Sometimes I follow my eyes towards a perfume, and sometimes that leads me to something nice and worthwhile.
Acqua di Parma is such a line, where what I saw interested me more, than what I expected to smell. That may be a Perfumista sacrilege, but it is the truth nonetheless.
I’m going to take a look at three classic colognes today. There is a fourth – Colonia Assoluta – that I haven’t got a sample of (yet). It is a composition of Jean-Claude Ellena and Bertrand Duchaufour, so I think it warants its own review on the strength of that information alone.
Colonia is a classic cologne, totally unisex in my eyes. Colonia includes notes of Sicilian bergamot, lemon, bitter orange, lavender, rosemary, verbena, clary sage, Bulgarian rose, sandalwood, vetiver, cedar wood, patchouli and oakmoss.
Opening strong and bracing with sharp citrus notes, herbal green notes soon take over. Rosemary and clary sage over verbena, with a smidgen of rose thrown in to keep the composition from being too harsh and masculine, constitute the heart of this perfume. It lingers for a long time, thanks to the balanced base of vetiver, patchouli and woods.
Colonia is by far my favorite of the three. Over 95 years old – Colonia made its debut in 1916 – this classic is wearable and timeless. In this case, the visual presentation and the juice it harbors, are good match for me. Great year-round as a quick pick-me-up that doesn’t require thinking or a special mood, Colonia can be a staple in anyone’s perfume wardrobe. Also available is an entire body product range, therefore making Colonia the perfect gift for men and women.
Colonia Intensa is a more recent addition to the line, and one whiff makes it clear that this is not intended for unisex use, it is geared towards the men’s market, probably as a counterpoint to the women’s line I already reviewed – I Nobili.
Colonia Intensa includes notes of bergamot, lemon, cardamom, ginger, myrtle, mugwort, neroli, cedarwood, lignum vitae, patchouli, benzoin and musk.
I don’t like the super-butch, “I’m a man!!!!” – opening at all, although it might be good on a man who likes this kind of reinforcement, I suppose. Colonia Intensa is not just an intense or longer-lasting version of Colonia, it is an entirely different perfume. More woody and leathery than Colonia, the drydown is actually very interesting, with a lot of benzoin sweetening up the cedar and patchouli base.
This is the most recent launch of 2010. Essenza is presented in a black bottle and is supposed to reprise the classic Colonia in a modern way. Well, it sure does that, and we all know, very often that is not something to be proud of (especially not, if coming from LVMH, who bought Acqua di Parma in 2003). Sadly this is the case here as well. Essenza smells cheap, like a shower gel at best. What remains of the scent after ten minutes, is a vague, bordering on unpleasant, soapy musk, that puts the pretty bottle and the good name of Acqua di Parma to shame.
My advice – stick with the original!