Review en Bref: Profumum Roma Tagete

Tagete is the most recent release from Profumum Roma, the Italian brand known for its luxurious, concentrated treatment of a singular note. I’m generally a fan of the line, and the streamlined richness of their scents. In this case, however, I think Tagete is a raging disappointment, and the perfume equivalent of a generic, washed-out, white sheet flapping in the wind.



Tagete is a concentrated eau de parfum that was released in 2014. On its website, Profumum provides the briefest of descriptions with a photo meant to underscore the fact that the fragrance’s focus is meant to be about an Italian garden:

A red light accompanies my slow pace.
Through a fragrant alley the italian garden tells me
stories and fragrances of the Mediterranean.

Profumum’s list of notes is usually just a nutshell synopsis that frequently omits a few key ingredients but, in this case, Tagete really doesn’t include much. Luckyscent says there is merely:

Marigold, jasmine, tuberose, vetiver, moss.

Profumum Tagete via Luckyscent.

Profumum Tagete via Luckyscent.

Tagetes are part of the large marigold family, and their aroma is sometimes described as being a mix between a rose and a spicy carnation. For me, they usually bear a musky, slightly earthy, quietly spicy and occasionally dusty aroma that really is nothing akin to roses.

Tagete opens on my skin with ISO E Super, tuberose, then more ISO E Super, and a minor wisp of greenness. The ISO E briefly smells of antiseptic and acetone nail varnish remover before turning into pure rubbing alcohol. The tuberose is green, sweet, dewy, and veined with rubberiness. A minute later, the two are joined by a wave of caramel-like sweetness that feels like ambroxan or one of its related cousins. Bringing up the rear is the lightest touch of floral muskiness and earthiness, though the note is too muffled and minor to ever register as tagetes. In any event, it soon departs for the distant background, along with the jarring, discordant “caramel,” and then both disappear completely.

ISO E Super. Source: Fragrantica

ISO E Super. Source: Fragrantica

The tuberose is left as the star of the show, with the ISO E Supercrappy darting around in a way that called to mind Mohammed Ali’s famous saying, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Here, the aromachemical really does float all around like a butterfly, sometimes hiding behind the tuberose’s green-white, rubbery skirts, sometimes hovering right on top of the flower. Up close, it occasionally “stings like a bee,” smelling of full-on antiseptic with a touch of pepperiness.

The whole bouquet feels astonishingly translucent for a Profumum scent. The line is known for its heft, for density that sometimes borders on opaque chewiness, and for monster projection. Tagetes feels billowing and airy to the point of transparency. The projection is unexpectedly low, too. Using 3 smears roughly equal to 2 small sprays from a bottle initially resulted in 2 to 2.5 inches of projection and such a watery, thin cloud that I added a 4th large smear for good measure. That yielded a definite, solid 3 inches, but no more. The sillage stayed close to the skin as well. If one were to do approximate comparative scaling, I’d rate Fracas as being roughly 10 times stronger in projection and richer in body at its start, while Carnal Flower and Moon Bloom would each be 5 times more so.



15 minutes into its development, the ISO E Super grows stronger and merges fully with the tuberose. Tagetes is now a green, watery, slightly rubbery, antiseptic tuberose scent with nary a whiff of the supposedly centerpiece note. From time to time, there are extremely brief, ghostly pops of jasmine in the background, but Tagete is primarily a tuberose (ISO E Super) soliflore for its entire first hour. The only change is that the scent turns warmer, a hair deeper and smoother roughly 40 minutes in, as a soft goldenness falls upon it. The warmth no longer smells like caramel, but it is an abstract sort of “amber” that is clearly separate and unrelated to marigolds. It turns the scent less watery, sheer, green, and fresh.

The tagetes finally reappears near the end of the first hour. At first, there is merely a small whiff of floral muskiness but, slowly, very slowly, it takes on that earthy, musty, spicy quality that is characteristic of marigolds. Now, Tagete is a 3-way dance between the tuberose, ISO E Super, and marigold. Half an hour later, at the 90-minute mark, the jasmine joins the party and overtakes the tuberose as the focal point of the scent. At a rough estimate, the breakdown of notes in terms of prominence feels roughly something like this: 40% jasmine; 35% ISO E Supercrappy; 15% marigold; and 10% tuberose. The last two elements sometimes change places in terms of strength, but this is the mainly the jasmine’s show for now.

French marigold or tagetes patula via Wikipedia.

French marigold or tagetes patula via Wikipedia.

Tagete finally turns into a marigold scent at the end of the 3rd hour and the start of the 4th, but this phase only lasts 90 minutes at best. The marigold finally and unexpectedly surges to the forefront to replace the jasmine as leader. The latter joins the tuberose as quiet ripples which weave in and out, but everything is turning increasingly blurry. All the flowers, even the marigold, feel largely abstract. Tagete is really just a hazy mix of something marigold-ish mixed with fresh, greenish, non-indolic white flowers. It’s basically a musky twist on the Big White Flower genre, except nothing about Tagete feels “big” at all. It may be deeper than it was at the start, but that’s not saying much. The only note that continues to be as clear as a bell is the blasted ISO E Super.

Photo "Dancing Light" by Mark Engelbrecht on Flickr. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo “Dancing Light” by Mark Engelbrecht on Flickr. (Direct website link embedded within.)

By the middle of the 5th hour, Tagete returns to being a tuberose-jasmine-ISO E scent, though the flowers now bear a hazy, almost abstract quality. The marigold has vanished, and there isn’t even a trace of musky earthiness left behind. There is merely a vaguely Spring-like wisp of synthetic, green-white flowers. Tagete is a skin scent at this point, roughly 5.25 hours into its development but, thanks to the large quantities of ISO E Super, it’s not hard to detect up close. (Alas.) After that, nothing else happens to this singularly boring, linear scent. It fades away roughly 11 hours from its start as a sliver of white floralcy.

So, to summarize, the dominant focus of this “marigold” scent is tuberose, then jasmine, before eventually turning to the titular note for a mere 90 minutes before giving way to many hours of abstract white flowers that are vaguely tuberose-jasmine-ish — and all of it happens with a blanket of aromachemical ISO E.

If you think I hated Tagete, you’d be mistaken. For all my grumbling about the strong and very pronounced ISO E Super, Tagete is too damn boring to hate. It’s simply… there, floating about with less personality than Casper the Ghost. Actually, the ISO E is the element with the most character in this utterly sad concoction which continuously made me think a bleached-out, worn-out, faded white sheet fluttering on a clothesline in the wind. It doesn’t feel luxurious, it doesn’t feel like Spring, and it doesn’t even feel like a generic Sephora fragrance. It’s not sufficiently clean, fresh, intensely floral or heavily sweet enough to warrant such a comparison. Tagete merely… exists, a combination of floating molecules that bear an olfactory presence but in such a washed-out manner that they ultimately lack enough presence, character, or focus to warrant any emotion at all.

As a general rule, I don’t get into comparative analysis for my Reviews en Bref with quotes from other sites, but I’ll give you some links in this case. There are no reviews on the perfume’s Fragrantica page, but there are two comments on Luckyscent, both of which find Tagete to be a predominantly tuberose scent. The most detailed of the two concludes: “Tagete is a floral garden…a tuberose garden with a better supporting cast than [Creed’s Tubereuse Indiana]  or [Carnal Flower].” On Basenotes, only one person has tried the scent and concluded “it’s mostly a big tuberose.”

Profumum has raised its prices to $265 for a 100 ml bottle. Usually their fragrances feel like the pure parfums that they are meant to be, and combine a strong character with luxurious smoothness and good quality. That is not the case here, and nothing about Tagete warrants $265, in my opinion. There are far better tuberose fragrances for less, like Hiram Green‘s Moon Bloom. For mixed white florals with a fresh Spring vibe or greenness, there is the lovely, reasonably priced Lace Garden, the latest scent from Téo Cabanel, or MPG‘s old Jardin Blanc. If you want a marigold soliflore, Lauren by Ralph Lauren is said to be a good one, though I haven’t tried it myself. Either way, I think you can do better. And since I’ve spent far too much time already on Profumum’s pointless waste of molecules, I’ll end this here.

Cost & Availability: Tagete is an Eau de Parfum with Extrait concentration that only comes in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle, and costs $265 or $240 (depending on vendor) or €204. In the U.S.: Tagete is available from OsswaldNYC for $265, Profumum’s new rate, and for $240 (the old pricing) at Luckyscent. Outside the U.S.: Profumum‘s website doesn’t have an e-shop from which you can buy their fragrances directly. In the U.K., Profumum is sold at the Haute Parfumerie in Harrods. In Europe, Premiere Avenue has Tagete and ships worldwide. Elsewhere, the Profumum line is generally available at Paris’ Printemps store, France’s Soleil d’Or, the Netherlands’ Celeste, Hungary’s Neroli, Switzerland’s Osswald, and Russia’s Lenoma and Embaumer. Taizo in Cannes also carries Profumum and says they ship worldwide, but I don’t see an e-store. Some European stores, especially in Italy, carry Profumum’s new 20 ml “stylos” or decants, but they’re not widely available. For all other countries or vendors, Profumum’s website lists a large number of small stores from Poland to Copenhagen, other parts of France, the rest of Europe, and, of course, Italy. You can use their Store Locator Guide located at the left of the page in that link. Samples: I bought my sample from Luckyscent, but you can also try Tagete via Osswald’s Sample Program which comes with free shipping for U.S. customers, though there is a 3-item minimum. Surrender to Chance does not have Tagete.

8 thoughts on “Review en Bref: Profumum Roma Tagete

  1. One of those reviews is mine – I got a huge tuberose out of this, with some of the caramel and jasmine. I was pretty shocked considering this scent is named for marigolds – didn’t really smell any at all on me, and I dumped the entire 0.7ml sample vial all over my chest and arms. The ISO E super doesn’t bother me too much but I found this far too boring for $240.

    • Ah, yes, I see now that your name was on the short one. But you gave the scent 5 stars on Luckyscent! Did you change your mind?

      • No, I rate it on level of pleasantness, not on whether I would be willing to pay whatever they are asking. It was pleasant enough to wear but the cost/wow ratio wasn’t sufficient for me to make a purchase. However, if I received it as a gift I would wear it.

    • Heh, with your allergies to tuberose and jasmine, the scent probably *would* kill you. lol

  2. I wish I could place an emoticon on here to truly express my shock and disappointment :’-( Why the hell Profumum have you decided to join the mainstream Iso E bandwagon and producing mainstream garbage?!?! I really hope this is just an anomaly for Profumum and Not an example of what is yet to come! Profumum are one of my most favourite houses and I would be really disappointed if they decide to reformulate or change their ethos due to legislation or mainstream conformities….

    • Some of their other fragrances have strong streaks of synthetics. For example, the chocolate Sorriso, the heavy white musks in Confetto, and the very synthetic, thin ISO E-like sandalwood in Santalum, though the latter may be due to reformulation in part. Still, Tagete was quite a surprise to me, and not because of the ISO E Super. The biggest and most bewildering part was just how little personality it had, how wishy-washy it was. This is a house that created Arso, Fumidus, Ambra Aurea, and many other fragrances that are marked by either intense character and/or intense, almost voluptuous richness. They bellow personality. I have no idea WTF this one was all about….

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