Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Profumi del Forte- By Night White

Profumi del Forte is an Italian brand, what we often refer to as "niche" (I'm beginning to really detest this label, but that belongs in a separate kvetching post). As far as I can tell, the only place in the USA to find it is at Grace Bros. Department store  Henri Bendel in NYC, which means no online shopping (though the European stores ship here. For a pretty penny) and no marketing. Which is a shame, really, because Profumi del Forte have a beautiful concept, interesting packaging and a few interesting scents. They come from Forte dei Marmi on the Tuscan coast (in the Province of Lucca). It's a seaside resort that boasts luxurious villas and an interesting history as the 16th century shipping port for marble (the caps of Profumi del Forte are made of colored marble), and photos of the place look as romantic as it comes.

But we're here to talk perfume. And about By Night white in particular.

By Night White (it's an EDP, the feminine version of Profumi del Forte's By Night Black which I'll review at some point- when I manage to locate my decant) is a very Shalimar-inspired oriental. If we think of Shalimar as an evening gown perfume, one that's perfect for a formal event, crystal chandeliers and the works, By Night White is what the same lady would wear on a seaside vacation. It's not casual, at least not in the t-shirt and flip-flops way. Instead, it's the gauzy dress one would wear on a summer night with the little but pricy sandals you'd take off for the after-dinner romantic stroll on the beach.

When I say By Night White is an offspring of Shalimar I really mean it- the opening of lemon and bergamot over a sweet powdery base is strikingly familiar. It's spicier and the coriander that lingers from the top to the heart notes is very pronounced and makes the perfume interesting and decidedly more exotic. The heart is very elaborate and I guess... Italian. It's the flowery notes- I get a lot of rose and purple orchid- like a vintage print. This is where the powdery facet start to take form and become all wood, vanilla and tonka bean.

By Night White is sweet and not ashamed to play up the sex factor. It shows some serious cleavage- it's the yummy element. We all know that most men respond well to this, and this perfume (and its wearer) definitely expects that sort of attention. It's like an old school (think 1960s) socialite who's spent the day at the seaside cafe flirting with her group of admirers, tying and untying her Pucci scarf, gazing at them over huge sunglasses, laughing loudly. At night she changes into the aforementioned gauzy dress, puts on her jewelry and goes to dinner with just one of them. We don't know where the evening will end but there's a certain promise in the air. Or is it just her perfume?

By Night White has a substantial sillage (I suspect wearing it on a sultry summer night might leave some dead bodies behind) and an incredible longevity of more than 24 hours. It leaves traces on clothes even after washing them, so it's a good thing I absolutely adore this scent. If anything, I think it gains another level of mystery after the first 8 hours or so.

Official notes: top notes of bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, black pepper and coriander seeds; middle notes of orange blossom, jasmine, Turkish rose, violet and orchid; and base notes of styrax, vanilla, tonka bean, white musk and sandalwood

Bottom Line: Bella Italia

By Night White and the rest of Profumi del Forte line can be found at  Henry Bendel in NYC ($240, 100ml EDP), First In Fragrance (  samples available),  or (€168 from both). The Perfumed Court has samples and decants.

Photo of Sophia Loren from Stirred, Straight Up, With a Twist.

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