Acqua di Parma Colonia and Pleasures of Colognes

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Patricia on Acqua di Parma Colonia and other citrus favorites, from Parfums de Nicolai and Annick Goutal to The Different Company and Guerlain. 

Colonia by Acqua di Parma is a fragrance with a past. Created in 1916 as the first fragrance of a small perfume factory in Parma, Italy, it was first used to scent the handkerchiefs that men carried with them at the time. Later it was the darling of worldwide celebrities seeking Italian chic in the early and mid twentieth century. Acqua di Parma then fell on hard times but was revived, along with Colonia, in the 1990s.

acqua-di-parma

I must confess a partiality for aromatic citrus fragrances. Like one who works out real-life problems at night through recurring dreams (being caught unprepared for an examination is a personal favorite), I repeatedly buy citrus colognes very similar in nature, the most recent of which is Colonia, purchased on a hot sunny September afternoon in the South of France.

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Perfume Samples Giveaway Winner

is Sammy. Congratulations! Please email me your address, and I will pass it on to Rachel.

Again, thank you to Rachel for your generosity and willingness to share!

If a winner doesn’t respond within 7 days, I reserve a right to pick another person.

Bitter and Sweet Chamomile : Perfume and Tea Note

I am spending a summer afternoon at my grandmother’s in my favorite manner–stretched out on the grass, reading a book. Absentmindedly, my eyes glued to the page, I pick a small flower from a patch in front of me and bring it to my nose. In that instant, I forget about the book, and the only thing capturing my attention is the poignantly familiar aroma of chamomile, of bitter honey and green apple.

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The reason chamomile, a simple, ubiquitous flower, puts me under its spell so quickly is that the herb used to be a favorite cure-all remedy in our household during my childhood. It was used in tisanes to help me sleep, lotions to soothe rashes or hair rinses. It’s the smell of summer in the countryside, and when my great-grandmother was alive, at this time of summer we picked baskets of chamomile and dried them in the shade. These days we don’t bother anymore, and my grandmother is happy just to buy the ready-made chamomile teas from the pharmacy. But since I have nothing but time and plenty of chamomile around me, I find an old wicker basket and gather a few handfuls of flowers. Spread out in a thin layer, they look like a polka dot extravaganza, and the scent intensified by the sun is unexpectedly lush.

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Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi : Perfume Review

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Mandarins smell unlike any other citrus fruit. Cradled inside their zesty, bright aroma is a sweet orange blossom, and this nuance gives mandarin essence complexity and richness. (For fragrance nerds: this orange blossom note is given by methyl anthranilate, an aromatic compound also present in Concord grapes and wild strawberries.) Because of its sweetness and juicy effect, minus the strident sharpness, mandarin is used in many fragrances as a top note. It’s inviting and refreshing, and it works in many different contexts.

tom ford mandarino

By contrast, mandarin based colognes are less common, with bergamot, orange, and lemon forming the trifecta of favorite cologne citrus. Mandarin can be used generously, but I have often craved more than most colognes offer. And here comes Mandarino di Amalfi by Tom Ford.

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Viktor & Rolf Bonbon : Perfume Review

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I divide the contemporary fragrance world into the children of Thierry Mugler Angel and the children of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue? Well, the Angel clan can welcome a new sibling, Viktor & Rolf Bonbon. A textbook gourmand, Bonbon is exclusively for the lovers of sweet. If you like your cotton candy with a dose of peach syrup, then you’re in  for a treat. If not, then you can count on a headache.

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When Angel was launched in 1993, its caramel and vanilla overdose was so novel that it at once attracted and repelled. “It’s not a perfume, it’s a flavor blend,” said some perfumers. “Unsophisticated, vulgar, crude,” said others. But after a slow start, Angel proved that it had much more than sweetness and that it could create a new family of perfumes. Today, over-the-top vanilla and caramel are nothing new, and as Bonbon demonstrates, they make a commercial, easy to like scent. We’ve been well-trained by Angel.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Michaela in Cult Perfumes: Very interesting article! I’d love to try these perfumes if I get the chance. I think my love-or-hate perfume is among my winter staples, Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant. But it’s very… July 31, 2014 at 9:28am

  • Portia in Cult Perfumes: Hey Victoria, I have a bottle of Iris Pallida, the LE L’Artisan release and Tea for Two by the same house. Though only a cult hit at my house, I… July 31, 2014 at 9:27am

  • Tijana in Guerlain L’Heure de Nuit : Perfume Review: Hi Victoria – I am contemplating purchasing L’Heure de Nuit, but I need a second opinion before I splurge due to some incosistencies in how this fragrance evolves on me… July 31, 2014 at 9:21am

  • allgirlmafia in Cult Perfumes: Good point. I own and appreciate Bvlgari Black. I hardly wear it tho. July 31, 2014 at 9:18am

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