Monday, 21 September 2009

Profumi delle Cinque Terre: Tentazioni di Fico and Agave

One of the companies I had never heard before but encountered them on the Fragranze fair was Profumi delle Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre is a region somewhere north-west here, at the eastern end of the Ligurian rugged coastline beyond La Spezia; I've never been there, only went on train to Genova, but I hear that it's a picturesque piece of land. Admittedly, the other parts of Italy didn't get any of my liking but I never claimed to be anything like politically correct anyways. The company searched and found inspiration in the local countryside, after all, many the small companies have, or claim to have, some specific indigenous feature. But... it doesn't matter to me in this case, even if they were inspired by the council trash dump, street crime and railway delays, the fragrances totally rock.

Agave is a more sophisticated version of my beloved Sycomore. Beat me, kill me for such a blasphemy if you wish. No, I'm no less of a Chanel junkie but where Sycomore is fresh to the verge of biting, Agave is fresh, cold and enchanting. After the first whiff of something rather medicinal - iodine disinfectant, I guess, there comes a flood of mint, with the bittersweet saffron and sour rhubarb. Oddly enough, it creates a light vetivery fragrance as a whole, or rather a four-dimensional vetiver of unexpected depths, with something glittering that is halfway there and halfway somewhere else. I don't remember encountering a mint-based fragrance; I wonder why mint isn't used more, the smell is lovely even on its own. Maybe the whole toothpaste and chewing gum affair alienated it to the perfumers, who knows. A quick search showed that mint is present in quite some fragrances I own: the fresh and pungent Liberté Acidulée, oddly enough Le Male, spicy and sweet, AA Herba Fresca - I can possibly smell it in that one but it's overdriven with other green notes and a few tons of lemon peel. And the good ole plain yet nice Green Tea from Elizabeth Arden where I don't remember it at all. None of them is built around the mint tone, though, and in fact, in none of those does it stick out in some clearly discernible manner. Agave, though, has a distinct mint candy quality which I adore in fragrances

Top notes: rum, mint, rhubarb
Middle notes: pimento, elemi, saffron
Base notes: oak wood, labdanum, musk

Tentazione di Fico
Whatever they say about big juicy leaves on their website, this one has a salty start with a bit of iodine thrown in the mixture. It's time to forget the notes, however poetic they may be, and follow the ingredients as they are stated on the box: limonene, linalool, coumarin (I guess I can trace it there if I have at least a bit of olfactory memory), citronellal - check. That one is the pungent green bit of muguet, geraniol - check, peppery floral, citral. Throw in that weird ozone smell of clary sage and a pinch of iodine and there we are. Fresh to the verge of biting, salty, pungent. The hint of fig leaves does appear a bit later, somewhat sweetish and rounded but the fragrance remains very green and somewhat salty.

Top notes: fig leaves, basil, currant leaves
Middle notes: jasmine, clary sage
Base notes: cedar wood, sandalwood, tonka bean, musk

I don't generally believe in strong evocative powers of perfumes. Most of them are abstract, it happens hardly ever to me that there would be something very specific. These two, however, are two different renderings of sea breeze. Two bottles of instant holiday, Helg might say, she's much more metaphoric than yours truly.

I would like to give some useful hint as to where get the stuff from Profumi delle Cinque Terre but I must admit that I don't know. The company website doesn't have a shop, I mailed them but I haven't got a response so far, most probably because I mailed them on Friday and normal people have weekends off. I'll be back when I have the information.

Notes taken from the company website,


  1. Hi,

    You can Buy them here! I don't know the parfumes, but I will buy them this year

    Brechtje (Holland)

  2. Brechtje, lucky you that you can try them in person because they are worth it.