Acqua di Genova Colonia & 1853 Anniversario

Rather than get into note breakdowns (which can be tedious), I'd like to talk about these colognes in a very loosely comparative manner. Summer is right around the corner - it'll be here in the U.S. before we know it - and I'm looking forward to wearing fresh colognes again. Acqua di Genova is an Italian firm that started in 1853 with their "Colonia Classica," which they celebrated on the fragrance's anniversary with an "1853 Anniversario" edition. Colonia is unisex, but AdG created separate 1853s for men and women, which I find a bit odd. This post briefly discusses the masculine version. These are cheerful cologne compositions that employ typical cologne notes, yet their longevity is surprisingly atypical. I get a solid five, six hours from both, which suggests EDT concentrations, or perhaps my skin just loves them. I suppose their longevity would be just as competent on clothing, but I'd like them even if they only lasted thirty minutes. They're that nice.

Colonia smells almost exactly like Creed's Royal Water, minus Creed's signature synth-ambergris note in the base, and with a more vivid peppermint/herbal accord permeating its drydown. Price-wise Colonia is much cheaper, at about $100 a bottle ($1 per ml), and its ingredient quality is definitely on par with Creed's, if not better, so this is a superior value. A word of caution, however - as with Royal Water, AdG Colonia possesses an unusual unisex characteristic that may make "manly" men uncomfortable. If you drive a pick-up truck with pro-gun bumper stickers and habitually wear baseball caps, Acqua di Genova might not be your first choice. I have a difficult time picturing any of the guys I work with wearing this stuff with confidence, although I have no problem with it myself. These old-fashioned recipes employ a barrage of hesperidic notes that start out smelling sharp and tingly, but end up very powdery and flowery-sweet. The florals are transparent and vague, but they're definitely femme.

If Colonia is a sunny Mediterranean daydream, Anniversario is its evening afterglow, a warmer, mellower arrangement of slightly richer florals and woody notes. It lacks the crystalline citrus bite of its predecessor, but flexes a muskier bod, and it's the more masculine of the two by a landslide. When I consider how much mankind has changed in the last 200 years, it doesn't really surprise me that my "gender alert" goes off with 19th century fragrances. Modern western cultures have welded themselves to binary gender expectations, but the outlook may have been different 160 years ago. These colognes reside beyond the strictures of fashion marketing, in a realm where nature is reflected, and refracted, in one's choice of personal fragrance. For me, Colonia and 1853 are freeing olfactory experiences that fly me high above Connecticut's cultural norms and expectations, sending me to a warm inner place where work, commitments, inhibitions, and even clothing are optional.

1 comment:

  1. My grandmother Cologne. It was 4711 of Genoeses (I am genovese) , cheap and fresh. I tried it after so long and it's not the same. They changed formulation (and price). You can gat a hint of the true original ordering a bottle of Colonia at the Antica Farmacia Sant'Anna. They sell online too.


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