6/11/13

Acqua di Parma Colonia (Acqua di Parma)



It is incomprehensible that people exclude Colonia from conversations about eau de colognes, especially when debating the question of which of Europe's many Eaus is better. Why is this terrific, fougère-like cologne overlooked? Is it for being a latecomer to tradition (it was released in 1916), with its timing forfeiting its place beside classical 18th century concoctions? Or perhaps its Italian lineage separates it from German tradition just enough for connoisseurs to bite their tongues? It is actually very popular among fragrance fans, and receives high marks on basenotes and Fragrantica, but I think that when the merest mention of citrus fragrances brings them to mind, Colonia deserves to be alongside Farina Extra Vieille and 4711 (and any other R&G or Mäurer & Wirtz cologne) as an example of true refinement in the genre. This is without a doubt one of the best colognes money can buy, and will likely remain unseated until an even friendlier iteration of astringent herbs and warm woods is found.

The history of Colonia is long, and not something I'll get into here, suffice it to say that despite its purported popularity with studio-era Hollywood stars like Cary Grant and Ava Gardner, this little "water of Parma" has been through some tough times, and barely survived the latter half of the twentieth century. A trio of wealthy entrepreneurs funded its return to prominence in the contemporary fragrance market, and I think they did a great job, because its current manufacturer is putting liquid gold on people's shelves. Colonia's citrus, lavender, neroli, rosemary, and oakmoss accord is accented with white flowers and an expensive-smelling musk. The ingredient quality is there, the blending is seamless and feels quite rich, with a tiny dab of sandalwood grounding its masculine characteristics in an otherwise weightless femininity. The whole thing plays out on skin in the simplest and prettiest manner imaginable, but the fun is short-lived, so get the big bottle and reapply every few hours to carry that clean-under-the-collar feeling to the end of your long summer days.









5 comments:

  1. I just love this stuff but my wife just isn't in to it. I'm going to just get it anyway. Everything about it just feels awesome.

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    1. I think the one problem with scents like this is that women feel they're a little too "mens cologne" in style. citrus and lavender does that. doesn't change the fact that it's gorgeous!

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  2. I think she felt it was a bit to feminine but I've wanted to get it for over a year now and have some gift cards to a shop that carries it, so I'll have to spring. I'm trying to decide between this and the Essenza version. The ride is a bit different but they both end with a similar expensive soap finish that I like. The Essenza has a bit more sweet spice from the clove and my wife actually liked it. Still there is something about the original classic that draws me.

    Have you ever tried Eau de Courreges for women? Seems like it has some comparisons on fragrantica.

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    1. Never tried EdCourreges, but that's an interesting comparison.

      I am interested in trying Essenza also, it sounds like a more "dandified" version of Colonia, fully realized as a fougere instead of an EdC. In all honesty it's the "parfum" version that really intrigues me, with its reputation for being a dark, fruity chypre.

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  3. This remains my favorite citrus. Rich and classy, puts a smile on my face; just wish it lasted longer. The ingredient quality if top shelf all the way.

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