Profumum Confetto, Battito d’Ali, Vanitas & Sorriso ~ perfume reviews

Profumum Confetto, Battito d'Ali

Victoria's recent post on Bois de Jasmin about Pink Sugar and the simple pleasure of gourmand fragrances inspired me to sit down with a few samples from the Italian line Profumum. Profumum currently offers more than thirty perfumes, some of them composed around floral, wood, or spice notes, but I always think of this house as being particularly focused on gourmands. I haven't tried all of them, but here are quick thoughts on four sweet-and-desserty fragrances from the collection.

I love the Profumum website's fanciful description for Confetto: "Both woman and child. Capricious and gentle like a curl in the wind, like candy floss, like a black silk petticoat raised by the swirl of the merry go round..." Confetto was released in 1996 and has notes of almond, anise, musk, amber, and vanilla. I think its name is a reference to the Italian candy confetti, sugar-coated almonds that are served to signify good wishes at weddings and other festive occasions. In Confetto, we get the almond, and we get the sugar; it's all very mouth-watering and it qualifies as a "feminine" gourmand. However, the dry down ruins things somewhat for me: Confetto morphs into a lingering cloud of vanilla-musk. And, if you accidentally spill part of a sample vial on Confetto on your sleeve and desktop like I did, you'll be smelling straight vanilla-musk for days to come.

I had better luck with the wonderfully titled Vanitas, although I don't know whether Profumum really intended that name to suggest the transience of earthly life and physical beauty as much as it does. Vanitas seems like a better rounded, less cloying version of Confetto, with notes of vanilla, myrrh, orange flowers, and sandalwood. (It dates to 2008.) The vanilla is creamy but not cloying, and the orange flower serves to brighten it. The spicy-incense myrrh is delicate, and the sandalwood is quite soft, so they complement the vanilla rather than overpowering it. I wouldn't really need a full bottle of this fragrance, since I tend to reserve vanilla for weekends or quiet nights alone at home, but if I owned a decant or travel-size bottle of Vanitas, I'd enjoy wearing it from time to time.

Profumum Vanitas, Sorriso

Battito d'Ali, which translates as "the beating of wings," is a lovely and evocative name for a perfume. "Immanent and transcendent!" the Profumum website reads. "Which is the scent of the fluttering angel wings? Who has ever heard it?" In 2010, Profumum interpreted angels' wings as cocoa powder, orange flowers, myrrh, and vanilla. It's a dry gourmand blend, and more androgynous than I expected (which is fitting for an angel, I suppose). However, Battito d'Ali made me think of a stale LU Pim's orange cookie: chocolate, orange jam, and a soft doughy base, turned bitter and flat. I really wanted to like it more. If you're looking for a fun cocoa-powder scent, you'd be better off chasing down a bottle of the discontinued Aquolina Chocolovers.

More recently, in 2013, Profumum launched Sorriso, a new fragrance with a composition of bitter chocolate, bitter orange, vanilla, and tropical woods. Just as Vanitas feels like a smoother, better constructed version of Confetto (minus the almond), Sorriso is an improvement on Battito d'Ali's theme. It doesn't have Battito d'Ali's strange sharp after-taste; the vanilla helps to encourage the chocolate's sweetness, without turning it into cake frosting, and the "bitter orange" note is meshed with a subtle anise and some mysterious additional aromatic-herbal note. The main problem with this fragrance, for me, is its lack of longevity — if Sorriso is a smile, it's a fleeting one. And, as for much of the line, the price seems high for compositions that aren't particularly innovative or complex. I like a guilty-pleasure gourmand as much as anyone, but to me, it shouldn't cost more than a perfume from Editions de Parfums or Serge Lutens.

Two quick questions: have you been been wearing any favorite gourmand fragrances lately? and what do you consider "too much" to spend on a guilty-pleasure fragrance like a chocolate-vanilla perfume?

Profumum Confetto, Battito d'Ali and Vanitas sell for $240 (100 ml); Sorriso sells for $265 (100 ml). All are Eau de Parfum. For purchasing information, see the listing for Profumum under Perfume Houses.

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  1. annemarie says:

    Oh good heavens, they are not cheap are they! Sounds like one of those brands where they expect commitment to their brand and none other!

    I’m not a lover of gourmand perfumes, although I like gourmand notes – vanilla is inescapable in so many perfumes.

    Kenzo Amour is one I like, especially for its Asian-themed, savoury rice and vanilla vibe. A nice contrast to western-style gourmands.

    • Jessica says:

      Not cheap at all — and they don’t offer smaller bottles, as far as I can tell!

      I’m past my super-gourmand, Exact Friction of the Stars-loving, phase, but I do like certain vanilla- or cocoa-tinged fragrances: West Side, L de Lolita Lempicka, Rose Rebelle Respawn, Rose Praline… well, florals with a sweet side, I guess!

  2. Merlin says:

    Well, I guess I’m particularly cheap because although I like Comptoir Sud Pacifiques Amour de Cacao, I can’t make up my mind to spend the $45 it is here for 50ml! It goes without saying that I won’t be spending $100 on Montale’s Chocolate Greedy but that may be because it is slightly more complex and I actually prefer the malted simplicity of the CSP.

    I guess much of the question has to do with the nuances and complexities of the perfume: Anima Dulcis seems to have many fans despite the high cost so I assume it is a very intriguing take on a gourmand. And, I am considering Ginsestet’s Botrytis which has no cocoa but is most definitely a sweet gourmand…

    • Jessica says:

      I think you’re right about the complexity and the nuances — if a gourmand feels/smells unique, like nothing else on the market, we’re more likely to pay a higher price. I can’t really think of anything similar to Botrytis! and $45 really isn’t much for that CSP, right? It’s simpler, but very nicely done. CSP was way ahead of the pack with its gourmand collection.

      • Merlin says:

        I once bought this chocolate and orange body cream from Crabtree&Evelyn. It was absolutely fabulous! For about 3 days and after that I just couldn’t stand it anymore and had to give it away, lol! So…its not that $45 is much for a perfume, but that I’m concerned I’ll go off it:)

        At some point I liked the Vanille&Abricot, but the last few times I tried it, it seemed a nasty and shrill synthetic.

        A wonderful perfumista sent me a sample of Botrytis about a year ago and I loved it. It is not available here, though… There is a possibility I may be going on a trip in March or April though and to my delight I see that First in Fragrance stocks it…

  3. Mary Carol says:

    I’m a fan of Confetto. It just smells really good on me, and gives me happy thoughts! I wear it in colder weather and in summer, too (as it makes me think of outdoor festivities where sweet treats are being served).

    • Jessica says:

      Confetto smelled wonderful on a fragrance-lover friend of mine who used to wear it — lots of spun-sugar and creamy almond. I don’t know why I end up getting so much vanilla-musk. I swear, my keyboard still stinks a week after I spilled part of that vial!

  4. nozknoz says:

    I have a cold, so I haven’t been wearing perfume recently, but I’m looking forward to wearing Frapin 1697 absolu as soon as the nose gets back to normal. It’s like the most delicious, spiced creme brulee with cognac and costs less than Profumum ($165 for 100 ml of the EdP, $195 for 50 ml of the absolu de parfum).

  5. D.D. says:

    I think they should just get over their slightly precious Sample policy:

    “Do you have a sample?

    We don’t have samples available because we like to take our clients “by the hand” and to lead them through an olfactory pathway that will reveal them the right scent for every single person.”

    Sure you do.

    I missed the sign-up link for the Italian vixen who flies to me carrying her finely tooled leather attaché case filled with all Profumum’s perfumes.

    Perhaps dinner at Commander’s on the company plastic while I’m led down the path of perfume discovery; then a quick drive back to the airport for her private jet trip home with my $200 order.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    I seem to be a sucker for Sample Sets that offer the entire range of a company’s oeuvre. …It fits my personality in some way I can’t describe.

    I’d have bought the store on these, but alas. I’ve been saved for another fate.

    • Jessica says:

      I know — there are so few stores that carry this line, so how are supposed to have the “by the hand” experience if we don’t live in Rome, NYC, etc.?

      Maybe they don’t know that Luckyscent offers samples of the line… ;)

    • Merlin says:

      ‘Do you do samples?’

      ‘No we prefer to baffle potential customs with overwrought sentences that on analysis make not sense!’

      • D.D. says:

        lol… Oh, it’s clear enough…

        They talk like they want a relationship, but really they’re just looking for a quick (expensive) roll in the hay.

  6. thegoddessrena says:

    How much I’m willing to pay for a perfume depends on whether I love it. If I love it then I’ll save up for it (took me a few years between my first sniff of Iris Ganache and actually owning it) and if I dislike it then it doesn’t matter how cheap it is. On the other hand, I just ordered 15ml of Seattle Chocolate from Olympic Orchids which is both cheap and intriquing (chocolate with fir!)and smells good on me

    • kindcrow says:

      I have a sample of Seattle Chocolate. I love its evergreen-chocolate combo, too. Unfortunately, there was something in the drydown that smelled to “perfumey” for me. I need to spend more time with it.

      Her California Chocolate has too much patchouli for me.

    • Jessica says:

      That’s all true, too — the cost/value balance! and Iris Ganache is gorgeous.

    • Merlin says:

      Seatlle chocolate sounds fantastic!

      Do you find you have difficulties in the middle ground where you don’t quite love a fragrance but like it – and the price is good?

      • thegoddessrena says:

        Not really. Things don’t go on my love/to buy list unless I’m either immediately smitten or I think of and reach for my sample repeatedly (a pretty good criteria since I have hundreds of samples around) and, like I said earlier, it sometimes takes months or years until I get around to buying any given perfume

        • Merlin says:

          Wow, I need some of that discipline!
          Do you then ignore such things as sales? And what happens when you are in some other area you are not likely to come back to, and sniff something you quite like and which is at a good price?

          These scenarios always get me into trouble!

  7. kindcrow says:

    I like sweet fragrances. My current favorite “semi-gourmand” is Golden Cattleya by Olympic Orchids. Notes: narcissus, daffodil, orange fruit, orange blossoms, honey, pollen, cream soda, and amber-tinged resins and musks. Elixir of Happiness … sigh …

    I’ve got a sample of her Red Cattleya (a grown-up fruity floral, to paraphrase an NST commenter), and it’s pretty good (have only tried it once). It is very fruity, but not artificial, IMHO. I will definitely be ordering the Red Cattleya soap.

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve been wanting to sample a few from that line. Thanks!

  8. Oakland Fresca says:

    A fragrance I really like, but there seems to be split opinion about whether it is really a gourmand, is Womanity. I find it a great fragrance to cook in. I’m not kidding! So many terrific perfumes I cannot wear when I cook because they either disrupt the spice, vegetable, meats, baking vibe, or mix weirdly with whatever I am preparing. But Womanity seems to work for me. I smell good, the kitchen smells good… and all is right with world.

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, that’s really interesting. I don’t like Womanity on myself, but I do enjoy sniffing it. It’s quite unusual, and difficult to define!

  9. hajusuuri says:

    Aren’t Profumums the ones that have high concentration of perfume oils? Sorriso and Vanitas sound really good!

    In my collection, although I haven’t worn them lately but now will due to this post, my most gourmand of gourmands are Guerlain Gourmand Coquin and Iris Ganache.

    I tend not to quibble too much over price but I am annoyed by the no-choice 100mL size unless one gets a decant or be part of a split.

    • Jessica says:

      They’re Eau de Parfum, and I’m not sure of the exact concentration — but some of them do seem longer-lasting than others.

      I’ve never tried that Guerlain!

  10. Valentine says:

    Dulcis in Fundo is my favorite perfume EVER, so of course I tried all but Sorriso in the hopes that Profumum had re-rendered some of the magic in Dulcis. Unfortunately, these were all far too cloying-sweet for me. Confetto’s almond was overwhelming, and of all of them I liked the dry down of Vanitas, but only because it reminds me of Flowerbomb’s dry down. These were a let down, but I still love my Dulcis to death. It’s the only perfume I’ve EVER been complimented on, although once I was asked who brought a delicious pastry into the car when I was wearing it, so . . . I suppose “cloying” and “sweet” tolerance is subjective . . .

    • Jessica says:

      I need to try that one in my next round, then! — also, Acqua e Zucchero. So many gourmands in this collection!

  11. kindcrow says:

    I just ordered some gourmand samples from SOTC: their six-sample chocolate package, Gourmand Coquin, Dulcis in Fundo, and Anima Dulcis (I hope that the spices shine through). To me, Xocoatl by Fueguia 1833 was mostly rum with very little chocolate, and I don’t want to smell like liquor :-)

    Now, I’m off to see if there is any chocolate in the house!

    • Merlin says:

      Only for sniffing purposes I assume? lol!

      • kindcrow says:

        Found some Storck Chocolate Riesen. Mmmmm.

        • Merlin says:

          That one has the best scent;)

    • Jessica says:

      I might follow your example right now!

  12. cazaubon says:

    I love Dulcis in Fundo and Vanitas. Would like to try Sorriso but lack of longevity would kill it for me. Will likely order a sample in the next few months.

    • Jessica says:

      Another Dulcis in Fundo fan — now I’m very curious!

  13. rickbr says:

    My main problem with Profumum is exactly what you said at the end of your review Jessica. They are lovely gourmands, but quite simple for the very expensive price they charge. Confetto reminded me, as LT points in his book, an expensive Hypnotic Poison version.

    I have a decant of Dulcis in Fundo, but to be honest i find it very linear to an expensive thing. I just sweet oranges, something a little bit caramelized, and sugary vanilla musk that last hours. It does project a lot, but don’t go much further than this. Fun, but an expensive fun and a decant is all that i need of it.

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