the least, and warrants a deeper exploration for sure, but I still wanted to mention it now. It opened with a horrible accord of old pleather in the sunshine, motor oil and the general idea of riding on a very old bus, feeling nauseous. Now that I didn’t expect after reading the above. Did you?
But after having dismissed it as a complete failure on my skin that to my chagrin even proved to be unscrubbable, I was unexpectedly rewarded with an amazingly beautiful smell that emerged over an hour after application. Here was the cosy, comforting, warm and sweet perfume I had expected. But am I willing to wait an hour for it to come out of the bus? Will that happen every time or was it a fluke? Have you tried it? Questions upon questions. I’ll let you know how it goes soon…
What about your experiences with Profumum Roma? What are your favorites? What do you think of the line in general?
Flügelschlag – keep that one for the name of your first creative directorship of a perfume. And unscrubbable – isn’t it always the case? Perfume do not scrub off when you need them to. Great to read these comparatives within the line.
Ha, if that ever happens, I will use it. 😉
It turned out to be a god thing that Alba didn’t come off, it smelled great after an hour.
The only one that I have tried is the amber one but at the time I hated amber and this was no exception so I gave (I know I know) the decant away. I would probably love it now.
From your reviews on the other ones, there wouldn’t be one there that I would rush out to try, maybe next time I am passing them in Harrods I might give the line some more of my time.
I’m sure you’l love Fiori d’Ambra now. 🙂
It’s hard to get into such a huge line, but once you get started… 🙂
Hi Birgit, I’ve only tried Rosae Mundi and I LOVE IT! It’s been one of my few love at first sniffs. So it is on my ‘to buy’ list, but $260. Hmph. Have you tried this one?
I have a sample of this too I believe, will try it tonight. Thanks for the tip, I’m excited!
i have not tried any of them, which is really inexcusable since i live in italy! dulcis in fundo sounds delicious, though.
It is! Italians must try the line! 😉
This is a great line. My favourites are Ambra Aurea + Olibanum. I am fairly sure that you can get the whole range in 30ml bottles at their store in Rome.
Ah yes. In Rome. Actually, if I stopped buying so much perfume I’d probably have the $2000 airfare to get there! 😉
That is theoretically great, with the plane tickets it adds up though. 😦
Thanks for the info though, maybe I’ll find a Rome mule (Ines? Suz? Asali?).
Birgit, absolutely! If you decide you want something from that shop, let me know. 🙂
You are so kind! Thanks!
Lucky you! I need me a mule! 😉
I emailed PROFUMUM and was told that since August they have been selling 18ml bottles at 45 euros each.
That is excellent, thank you Chris!
Did they mention whether these small bottles would be available in stores and online too or just in their Rome shop?
At the moment, they are only available at their flagship stores in Italy.
Thank you, Chris!
I discovered Profumum thanks to your blog and Profumeria Al Sacro Cuore in Bologna which I visited following your description — indeed very lovely Profumeria, where among other things i tried first time Profumum thanks to patience of their SA and her advice to try Ishnusa (as i was interested in a figue scent).. NowI am a big fan of Ishnusa (bitter figue) and Acqua Viva (lemon and cedar wood). Acqua Viva is really a mood enhancing frag for a rainy day. From their sweet department I appreciate only Vanitas (all others I find rather too sweet… and rather boring).
In a more skanky direction I like Olibanum and Arso. Whereas Tundra, Patchouly and Victrix are just overrated I think.. But I have not yet tried them all.. Overall i think it is a great house, using a lot of natural ingredients (none of what i tried was obviously chemical). People think their frags are simplistic and at most a 2 stage play but I think it is their comparative advantage relative to too “perfumery” smells of, e.g., classic french perfumes…
Thanks for your take on the line, snobbycactus! I will try your recommendations.
I’m glad you found Sacro Cuore after reading about it here, such a lovely sales team there!
So glad you are giving this wonderful line some coverage! I tested these extensively on my last visit to Osswald in NYC after trying a couple from samples and reading wonderful reviews from Kafka of the two ambers. I was on a hunt for a wonderful almond or gardenia scent at the time and this line certainly has a lot of choices in the almond category! So many that it was really too difficult to chose and then I ended up buying Volo AZ 686 (named after an Al Italia flight). A truly unique mix of vanilla, coconut and gardenia. Not for the faint of heart but, I get a lot of compliments when I wear it. As you say, the longevity and sillage of these is enormous so, a 100 mL bottle is a lot ! Also, it was explained to me that these have approximately 40% concentration – 20% fragrance, 20% a musk oil and the rest alcohol. This is what gives them their very viscous oily appearance and what helps them wear for so long.
In case anyone is interested, here was my brief thoughts on the ones I tried:
– Alba – a very nice and unique powdery iris – I didn’t get the same difficult opening as you mention at all…
– Ambra Avrea – Beautiful ambre and very strong and spicy.
– Confetto – Sweet Turkish Delight!
– Dolce Acqua – Almond Marzapan – delicious!
– Fiore d’Ambra – a lighter amber (as you say)
– Soavissima – A wonderful powdery down thanks to the iris and amber (almost bought this one)
– Tuberosa – Extremely indolic!
– Dulcis in Fundo – More Turkish Delight! And yes, similar to Guerlain’s Gourmand Coquin with more almond.
– Inchnusa – A very woody and nice fig scent (would consider if I didn’t have so many fig scents already)
– Acqua e Zucchero – Burnt sugar and extremely sweet (as you say)
And if anyone in the US wants to try these, I just found out that Osswald will make you 10 samples (not just of this line but, from what they carry at the store) for $10 shipped within the US – what a deal!!! This is only available if you call the store though – not online.
I do love how these come with a screw on cap plus separate atomizer and also a 5mL refillable travel bottle and funnel in the box.
Okay, I am sounding like a salesperson now! No affiliation, I just love the line!
Hi there Dubaiscents,
thanks so much for adding your mini-reviews! I love them!
You really make a good case for Profumum so I will try more. 🙂
I really like Profvmvm Roma, it’s very good but understated and neglected perfume house. I especially like Fiore d’Ambra and Rosae Mundi. Plus Acqua Viva which is a super long lasting cousin of Eau d’Hadrien from Annick Goutal.
Good to hear you enjoy them too, Lukas.
I have fallen for FIORE DI AMBRA but the sillage is really very weak on me, what a pity for such a strong concentration…….. but beautiful scent.
It a beauty indeed, Florence. Too bad the projection is not ideal on you. 😦
The only one that I have and love is Ninfea. Will have to explore the line in depth now. You are a temptress!
You have one? Aha!! How could I have overlooked that. I need to memorize your collection! 🙂
May I try it?
Packing up a sample for you! 🙂
Thank you! xxxx
I’ve never tried anything for this line so I was very grateful foryour mini reviews. I really like the sound of Battito d’Ali.
Looking forward to hearing more on your experience of Alba. Most odd!
I’m glad you enjoyed hearing about Profumum.
Most odd indeed. I am curious how it works the next time…
I remember trekking the streets of Rome looking for the store… I bought Alba, but could have come home with many others if they came in smaller sizes.
I guess I like the sweet comfort scents.
The small roller ball went to my sister, there is plenty to go around!
What a nice memory that must be though! Trekking the streets of Rome for perfume, a lovely thought! (I know it was probably miserably hot and dusty and way less glamourous than it sounds, but still… 🙂 )
So happy you loved them!! I do love the figue scent as well and also the gardenia..but I wish they would make smaller bottles 😉
I did! Thanks again for your generosity!
Now I have all the others to work my way through, fun!
I’ve heard a lot about this line but I have not tried any fragrance. I would be interested in ARSO and Ambra Aurea.
It is very much under the radar for some reason (the reason might be that they don’t do samples…)
Oh, wonderful mini reviews, Birgit. The one that sounds the most intriguing to me is Battito d’Ali.
One thing very nice about the 100 ml bottle is that it comes with a very nice metal funnel and a small travel size bottle for you to decant the scent into. This really surprised and impressed me – that a perfume company actually realized that someone might want to decant their large bottle into a smaller one for travel.
I owned a bottle of Acqua Viva (now gone) – quite beautiful with its extremely concentrated yet natural lemon accord. And I also bought a complex fig scent called D’Ambrosia, but that one I hardly wear anymore. It’s beautiful but has a strange note that smells sort of like Aqua Net hairspray, sort of like leather … and it eventually vamooses, but I don’t like waiting until it does. Similar to what you said about Alba.
I’ve read the hairspray complaint in many reviews on the big forums. Strange (and a bit unsettling).
Have fun in their store!
A lot of these have piqued my interest both now and in the past, but I have unfortunately not had an opportunity to give any a test. Actually, I have a sample of D’Ambrosia that I need to try.
The company does not believe in samples, but go for a personal approach. Too bad for those who do not live near a stockist though. 😦
I hope you enjoy your sample of D’Ambrosia. Let us know what you think!
“So we now have child and nanny happily united in these two perfumes.” haha that’s funny..:D
I haven’t tried any of these but because of your reviews I’ll try them when I have the chance..:)
That’s sweet of you! I hope you get the chance.
Arso is my favourite, so far. I find it absolutely stunning. No bottle yet, though. So funny to read about Sacro Cuore in Bologna on the blog, I was there this summer (twice, as our holiday both started AND ended in Bologna) Lovely city, btw,beautiful, andt with a relaxed vibe to it).Loved the Profumeria and their welcoming and wonderful staff.
Bologna is a beautiful city, I like it a lot.
Glad you had a great time there.
I must read up on Arso…
How very odd that you had such a horrible experience with Alba. I recently sampled it and had a totally different impression. Here is what I wrote in my notebook:
“Opens with a sweet but indistinct floral note. Light touches of spices and vanilla add depth and sparkle to the still-unidentified top note. From afar, however, I see things more clearly: a rich heliotrope note layered over a white-flower note. Iris and sandalwood shroud the heliotrope-white flower accord in a dense veil of powder. The fragrance develops into a very nice iris and amber composition: powdery-floral with a slightly gourmand base. This perfect equilibrium does not last very long and quickly the scent progresses to the sweet dry-down: a milky hazelnut and vanilla blend dusted with powdered sugar.”
What a beautiful description!
If I didn’t have witnesses I would seriously doubt myself by now, but two friends (Perfumista friends I might add!) smelled it as well. It might be an unfortunate reaction on my skin. I’m not deterred though, tomorrow I’ll go to the store and try again. We’ll see… 🙂
I haven’t tired anything from Profumum Roma yet, but I’m very into everything that includes vanilla. I liked the “driving in an old bus” note description. It really made me laugh and I could pretty much get the scent in my mind. ;-).
Vanilla fans will be happy with Profumum, they have a great selection of delectable gourmands.
Dulcis in Fundo was a revelation to me. Up until the moment I smelled that, I believed that A) I wasn’t a huge fan of fragrance; and B) “It smells pretty good and doesn’t annoy me” was as good as it would ever get–and frankly a nice lavender body lotion after a shower served that purpose just fine. My first sniff of Dulcis in Fundo had me gasping, “oh god,” and exhaling quickly so that I could smell my arm again. I wanted to rub my face in it all day long. I had no idea. Since that moment (about 10 days ago) I’ve tried a dozen other vanillas, and an equal number of other Profumums, to see if anything else comes close before I invest in a full bottle. Nothing does.
What a beautiful story! Welcome to Perfumeland, Moonlocks!
I’m happy that Dulcis in Fundo had such a profound effect on you.
Have fun exploring all the great perfumes out there!
I tried only Fiori d’Ambra so far and liked it. Had they been available in those smaller bottles here I would have probably added it to the collection.
Many other from your review sound good. So it’s a nice brand to add to the “to try” list. Thanks to you and to your kind reader 🙂
You are very welcome, Undina. I was generally surprised by the quality of the perfumes in the line.
Just tried Dulcis in Fundo and Fiori di Ambra, had the same love at first for Dulcis as Moonlocks, Fiori is going to be a very interesting fall perfume too. Top longevity. They do also perfumed body creams if you are not happy with just the longevity of the perfumes, which is impressive as such. And, last but not least, I am told that they will be shortly available in smaller amounts, within the two next weeks in Brussels, so maybe already available somewhere else…..Yeeepeeeehhhhhh
Great! I’m happy for you!
I recently learned that my store in Vienna will be selling the 20ml sizes soon as well, so I echo your Yippie! 😀
Listings on eBay for less than $300 free shipping for US residents. Just bought the Rosae Mundi
Thanks for the info!