Perfume Review – Fiore d’Ambra by Profumum: Opium Amber

Photo series for Interview Magazine by Mert & Marcus.

Opium den photo series for Interview Magazine by Mert & Marcus.

The room was a glowing box of silk and soft woods, decorated in shades of gold, bronze, umber, red and brown. The one touch of colour came from the crimson lacquered boxes emitting smoke. It was an opium palace, an amber palace, a place of soft luxury. As the woman stood at the threshold, she took one long, red-taloned finger and ran it down the column of her neck. She could feel the smoke, spices and vanillic powder coating her bare skin, cloaking her in its soft, sheer, silken caress. She could smell cinnamon and cloves, and perhaps a touch of carnation. She wished she could bottle the aroma forever.  

Photo series for Interview Magazine by Mert & Marcus.

Opium den photo series for Interview Magazine by Mert & Marcus.

Someone has. It is the smell of Fiore d’Ambra, a soft, dry, spicy, slightly powdered and vanillic amber eau de parfum from Profumum (sometimes called “Profumum Roma” or “Profvmvm,” but also written as “Pro Fvmvm” on the company’s website). I should confess here and now that Profumum has become my latest obsession, a house that seems tailor-made for my tastes with the richness of their perfumes — perfumes that are said to have 43% to 46% perfume oil. It’s astoundingly high, the highest I’ve ever seen, but you know what? You can smell it. It shows in the richness of the fragrances which have, somehow, also managed the feat of feeling airy and light. I don’t quite know how Profumum did it, especially given how they use the richest ingredients that always feel opaquely luxurious, but they have. And now, I’m completely obsessed. 

Profumum Fiore d'AmbraFiore d’Ambra is different from its almost twin sister, Ambra Aurea, a scent which many consider to be one of the best amber perfumes around. (I think it is!) But Fiore d’Ambra is also excellent. Profumum‘s website describes it very simply:

A candle diffuses the scent of opium and amber
An elegantly unmade bed
And my book on the night table.
In my mind thoughts of her.

[NOTES:] Opium flowers, Amber, Spices

I haven’t the faintest clue what “opium flowers” may be, since I highly doubt Profumum has mined poppy flowers from the fields of Afghanistan, but Fiore d’Ambra opens on my skin with a blast that takes me back to my beloved: YSL‘s vintage Opium. Whatever those “opium” notes may be, Fiore d’Ambra replicates some of the base elements in Opium with its dry, highly spiced, warmed woods. It’s not the power of suggestion; I suspect the similarities stem from a heaping dose of cinnamon and cloves that have combined with the amber and, I’d bet, a small dose of ambergris as well. There is also a nebulous, rich but airy, dark floral scent flickering around the edges. I couldn’t figure it out until I saw a Basenotes commentator say that he smells carnation, and I’d bet he’s right.

China Incense - Don Daniele at 500px Com

Incense in China – Don Daniele at 500px Com

There are other things that must be lurking in Fiore d’Ambra as well. Incense, to begin with. I’d venture it is primarily frankincense with its sharper, slightly more forceful, biting character, but also some myrrh as well, since the perfume develops a somewhat nuttier, softer sort of smoky edge later on its development. In addition, there has to be benzoin, as Fiore d’Ambra takes on a slightly powdered vanillic base, along with sandalwood and perhaps another sort of medium-dark wood accord .

Whatever the particular makeup of Fiore d’Ambra, it is a superbly blended perfume. It may have certain notes rise to the surface as the others retreat, it may undulate like the waves in terms of intensity, but its primary character never really changes: soft, dry amber infused with spices, a slightly herbal note, incense, and a dusting of vanilla powder. In the very opening moments, the “opium” is fierce, the smoke is fiery, and both elements are accompanied by something a wee bit bitter at the edges as well as an extremely subtle green, herbal note. Soon, the amber in Fiore d’Ambra softens, turning slightly woody, but always infused by notes of cinnamon, perhaps star anise and cloves, and the start of the lightest powder imaginable. With every passing hour, the perfume softens in its elements, especially the smoke. Eventually, about six hours later, Fiore d’Ambra is a powdered, cinnamon, vanilla-caramel amber with the merest whisper of a herbal note. In its final moments, Fiore d’Ambra is just a sheen of soft, warm vanillic powder with a flicker of amber.

All in all, Fiore d’Ambra lasted a surprisingly short 8.5 hours on my perfume consuming skin — and I sprayed, not dabbed, quite a bit. I expected much, much more from a perfume that is supposedly 43% concentration, especially as the smallest smears of its sister, Ambra Aurea, lasted a good 13.5 hours and 16 hours on my voracious, perfume-consuming skin. The sillage of Fiore d’Ambra was also lower than I expected, though slightly more in keeping with that of Ambra Aurea. Neither perfume is going to project across the room, but Fiore d’Ambra was particularly soft.

There aren’t a lot of in-depth reviews for the perfume out there, probably because Fiore d’Ambra isn’t a very complicated scent at the end of the day, but there is a very positive short one from Nathan Branch who writes:

Starts off as a powdery soft, pleasantly sweet amber perfume and crosses the finish line as a musky, woodsy fragrance shrouded in a lightly powdered veil.

Layers of cinnamon and clove (or what the manufacturers call “opium”) add a bit of spice, with the ambergris at the base (and it smells like the real deal) diffusing like clockwork to achieve an earthy and sophisticated finish.

Fiore d’Ambre is restrained and feminine — nothing wild, experimental or unusual, but anyone lucky enough to lean in close will think you smell intoxicatingly lovely. In fact, I think I’m getting drunk on it as I type this . . . *hiccup*

A more detailed assessment of Fiore d’Ambra comes from a Basenotes poster, “sommerville metro man,” who seems to have the same experience that I did:

I do enjoy my amber centered scents and Profumum has one of my favorites in Ambra Aurea which used amber in a way which brought out its more strong lines. In this 2008 release Fiore D’Ambra chooses to explore the sweeter side of amber and is just as successful as its predecessor. Profumum can be frustrating with their note lists, for instance the note list for this scent is ambre gris and opium. Who knows what that means but it does free one to experience a scent without too many pre-conceived notions of what should be there. Other, than of course, amber which is in the name. From the top the amber is present and this is a sweet amber full and round. It is paired with a lovely sweet incense accord that amplifies the sweeteness of the amber without taking over the scent. The amber persists into the heart where there is a spiciness present but it has a floral character to it which makes me think carnation because there is a hint of clove. Again this is partnered well with the amber as the contrast brings out a different facet of the amber. In the base a soft creamy sandalwood mixes with the amber to finish this off in traditional territory with an accord I’ve smelled many times before and it feels like coming home as the amber and sandalwood mix together like peas and carrots. Profumum have now done two very different takes on amber and Fiore D’Ambra is every bit as good as Ambra Aurea, to me. If I was to be stuck with only these two scents as my amber contingent in my wardrobe I’d be fine with that.

I completely agree with his last sentence because both perfumes are very well done. I happen to prefer Ambra Aurea just by a hair because I love its honeyed, satiny, salty, nutty, caramel ambergris and because I think it’s richer, stronger, and slightly more unusual (real ambergris!). But the spices, smoke and powder in Fiore d’Ambra are lovely, and I could easily be happy with just that one if I didn’t know of its twin sister’s existence. Ultimately, I think it’s a question of personal tastes as to which one will suit you best. Take, for example, the rapturous assessment by one Profumum fan who likes Ambra Aurea, but who is utterly enamoured by the refinement and vanilla base of Fiore d’Ambra:

The prestigious, glorious, heavenly diamond of Ambers. This turned out to be the best out of the following:

Ambra Aurea by Profumum, Ambre Russe by Parfum d’Empire, Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, L’eau d’Ambre Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur, and various other pure Amber oils and paste.

Fiore d’Ambra is refined without the funk stink of Ambre Sultan, Ambra Aurea that I found. It’s an uplifting ethereal rich amber with a vanilla like warmth. And at the top is just a hint of spiciness that is so fine it makes the whole vessel skyrocket. I was haunted for a month by this as a sample, but the price made me seek as many other options as possible. This is the winner – very precious, rare, and expensive.

The magic of Fiore sits just above unisex to me, into a feminine leaning, but ultimately transcends gender in it’s opulent luxury. Sillage is high in my opinion, and longevity is satisfying. I can still smell this on my skin waking up in the morning.

Ambra Aurea

Ambra Aurea

Honestly, you have to try both. I don’t care which one captures your heart and soul; if you are an amber lover, you simply have to try both. They may be a little linear, they may not morph into a thousand and one things, and they both may be a little soft in sillage, but I’m telling you, the Profumum ambers are magic, simply magic. If you’re a hardcore Orientalist, I will bet you my bottom dollar that you will fall for the opulent richness of one of them. (You can read my review of Ambra Aurea to help you decide which one to start with, if you don’t want to get samples of both.) I have already made plans with some friends to split a bottle of Ambra Aurea three-ways, and, thanks to the generosity of a very sweet friend of mine, have a small one of Fiore D’Ambra to tide me over for now.

But there is no stopping this obsession of mine with both perfumes (I plan to layer them for the ultimate amber experience), and with the line as a whole. In fact, I have the new(ish) Olibanum (incense, myrrh, orange blossom and sandalwood) to review later this week, and will then set my sights on trying Fumidus (which is supposed to smell like smoky Laphroaig scotch with vetiver and birch notes) and work my way through the rest of the line. It’s a testament to Profumum, its quality, its richness, and its opulent luxuriousness that — my loathing for gourmet fragrances be damned — I will even get the vanilla Vanitas and the orange-vanilla Dulcis in Fundo at some point down the road. Surely that tells you something!

I realise I sound completely deranged with obsession and lust, but I’m telling you: you must try this shamefully (shamefully!) under-appreciated line of fragrances. You simply have to!

Cost & Availability: Fiore d’Ambra is an Eau de Parfum that only comes in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle which costs $240 or €179. In the U.S.: it is available at Luckyscent and OsswaldNYC. Outside the U.S.: In the UK, Profumum perfumes are sold at Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrods. Elsewhere, you can find Fiore d’Ambra at Paris’ Printemps store, Switzerland’s OsswaldPremiere Avenue in France (which also ships worldwide, I believe), and Parfumerie Soleil d’Or. According to the Profumum website, their fragrances are carried in a large number of small stores from Copenhagen to the Netherlands, Poland, France, the rest of Europe, and, of course, Italy. However, Profumum itself does not have an e-Store. You can use the Profumum Store Locator located on the left of the page linked to above. Samples: Surrender to Chance carries samples of Fiore d’Ambra starting at $4.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. You can also order from Luckyscent.

Perfume Review: Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma

Source: the Mirror newpaper,

Ambergris found on a beach. Source: the Mirror newpaper,

One of the most prized, rare, expensive, luxury ingredients in perfumery is ambergris. True ambergris is hard to find nowadays, especially in any large quantity, but it is a scent adds incredible depth and body to a fragrance. It is also nothing like “amber” which usually comes from a combination of plant-based resins and/or synthetics. In contrast, ambergris comes, in an over-simplified nutshell, from whale vomit and has a unique salty, musky, sweet, almost marshy scent.

The Perfume Shrine has a great analysis of the difference between “amber” and ambergris which also helps explain the reason for the rather sweet character of most of the “amber” fragrances on the market. The explanation for the rather unique, special smell of ambergris (sometimes known as grey amber) is as follows:

It’s hard not to fall in love with ambergris … [which] smells, depending on the piece and whom you’re talking to, like musk, violets, fresh-hewn wood, tobacco, dirt, Brazil nut, fern-copse, damp woods, new-mown hay, seaweed in the sun, the wood of old churches, or pretty much any other sweet-but-earthy scent”. [Kemp Chris., Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris]

Source: The Mirror,

Source: The Mirror,

The ingredient is rather sticky and gelatinous like, like a fat lump of grey color at first; while when it dries it becomes harder like a fragile but hard resin. […] [After some years, it] gains a beautiful patina that famously chemist Gunther Ohloff described as “humid, earthy, fecal, marine, algoid, tobacco-like, sandalwood-like, sweet, animal, musky and radiant”. Other people have dscribed it as having the scent of  wood in old churches or Brazil nuts.

[¶] Its greatest attribute is its capacity for rendering a composition rounder, especially in oriental perfumes or in floral compositions where it melds the notes into one and brings out their best qualities. It clings on to fabric too, through repeated washings even, becoming ever sweeter with time. Therefore it is prized for its fixative power: the ability to anchor more volatile notes and make them last. [¶] Most commercial perfumes today use a synthetic substitute, because the real thing is so expensive.

The reason for this long discussion of ambergris — synthetic or natural — is because its aroma is the heart and soul of Ambra Aurea, a luxurious, deep, beautiful, amber eau de parfum from Profumum Roma (sometimes called just “Profumum” or “Profvmvm,” but also written as “Pro Fvmvm” on the company’s website).

The Italian niche house is based in Rome and was founded by four siblings in 1996, but its history goes back to right after the end of WWII. The founders’ artisanal grandparents, Celestino and Lucia Durante, left the tiny Italian village of Sant’ Elena Sannita for Rome where they opened a tiny storefront, which over time grew into a chain of stores, featuring hand-made soaps, fragrances and beauty products. Their grandchildren decided in 1996 to start a line of exclusive fragrances which, as Luckyscent explains, were “crafted to evoke emotions, memories and a sense of their beloved Italy. These rich and layered fragrances are designed to work equally well on men and women, and, amazingly, they really do.”

Ambra AureaI’d heard a lot about Profumum’s fragrances, especially Ambra Aurea which many consider to be one of the best amber perfumes around. And, you know, it’s pretty damn good! Profumum‘s website describes it very simply:

Scent of antique temptations:
scent of pleasure and warmth.

Grey amber, Incense, Myrrh

Ambra Aurea opens on my skin with a stunningly rich aroma that is simultaneously: salty, sweet, sticky, extremely nutty, slightly musky, beautifully golden and honeyed. It radiates smooth warmth, like a bath of salty caramel. It really smells of genuine ambergris, even though Ambra Aurea must surely use a synthetic version given the exorbitant cost of the real thing. But, honestly, wow! The beautiful depth of real ambergris is all here with its musky, salty, almost marshy, gooey, minutely sweaty feel. In fact, there is actually something a little vegetal in the undertones to the perfume that is hard to explain, yet very much feels like the real thing. But, while real ambergris can sometimes be a bit too raw, rough, and untamed, here, the edges are smooth as silk, layered with rich honey, and supplemented by other elements. For example, labdanum. There has to be a large dose of labdanum in the base with its nutty, subtly leathered feel, to go along with all the beautiful smoke from the myrrh that wafts delicately in the background.

Source: Twitter.

Source: Twitter.

Ambra Aurea’s stunning, gorgeous, luxurious opening consistently brings two things to mind: caramel and candlelight. The perfume feels exactly like the darkest, goo-iest, richest caramel, the sort which oozes from the middle of an extremely expensive piece of chocolate. If you’ve ever bitten into a Maison du Chocolat, Teuscher or Godiva chocolate, you’ll know what I’m talking about: that thin, but incredibly rich, flow of brown caramel. At the same time, Ambra Aurea feels so golden, it’s like a room lit only by candles. There is a warm glow to the scent in its opening stage which just radiates coziness. I would wear this non-stop and, in truth, I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm. The real clincher for me is the ambergris feel with its salty notes. It’s absolutely nothing like the smell in most “amber” fragrances that one encounters with their labdanum-vanilla-benzoin bases. Ambra Aurea’s note isn’t hugely sweet, but more like salted, earthy, musky, almost wet, humid amber atop layers of deep, dark honey and nutty resins.

Amber SatinThe most fascinating, appealing aspect to the whole thing may be its smoothness. It truly feels like silk or, better yet, satin. There is a heavenly undulating smoothness that flows like a gentle wave in an incredibly sexy, sensuous manner. And, while the perfume is incredibly potent in those early moments, it never feels leaden or resinously thick. It’s not an airy, light scent by any means, but the weight of the perfume is absolutely perfect for such rich notes. It is truly what I had expected Tom Ford‘s Amber Absolute to be like, but which ultimately wasn’t.

Ten minutes in, Ambra Aurea shifts a little. The honey note becomes even richer but also takes on an undertone of beeswax. The musky element and the subtle smokiness also become more prominent, lessening and cutting through some of the feel of caramel-like nuttiness. God, it’s a beautiful amber scent. Unfortunately for me, a lot of that ambergris richness and honey element starts to recede, replaced by a heavy dose of labdanum. While I love labdanum, no-one can say it’s quite as unique, rare or special a note as compared to ambergris. Making it even less attractive to me here is the fact that the note has a strong undertone of “cherry Cola” at the start of the second hour. Personally, I prefer it when labdanum has a more honeyed, nutty, faintly leathery nuance. That said, Ambra Aurea is still very pretty. The labdanum has a light dusting of incense and a creamy amber finish that feels lightly infused with a custardy vanilla. In some odd way, the combination makes me think a little of “Tauerade,” the drydown base to many of Andy Tauer’s perfumes. The difference here is the ambergris note in the background with its musky, salty feel.

For the next ten hours (yes, ten!), Ambra Aurea remains primarily as a labdanum-amber-incense perfume with fluctuating levels of each element. The labdanum eventually loses much of its “Cherry Cola” nuance, the ambergris remains as a light component infused with saltiness and light incense, there are strong elements of beeswax lurking in the background, and the whole thing sits atop a generalized amber base that has a subtle vanillic element to it. By the thirteenth hour (!), Ambra Aurea is nothing more than a vague, generalized, musky ambery perfume with a faint suggestion of smoke and saltiness.

If your eyes are popping open at those longevity numbers on my voracious, perfume-consuming skin, you’re not alone. Ambra Aurea lasted at least 13 hours on my skin! In truth, I think I detected faint remnants of the perfume flickering here and there in small pockets around the 16th hour. It’s mind-boggling to me, especially as I did not apply very much at all. Which brings me to the sillage. Ambra Aurea is not a perfume with the sort of monstrous projection that emanates in tidal waves across a room. For the first thirty minutes, the projection was expansive but, after one hour, it dropped quite a bit to emanate only 2-3 inches above the skin. Yet, within its own little pocket, it is very noticeable and powerful. I think it became a skin scent only about 6.5 hours into its development, but you still didn’t need to inhale at your arm to detect it. I suspect all of these numbers would be massively higher if I not only applied a greater quantity but if I did so via a spray bottle. Aerosolization always adds far greater potency to a perfume than mere dabbing from a vial. And, God, what I would give to spray on a lot of Ambra Aurea for its opening stage! What an amber!

Source: Stock photos.

Source: Stock photos.

Ambra Aurea is intentionally and expressly intended to be an amber soliflore — meaning a perfume centered around one main note — so it is obviously going to be very linear and uncomplicated in nature. I frequently say that “linear” is a bad word only if you hate the scent in question. And I most definitely did not hate Amber Aurea. Nonetheless, I thought the opening phase was significantly better than its subsequent, less interesting, less special change into a predominantly labdanum-based amber. If the opening hour had remained for most of Ambra Aurea’s development, I would be contemplating how to buy a bottle right now. The notes were so sumptuously smooth, so satin-y rich and layered, I was in absolute heaven and I truly thought Ambra Aurea would become my go-to amber, cozy fragrance. I could just see myself after a long day, after a hot bath, spraying on the perfume and curling up for a cozy evening. The beauty of that start, its cocoon-like warmth, and the extent to which it was comforting, soothing, and relaxing… I can’t begin to convey it properly. But, to me, it didn’t remain that way and, while the subsequent development of the perfume was perfectly lovely and pretty, I’m not convinced that it’s special enough for the perfume’s price.

Which brings me to perhaps one of the biggest problems with not only Ambra Aurea, but with Profumum’s fragrances in general: cost. The perfume is only available in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle that costs $240 or €179 (with some European vendors selling it for more). It’s a little steep for a perfume that is a linear soliflore whose second act doesn’t quite match its first one. If Ambra Aurea came in a smaller size, I think it would be much harder to resist but, as it is, I’m still weighing the pros and cons. I’m not the only one having problems with the cost issue. It’s a subject that is frequently and commonly raised when it comes to both Ambra Aurea and Profumum as a whole, though some seem to think it’s wholly justified. On Basenotes (where Ambra Aurea has a 100% positive rating from 8 reviews), I read a very interesting claim by a commentator, “sultan pasha,” who wrote, in part:

After Profumi Del Forte’s Ambra Mediterrana this has to be one of the greatest and most sublime and richest Ambergris driven amber fragrance I’ve ever smelt. A lot a of people complain about the price, but I’ve heard on good authority that Ambra Aurea is stronger than most normal perfume extraits. For the $240 you are getting 100ml of parfum with a staggering concentration of 46% which is higher than most extraits available in the market! So stop complaining and buy a bottle!

I have no idea where he got the 46% concentration number or if it’s true. I’ve found nothing on any site elsewhere to support that fact which, if true, would be utterly astounding and the highest thing I’ve ever seen. I did some investigation, and the only thing I can find to corroborate that number is a French perfume retailer called Soleil d’Or whose online purchase page for Ambra Aurea states: “Perfume very highly concentrated (43%).”

Outside of genuine curiosity at such a high number, I don’t ultimately care about the technicalities and, in truth, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Ambra Aurea’s concentration were that insanely high. It smells like it! As “Sultan pasha” wrote in the rest of his review, this is a perfume where one spray will last overnight, and he’s probably right that it would last over a week on clothing. Ambra Aurea has spectacular longevity and its concentrated dosage certainly may warrant its high price. (On the other hand, that concentration would make a smaller bottle even more practical; a 100 ml of such potent juice may well last a person for the next 80 years!) At the end of the day, however, cost is wholly subjective, so I think people who love rich orientals or ambers with smoke absolutely should try Ambra Aurea — for a sniff at the very least. It’s shamefully under-appreciated and unknown.

There aren’t a lot of in-depth reviews for the perfume out there, probably because it isn’t a very complicated scent at the end of the day, but a few assessments from Basenotes may help you decide, especially in terms of comparisons to other amber fragrances out there like Serge LutensAmbre Sultan:

  • A dark, resinous, warm and sensual amber fragrance, probably one of my favourites because of its deep and obscure character, softened by some saline and rounding facets – surely due to its high percentage of ambergris that gives this fragrance its wonderful identity. As all other Profvmvm fragrances, its quite oily texture add a long-lasting but close-to-skin quality at the same time. Really addictive!
  • Ambra Aurea is a top of the line Amber along with Amber Sultan. However, I am not a fan of the sharp stink factor of really raw Amber. I love the other aspects of both of these, but what they were competing against in my samples was Fiore d’Ambra by Profumum Roma. To me, Fiore d’Ambra is the most heavenly, well balanced, and intoxicating Amber. Ambra Aurea is a little darker, mellower, with a touch of sharp Amber stank, while Fiore d’Ambra is refined enough to take the edge off, introduce a slight spice floral with a mere suggestion of powderiness and let the warm vanilla laced amber soar in majestic opulence. Ambra Aurea by contrast stays more grounded and less high flying. With quality this high between these 3, it really comes down to personal preference. […] In summary, this is one of the best Ambers ever, but it just isn’t as incredible as its sister.
  • First of all, l do not think this is at all similar to Ambre Sultan; the Sultan is much more herbal & medicinal than this one. This fragrance is most similar to Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute, & along with that one, it is one of the very best ambers that l’ve tried. l also find it much more satisfying than its’ sister fragrance, Fiore d’Ambra. This has the “wow” factor for me; a strong, raw, resinous amber that smells like it just dripped out of a pine tree. After 30 minutes it sweetens to a deep, rich, velvety amber that is not at all powdery. The sillage is great & the longevity even better. lf you’re looking for a raw amber fragrance with lots of depth that’s not TOO sweet, this one is definitely worth a try.

I haven’t tried Fiore since Ambra Aurea is my very first Profumum fragrance, but Patty at The Perfume Posse has a brief line about it in an Amber round-up. [UPDATE: here’s my Fiore d’Ambra review.] In the sub-category “The Mongol Hordes are Coming” (which is hilarious), she writes:

Profumum has two fairly fierce ambers – Fiore d’Ambre and Ambra Aurea.  You would have to go a long ways to find two ambers from one line that are quite good, and Profumum has done that.  Fiore is warmer.  Aurea is a little sweeter on the open, more honeyed.  If it weren’t for my annoyance with Profumum’s huge price tag with perfumes in such plain bottles, I’d be a huge fan.  I am a huge fan of these two and several of their perfumes, but I get stuck on thinking their price point is just not right.

As you see, we’re back to the price issue, but I agree with her. At a lower price point, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy Ambra Aurea, uncomplicated and simple though it may be. All I can do is to urge the rest of you to try it and see for yourself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to get my hands on a decant of the perfume. It’s that good!

Cost & Availability: Ambra Aurea is an Eau de Parfum that only comes in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle which costs $240 or €179. In the U.S.: it is available at Luckyscent and OsswaldNYC. Outside the U.S.: In the UK, Profumum perfumes are sold at Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrods. Elsewhere, you can find Ambra Aurea at Paris’ Printemps store, Switzerland’s OsswaldPremiere Avenue in France (which also ships worldwide, I believe), Le Parfum et Le Chic (which sells it for €185), Soleil d’Or, and Germany’s Apropos Concept Store. According to the Profumum website, their fragrances are carried in a large number of small stores from Copenhagen to the Netherlands, Poland, France, the rest of Europe, and, of course, Italy. You can use the Profumum Store Locator located on the left of the page linked to above. Samples: Surrender to Chance carries samples of Ambra Aurea starting at $4.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. You can also order from Luckyscent.