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sábado, 17 de outubro de 2015

The Myriad of Elemental Italy: Il Profvmo

by: John Biebel

The prestigious house of Il Profvmo made for a notable presence at this year’s Elements Showcase. The sheer volume of its catalogue of perfumes is astounding, and the range is wide and formidable in the scent territory that it covers. From the gentle invigoration of the pale flowers and aquatics of Fleur de Bambù, to the rich spice-laden intensity of ChocolatIl Profvmo's creations are an extensive map of the olfactive landscape, covering treasured and known territories, and striking out into imaginary landscapes.
The company was begun in 1995 by perfumer Silvana Casoli. She began her investigation into perfume at an early age, wandering the forests around her home in Reggio Emillia, near Bologna, Italy. She went on to study Natural Sciences at the University of Urbino, and in her journey she found herself studying cosmetology, aromatherapy, and botany. Armed with such a wealth of knowledge, she began working with major perfume brands, but always longed to create a perfumery of her own. Il Profvmo is the fruit of these labors, and she has consistently brought many beautiful scents to life in the years since its founding.
Il Profvmo’s perfumes draw inspiration from two distinct sources: Nature, and the Commedia dell’Arte. Nature is evident in all of the scents, as notes make themselves known to the nose like leaves falling in a stream. All the perfumes are reflections of the landscape in many different forms: Some are more direct, such as the softly transparent Pioggia Salata. This mysterious vapor seeks to trace the journey of a drop of water – in flowers, soil, and sand – as it evaporates into the air. It has the slightest nuances of musk-rose, laurel and salt. It is a unisex perfume that moves the wearer into visual and sensory realms, as he or she is transported across the land into bogs, seashores and deserts. Other nature perfumes are more like fantasies, or recollections bottled up for memories. Voile Blanche is a beauty of summery St. Tropez where green and white notes of jasmine, lily and hoya mingle with the breezes. This evocation of sun and ocean is reinforced by the unusual notes of meerschaum, white sand, and flax. It’s an ode to nature that carries nostalgia for a beloved season.
Commedia dell'Arte
Casoli’s other great influence, Commedia dell’Arte, is where so many ideas merge. Theater, masks, story and truth; realism and satire: all are played out on a stage that mirrors the spirit. It is near to life, but so much larger and underscored for emphasis. Many of Il Profvmo's perfumes reflect this joyous and sometimes eloquent dual nature of image and reality. The exciting floral concoction Coquelicotis pure theater in spirit. It is a dance of flowers and fruit: melon, bamboo, and Himalayan blue poppy. Described as “bewitching with its many faces” it cleverly wears masks, drops veils, dances in enticing circles and leaves a distinct note in the air. Besides its lovely bouquet, it has that kind of elegance of old world scents, one that would remain faintly in a room when a woman has left, announcing her departure, so that no one would forget her.
The actor that takes stage next is Quai des Lice. He is bold and brash, but oh, a seducer of suave proportions. This is a surprising perfume – it begins as something almost gourmand in its sweetness and quickly (within about five minutes) becomes an intense monolith of Virginia tobacco, patchouli, mimosa, eucalyptus and lacebark pine. Nearly all corners of the scent-wheel are present as this portrayal comes into its own. Alternately patchouli and tobacco shimmer and smolder during the scented evening. It’s beguiling and a delight to wear, complex but approachably charming.
Il Profvmo has a great knack for bringing great versatility to men’s scents. For instance, Ginger is a perfect modern scent for the man who is no longer interested in the stock fresh or woody options available to him. It’s a perfume of both sweet and savory, taking the finest moments of this juicy root and extending it to a full-bodied wearing experience. It goes on with a touch of citrus, and then settles into a warm and lightly ambery dark fruit that has tinges of rum. Musc Bleu follows a similar vein, taking the often male-centered musk and revealing a great versatility by pairing it with floral elements and sandalwood. The result is a sensuous musk with a hint of sweetness to render it a “veritable aphrodisiac”. It has a seductive power by playing up the many faces of musk at the same time, transforming the wearer by alternately hiding and revealing. It is “blue” because it seems to lurk in the shadows, only to surprise you later.
The latest release is the devilish, romantic, dark and wonderful Black Dianthus. This pondering on a nearly mythic flower (the black carnation) is born out of a grouping of “mystical” flowers: belladonna and bach flowers. It is created with the fascinating notes of rhubarb, licorice, and vetiver. The result is nothing short of stunning. There is no doubt to the nose that a flower is there, but oh, what a spicy, strange and foreign flower it is. From where does it come? Casoli wisely leaves the footprint of the carnation very clear in the scent, and it rises to the top every now and again, but that usual note of cloves that one detects in dianthus is richer, bolder, more complex here. It is darker and seems to draw from a deeper well or a very far path in the woods. Surprising nuances arise – fir needles, cedar, heliotrope, nutmeg, almond – as the nose searches this lush offering, so many fleeting references come and go. It’s a wonderfully opaque and dense offering that shows yet again how diverse Il Profvmo is, carving out a niche in every corner of the scent map.
Elements also displayed the yearly limited edition offerings from Il Profvmo – their handcrafted Murano glass bottles. Last year’s bottle was made in an edition of 30 and resembles a Harlequin. The box that contains the bottles also cleverly houses the perfume in the back, which can then be decanted into the bottle. This year’s bottle resembles leaves and berries cascading over the side of clear glass. They are remarkable works of intense craftsmanship and are the perfect item for the collector of Il Profvmo.
Il Profvmo perfumes are available at the website (, and at select perfumeries worldwide.  Discovery sets are also available for purchase for sampling from the website.
Images by author, from Il Profvmo website and from

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