Rubini Profumi is very much an Italian affair, created by Andrea Rubini in collaboration with perfumer Cristiano Canali, perfume consultant Ermano Picco and Francesca Gotti, the artist who designed the cases. The flacons are held between two distinctive sides as if the bottles are sculptures waiting to be unmoulded. Fundamental and Nuvolari are held between pieces of resinous Glebanite®, a remarkable material resembling antique stone, but is in fact as light as air. It’s made from the recycled fibreglass carcasses of boats dredged up from the numerous lagoons surrounding the Italian coastline. Tambour Sacré is encased with iroko wood from a tree sacred to many African peoples.
Andrea’s grandfather Pietro started up a small perfumery business in Verona in Northern Italy in 1937 after returning from the Italo-Ethiopian war. His post war perfumery business was the cornerstone of the Rubini family. The debut perfume, Fundamental, is Andrea’s homage to his grandfather’s memory.
Before Rubini Profumi, Andrea was restless, aromatically fatigued, looking for something that might inspire him. So, he set out to create his own scent, an odour that satisfied his vintage cravings but also represented something modern, constructed and defiantly apart from anything he had experienced to date. Could he build a fragrance that might echo with history and geography and yet still resonate with a contemporary set of complex and fickle senses? So, with his grandfather’s trade in mind and a team of exemplary collaborators, he set about creating Fundamental.
The word translates variously as crucial, intrinsic, supporting, base or foundation, the perfect mood for Andrea’s debut. Fundamental sets the iconic Soave grape note on an elaborate ground of powdered skin, woods, vintage leather, grasses, wax, velvet and addictive craven body. It is a scent that begs to be searched out under clothes and deeply inhaled off the skin. A dissonance of flesh, commerce, hedonism and clandestine fornication is played out against a backdrop of faded velvet rooms, scattered candles, the scent of fatty rosaceous lips, powdered décolleté, damp thighs and pudenda soaped and soothed with perfumed oils, unguents and creams. These tumbling erotic motifs, toasted with wine, laughter and coin in and out of shadows are the vintage echoes and foundation stones of Fundamental.
Due to the Italian government’s involvement in the 1937 Ethiopian wars, the UN or the League of Nations as it was known at the time imposed strict economic sanctions against Italy, affecting all levels of import and export. This included materials used in the manufacture of perfumes. This resulted in many of the perfumes made at this time relying heavily on natural essences, extracts and resinoids resulting in dense dark, textured scents that were strong and bawdy. Pietro Rubini would have known these fragrances, recognised the pull of their necessary allure. He sold his perfumes in the Veronese bordellos after hours to the busy ladies of the night and their clients. The women wanted to smell beautiful, lifting their bodies and minds out of their wearying trade.
Tracing a line from then till now, Andrea and his fellow Rubini collaborators have created a body of perfumes with distinctive cores. A Veronese white wine and chalk vibe to Fundamental, a roasted caramelised coffee note in Tambour Sacré and an extraordinary hot blur of gasoline and burnt rubber in the racing car inspired Nuvolari. The detailed aspects of olfactive imagination that run through all three perfumes are key to Rubini, the ability to surprise and entice us with imaginative accords and haute materials is glorious. Each perfume has a powerful presence; Andrea describes them as imagined worlds, an idea that makes intriguing and poetic sense when you consider the complex way the materials interact with one another. These worlds come alive in the osmosis of skin, body heat and the anthology of conscious/subconscious aromatic reference points we store in our minds.
One of the trio will impact you and draw you into its imagined world. Fundamental, Tambour Sacré and Nuvolari, each one a composition of consummate skill and conjured ambience.
AM 10 August 2022