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Jewel of flowers: Vero Profumo’s Rubj

It may well be that the definition of bliss is wearing Vero Profumo’s Rubj (pronounced like “ruby”) in the EDP formulation like a fresh veil all day, and then topping it up with a dab of the extrait for the evening.

I think it was on NST that I read recently that perfumistas in general tend to adore orange blossom. I have no idea how true or not true that is. Yes, Elie Saab just won the Best New Female Fragrance award at the UK FIFIs and it is a glorious composition featuring orange blossom; yes, Serge Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger (not very much like standard orange blossom) is a popular seller and yet entirely free of stewed fruit; and yes, the tradition of orange blossom perfumes for brides is still floating around out there (though not much observed by perfumistas, I think). But is orange blossom revered over all other flowers for perfumistas?

Some of my favorite bloggers today (Birgit at Olfactoria, Ari at Scents of Self) don’t even tend to wear florals at all. I think florals in general are in a downswing among fumeheads, who have so many amber and oud and gourmand scents to absorb these days that florals may seem simple or old-fashioned in comparison. The vintage perfume writers I love (like Gaia at The Non-Blonde – the perfumes are vintage, not Gaia, who is younger than me) write about chypres in slow gasping tones, and the floral ingredients are there to be part of the oakmoss extravaganza, not really a starring feature of them. I’m not sure florals are that “big” in the perfume world these days, much less orange blossom specifically. Robin of NST might be a big orange blossom lover – but just because she edits NST doesn’t mean she gets what she wants!

I have a few orange blossoms in my collection, and as I’ve written, orange blossom can be lovely at high price points and low. Poor orange blossom tends to read as soapy to me, and while I love soap and I love fragranced soaps, this bad version of orange blossom is something I Do Not Want. So sometimes when I’m sitting there thinking “What is it in this I don’t like?” I wonder if it’s a bad orange blossom. But that shouldn’t color the existence of orange blossom in general!

If there’s a diamond in the world of orange blossoms, surely it’s Rubj. This is one of the few perfumes that has wafted, like a cartoon genie, out of my office to suck in passers-by when I’ve tested the smallest dab of it. “It smells gorgeous in here,” said a co-worker walking into my office the first time I tested the EDP of Rubj. This is one situation where EDP does not equal lower volume. Rubj travels, and brings back hostages.

The jasmine and other notes of Rubj are there, to my nose, to make the orange blossom (which otherwise might seem thin or simple or girlish) rich, full, and sensuous. I bought the sample of Rubj when I was searching for a jasmine, because jasmine is so highly referenced in the notes lists. But the jasmine is absolutely there to make the orange blossom what it is. Would Marilyn Monroe be as sexy in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” if Jane Russell weren’t standing there right next to her, being bustier and brunette-er and making Marilyn by comparison look downright subtle? She would not. The result is more than any ingredient alone, it’s the heart of Rubj; but I would be surprised if what shone out primarily wasn’t the top star, orange blossom.

The joke of naming a white floral perfume “ruby” must come out of making this full-on head-turning sensuality out of ingredients that are associated with virgin brides, girlhood, and spring. I highly doubt that Rubj will make you think of virgins.

The extrait of Rubj to my nose is drier, with more of something like tree bark and almost smoke in the edge of it. I prefer the EDP because it’s wetter, not juicy like an orange, but slick like a kiss. There’s less blend and more bite to the extrait – not surprising from a perfumer who’s made Onda and Kiki as well. I prefer the caress of the EDP. But after a day of wearing the EDP (my birthday bottle!), topping it up with a few dabs of the extrait is absolute heaven. The richness of both play together like a symphony and couldn’t be more perfect if Bach himself composed them.

If a floral perfume is what you’re after, I’m your girl; and if a perfect orange blossom pleases you, seduces and beguiles you, let me tell you that Rubj is a girl’s best friend.

Top image is Pomegranate and seltzer by Ben McLeod, via Flickr; used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved. Second image is promotional still from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, shamelessly swiped from the intarwebs.

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5 comments to Jewel of flowers: Vero Profumo’s Rubj

  • Your revuew is so persuasive that I will probably give Rubj EdP another try – even though it smelled really bad on my skin (Rubj extrait was great though).

    Talking about orange blossom, I remember that you’ve tried Sweet Redemption and was not impressed too much. What about Jour Ensoleillé from Sonoma Scent Studio?

    I’m not a big orange blossom fan (but not a hater either), so my favorite one, probably, is Orange Blossom by Jo Malone.

  • Judith

    I wouldn’t be the one to tell you NOT to try the EDP again, though hey, if it no work, it no work. I find it extremely variable, though. If the extrait worked, I can’t imagine the EDP wouldn’t do something for you – but then again, it doesn’t have to, especially not at that price point! (More for meeee….)

    I did try Jour Ensoleillé along with some other SSS perfumes. I disliked all of them intensely. I will have to try it again sometime, as I’ve found that many naturals are better than my first sniff would indicate and my nose is certainly getting more sophisticated all the time. Something in the base of the SSS scents is not really to my taste, though.

    I feel like you and I have very little overlap!

    • EdP and extrait are very different (to my nose) so I’m not completely surprised one works and the other doesn’t.

      We have to keep observing each other’s preferences: if we’re lucky we might be the rare breed – evil scent twins. It’s even better than scent twins! 😉

      • Judith

        Yeah, I can’t quite tell where we overlap and where we oppose. 🙂 I’m still thinking about your “favorites” type list, your “perfume portrait”. It shouldn’t be too much work, and yet I haven’t done it yet. I should! Perhaps soon. (I like that your list just has LOTS of stuff on it. I like that much better than artificially trying to limit it to some number, like my top 10 or top 20.)

  • […] line. .mito is, to my nose, a practically perfect green perfume, in pretty much the same way as .rubj (Rubj?) is a perfect white floral. vero profumo would be an awesome line to be my one-and-only […]

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