Profumi del Forte – Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterranea

Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterranea is a study of ambergris or grey amber by Bertrand Duchaufour, and a scent that is meant to have a luminosity evocative of the “calm deep Mediterranean.” Not for me. It is also a scent that some people think is one of the best ambers around. Again, not for me. Not by any means.

Source: Profumi del Forte

Source: Profumi del Forte

Profumi Del Forte was founded in 2007 by Enzo Torre. According to the company’s website, he was “inspired by the timeless style of the Versilia seaside resort,” which explains the “Versilia” in the title of some of the fragrances. In 2009, the company released Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterranea (hereinafter just “Ambra Mediterranea”), which Profumi Del Forte describes as follows:

The elegance of grey amber and the serenity of orange. The sweetness of ylang-ylang, the warmth of cedar wood. Gentle luminous notes, which evoke atmospheres of a calm deep Mediterranean.

[Notes:] Orange, coriander, ylang-ylang, jasmine, grey amber, benzoin from Siam, tolu balsam, incense, cedar wood, patchouli, vanilla, white musk

Source: fovipa.com

Source: fovipa.com

It’s hard to know where to start in describing Ambra Mediterranea for a few reasons. First, on my skin, it is primarily an excessively chemical, harsh woody-amber (with the emphasis on the “woody” part of the equation) with smokiness and, during the first four to six hours, with varying amounts of ambered caramel sweetness. That’s the entire scent in the most simplistic nutshell. Second, I’ve consistently experienced two slightly different versions of Ambra Mediterranea during the first stage, depending on which arm I apply the scent and in what quantities. The actual core — that chemical, smoky wood-centric bulldozer — remains the same in both cases, but the proportion of notes is different, as are their nuances and prominence. Ultimately, both versions merge into one after while, always radiating profoundly chemical, harsh, desiccated woodiness and arid smoke, mixed with a touch of sweetness. Both versions are unpleasant, it’s merely a question of one being less extreme than the other. I’ll cover both briefly.

VERSION 1:

Source: layoutsparks.com

Source: layoutsparks.com

Ambra Mediterranea opens on my skin with amber that smells like thick, heavy, dense caramel. It is laced with woodiness and twinges of an ISO E-like chemical, leading me to think the amber is probably AmberMax or one of its similar relatives. Either way, the focal point is on caramel sweetness. It is splattered with candied orange peel and spicy patchouli that emits dusty woodiness, quiet smokiness, and subtle nuances of cocoa. About 20 minutes later, the woodiness takes on a slight musty quality, and there are the faintest touches of creaminess circling at the edges, though it doesn’t smell like vanilla, per se. Rather, it’s more akin to a creamy filler and texture. Still, as a whole, Ambra Mediterranea is primarily caramel amber laced with quiet woodiness. As a side note, when I apply less of the fragrance, roughly a few tiny swipes, the woody note and the ISO E-like twinges are more pronounced from the start, even on this arm.

"Shades of Caramel Abstract" by David Naman. Source: Fine Art America. (Website link embedded within.)

“Shades of Caramel Abstract” by David Naman. Source: Fine Art America. (Website link embedded within.)

The secondary notes aren’t constant. 30 minutes in, the patchouli retreats to the sidelines, and its cocoa nuances fades away. The candied orange peel vanishes entirely. After roughly 90 minutes, the base turns woodier in nature, emitting a cedar-ish aroma marked by a growing wave of dryness and the first hints of incense. None of it smells natural. At the end of the 3rd hour, Ambra Mediterranea is half cedar, half caramel amber, with both parts linked together by a thin strand of incense. It is slowly turning into Version #2 at this point, except the degree of the nuances — smokiness, aridity, chemicality, sharpness, raspiness, and sweetness — differ. When I apply a lower dosage or quantity of the scent, these undertones are greater and appear much sooner, even on this arm.

At the end of the 5th hour and the start of the 6th, Ambra Mediterranea basically turns into scent that marks the opening of Version #2: arid, totally scratchy, raspy woods that are so sharp that they feel like needles in my nose. The woods are splattered with a small amount of synthetic amber that has a woody undertone of its own amidst its caramel sweetness, and then the whole thing is laced up with ribbons of sharp incense and occasional wisps of clean musk. An hour later, the back of my throat feels scratchy, a new side-effect to join the olfactory splinters that go up my nose each time I smell Ambra Mediterranea up close. In the final hours, all that’s left is sharp, abrasive woodiness with equally sharp smokiness and a dab of clean musk, before dying away as simple chemical woodiness.

Source: all4myspace.com

Source: all4myspace.com

VERSION #2:

Artist: Helen Abbas, Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013, "(Erdowaz) Slate." Source:  IslamicArtMagazine.com. (Website link embedded within photo.)

Artist: Helen Abbas, Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013, “(Erdowaz) Slate.” Source: IslamicArtMagazine.com. (Website link embedded within photo.)

On my main testing arm and regardless of how much fragrance I apply, Ambra Mediterranea opens with a blast of Nasomatto-style chemicals, blaring a synthetic woodiness laced with quiet but sharp smokiness. The bouquet bears a very chemical twinge that resembles acetone nail varnish remover mixed with rubbing alcohol or medicinal antiseptic.

The hideous concoction is followed by a musky ambergris smelling of caramel, lightly infused with thin streaks of creamy vanilla, then dusted with a handful of cocoa pods, as well as actual cocoa powder, a pinch of candied, dried orange peel, and a few specks of spicy, brown patchouli. The last set of notes would be enjoyable if they were in any way comparable to the main core, or even if they were secondary notes, but they’re the mere minutiae amidst the titanic ocean liner that is fake woody-amber chemicals. They clang away with a desiccated raspiness right from the start, and a very cheap-smelling, wannabe “incense” smokiness that would horrify any religious figure from Constantinople to Mecca and Rome.

The overall result is this odd juxtaposition of almost femininely gentle, gourmand sweetness with ultra-dry, Nasomatto-style, smoky woodiness that has a gorilla chest-thumping character. The way the notes are on my skin, it’s truly as if the two things lie side-by-side, unattached and occurring simultaneously, like two different fragrances in the same bottle. Oddly, a wisp of overly clean, definitely laundry-like musk hovers about the edges like a confused vestal virgin uncertain of which party she should attend. The louder one is unquestionably the Nasomotto woody gorilla, though, which dominates the focal point aggressively on my skin.

Source: free-3d-textures.com

Source: free-3d-textures.com

Ambra Mediterranea’s main focus on abrasive, smoky, woody aromachemicals continues for hours to come without dramatic or drastic change. As in Version 1, the orange, cocoa, and spicy patchouli disappear after 30 minutes, though the vanilla lasts a short while longer. The acetone and ISO E-like undertones disappear even more quickly, but the fragrance’s abrasive raspiness and scratchiness somehow seem to grow stronger in response. As in Version 1, the amber’s caramel fades away over time, leaving only desiccated woods wrapped up with incense. The difference is that the amber loses ground far more quickly here than it did in Version 1, roughly 3 hours in total. At the similar point in time in Version 1, the scent was more evenly split between the cedar-ish woods and the amber. Regardless, as I noted earlier, both versions ultimately end in the same place, even if it takes a few hours and even if the balance of notes is initially different. None of it is pleasant, in my opinion. The first two times I tried Ambra Mediterranea I scrubbed it off in less than 10 minutes.

Bertrand Duchaufour must have been given a very specific brief by the company/client, because this degree of in-your-face chemicals is not his usual style. On the other hand, given that Ambra Mediterranea was originally released in 2009, there is a good chance it has been badly reformulated by some ham-handed idiot since, as you will see later, earlier accounts of the scent seem to describe something quite different, while two recent Fragrantica reviews note the fragrance’s chemical nature. Whatever the precise reason, none of it feel originally or distinctive in this day and age. Perhaps, in 2009, Ambra Mediterranea was more unique and exciting, but, in 2015, I’m not impressed.

I’m much more sensitive to or aware of chemicals than others, and the vast majority of people don’t seem to mind them, but, putting aside the chemicals entirely, nothing about Ambra Mediterranea feels interesting to me. It’s not a refined, polished update on an amber soliflore; it’s not a distinctive, cutting edge interpretation of a smoky, oriental woody; and it’s not a drier or more balanced twist on gourmands. I can’t even call it a hodge-podge of styles, either, because the proportion or balance of each sides isn’t equal enough for that. Ambra Mediterranea simply feels discordant to me, nothing else. There is no smoothness, no finesse, no seamless blending, and no luxurious opulence to counterbalance the jarring nature of the notes, either.

On Fragrantica, Ambra Mediterranea receives generally positive reviews, though not from everyone. For several of the women commentators, Ambra Mediterranea is too masculine or strong, and there is a similar comment to that effect on the fragrance’s Luckyscent page. Most men on Fragrantica, however, really like Ambra Mediterranea. One chap found it to lie midway between Tom Ford‘s Amber Absolute and Montale‘s Blue Aoud. (A Montale reference should tell you something….) According to the vote system, 7 people think it resembles Amouage‘s Opus VI. I saw no similarity between the two scents on my skin.

Photo by Daniel Fox. Source: petapixel.com.  (Website link embedded within.)

Photo by Daniel Fox. Source: petapixel.com. (Website link embedded within.)

Apart from the amber, a few people find Ambra Mediterranea to have a large  amount of patchouli, while others experience far more incense and woods. Back in 2011, “Alfarom” wrote: “A magnificent concoction of top quality amber (among the best available on the market) and straight ahead frankincense with a considerable woody presence.” He gave it a rave review and a 9/10 rating, calling it “T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C!” I don’t share his view, and we normally see eye-to-eye, which makes me wonder again if Ambra Mediterranea has been changed since he wrote his comments and become more chemical; more recent reviews do note that more unfortunate side of the scent.

For “Colin Maillard,” writing in January 2015, the fragrance’s dryness is partially one reason why he found Ambra Mediterranea to be a “creative” change from most ambers. He writes, in part:

Finally one of the very few amber scents which tries to do something creative with this accord. A dry, smoked, camphoraceous amber rich in darkness and sour resins (like benzoin), with an indolic and dusty texture, perhaps provided by jasmine. Basically a sort of Donna Karan’s Black Cashmere with less spices (at least initially) and more amber: there’s quite some differences, but that (and other scents like that) came to my mind because of its dark, ambery thickness, almost harsh and pungent, which is one of the most interesting features of Ambra as well. The scent is really good initially, and much powerful too[….] This scents has almost nothing in common with almost any other amber: the note is there, but it’s austere, dry, sour and shady. [Emphasis to perfume name added by me.]

He notes that the “downside… is a persistent ‘chemical’ feel, something halfway metallic and terpenic,” but it was more than a mere “feel” for “Mary-Jayne,” who thought Ambra Mediterranea bore a Nasomatto style of “invasive” and “unrelenting” chemical harshness, just as it did for me. In May 2015, she wrote, in part:

This has Nasomatto strength potency, and there is a strong chemical-synthetic note that I cannot quite place, but man it is persistent and invasive. It is just unrelenting, for me there is this super powerful synthetic woody type note that almost reminds me of cleaning alcohol, a dense heavy thick patchouli that tends to earthy chocolate nuances, a hint of deep amber and a touch of resins and spice with a little tiny bit of something floral plus what feels almost like a smidgen of oud.

Source: wallpapersinhq.com

Source: wallpapersinhq.com

The closest thing I can think to compare and liken it to, is if you wore a hefty dose of Black Afgano one day, and the next day you wore the same clothes, that are impregnated with BA, but this time you applied Blamage [another scent from Nasomatto’s creator]. Liberally. This is super dense and super intense. Unfortunately for me the chemical note has an eye watering harshness and t is is unrelenting from the initial spray right through into the late drydown. [¶][…] I find the notes don’t settle or melt into the skin at all, I am not keen on the overly strong and insistent chemical note and there is very little amber to my nose. That said, if you are looking for a BIG, loud and heavy Patch scent this may be of interest to you. [Emphasis to names added by me.]

I didn’t find Ambra Mediterranea to be as much of a powerhouse as everyone else, but I smeared my quantities, not sprayed — and aerosolisation always adds to a fragrance’s projection and sillage. That said, I thought Ambra Mediterranea had good sillage with 3 smears equal to 2 sprays from a bottle. At that amount, the fragrance opened with 3 inches of projection that seemed to grow a little after 20 minutes, but not excessively so. The scent trail was about 6 to 8 inches of sillage at first. Ambra Mediterranea became a skin scent on me after 5.75 hours, and felt both wispy and quiet at 7.5 hours, though it was still extremely strong up close, to the point where the sense of needles going up my nose persisted. All in all, Ambra Mediterranea lasted just short of 12.25 hours. I have the feeling that if I sprayed the fragrance, my numbers would be significantly higher, as my skin holds onto industrial strength chemicals for a large period of time, particularly when they’re in large doses. On Fragrantica, the vast majority of longevity votes (21) place Ambra Mediterranea in the “very long lasting” category which is defined at 12+ hours. For sillage, the majority of votes (18) are for “heavy,” with the next closest category (9 votes) being for “enormous,” the highest ranking of all.

I dislike Ambra Mediterranea immensely but, if you have no problems with industrial-strength synthetics at high dosages, and if you want a very dry, woody-centric, smoky, and Nasomatto-style amber that skews masculine in nature, you may want to give it a try. I don’t recommend it for anyone else.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Ambra Mediterranea is an eau de parfum that comes in two sizes: 50 ml for $170 or €110; or 100 ml for $245, €168, or £168. In the U.S.: Luckyscent has both sizes, sells samples, and ships worldwide. Outside the U.S.: In the U.K., Ambra Mediterranea is sold in the 100 ml bottle at Liberty London and Devon’s Woodeforde Perfumery. In Europe, you can buy it directly from Profumi del Forte. I don’t know if they ship worldwide. Elsewhere, Germany’s First in Fragrance sells the large 100 ml size. Both sizes are available at Essenza NobileParfuMaria, Spain’s Fapex, the Czech Parfums, and Ukraine’s Parfums.  Italy’s Camelot has the small bottle currently on sale for €99. Samples: I bought my sample from Luckyscent. Surrender to Chance does not have it. Several of the European sites listed above sell samples.

32 thoughts on “Profumi del Forte – Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterranea

  1. Eeeeeeek! Now feel really bad for recommending AM to you from the first time we got acquainted….I’m sincerely sorry for your sensitive nose dearest K 🙁
    It seriously is one of my favourites but luckily my current bottle and the backup were purchased in 2010 so it may well be a crappy reformulation. Disappointed that such may be the case or that the original formulation has always been the same but my nose didn’t pick out the synthetic culprits 🙁

    • I always associate Ambra M. with you, my dear, since it was the very first thing you recommended to me. And I thought of you constantly while writing this review. You know how much I respect your opinion, so I think something must have happened to the scent? I hope you’ll try your 2010 bottles again and let me know if you smell intensive, intrusive chemicals, because I’m really curious as to whether the scent has been reformulated or if your nose simply wasn’t so sensitive and well-attuned back then. Given the comments left by two other posters here, it seems I’m not the only one who was assaulted by the harsh aromachemicals.

  2. i’m with you 100% on this one. i fully expected to not only like it, but buy it on the spot. instead it was a full-on assault on my faculties and i literally had to scrub off, a genuine rarity. almost immediately it smelled like a creme brulée singed by a rogue electrical fire – acrid and sickeningly saccharine. it’s one i’d sooner forget entirely, as you know how i otherwise feel about its creator…..

    • I still can’t figure out what is going on with this scent given the views of some other people whom I respect, so your comment and that of Ana Maria are a huge relief to hear, I must say.

      I’m particularly relieved to know *you* hated this one, Tim, not because of the whole Duchaufour thing, but because I know you prefer drier takes on amber in general. Plus, given that 7 Fragrantica people found a similarity to Opus VI, a scent that you love, I had thought you might really like Ambra Med. The fact that it was a scrubber for you says a lot, because that is a genuine rarity for you, as you said. “Rogue electrical fire.” lol. Now I just have to figure out if A/M was always this hideous, or if this is a case of bad reformulation butchering. BTW, great to see you here. Really great.

  3. Didn’t read your review yet, just wanted to state my opinion first:it’s a chemical,nose-singeing, very harsh and aggressive amber.Wouldn’t wear it in a million years.Now I’ll start reading,to see if our opinions match☺

    • Our opinions match completely, right down to the nose-singeing. 😀 A ghastly chemical cocktail, and an ordeal to wear that felt like needles going up my nose and stabbing the insides each and every time I sniffed my arm.

  4. I won’t even look for this one. That sharp, chemical wood note that burns the sinuses is probably the note I hate most in some perfumes. I love wood notes but when they go wrong it seems they go very wrong for me. I think this might be one of those scents.

    • I think it would be precisely that way for you, and it wouldn’t suit your general tastes at all. The fragrance that I think you’d like and that made me think of you a few times recently was Lavs from Unum. *THAT* would be right up your alley. 🙂

  5. The version Alfarom reviewed sounds quite lovely, but it must have been reformulated to the chemical zombie you smelled. If I had to go through all the harshness you did for this review, I think I would be going an ENT to make sure I haven’t damaged my proboscis. Oh my

    • I don’t know what has happened to this scent or if it was always this way, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the vast, vast, vast majority of people. Truly unpleasant, imo.

  6. Bertrand?!?! Really? I have enjoyed almost all his creations so far, esp over at NVC & Chypre Palatin. Dommage. But he’s allowed a few misses in light of some of his wonderful offerings.
    Ps. Have yet to try the Amber recommendations you made from a few posts ago-samples in the mail.
    Pps. The red haired GSDs really are gorgeous. Unfortunately my partner is allergic to most animals. And a micropig might be a tad too eccentric for urban life!

    • Heh, “Et tu, Bertrand?” 😉

      I’m so glad you had the chance to look at the red-and-black GSDs. It’s a real pity about your partner’s allergies, but micro pot pigs are adorable! Who cares about the possible eccentricity of it all if something makes you happy!

  7. Oh no! I was so excited when I saw the words Amber in the title and felt incredibly excited at the chance of finding something new, since I wear thick amber scents in the worst summer days, regardless of public mores. I guess that I need to look somewhere else. That persistent chemical feel can quite literally make me sick. Thanks for your reviews my darling K. As always so incredibly brave, honest, and smart.

    • Thank you, my sweets. This one would not be your cup of tea, but I think Rania J’s Ambre Loup might be. However, I should warn you that it’s far more tobacco on my skin (and that of a few readers) than actual amber. Still, I think you may like it more than this Ambra Med.

  8. Lurker here; I just started to dip my toe into the fragrance world and find your site very informative. It is also a bit daunting to understand (not your site-the world of frags). My nose needs a lot of education! Is there anywhere to purchase tiny amounts of the different elements so when a particular thing is mentioned I have a reference point. I find it hard to distinguish the separate smells from a whole perfume. I look forward to settling in and reading all your wonderful posts.

    • Let me welcome you to the blog, K.L., and say how nice it is that you stopped lurking. 🙂 I completely understand and sympathize with your feeling rather overwhelmed, as perfumery is a lot more complex than it initially appears. I think it’s an excellent idea to buy small samples of raw materials (and aromachemicals) to help train your nose and develop the ability to distinguish notes; I think more people should do that.

      There are a few places that sell perfume ingredients. I don’t know your location, but one of them, The Perfumer’s Apprentice, ships worldwide and also has various sample sets in a range of prices that cover essential oils and synthetics. Links to that are available in this post: http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/2014/12/12/holiday-gift-ideas-2014/ The main reason why I’m linking to that Holiday Gift post rather than providing individual links is that the post also covers some books that might help you in your quest, though it doesn’t include an old one that is a standby called Essence & Alchemy by Mandy Aftel. That one will give you a good background in the basics, as will the Roja Dove linked in the Christmas/Holiday Gift post.

      I hope that helps a little.

  9. Dear Kafkaesque,

    after a long time i am back on your blog
    to see that you are developing your art of writing about perfume more and more.
    I enjoy so much to read your descriptions and comments.
    But in the end even the best descriptions can only create some kind of longing or reluctance for a certain creation.
    Only the real thing can help us to relieve our desire.

    For a moment i felt ashamed, that in one of our last conversations i mentioned AM,
    and talked about it quite positively.
    After reading your comment, i tried it after a long time … and guess what happened?
    It seems, i am so impressionable by words,
    my mind was focused completely on the aromachemicals, that you described so well. The metallic, aseptic, sterile feeling. I could not get it out of my consciousness.
    I put a sample on some paper and put it somewhere about two yards from my piano. Even one day later, today, i was practising, and a sudden whiff of those components hit my nose. i could not smell the aroma anymore, only the chemicals. I had to put it away.
    Why did my nose and mind not have this reaction before?
    Maybe i should not read any more, just rely on myself.
    But reading sometimes give a shift to consciousness, so new aspects of reality will be visible.
    In the german language, we have a wonderful word for reality.
    It is called “Wirklichkeit”.
    “Wirken” means, translated approximatly, to have an effect by acting,doing.
    So Wirklichkeit means reality with it’s potential, and ability, to have and cause effects.
    Meaning, we are not autonomous beings, but an outcome of our interconnectedness and of Wirklichkeit.

    Dear, i hope you are well, and so is your old german shepherd friend!
    Sending all the best
    and warm (we have about 80 Fahrenheit here in Berlin at 11:45 pm) greetings!

    Yours Bernd

    • Oh. Lovely. Thank you for the new German word! I use hermeneutic phenomenology in my practice and I don’t speak German. Yet, so many of the concepts speak so strongly. I really appreciated your reflections on how our knowledge/truths/experiences are actually created/emerge from the in-between

    • Dear Bernd, so good to see you again! I’m sorry about ruining A/M for you. And you’re right, one should ultimately always go with one’s own personal feelings about a scent.

      On the other hand, there is a benefit to developing one’s nose to detect the layers under the surface of a scent, so perhaps my review will help you in the future by letting you recognise and pinpoint specific elements. The more you fine-tune and hone your senses, the more perfume will be enjoyable as an overall, general experience and the more of an expert you will be in noticing the nuances. Perfume has layers, like food, wine, or Art. Having the ability to see what’s under the surface should give your greater knowledge to assess a fragrance in the future and to enjoy the layers of the really, really good ones. In this case, the results of your new knowledge weren’t so positive, but perhaps you can try to see it as a good thing in a broader sense and for the future? That is my hope, anyway. But I’m still sorry that I ruined a scent that you liked so much.

      I hope Berlin’s weather gets cooler. I’ll be leaving for Italy on the 20th, so I hope things are less sticky and miserable over there by the time I arrive, since I don’t do well with humidity at all. A very warm hug to you, my dear.

      • Dear Kafkaesque,

        thank you for your answer and warmth!

        Don’t worry, i consider this “cost of learning”.
        I will give the perfume to a friend, who likes it.

        I find, that even many of the most expensive perfumes have these aromachemicals.
        Sometimes i wonder, if maybe the potency,
        for example of some of the Xerjoff perfumes, is enhanced by some chemicals, since after a certain time, they reveal some synthetic basis. Here blended much more softly and smooth, and not as aggressive and metallic as in AM.

        Since you are going to Italy on the 20th, i should be able to guess, where you will spend the first week of your journey.
        I was also thinking of going there. I would very much like to go, even wrote an email to inquire about the cost. But at the moment it looks like my budget this year with a musicians income does not allow it.

        Anyway i hope you will enjoy your journey!
        No, i am sure you will enjoy!

        There is a good chance that i will also be in Italy, in Genoa during the last week of July, visiting friends. Maybe we run into each other by chance.
        If you will go to Siena, which is beautiful, you should also,
        on the way, go to San Giminiano. It is a tourist place, but still exraordinary.
        Also Arezzo … which place in not beautiful in Italy?

        Too bad your time in Rome is limited. The Amalfi coast south of Naples is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The street high up on the rocks, down the beautiful sea. Positano, Amalfi, but there are also some smaller places in between, where you can find a hotel in the Rocks, going down the steps in the evening to sit near the water, listen to the waves, sometimes a boat will pass by and the wind will send the music from the ship to you … a dream … a dream is what we live in, Dear!

        All the best to you with more warm greetings!
        Yours Bernd

        • PS:

          Praiano, between Amalfi and Positano. You can find extraordinary places to stay. For example:

          http://www.hoteltorresaracena.it/index.php/it

          The price per night from 80 to 150 euros.
          I have been there, altough before it was renovated.
          The place is spectacular because of it’s location.
          The rooms are on the hill, but you can reach the sea level going down the stairs.

        • In terms of perfumes, so many of them have synthetics of some kind, but just how MUCH or just how OBVIOUSLY they show depends not only on the individual brands’ aesthetics but on the price and quality focus. With Xerjoff, you tend to get what you pay for, and the quality is obviously higher, smoother, and rarely overtly synthetic — which is how it should be for their luxury prices! Profumi del Forte isn’t so high-end or expensive, and so they’re likely to use less luxurious, costly materials. But how it smells as the end result really stems from the choices and olfactory bouquet that the company wanted. By that, I mean, the owner obviously wanted a certain style of scent for the price of investment/production, and he didn’t mind a more obvious brashness in terms of the aromachemicals in A/M. It’s a question of personal taste in the end. 🙂

          In terms of the other parts of your comment, yes, I am going where you suspect I’m going. 😉 It would have been lovely to meet there or in Florence in the last week of July, but your trip to Genoa with friends should be a lot of fun. In terms of your Amalfi tips, I would love to be able to go back to the coast, but there won’t be time this visit, alas. Thank you for the tip on San Gimigniano…. it is definitely at the top of my list with Siena as places for outside excursions from Florence. Both seem worth an individual, separate, full day exploration, but I don’t know if I can spare 2 days from the 6 I have in total for that area and for Florence. I need to figure that out, but what a lovely problem to have, no? 🙂

          • For San Giminiano, you don’t need a whole day.
            You can spend two hours on your way to Siena!
            Just to have a view is worth it.

            To meet in Florence would be wonderful.
            I will tell you, as soon, as i know, if, and how my trip to Italy will work out.

            If i go, i will go by car. So we could even have a day trip together. It is much easier to get to all the small places. We will see…
            B – )

          • Do let me know, as that would be a lot of fun, Bernd!! My Florence dates are from the afternoon of Tuesday, July 28th to the morning of Monday, August 3rd when I leave for Rome.

  10. Dear Kafkaesque,

    sorry for taking a long time to reply!
    In order to make my plans, i had to wait for my friends plans to work out.
    Now two friends, who wanted to come from Kirgistan, unfortunately had to cancel.
    Because of this i am more flexible in my considerations now.

    Would you still like to take a day trip with me to Siena and San Gimignano,
    or somewhere else into Tuscany?
    I am planning to be in Florence for about three days,
    and could choose the dates during the time of your stay.
    What do you think?
    (if you do not want to communicate publicly, maybe you could use my email,
    and write to me directly. We would also have to think about how to stay in touch while travelling)
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Yours Bernd

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