Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Profumum- Tagete

Marigolds by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1873

Tagete by Profumum was not what I expected. I love Marigolds. The exuberant colors and the way they smell in the heat of summer: bitter, green, baked in the heat accompanied by the smell of warm grass, and if they're in my own backyard there's also a whiff of other herbs that grow in the next bed, and especially fennel. The first time I smelled Profumum's interpretation of the flower I was taken aback. Sweet and heady tuberose pervaded the  leaves and petals, making them softer and more sensual where I was looking for a no-nonsense jolt along with the lazy heat of a summer day.

But how can I resist tuberose? I rarely do. And I've been captivated before by a blend of tuberose and dry crisp greenery in Ego Facto's Me, Myself and I. Tagete takes things a step further. Each and every whiff you take has both something green and slightly bitter entwined by seductive white flowers. Jasmine and tuberose, together and separately pull you in with their sweet promises. And just as you're willing to surrender to the narcotic effect there comes a reminder of reality in the form of an earthy- rooty-grassy tagetes and vetiver.

Bocca Baciata by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1859

As I was researching marigolds and their meaning for this post I was reminded of another perfume that pairs tuberose with tagetes: Flor y Canto by Arquiste (I'm so wearing it tomorrow!). It is not a coincidence: both flowers were significant to the Aztecs and are seen to this day in Mexico during celebrations including Dia de los Muertos. Life, death, rebirth (in some areas tagetes are among the first spring flowers to come back), as well as themes of innocence vs. mature sexuality. It's all there, and you cycle through them as you wear Profumum's Tagete (longevity is great).

As I said in the beginning, I expected something raw and with a more assertive marigold note, but found myself surrendering to the plush temptation of a summer garden at nighttime. The second artwork I chose above, Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Bocca Baciata, tells an interesting story. According to the Rossetti Archive: "The inscription (in Rossetti's hand on a slip of paper on the back of the picture) is the last sentence in Boccaccio's Decameron, Day 2, Story 7. It translates: “The kissed mouth does not lose its freshness, but renews itself like the moon”." They explain further that
"The principal flower motif is the marigold, which in the language of flowers signifies pain or chagrin. The apple on the balustrade perhaps alludes to the biblical legend of the fall of Adam and Eve; the white rose in her hair signifies innocence."

Maybe it's my imagination and falling prey to the power of tuberose-suggestion, but I get it from Tagetes. I really think that I do. It doesn't hurt that those are some of my favorite notes swimming there together, and as my scent twin Tom said once: "Darlin', we radiate tuberose" . Also tagetes, apparently. On the other hand, my dear friend on Kafkaesque was royally unimpressed. You can read her review here.

Profumum- Tagete ($240, 100ml eau de parfum) is available from Osswald NYC and Luckyscent. The sample for this review was supplied by Osswald.


  1. Oh, this sounds very interesting. I'm a big fan of Niki de Saint Phalle, which has tagetes, and something else with them, too, which I can't think of right now. And I was so happy to see the Rossetti works accompanying your post. I have loved his art for many years, especially "The Blessed Damozel," the painting and the poem. Thanks so much! Ann (from over on the Posse)

  2. My very first memory in this life is of being surrounded by marigolds in our garden and being completely delighted with their scent and color, so their scent is one I always look for in perfumes. And tuberose is one of my all time favorite comfort scents, so this perfume sounds absolutely perfect to me - can't wait to try it. Although, as an aside, am writing this on our back porch right now and the air is so extremely saturated with the scent of viburnum, it's hard for me to think of any other scent (even the Fracas I'm wearing today is being drowned out) and I'm wondering why Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir is the only perfume I can find with viburnum as a primary note - it's such a gorgeous scent.
    Oh, and thanks for including the added info for Rossetti's Bocca Baciata - fascinating. Have multiple books of Rossetti and his art, but I'd missed that.


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