Vero Profumo Rubj : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

What took me so long to discover Vero Profumo Rubj? March was very enthusiastic about it. Angela’s beautiful review called it a “ravished ballerina” perfume. Nathan mentioned that it is “uniquely suitable for the dressiest of parties as well as the most naked of ambitions.” But better later than never! A luscious orange blossom and tuberose composition, Rubj is underpinned by such a fleshy animalic note that it makes Serge Lutens Musc Koublai Khan seem straight-laced. It not only intrigues and seduces me, but also comforts and caresses.

Rubj, pronounced as ruby, was created by perfumer Vero Kern. She founded Vero Profumo in 2007 and her well-edited line is firmly planted in the tradition of classical perfumery. Classical though the inspiration might be, the distinctive characters of Onda, Kiki and Rubj place them into a category of their own.

When I first sampled Rubj, the fruity hit of mandarin and orange blossom lulled me into thinking that it might be yet another pretty white floral perfume. I let myself be distracted by some chores when I suddenly became aware of a heavy, warm aura. It was so animalic and raunchy that it took me a moment to connect this sultry presence to Rubj. The innocent apricot jam sweetness of orange blossom and jasmine gave way to the lusty hot breath of patchouli and musk. From there, there was a short leap into civet and cumin. I was  impressed enough to revisit Rubj again and again.

Rubj is lusty to the point of indecent. Some days, it smells darkly of cumin and musk; on others, it is all about salty strawberries and sweet jasmine petals. Either way, it is devastatingly sensual. For me, Rubj is like a passionate embrace or a kiss in that its presence is almost palpable. Whenever I feel like bringing out my inner temptress, Rubj is my potion of choice.

I also turn to Rubj for a diametrically opposed purpose—to comfort and indulge myself. The heavy warmth of civet smeared flowers reminds me of the balmy air on a hot summer day, the most felicitous of associations. As I press my nose to my wrist and inhale the indolic sweetness of tuberose and jasmine, I forget about the deadlines and the usual stresses of my daily life. Whenever I need a break from it all, I uncork the glass vial, dab a tiny drop on my wrist and carry on with my day. As it seeps into my skin, Rubj becomes my scented amulet.

Rubj is available as the Parfum and the Eau de Parfum. The former is my favorite for its pulpy floral accord, while the EDP places more accents on the smoky animalic notes of cumin and the sweetness of tropical fruit. Either way, it is not designed to please everyone and should be approached with caution by those who shy away from overly animalic fragrances.

Rubj Parfum includes note of Moroccan orange blossom, musk and Egyptian jasmine. Rubj Eau de Parfum features bergamot, mandarin, neroli, passion fruit, cumin, orange flower absolute, tuberose, basil, cedar, oak moss and musk. Available from luckyscent and first-in-fragrance.

Sample: my own acquisition

Photography by Nathan Branch, all rights reserved, used with permission. Check out his flickr photostream to see more of his beautiful photography.

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47 Comments

  • Vanessa: I tried this on card and got all that luscious juicy fruit and white flowers business, but never hung on for the “lusty hot breath” bit, never mind the short leap into civet. I have recently relaxed my previously hard line on civet, so next time I am in Harrods I will give it a spin on skin! Scandal is another “white floral with a touch of filth” I know and like, so Rubj’s borderline indecency shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. ; – ) March 2, 2012 at 5:38am Reply

  • Lucy: I love love love the Parfum version, and you have expressed what it does so well. This is a true love in perfume form for me, and I love that Onda in the EDP balances it so well. What a pair! Truly gorgeous. I have not tried the third, I am almost afraid. At the top of my very short list for a FB. March 2, 2012 at 7:59am Reply

  • silverdust: No star rating? March 2, 2012 at 9:38am Reply

  • Victoria: 5 stars! I forgot to add the graphic last night. Will edit shortly. March 2, 2012 at 9:40am Reply

  • Victoria: Still trying to figure out Onda, but Rubj was an instant love for me. I love how at one point it smells like tuberose and woodland strawberries and then turns to patchouli and musk.

    The edp is beautiful, but maybe too cumin-sweaty for me. The parfum is just perfect though. March 2, 2012 at 10:02am Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 The animalic notes like musk and civet love the warmth of skin. On paper, Rubj is definitely more floral and fruity, so do try it on skin, Vanessa. That short leap into civet is worth it, even if you don't like civet (I know that you don't.) March 2, 2012 at 10:04am Reply

  • Kerrie: This one sounds like a must-have for me! Victoria, it is such a pleasure to read your beautiful writing/reviews. Thank you! March 2, 2012 at 11:17am Reply

  • Annie Oney: I’m glad you decided to review these two!
    The Parfum is marvelous, fascinating, clean and simple, and quite a lift towards heaven for a girl.
    The EDP is amazingly different. But all I can think is that I want to go eat in an Asian restaurant. If you love cumin (and I do!) and want to wear it, along with some fancy scent alliances, this is for you. March 2, 2012 at 11:45am Reply

  • Emily: Oh, I want to try Rubj so badly, especially after reading this review! The Vero Profumo line seems so intelligent, and it’s always refreshing to find contemporary perfumes that aren’t afraid to be challenging.

    I, too, am trying to “figure out” Onda — I have a small sample of the EDP and used it for the first time last weekend. I counted at least five distinct phases over the course of about eight hours. While I enjoyed it very much, it seems like a perfume that could offer much more than “just” enjoyment. I would love to read your eventual take on it, Victoria! March 2, 2012 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: Ah yes, one of those White Flower Bombs (no relation to Flowerbomb), as I like to call them. Rubj, Fracas, Carnal Flower, they all scream once they hit my skin. I know that there is a perception in the industry that American women love big white florals. I am not one of them. Also, I find the image of a “ravished ballerina” somewhat disturbing. March 2, 2012 at 1:20pm Reply

  • HemlockSillage: I’m so glad to hear you like Rubj. I love Vero Profumo’s fragrances, and own all three in one form or other. Lucy who posted above is my scent opposite here–I love Rubj in the EdP and Onda in extrait. Rubj is amazing, and the extrait was too fruitily sweet on my skin. The EdP, even though it has the Passionflower, has more cumin and more bite.

    Strangely, I love the full on wet, damp earth of the Onda extrait. . .even though I love the EdP in that one as well. That’s the only one where I own both concentrations, and they are completely different. Amazing fragrances. I think if I could only have 3 perfumes from one house, I’d choose this perfume house, which is high praise from me. Thanks again for your lovely review. March 2, 2012 at 2:32pm Reply

  • Perfumista8: I have a sample of the extrait that I’ve been waiting until the weekend to sample. Now I can’t wait- it’ll be my Friday night scent. Luckyscent’s description didn’t mention tuberose at all in the extrait so I’m hoping that I won’t pick up on that note too well- I’m not a big fan of tuberose. The one exception so far is Chinatown which apparently has tuberose but it must be the way it’s blended because I just don’t smell it. March 2, 2012 at 4:49pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Swoon. March 2, 2012 at 6:01pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Love to hear your take on this one! I am such a Vero fangirl. I think she’s got the goods.

    I had such a funny experience with Rubj. For a long time I was anosmic to most of it. All I got were topnotes of baby aspirin orange blossom/petitgrain. Then, recently, in the process of decanting from my tiny sample, I could suddenly smell the rest of it! Still not quite as much animal as you get but enough to make me seriously consider purchasing the parfum. It is just as sensual as you say, and yet somehow more wearable than Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger which skitters back and forth between addictive and scary for me. No bottle yet–I make do with the remains of my sample…gorgeous! March 2, 2012 at 9:36pm Reply

  • behemot: Victoria, thank you for great review of this wonderful perfume. I ordered a sample of Rubj, encouraged by Angela’s review last year. I really like it, it is a powerful, sensuous and beautiful fragrance. Interesting and well made, but I am not able to wear it because of one of its components, tuberose. I love civet and everything else in Rubj, but tuberose makes me sniff and leads to really bad migraines. Same happens when I approach Carnal Flower, Fracas or anything containing tuberose. Since this problem significantly limits my perfumista spectrum, I am really curious if there are any chances it will change, and I will be able to enjoy fragrances with tuberose and gardenia. I have no problems wih jasmine and most orange blossoms. March 2, 2012 at 9:38pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Oh, by the way, Onda was instant love for me. I think of it as a modern, rustic Cuir de Russie with all that rootsy, earthy vetiver in place of the cool, polished iris. March 2, 2012 at 9:39pm Reply

  • Parfymerad: Great review! I sampled all three of Kern’s perfumes in extrait. Onda was just too swampy for me, but Kiki’s caramel lavender delighted me at first sniff, and as a serious white floral fan, Rubj was an instant hit as well. I loved the perfect sunny fruitiness of it; the civet barely registered with me, so it just felt like the happiest thing ever. Sadly, the prices put FBs out of my budget so I gifted the samples on to someone else to keep the karma circulating… March 3, 2012 at 6:28am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Kerrie. Hope that you can try it. I think that it might be a love or hate fragrance, but either way, it should be sniffed. March 3, 2012 at 11:05am Reply

  • Victoria: “a lift towards heaven for a girl” is exactly how the parfum makes me feel! March 3, 2012 at 11:06am Reply

  • Victoria: Exactly! I’m tired of many perfumes (even in niche) being so tame and well-behaved, and I love whenever I’m challenged. That being said, Rubj is not so much challenging as intriguing. Onda might be more in the challenging category. But the fact that you and I keep revisiting it already means something, doesn’t it? March 3, 2012 at 11:09am Reply

  • Victoria: A spot on observation!
    Yes, you are right. According to consumer research, the American and Italian women love white florals, but of course, it is a generalization. March 3, 2012 at 11:11am Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, now I cannot wait to post about Onda to hear all of your impressions on it. It’s such a fascinating fragrance. March 3, 2012 at 11:12am Reply

  • Victoria: It’s very well-blended, so you may not have a problem with it. Please let me know what you think. March 3, 2012 at 11:13am Reply

  • Victoria: *rushing to catch Lynn* 🙂 March 3, 2012 at 11:13am Reply

  • Victoria: And once again I ask myself, why it took me so long to discover Vero Profumo? Do you know that even my mom discovered them before me? She loved Rubj and wears it so well.

    I also find Rubj much more wearable than FdO, which was a surprise. Somehow I though that it would be the other way around. However, I wore them side by side and discovered that what bothers me about FdO is the sweetness. It has that “caramel stuck to the teeth” sensation, and on some days it is particularly disturbing. March 3, 2012 at 11:19am Reply

  • Victoria: Our tastes and perceptions do change, so I keep my samples on hand to revisit time to time. Unless I have an allergic reaction, it does me no harm to smell them again. March 3, 2012 at 11:25am Reply

  • Victoria: Mmmm, what a great description! March 3, 2012 at 11:26am Reply

  • Victoria: They are definitely expensive. I’m saving up for a bottle of Rubj. So far, I have a couple of samples and I steal whenever I can from my mom. The good thing is that a tiny bit goes a very long way. March 3, 2012 at 11:28am Reply

  • behemot: Thank you, it is encouraging! March 3, 2012 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Perfumista8: Day 2 of wearing Rubj. Wow. It is beautiful. I was only able to distinguish the tuberose that I was worried about in the top notes and only fleetingly. I actually liked it enough that i would have been okay with it sticking around but then it blended beautifully with the other notes. I’m mostly getting the salty strawberry that you describe perfectly on my skin and I’m loving it. The early Spring blooms are playing havoc with my allergies so I’m hoping to be able to pick up more of the animalic notes when my sinuses clear a bit. This is definitely one I’ll be considering for a FB purchase. March 3, 2012 at 2:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for sharing! I’m glad that you also found that the tuberose was blended into the floral tapestry. That’s what I loved so much about it. Every element has its place and sings in harmony with everything else.

    The EdP is more animalic, so if you have a chance, I recommend comparing the parfum and the EdP. They are not exactly sister scents, more like cousins. The extrait is a pure indulgence for me, so irresistible. March 3, 2012 at 4:13pm Reply

  • hongkongmom: I will NEED to sample these, Le Sigh….I feel like I will love them all! March 4, 2012 at 1:44am Reply

  • Victoria: Can't guarantee that you will love them, but definitely sample all three–Rubj, Onda and Kiki! March 4, 2012 at 9:48am Reply

  • Yelena: Rubj is fantastic- this was the scent that I chose for your wedding. Luckily I did not get a lot of civet in the parfum, although I get tons of animalic whiffs when I wear Kiki. Rather, I got gorgeous tuberose tempered by mandarin and come cedar and a hint of chypre to make it my own. For some reason, I adore Rubj in hotter weather- it just blooms in the best way. Great review, as always. March 4, 2012 at 5:31pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Oh I love that phrase! March 4, 2012 at 6:14pm Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: Your review made me sigh longingly for summer…….in parfum this is a very beautiful scent but I do not like it half as much in EDP. The passion fruit note jars as it does in the EDP of the others too. I wear Kiki in extrait (yum!) and love Onda though I find it as disturbingly arresting as listening to The Rite of Spring (I actually wrote to Vero Kern saying that and she so sweetly replied.)
    Nicola March 5, 2012 at 8:56am Reply

  • Victoria: My mom did say that you smelled amazing, and now I know why! Kiki is definitely more animalic on me than Rubj, but somehow Rubj is sultrier. March 5, 2012 at 5:51pm Reply

  • Victoria: That’s a great way to describe Onda. There is a dissonant note in it that keeps popping up time and again. And yet, it is what gives Onda such a memorable quality. March 5, 2012 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Nathan Branch: I think it could be safely described as “a lift toward heaven” period. I love Rubj. Gorgeous piece of work, and thank you Victoria for bringing our attention back around to it. March 6, 2012 at 4:37am Reply

  • Victoria: Nathan, thank you for your beautiful bottle images. I had such a difficult time picking a favorite! March 6, 2012 at 12:18pm Reply

  • daniel: Maybe it’s too late to comment this review but I wanted to tell you that Rubj made me immediately think of Molyneux Fete, a very beautiful vintage chypre with lots of cumin and civet. Rubj is more modern but maybe inspired by Fete April 21, 2012 at 2:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t close comments on the old articles, so it’s never too late to comment.

      Your comment about Molyneux Fete, which I now want to revisit, reminded me of Molyneux Gauloise, another interesting fragrance with a green chypre feel. Not as animalic Fete, but very bold nonetheless. April 21, 2012 at 2:16pm Reply

  • daniel: Yes! All the Molyneux are very interesing indeed! April 21, 2012 at 4:11pm Reply

  • Scenterelle: I have not tried these scents yet, but I’m curious now! Thank you. May 30, 2012 at 8:44pm Reply

  • bluegardenia: Oh I’m late reading this but simply can’t wait to try Rubj now. SL Fd’O is one of my favorite perfumes ever. I find the orange blossom tuberose combination utterly captivating. (I get no overy sweetness and no cumin from it!) September 24, 2012 at 3:59am Reply

  • Tiffany: Revisiting Rubj parfum sample in this heat and…

    wondering if anyone has layered the EDP over the parfum to get a little more full body experience? Great? Not so great?

    It really is smelling wonderful right now 🙂 July 24, 2016 at 12:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I imagine it might work, but two formulas are different enough. I have never tried it myself. July 24, 2016 at 6:30am Reply

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