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Fundamental by Rubini Profumi -

It’s Sunday morning around 10:00 am and I’m sipping a glass of wine, white wine, a pale straw-coloured Soave. It is delicious.

Just relax – it’s only research. I’ve poured a little bit of wine into a small brandy snifter, so I can take deep sniffs, and sip just little bits. I have to say, though, I’m quite liking this mid-morning mini buzz, but more of that later….

Fundamental, the first and only fragrance released by the Italian brand, Rubini Profumi, has prompted this research. This new Italian niche brand was founded by Andrea Rubini and launched in Spring 2015. The story goes that Andrea Rubini was born into a family of perfumers in Verona, and he wanted to resurrect the family business, to bring the past into the present using the best of both traditional natural and modern synthetic materials, to create scents that convey the Veronese culture and sense of place. He pursued this vision by pulling together a team of passionate and talented Italians: Cristiano Canali, as perfumer, Ermano Picco to assist him as creative director, and Francesca Gotti as package designer.  The result of their first creative flight together is Fundamental.

Verona is famous for its art, architecture, history, and the beauty of its  surrounding countryside which produces the famous Soave wine. Ermano Picco’s creative brief on the website details the setting for the fragrance (paraphrased from the poor translation): “…the small perfume shop downtown, scented by colognes prepared by Pietro Rubini for barbershops, “face powder” says a lady and suddenly the air is filled with iris-scented fine powder, the dense smell of greasepaint he often gives as gifts to opera singers, the most daring smells come in the evening mixing smoke…and the perfumes Pietro sells to the prostitutes in the bordellos…I imagined these layer and shine in the golden light of September that ripens Soave grapes….”  Fundamental is built around all these “fundamental” elements.

Fundamental is totally unique, off-the-wall and off-the-charts unique. It’s difficult to describe in a traditional dry-down format because the scent doesn’t work that way. The first few moments are the glorious countryside, an accord of citrus, herbs, orange blossom. The scene is set for grapes. Pale green grapes not purple, round grapes coated with pollen and dust, not fruit juice-sweet or Welch’s Grape Juice grapey, or boozey or fizzy, but grapes scented with sunshiney ripeness and the sour-bitter tang of their skins. Grapes  on the hillsides, grapes on the vine, grapes in baskets, just picked.

My grape reverie is joined by a waft of iris, incredibly earthy powdery iris, then suddenly oily-waxy iris, the waxiness morphing into beeswax with its honeyed animalic edge, the oily aspect becoming vetiver dipped in olive oil. This is the strange heart of Fundamental, a fascinating focus on the grape note, with iris and beeswax and vetiver cycling around it. And then the iris and green vetiver fade into soft wood notes and different facets of the grape are revealed, the bitterness becomes a velvety leather scent, the sweetness warms and deepens, I even smell hints of smoky tobacco. Fundamental lasts a long time on my skin, and the longer it lasts the better it smells, it continuously evolves.

How to describe this fragrance? It’s not fruity, or floral, or woody. It is aromatic. It smells refined and expensive, old-fashioned and modern, complex and innovative. The packaging by Francesca Gotti repeats these themes. Made from Gelbanite, which is recycled fiberglass, it looks and feels like old stone but is lightweight and strong, and ultra modern. From creative top to bottom, Fundamental is a new classic.

To me, Fundamental does indeed smell like a place, a place densely layered with human experience, a place like Verona. I would love to go there and experience it, sit in the sun and smell the grapes in the September air. Italians have created beautiful things through history – their architecture, art, music, and cuisine draw millions of tourists to their country every year. Italian design in clothing, furniture, cars has shaped our modern world. I love it all.

Andrea Rubini is a rising star and is continuining this tradition of creative excellence in Italian niche perfume, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. I’ll raise a glass of Soave to that.

Fundamental is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.



Westminster Kennel Club logo -
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Interested in sniffing Absolue Pour le Soir? Gwen and Kay have it on offer. 
Nosing around
I am afraid I am unable to think of any other perfumer since seeing that shot of Pierre Guillaume posted by Gwen earlier this week.  We’ll return to regularly scheduled posting shortly…
Vintage appeal
On the hunt for a vintage scent to tuck inside someone’s stocking? (Or maybe inside your own?) I’ve had success at QuirkyFinds—there’s a huge range on offer, some of more recent “vintage” than others, but worth a few minutes of browsing, at least.  
Makes me want to try it
I love Jane Daly of Daly Beauty’s sensibility—smart, sophisticated but sensible and down to earth.  And so when I saw her list of vanilla scents she loves, I had to sneak a peek. I was expecting to see the usual suspects, but Daly came up with a list that had plenty of new-to-me perfumes on it. Which is good—yay, new perfumes to look for!—and bad (for my wallet).  The one I’m most intrigued by? Au Pay de Fleur Oranger’s Eau de Madeleine. 
And check out these vanilla scents on offer from Gwen and Kay. 
Just because
I could watch this on a loop all day long. 

Welcome to


"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight."
                                                                       Raymond Chandler

We are Gwen and Kay, two perfumistas making our scent journey in the cool, clear North.  We are also BFFs - we hang out together a lot, travel together - so we try, buy and share fragrances.
What started out as a shared interest grew into a hobby, and has now become our obsession.

We’ve spent many evenings with a glass of prosecco, a little cool jazz playing in the background, spritzing, sniffing - “How does this smell on you?” and, sadly, sometimes scrubbing.

Over the past few years, we’ve tried hundreds of samples, and when we deem a fragrance ”full bottle worthy” (FBW), one of us has tracked it down and bought it. We now own a lot of really great perfumes, and we continue to buy bottles of what we think is the best of "niche" as new scents are launched.

With so many exciting discoveries, we can’t help but talk about our passion with other friends. Wherever we go, people ask “What is that perfume you’re wearing? Where can I get that?” So we end up sharing a bit of our “juice” with friends. But the circle has grown, so we've started this website to let other perfumistas buy and try samples from our collections, and share their experiences with us, too, through Comments.
We blog
On weekends we post an story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent experts, so these aren't critical reviews. We love all our fragrances  - that’s why we bought them! But we describe how we think they smell, and share our stories about why we love them - maybe you’ll rediscover an old flame, or fall in love with a new scent.
Mid-week, either our friend Esther posts "Sniffing Around",  which is all about news in the perfume world - what's new and wonderful, upcoming launches, what's on sale where, etc. Or we post "Nose-to-Nose", our conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention over the past week. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to buy our selection of 3 or 4 fragrances in a special pack at a special discount price.
We sell
We sell 1 ml. decants - .7 ml volume once you allow for the stopper in the vial - filled from our own bottles in our collection because the only way to experience a fragrance is to try it on your own skin. We take the fragrance from its original bottle and decant it into a smaller brand-new, 1 ml sterilized glass vials so that you can try it on your skin to see if you like it.
Through our Decant Store you'll have access to some of the world’s greatest niche scents, hard-to-find fragrances, and classic favourites. 
When you click on the Decant Store tab you’ll find our personal descriptions of each of the fragrances we currently offer from our collection, then you can add them to your Shopping Cart.
Let's be clear (this is a disclaimer!!)

  • We don’t sell full bottles of any fragrance - just .7ml decants. We only sell decants  from the perfumes we've bought.... because we love them.
  • We don't re-sell manufacturers samples.
  • We don’t represent any perfumers or distributors, so we don’t have every scent from a whole line of perfume.
  • We aren’t being paid to promote any product or scent.

If, after sampling a fragrance, you decide that you must have it, i.e. it is FBW (full bottle worthy), and you can’t find it, e-mail us and we will direct you to the best source we know – retailer or online source.

We provide
A place for you to learn about scent, and to share your fragrance experience with others. Click on the section called Resources, under My Perfume Notes (see top right), where  you'll find a Glossary, and fragrance FAQs. You'll also find two great tools we've created - Handmaps and My Sample Perfume Notes - so you can keep track of, and record your own scent experiences.
We hope you enjoy, and visit us often. Leave your preconceptions behind, look around, see what’s on offer, read the Blog, share your experiences and discoveries, and join the circle.

It’s just us.