A “ravished ballerina” is perhaps the best known description for Rubj (pronounced as “Ruby”) Eau de Parfum from Vero Profumo, a cult favorite that is hugely adored amongst perfumistas. That evocative summation from Now Smell This was only the first of many admiring reviews which have since followed. So, I fully expect to be tarred and feathered when I say that I absolutely hated Rubj. It is quite a shock to me because orange blossom fragrances are amongst my favorites, I don’t have huge issues with cumin, and I simply adored Onda by the same, very talented, extremely original perfumer. Alas, on my skin, Rubj was primarily and mainly the scent of sweaty feet, combined with rancid body odor.
Vero Profumo (sometimes written with odd punctuation as “.vero.profumo.“) is a Swiss niche perfume line that was established in 2007 with three pure parfums called Onda, Kiki, and Rubj. Vero Kern, the founder and nose behind Vero Profumo, explains on her website that eroticism and originality were the goals behind each one. In 2010, the fragrances were released in eau de parfum concentration. They were not simply a milder form of the originals but, rather, slightly altered versions. Fragrantica provides Ms. Kern’s explanation of the key differences:
The new perfumes are not the diluted version of the extracts. […] In order to render the scents lighter and easier to wear, the compositions have been simplified; yet that “je ne sais quoi” unmistakably characterizing the extracts is still clearly there. “I replaced the animalic notes with the unique scent of the passionfruit – says Vero Kern – I personally love it very much and think that it lends a sensual and erotic lightness to the composition”.
Luckyscent provides the following notes for Rubj Eau de Parfum which is categorized on Fragrantica as a “floral oriental”:
Bergamot, mandarin, neroli, passion fruit, cumin, orange flower absolute, tuberose, basil, cedar, oak moss, musk.
I tried Rubj twice — three times if you’re including the fact that I gave it one more attempt this morning as I sat down to write this review. The first time, I applied the equivalent of two small sprays, only via dab method. The second time, I increased the quantity to about 3.5 good sprays. With the greater quantity, I could detect far more nuances, but the first time, my experience was almost entirely sweaty feet, followed later by rancid, sour, stale, musky body odor with just occasional hints of orange blossom lurking in the background. From start to finish, that was about it. So, this review will recount my experiences the second time around.
Rubj opened on my skin with a breathtakingly ethereal bouquet of orange: orange blossoms; delicate, but tart and tangy, baby mandarins; juicy orange meat; slightly dry neroli; and a soupçon of tuberose. It sits atop a base of light cedar, infused with basil and salty, fresh, brightly green oakmoss. It was absolutely beautiful. And it lasted all of about 15 seconds….
Almost immediately thereafter, cumin and passion fruit explode upon the scene. My God, is it brutal! Filled with animalic notes and a very skanky musk, the cumin collides with the wet, earthy, gooey, over-ripe, indolic passion fruit to create one very unmistakable scent: sweaty feet. I cannot get over it and, as the smell grows stronger and stronger, an instinctive shudder wracks my body. Soon, something else gets added to the mix: body odor. It is sour, stale, and absolutely rancid in its muskiness. In gyms all across the world, men have bags filled with items reeking of this scent. Granted, the gym bags don’t usually also have a whiff of salty orange blossoms lurking underneath, but it’s close enough.
For the next two hours, the essential core of Rubj doesn’t change significantly on my skin. At times, the basil is a bit more noticeable; at others, the saltiness of the oakmoss is more predominant. Yet, at all times, the dominant elements are that brutal cumin combined with the skankiness of the passion fruit. By the start of the third hour, however, tuberose rises to the surface, and Rubj turns into a combination of tuberose and animalic, cumin-infused body odor with a hint of tart, juicy oranges behind it. The overall effect is simultaneous sour, fetid, and over-ripe. There were more than a few moments where my skin was radiating out the scent of unwashed, dirty, caked panties. I don’t even dare post a photo symbolizing what Rubj calls to mind! I’m not a prude but, frankly, I cannot imagine a circumstance where I would want to go out in public smelling like this.
Vero Kern says on the very first page of Vero Profumo’s website: “I love everything that reminds of the smell of skin.” And her replication of that scent was glorious in Onda EDP which I adored passionately, in part, because of how it evokes the smell of skin. There, it felt fresh and sweet, and, as I wrote in my review, conjured up the slightly heated aroma of skin when you’re intertwined with your lover in the early moments of intimacy. With Rubj, however, the scent as it manifested itself on my skin was closer to that of unwashed genitalia. The smell of skin, way, way, way after love-making is over, if you will.
At the start of the sixth hour, and until the final traces of the fragrance are gone from skin, Rubj returns back to animalic, dirty, raunchy musk with a light touch of florals. There is tuberose but, primarily now, orange blossoms. Neither has the faintest chance against the smell of body odor and sweaty feet. All in all, Rubj EDP lasted 8.5 hours on my perfume-consuming skin at the greater dosage and 7 hours with the lesser one. The sillage was never enormous or powerful at any time — a fact for which I am most grateful. Rubj always was soft in terms of projection, and became close to the skin approximately 3.5 hours into its development at the higher dosage and 2 hours at the lower one. As a whole, it is a surprisingly airy, light perfume in texture and feel.
As I noted at the start of the review, Rubj EDP is a hugely adored cult favorite. The review from Angela at Now Smell This that began the “ravished ballerina” associations calls it “innocent and carnal,” as well as “very, very sexy.” Two gushing reviews at Luckyscent go further:
- Goodness, someone’s been a naughty girl. This is the most frankly sexual scent I have ever smelled. It has a heavy narcotic quality that is sleepy and langorous. Heavy, intense orange blossom over a musk that is like nothing I’ve every smelled before (in a perfume). This is glamorous, old school, femme fatale. I realize I’m babbling, but it has scrambled my brains. Do try, do try, do try this beauty.
- I love the extrait to death but find it a bit overwhelming at times. I love its mouthwatering tartness, indolic jasmine and civet base; but that can get a bit too much. The EDP on the other hand is, I find, to be quite different. Opens with a surprising grapefruit-like citrus as opposed to the tartness of berries that conjure up images of scarlet rubies. The EDP is more of a suave, maroon linen cloth. It is much airier and greener, giving it an entirely different beauty that is much more approachable than the extrait. It is still somewhat suggestive due to the discrete use of cumin. Deceptively gorgeous.
If only I had experienced a discreet use of cumin! How I wish I could have experienced the lovely “spring bouquet” mentioned by one person on Fragrantica, or the orange blossom extravaganza adored by others. Instead, my experience is much closer to that of a number of Fragrantica commentators who had a less than enchanting experience. One commentator describes Rubj as: “Tuberose and cumin. Didn’t sit well with me – an overblown tuberose with a B.O undertone.” Another calls it “medicinal” tuberose, and a third writes about “a smelly armpit kinda smell. it’s kinda like cumin-body odor over a slightly floral scent.” But I relate to, and feel most strongly for, “catbiscuit” who wrote:
I fully expect to be punished for my review here but as long my penalty doesn’t involve being doused in Rubj EDP I think I will be okay.
I have worked really hard to like this perfume with multiple skin tests and a paper test in case my skin was distorting the fundamentals of the creation. I even turned on the air-conditioner in case the ambient heat was the problem.
To no avail, Rubj EDP still smells for all the world like the skin is oozing the waste product of last night’s champion indian curry banquet out through its pores in rivulets of warm sweat. Passionfruit-basil-tuberose I can pick them up but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
It isn’t until the musk enters in the drydown (on a skin test) that Rubj truly defies belief though. It has that peppery, fruity, musky male odour found emanating from a healthy scrotum after a sweaty day’s work. As a heterosexual woman this is enjoyable in small doses and infiniately superior to the curried sweat accord but still mind-boggling to say the least.
Good God, is that accurate! Well, she and I can be pilloried together — so long as the punishment is never more Rubj.
That’s a bad perfume experience Kafka, but fear not, mine was quite the same when I tried Rubj a while back.
From Vero Profumo series the only two I can like are Kiki and Mito
Well, you and I can sit with that commentator from Fragrantica in the corner as the fans throw stones at us. 😉 The thing is — you don’t like cumin or animalic perfumes — while I do! I truly thought I’d love Rubj and it was quite a shock for me not to. 😦
Oh, actually I forgot that you’re into the cumin and animalic notes, what I didn’t know is that you like orange blossom, now I do know that.
We’re like David and Goliath now ;P
Well, it depends enormously on the sort of cumin and the sort of animalic notes. Musky, slightly skanky — okay. Dirty, unwashed panties — NO! Dry, cumin powder — fine. Rancid, stale, sour body odor and sweat — NO!!!! And foot odor most definitely not in *any* circumstances. LOL.
A mouthdroppingly fun review!
Ha! Thank you! You would have undoubtedly been more amused had I dared to post photos symbolizing what it really smelled like on my skin. I’ll just say that, judging by the photos and my findings, the market for unwashed, caked, dirty underwear amongst fetishists is significantly larger than I had thought…. 😉
Oh dear Kafka!
when I read that opening you described it sounded too good to be true…but then the cumin and body odor thing….actually I am not adverse to the smell of body odor/sweat (and in my former dancing days believe me I was not always the best smelling person to be around) but I don’t actively seek out this type of smell in my perfume so I think I will pass on this one…sorry to hear that it did not work for you….
I think, if I recall correctly, that you dislike cumin in perfumes as a general matter to begin with. So I would definitely, definitely not recommend Rubj to you!
SO similar to my experience (I got less cumin I think) but I never got as far as you because I had to wash it off before my head split open from the headache it triggered… and then I tried it again, and washed it off even more quickly.
I hope the next perfume you try is kinder to you!
I wanted to note the thing about your headache but, to be honest, I was extremely tired of Rubj by the time its third battery of smelly feet began on my arm this morning and just wanted the whole thing put in the past.
I hope the next perfume I try is kinder to me, too! It’s been a difficult 5 days, testing-wise. *grin*
Yes, time to try something by Amouage or similar, where you’re very unlikely to be assaulted even if you don’t love it. Whatever you do, don’t touch any Montale vials!
I adore it. xxx
I’m glad it worked on your skin. Actually, I envy you a lot. 🙂
This posting is awesome. Your disdain is fun to read, although I’m sure you could have lived without the experience. For some odd reason now I want to test this; kind of like smelling a carton of milk after someone else said it’s gone bad. You just need to know for yourself! :O
I truly didn’t feel disdain and I feel badly if that’s what came across. My feelings were much more akin to shock and slight horror, along with deep sadness that I didn’t get to smell the glorious orange blossoms that so many others experience. 😦
This one was a shock to the system the first time I tried it too. I was slightly horrified and desperately wanted to know where the heck the flowers were in it. All I smelled was sweat. I tried it again and it was better but still sweaty to my nose. Oddly enough my husband loved it on me. He said it did not smell at all like sweat to him. I said it did. He swore it did not. Go figure. I tried it a third time and he actually said I should buy a bottle. I told him the price. He said “who cares, it smells awesome”. He even said that since he wears some fragrances that he doesn’t care for but I like that it’s only fair. It’s grown on me a bit because I’m mentally ready for the cumin now. I don’t know if I’m liking it because of that or if it’s because my hubby loves it. It’s challenging, that’s for sure. I have yet to try Onda but it sounds like Onda is easier to wear than this.
Forget about the perfumes, let’s focus on just how amazing your husband is!! “Who cares [about the price], it smells awesome”?? What a man! As for the scent itself, I’m rather relieved I’m not the only one who smells sweat and horrifying odors. There are groups where the constant, almost daily, gushing about Rubj would lead one to think it smelled very differently than how it does on you and me. And I have no doubt that it probably does on them. But with my skin chemistry….
Going only by my own experiences, Onda was a piece of cake and a walk in the park. Not just relative to Rubj, but *in general.* I truly did not find it a challenging perfume at all. But, then, other people and their skin chemistry makes it sound like a ghastly swamp and horrifying experience. Personally, if you have survived Rubj, I think you’d have no problems whatsoever with Onda and I would definitely encourage you to try it. If you like honey in fragrances, then I think you’d love it.
Oh dear, hold the phone, now let’s not go overboard with that “amazing” stuff. I think he’d prefer me to smell like almost anything other than my churchy incense scents. The amazing thing is that he doesn’t smell the sweat that I do. He hates the smell of BO so I know he’s being honest about that.
Kafka, I almost dug my sample of both the Parfum and the EDP, just so I could go down the sensorial road with you. But I could not face the stuff again. Glad to hear it had the same effect on you. I just did not know why I hated it. Now I do. And Poodle’s husband sounds pretty Awesome, I agree!!!
You too? Okay, I admit that at times he is amazing. He’s good about my perfume problem and I don’t say anything about his watch collection.
I am lucky too. My husband is very tolerant of having my wrist placed under his nose at odd times during the day, and he wears all the fragrances I buy him for Birthdays, Christmas etc. He is also uncanny in his descriptions of perfumes I ask him to smell. He has no perfume lingo at his disposal, but he can nail the essence of a fragrance in a brief spontaneous description. I am already scheming for what I will get for him on Father’s day!!
Oh, how fun! What’s on the list of things that you’re considering? And, more importantly, what perfumes have you put on the list for him to get YOU for Mother’s Day? I think you already succumbed to a full bottle of the wonderful Absolue Pour Le Soir, so is there another perfume that is calling your name?
I think I need to drop a louder hint about Mother’s Day. I have a feeling he forgot about my perfume recommendation. I plan on getting it regardless. I actually was thinking that based on the reviews Puredistance M might be nice, for Father’s day. But I have not smelled it yet. About 10 years ago I got him Bel Ami and he loved that. I heard that M is very similar.
It is and it is not similar. You can read my review of M that is linked in the giveaway or just do a search for it on the site. On me, the Bel Ami part was only a small part of it. I have to say, I do think the perfume is VERY unisex, even if it leans a little more masculine at the start. I wouldn’t be surprised if you loved it too, which may make it a great Father’s Day present because if he doesn’t like it, then YOU can wear it….. 😉
“Perfume problem?” What problem? What are you talking about? 😉
You had the same experience?! Poor you! I must say, I’m rather surprised so many people had a difficult time, too, as I really thought I’d be in the minority on this one. I actually expected to be stoned through the monitor. 😉
I’m shuddering as I write this and I did not even see a mention of the note that must not be named. I’m sorry you had to go through 3 days (!) of disgusting sweaty feet and body odor. What I want to know is did you get any love from the Hairy German?
Thankfully, it was not 3 days, especially given how short the the longevity during the first test. It was just over a day and half. Three full days of this smell would have triggered quite a meltdown in me.
As for The Hairy German, he seems to have a sweet tooth so he responds primarily when I’m testing out Gourmand fragrances. That said, he did look extremely concerned about some of the expressions on my face…..
You have had one really foul week with testing, I say! All in the name of sharing your information with us (saving me from the experience, I admit…as your faces tend to be mine, too, I believe you when you dislike something, I likely will, too.). Now you need to reward yourself with something delightful. I didn’t have much luck with Mito, and I had such high hopes. My thought on cumin remains that it belongs in food, not on me, so Rubj will remain in my untested pile now.
Bloody iPad commenting and its autocorrect. Let’s say favorites, not faces, shall we? Ugh.
If you’re a cumin-phobe, then this is definitely not one for yu to try. The funny thing is, I thought I *was* going to be rewarding myself with something delightful when I first tried the Speakeasy and then this. Needless to say, it was even more of a shock when the “delightful” scent turned out to be like this. LOL.
Oh! This was so much fun to read. 🙂
I have a high tolerance for cumin but I can see why this one would be problematic for many people. It’s not for me though. It’s not something I would wear regularly but sometimes it just fits.
I wonder if you tried Courtesan by Worth? It might be easier on you but it still has enough dirty aspects for many people to run in the opposite direction.
I’m so glad you liked Rubj and had a good experience with it, Ines! I fully expected to love it, but….
I haven’t tried Courtesan by Worth, so thank you for the tip. I will definitely keep my eyes open for it. BTW, a big LOL at “it still has enough dirty aspects for many people to run in the opposite direction.” *grin*
Such a pity because I truly am head over heels with Rubj! Then again, I love cumin overdoses…
It’s a huge pity it didn’t work on me because I really love orange blossom fragrances. 😦 I know you love it and saw your review of it with the great drawing that you did. You have talent, Vagabond! 🙂
Awww thanks Kafka! 🙂
Dear Kafka, I have a review of Rubj in the works and never seem to complete it. I had expected to fall madly in love at first sniff with Rubj, but I didn’t. I felt more comfortable in Kiki instead.
I tried and retried until my sample was gone and then the magic happened. I like the EDP best, but you must try the parfum, which is a whole different -and less beastly- beast. I enjoy the eau de parfum best, I find it sexy, naughty and fun, but then I can stand some cumin in my perfumes.
I am sure you are more the Onda type.
I haven’t bought any full bottles of Vero Profumo yet, but I am almost sure Kiki will be the first one., since it is, simply put, the one I feel most comfortable in.
I’m definitely more the Onda type, though, honestly, I really thought I would be Rubj instead! How interesting that Kiki is the one that you fell for. I would have thought you’d be Onda! LOL. So, are you a lavender lover in general?
Are you sure about Rubj Parfum being a bit less beastly?? Just how much LESS beastly are we talking about here, because I’m honestly not sure I can go through any form of Rubj again….. *shiver* It may be a while until I can steel myself for another round.
I am sure! Can you imagine? 🙂
As much as I despised Rubj EdP (my experience with it was really close to what you described – so it was fun for me to read) I almost went for Rubj pafum bottle. Almost – because there was one time when even parfum turned ugly on my skin for a couple of hours so I decided it wasn’t a price point at which I felt comfortable gambling. But it smells different from EdP and definitely not repugnant.
Hm. Well, I still can’t summon up enthusiasm to try it, but we’ll see. BTW, were you not shocked that my experience so closely mirrored your own, given how we’re total opposites when it comes to fragrance tastes? 😉
I was!!! 🙂 But I also felt vindicated for all those other perfumes that you enjoyed and I couldn’t stand 😉
BTW, did you get my last two notes in e-mail? I just realized that you haven’t replied to any so I’m not sure if it got sent to a spam folder or something like that.
I think Kiki is the only lavender that works for me. I wanted to love the more dramatic Onda and Rubj, and I like them a lot, but I guess I am more Kiki.
I find Rubj parfum less cuminy and it doesn’t have the passsion fruit note, which I think makes it fun, becaues it smells natural, not synthetic.
Maybe you should wait a bit till you approach any Rubj again, but don’t lose the faith.
BTW, I have been wearing Puredistance Antonia more and more. I feel comfortable in it too. Maybe we should just stick to what feels like part of us.
I thoroughly enjoyed this review! I have to say, I am a little shocked at your experience as many people seem to adore this, as you acknowledge. With that said, I still hope to try the whole line one of these days, I’ll be curious as to where I fall on the ravished ballerina to stinky feet spectrum. LOL. You know, I sort of wonder if the passion fruit is to blame for the B.O. problem – passion fruit smells strange to me (though I like it in things), as do mangoes (which smell sort of feet-like to me, even though I actually like the taste). I sort of wonder whether this would work for me.
I have to think that those who love the scent have an enormously high threshold for cumin and/or that it manifests itself well on their skin. I also wonder how many dare to voice a dissenting opinion on some sites or groups, given the cult worship. In the comments here, a number of people seem to have almost the exact same experience that I did, so I didn’t feel quite so freakish. Plus, there is that poor woman on Fragrantica who had an equally traumatic stale-curry-sweat to sweaty-male-crotch development. I can’t wait for you to try it and to hear about how Rubj smelled like to you. xoxox
So, I finally ordered all of Vero’s non-extrait stuff and it arrived yesterday. Naturally, I felt the need to start with Rubj, keeping this review in the back of my mind the entire time. 🙂 Mercifully, this one seems to work well for me. Very well.
Interestingly, what Rubj smells like on me is what I had *hoped* the dreadful Seville a l’Aube would smell like on me! I’m glad I don’t get stinky feet, or really body odor at all – but I do get [non-stinky] heated skin. Very beautiful and sensual. But it does make me sad it was such a disaster on you each time you tried it, because I’m quite taken with it. And I think I will like some of the others even more. This could be a disaster for my wallet. LOL.
I’m so glad it works for you! Hurrah that you experienced something completely different than what I did. And I’m especially glad that Rubj was nothing like Seville à L’Aube on your skin, as I know how you struggled with the latter. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to try the Rubj Extrait as well one day. 🙂
Indeed, thank goodness for no stinky feet! You know, I’ve never tried an extrait of *anything*. One of these days I will, though, but I do think Rubj in extrait would be an interesting prospect. What I am really eager to try, though, is Bois des Iles in Pure Parfum concentration. By all accounts it is absolutely divine.
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I had to laugh out loud at your review!So funny and genuine!I just can’t believe how differently people can perceive the same thing.On my skin Rubj EDP is glorious,or at least I hope so. I hope the others don’t smell on me what you smell.Even if they do, I don’t care I simply like it too much.It’s the softest,warmest, plushest,creamiest and most erotic orange blossom scent ever.There’s no other like it.All other orange blossom based fragrances are simply too soapy,screechy,clean for my liking.This one feels like making love in a bed of velvet soft orange blossom petals.On my full bottle wish list for ages now, I think I’ll take the plunge for my birthday.oh,and I adore Onda too but only in the extrait.I find it jarring and uncomfortable in the edp
Hi Ana, welcome to the blog. 🙂 I loved hearing about your experiences with Rubj. It sounds glorious on your skin — very much how I had hoped it would be on mine. Skin chemistry is a funny thing, no? Given the beautiful way Rubj manifests itself on you, I think a full bottle sounds like the beat birthday present and I hope you do it! 🙂 Again, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for the warm welcome!Don’t give upon Rubj,though.Try her in the extrait, it’s sweeter, tamer, gentler.It’s really wonderful,but I prefer her sister’s wilder ride.I’m doing a side by side test tonight, and I really think the extrait is the orange blossom you expected the edp to be.No funk going on there, just pure, creamy orange blossom.It has the same warmth, thank God, I really can’t stand a soapy orange blossom
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I’m a new reader of your blog. I was looking for reviews of Rubj EDP which I am wearing on my wrist right now. I mean, I was looking for reviews of people who experienced what I had – a strong and repulsive blast of cumin and very little florals. Then I read your article. Right on! We must have the same type of chemistry and share it with that unfortunate woman who left a negative review in Fragrantica. I had asked for a sample of Rubj after smelling the extrait on a strip. I thought the extrait was lovely – deeply floral, luxurious and retro. The salesperson gave me the edp by mistake – which I thought would just be a lighter version anyway. I tried it on about an hour ago and went into deep shock – and then incomprehension when I started reading all the positive reviews. I don’t think I have ever smelled a more foul scent on my skin. I did not like SL Fleur d’Oranger when I tried it and was embarrassed that people would think I just came out of an orgy – but next to Rubj, FdO is cleanliness itself.
Oh dear. I don’t know whether to laugh, to welcome you to the tiny, minority corner of people who suffered with Rubj, or to be relieved that I’m finally not so alone. You know, I often feel like a crazy person when I read the deep, abiding love that SO many people have for Rubj in EDP form. It’s all about skin chemistry, as you noted, but apparently, there are only about 3 people in the world with that difficult skin, and we’re 2 of them!
I would love to try the Extrait or the Voile concentrations but, to be honest, I’ve been a little scarred by my Rubj experience. Your comment about how the Extrait smelled on paper reassures me a little. Then again, paper tells one nothing, as it’s clearly the actual SKIN that matters. I would love to know how the Extrait would be on you if you actually tested it. Given our skin similarities, if you experienced something completely different with the Extrait, then I might risk it again. So, in short, would you like to be my guinea pig and take the first leap? *grin* lol I’m joking (sort of), but if you ever do put the Extrait on your actual skin, I hope you let me know the results. 🙂