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.
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.
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.
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.
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.