Acqua di Parma Colonia Full Review: The Timeless Allure of Italy
Have you ever looked at a postcard or picture of Italy, only to be lost in your own dreams of basking in that warm Mediterranean sun, complete with the groves of ripe citrus? Maybe I am just strange, but I do. The Mediterranean countries are such beautiful places, and they also create some of the best perfumes that ever graced our senses. Even since 1916, with the unveiling of Acqua di Parma Colonia, the region has used the bountiful landscape and native plants to creature the most alluring aromas on earth.
In 1916, many perfumes were of the rich and deep variety, outside of maybe 4711, which wasn’t actually used as a fragrance, but as a refresher. So, the creation of a fresh and citrusy perfume made waves throughout the city of Parma, where the brand was founded by Italian Baron Carlo Magnani. It wasn’t long before this scent because the signature scent of many Gentlemen in Italy, and eventually the world.
Colonia opens with a sun-soaked sparkling array of tart lemon and fresh bergamot. Even in modern iterations, very few can come close to the quality of citruses used here. Outside of perhaps Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Chanel’s Pour Monsieur, which both came long after Colonia. The absolute joy upon application of the Mediterranean citruses embodies the laughter and jubilance of the people who call the wondrous region their home.
In the heart of the perfume, powdery lavender emerges to give it a barbershop quality. Airily sweet, clean, and dashing, the purple flowering plant adds that distinctive gentlemanly touch to the scent, while minty fresh rosemary lifts up the aromatic heart. An ever so slight hint of rose, in full spring bloom and radiant, gracefully lends its aroma underneath the main notes.
The base summons a dry and warm sandalwood, with grassy vetiver and woody patchouli. The trio of woods create an elegant end to the iconic scent, and it feels like they belong there. There is no forceful ambroxan or sweetened vanilla here, only the beauty of nature kissed by the citrus groves and a lavender breeze.
Colonia is an eau de cologne, and while some might view it as weak, this scent really lasts on me considering what it is. A solid 6+ hours is simply outstanding for a cologne made with citruses and lavender, plus the fact that it is an EDC. While modern standards might think anything less than 8 hours is poor longevity, most of those 8-hour fragrances will not smell as natural as Colonia, even though it is not purely natural. It just feels like it could be believably realistic.
The 1916 release is a cologne scent. It’s best for summer, but the aromatic heart also works well in spring. I know I spoke about it being a gentlemanly scent, women can also wear this. Although, I would say that is veers more towards the masculine side for most tastes. A light-colored outfit, including formal clothing, works very well with this scent, but it can also be your kickback on the weekend scent as well. I love it equally as much for both situations.
Imagine an Italian man who was picking lemons to use for dinner. He hands are still fragrant from the juice of slicing the vibrant citruses open, with the wind softly blowing the scent of nearby lavender and rose bushes into his small, yet homely abode. He is dressed in a white shirt, with tan chinos, complete with a constant smile. He has known the joy of living for so long that he has permanent smile lines. In many places this might be a sign of the lack of beauty, but in this case, it symbolizes an echelon of happiness that we all seek to achieve in our fast-paced world.
Acqua di Parma is one of the most underappreciated brands in the fragrance community. You hear about them sometimes, but not nearly enough. This is a scent that cannot be replicated. Why do I say this? I claim this because whoever recreates it would need the same mindset as the original creator, which is a zest that I doubt that someone copying someone else’s work would have. That is, unless they are creating their own version of it as an homage to such a legendary fragrance.
The simple fact is that this fragrance has stood the test of time, and still has many admirers over a hundred years past its release. I think we could all learn a lesson from this fragrance, appreciate what we have and live your best life today, because we never know when or how that could change. Also, that the charm of a classy person never goes out of style. There are very few fragrances that I would repurchase, but this is one I will never be without.
What are your thoughts on Acqua di Parma Colonia? Do you think these classic citrus scents still have a place in the modern world? What is your favorite classic (over 20 years old) citrus?
Images Credit: Sephora, johnlewis.