A few months ago I ordered some perfumes from Europe and a fairly giant sized sample of Roma Imperiale was included therein. Honestly, I had only vaguely heard of Profumi del Forte and was perhaps confusing it with other Italian brands such as i Profumi di Firenze or il Profumo. This sample of Roma Imperiale actually caught my attention more than the perfumes I had purchased. I can’t explain why. [Fate. Fate, it was Fate!!] All I can tell you is that I doused myself in Roma Imperiale (Fedex had arrived at the perfect moment, I had just showered but not applied perfume yet) and promptly walked out the door to take the dogs for a stroll. And what a stroll this was. My nose was glued to my wrists. I kept sniffing and sniffing and thinking to myself that this unheard of perfume couldn’t really be this good, I mean this good! I remember this walk with the dogs like it was yesterday, it was one of those special fragrant moments, that doesn't happen to me as often as I’d like. To say I was entranced by Roma Imperiale would be an understatement. And the most fun of it all was that I knew nothing (nothing!) about Profumi del Forte or this particular scent of theirs called Roma Imperiale. My head was empty; it was not filled with the opinions of others, of advertisements telling me what I’m supposed to smell or feel like when wearing Roma Imperiale.
I came back to the house and jumped online. I googled it. The first article that presented itself to me was ISTIA’s very own Brian, my partner in crime co-blogger, who mentioned how great it was on a trip he took to Italy last summer. I do read Brian’s posts but I must have glossed over this particular mention. How funny, I thought. Brian already knows about Roma Imperiale (RI). Seriously, this was kind of hysterically funny to me, plus I didn't find any other bloggers writing about it.
I emailed Brian, probably in ALL CAPS, to tell him how f-ing amazing I found Roma Imperiale. I used up the sample in a matter of days and promptly ordered myself a bottle, albeit a little horrified at the price ($195 for 50 ml). But still, when I love something this much, $200 bucks is worth it.
It has taken me months to write about Roma Imperiale, and I still don't feel equipped to do so even tonight. I figured that over time and with repeated wearing I’d find the perfect words to describe it to you. But time is passing and I’m not coming up with much more than this: Its structure is similar to Shalimar but it smells entirely different. By this, I mean, it begins with a citrus/herbal top and dries down to a vanilla/amber of sorts. This comparison with Shalimar is very loose, keep that in mind. RI is much more floral and soft and actually much more complex to my nose than Shalimar. Shalimar is a seemingly simple structure of citrus, vanilla, amber and aldehydes that make the whole thing pop off your skin and project into the next room; Shalimar growls "oriental." RI is as soft as bunny ears and while it’s present with some sillage it doesn’t have that old school aldehydic quality and it only purrs oriental, in a very low key tone. The opening has some citrus but also hints of herbs and spices (cinnamon, tomato leaf, bergamot and coriander). The heart is a dreamy, almost powdery blend of tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang (these are the notes I can smell distinctly, there are more of course) and all this gorgeousity (yes, I made up that word) is laid over a base of the puffiest clouds of sandalwood, ambergris and vanilla. It is not edgy. It is not an usual overlapping of discordant notes. RI doesn’t make me want to resort to those artsy fartsy descriptors and suggest there’s some sort of “juxtaposition” or “tension” or “polarity” going on here. Roma Imperiale is just Pretty with a capital P. It’s soft, easy going, retro yet modern (which, by the way, I'm realizing is my favorite made-up category, this "retro-modern" thing I have in my head are scents that have a retro vibe, a classic structure but are not old school harsh, they would hopefully not be called “old lady” by the 20-something set).
I hesitated to write about Roma Imperiale for so long because I just don’t have the words for it. I can’t think of anything else to compare it with. I can only tell you that I absolutely adore it, I mean I am completely and utterly smitten with it and have fallen under its charms. Roma Imperiale could hypnotize me and order me to murder people in the dark of night and I probably would. So I hope you get the picture. Don’t judge me. I just f-ing love it.
From the Profumi del Forte website, here are the official notes:
Bergamot, mandarin, neroli, rose-wood, coriander seed, cinnamon, tomato leaves
Orchid, jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute, ylang - ylang, iris butter, Turkish rose essence, seringa
Civette, oak moss, grey amber. Vanilla, sandalwood
The bottle which houses Roma Imperiale is beautiful as well. It’s a tall, slender yet hefty etched glass bottle which arrives in an elegant box to boot. Sillage is light yet present and longevity is great.