Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Profumi del Forte Roma Imperiale

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:
Top notes
Bergamot, mandarin, neroli, rose-wood, coriander seed, cinnamon, tomato leaves
Middle notes
Orchid, jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute, ylang - ylang, iris butter, Turkish rose essence, seringa
Base notes
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.


Laurinha said...

Thank you for this great post: you've got me wishing for one of these fragrance moments to happen to me soonish! And you've definitely put Roma Imperiale on my "To Sniff" list. ^_^

ElizabethN said...

Wow, never heard of this - it must be really good! Think I'll avoid it. :-P

Katy Josephine said...

Lovely review! I am now officially jonesing for Roma Imperiale.

Any perfume that can hypnotize you to murder people in the dark of night is definitely worth wearing.

I would totally understand.

Unknown said...

Wow. Well, this goes on the list of tings to try. I've recently fallen in love with the Party in Manhatten (and can't afford it ). Do you think it falls into "retro-modern"?

AnnS said...

Great review! I've not heard of this house either. It is always so exciting when an unexpected fragrance kind of (gently) knocks your socks off! I had a similar experience vs. Shalimar when I tested Fifi Chachnil which has more energy and delight, but is a similar powdery oriental. Can you say how Roma Imperiale would compare to Fifi Chachnil?

cheryl said...

Wow. I love it when perfume inspires PASSION, rather than mere relief it lasts acceptably long or is a non irritant to all humanity or joy it has some complexity. I want perfume to invade, break and mend my heart.

Abigail said...

You are most welcome of course. I am still wishing I could have painted a better picture of RI but at least my love of it is coming through loud and clear :)

Yes, definitely avoid it unless you wish to order it from Europe, spend lavishly on shipping as well as lavishly on the perfume itself. Do.Not.Sample!! =)

I know, it's scary that my love of RI borders on blind murderous passion. But thanks for being understanding about it. So far, nobody in my neighborhood has disappeared.

Kjanicki & AnnS,
I just spritzed myself with Fifi on one hand and PiM on the other expressly to answer your question :) You know, I am now feeling a little silly, because you are correct, Fifi could be another comparison, though I find Fifi even closer to Shalimar than RI and it's definitely spicier than RI. Fifi is also stronger in the vanilla department while RI is stronger on soft powdery (orris type) florals. Fifi is a bit overall sweeter, but it's hard to describe "sweetness" sometimes. Party in Manhattan is also stronger, sweeter and spicier. You know that really nice ambergris base in some Creed and Tauer perfumes? RI's ambergris base shares similarity with those as well. It's just so smooooooooth.
And, yes, I would definitely categorize PiM and Fifi as "retro modern" so you've both got my number on that made up term. Retro-Modern RULES!

I can count on two hands the number of times a perfume has inspired this much passion in me. So often, I buy inventory for TPP, (but of course I sniff everything for myself in case I want to claim it for me and not my shop!) and think exactly what you wrote "it's not bad, lasts acceptably long, blah blah and whatever." This sort of feeling I have for RI is the one I'm always searching for, but rarely finding. But maybe, this big sea of mediocre, makes the great one's even more exciting.

xx =)

AnnS said...

Abigail - Well thanks for doing a quick and dirty comparison for me! Fifi is about as sweet as I like to get, and I love orrisy dry powdery types... so this RI will definitely go on my must sniff list! Cool!

Anonymous said...

about a month ago you could have gotten this for 40% off at Takishimaya. I got the "Vittoria Apuana" after I fell for that vanilla and coconut ball of amazingness. I too was surprised how good these perfumes were, never heard of the line. Good for you for finding the one, I've been searching for 10 years!!

Abigail said...


I know! I tried! I called Takishimaya and they wouldn't accept telephone orders. I tried calling twice just in case the person I spoke with the first time was just a meanie...

Anyway, I had already purchased my bottle (full price) elsewhere but for 40% off I would have bought a few more :)

This was one of the few times when I wished I still lived in Jersey...and oddly, I didn't want to inconvenience anyone I know who lives in the NYC area so I didn't ask any favors (totally should have!)

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

My name is Shannon and I work for the company that represents and imports Profumi Del Forte. The line is extremely exclusive and only available in a few markets. The line consists of 11 fragrances total as well as a home line. The prices vary, from $135 for a 50ml of Roma Imperiale to a $280 100ml for the new Aurum and Platinum collection. You may find the fragrances at Studio Beauty Mix in Fred Segal in California, Louis Boston in Boston, or The Avery Perfumes in the Limelight Marketplace in New York City. Thank you for the lovely review!

Karin said...

So cool to find something that invokes such immediate LOVE! Would love to try this. Now I need to get my hands on a sample. :-) Attrape Coeur was the last scent that did this for me...I'm crazed that it's disappearing. I found it all too late...

Martha said...

Ooh. Ooh. I want to try this. You're very convincing.

The amber worries me; my nose malfunctions on amber. But now it's going to bounce around in my head as the "bunny-ear Oriental" and I have to try that.

Ali the perfume girl said...

The notes that you described in this perfume would not have caused me to buy a bottle. Your description, however, makes me want to buy 5 bottles and give 2 away! ;) Thank you so much for introducing this fragrance to us. :)

Tatyana said...

Dear Abigail,

I hav to thank you for this rewiev. I tried RI (and other 3 Profumi del Forte) and they are great.
I would recommend you, considering that you love Roma Imperiale, try Via Condotti Pour Femme by Lancetti - - it may be interesting for you...

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely fantastic fragrance! I use it only on special occasions.