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Roma – The whole package – June 21, 2013 New Fragrance Listing



This past Wednesday Gwen and I roamed through Italy sniffing perfumes. We smelled them from Venice to Florence to Amalfi to Sicily and back to Rome. We smelled them from venerated perfumeries, from brilliant designers and jewelers, and acclaimed noses. We smelled a lot of gorgeous smells, and I have to say that those Italians definitely have more than a knack for creating beautiful lush fragrances that celebrate life and which speak directly to the soul. Read our post here.

A while ago, I was inspired by an Italian perfumer, Lorenzo Villoresi. I took a short fantasy flight and for a brief moment imagined I was a romance writer.…  “I live in a palazzo on the Amalfi coast, or in Tuscany, or Lake Como…I sit on the patio in the late afternoon sun, sipping wine from my vineyards, and smelling the air perfumed with the flowers…My incredibly handsome and fabulously rich lover joins me, and as he touches my shoulder and leans in for a kiss…I smell his wonderful scent…”

His scent is Uomo, Villoresi’s exceptional and much under-rated citrus scent, and it smells so darn good I soon lose interest in writing about the romance and write about the perfume instead – you can read about it here. Re-reading this Villoresi post gets me thinking about Italy again, and actually wondering what scent I would be wearing if the fabulously handsome and rich lover was wearing Uomo, which leads me to think of the luscious Roma, by Laura Biagiotti, another much under-rated Italian perfume.

The bottle of Roma I found in a small perfume store was the unique frosted glass bottle shaped like a fluted Roman column. It had dust on it, and as I hoped, this Roma is an older, if not original version of the opulent floral-oriental which was launched in 1988.  Roma may be from the 1980’s when Orientals were meant to seduce, but it’s different from its typically decadent pleasure-seeking contemporaries, such as Opium and Poison. Roma has a quirky intelligence, an abstract character, a soul and heart, as well as a libido.

The original Roma has notes of black currant, sicilian bergamot, pink grapefruit, mint and hyacinth; carnation, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose; amber, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, civet, vanilla, oakmoss and myrrh. The distinctive tart citrus and black currant notes are fresh and sparkly, blending seamlessly with the white florals into a sunny fruity–floral accord in the heart, but I can’t call it fruity or floral  - is it the hint of mint floating in and out that transforms it? It could be the rich base notes, the creamy sandalwood, dark earthy vanilla and patchouli, the warm amber and musk, the musty oakmoss, and the civet lending animalic magic early in the dry-down.  

Whatever the reason, Roma smells so luscious and so alive, as it dries down, floral-spicy with a tart edge, never too sweet but with a green earthy warmth, never too strong or too loud. The end result is that none of the notes dominate, instead they support each other, creating a fragrance that’s fresh, sunny, invigorating, warm, lush and magnetically sensual, all at the same time. Roma makes me think of the iconic Italian actress, Sophia Loren at her peak  – she had it all in one incredible package -  intelligence, character, spirit, sex appeal, as well as that beautiful body and face.

Yes, those Italians really do have a knack. The architecture, the music, the art, the language, the food, the perfumes! When it comes to expressing the beauty in life, they are primo! They’ve been at it for quite a while now, if I recall my studies of ancient and modern history correctly, and they show no sign of losing their mojo.

Roma may be a forgotten and under-rated Italian perfume, but it is as gorgeous now as the day it was launched twenty-five years ago. Viva Italia!

Today, we’re adding Roma to our Decant Store. Decants are $4.00.