Wow, wow, wow! I love it when I get excited about something. I’m just in from a night with Acqua di Parma (Thursday 29 November) and you know what? I was blown away! I love it when I learn something new!
Where do I begin? I know, at the beginning!
Let’s have a quick overview on the brand.
Debbie, who is the account manager of Acqua di Parma, in Jolly’s, Bath invited me to an evening to learn about the brand. If you didn’t guess from the name, Acqua di Parma is Italian. It was born in 1916 in Parma by the Baron of Parma, Carlo Magnani, who created the fragrance Colonia. Originally you could only buy it in Italian tailor shops. It is a fresh citrus fragrance, with its top note being lemon with a herbal middle note. It was the favourite fragrance of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn and, as with most Acqua di Parma fragrances, it is unisex. The iconic bottle was designed back in the 1930’s and is still modern today.
When Acqua di Parma celebrated its centenary year, they wanted to bring this iconic fragrance into today and created Colonia Pura. Today, this bottle meets our modern ways and is re-fillable and 100% recyclable.
Under the Colonia umbrella, you will find six fragrances and then some more. Body lotions, deodorant’s, hand wash, hand lotion to name a few. The hand lotion is a lightweight texture, well scented, and with the original Colonia.
Gary Collett, Business Development Manager for Acqua di Parma, introduced us to the floral range which really is for ladies, although he did tell me that some gents do like the Jasmine scent which you get in Gelsomino Nobile. I’m not a floral girl myself, but the Magnolia is awesome. Its not OTT floral. I could definitely wear this. Apparently, in Italy Magnolia is the bridal wedding flower and it is sprayed in the bride’s bouquet. In the floral range there are five different scents. The other one I tried was the rose, which again was stunning. It wasn’t in your face rose.
Another thing I learnt, and I now love, is that you can layer the fragrances and make your own. You could spray Oud and layer Rosa on top. There you go, something unique to you.
Just as I can’t get enough of the scents in front of me, Debbie and Gary have moved on to the Mediterranean range. These are the ones in the blue bottles if you have seen them. Obviously, blue as the Mediterranean Sea. All the ingredients in this range are citrus and are named after the coastal area they represent. These really are a light summer fragrance.
Time for a nose break! I’m in scent heaven and the room smells amazing. To this day everything is made by hand at Acqua di Parma. The boxes are made by hand, the labels are put on by hand. When you look at the products all lined up, they are not all the same. They call this ‘perfect imperfection’ made by hand, using real ingredients.
The Colonia boxes are yellow, and the reason for this is that in Parma the houses are yellow. On the window ledges there are candles burning. Huge square candles that are hand-dipped and burn for 60 hours. What is unique about these candles is that they burn down the middle, leaving the sides intact and still fully embossed. When they are burnt out they then become a lantern and hold a tea light! How cool is that?
My personal choice of fragrance is anything that is spicy, woody, and exotic so, when Gary and Debbie told us about the ingredients range, I knew this was me. I should leave right now before by credit card makes me do it!
Colonia Sandalo contains sandalwood, which comes from Mysore in India. This essential oil is very intense and has amazing staying power. This oil can only be harvested from trees which are more than 30 years old. Then Debbie introduced us to Colonia Quercia. Quercia means oak. This scent I really got. It is the moss that grows on the Italian oak trees in the forest. Debbie described this as a walk in a wet forest, and you could really place yourself there.
Finally, the last fragrance of the night, Oud. More expensive than gold! My brain is shouting, Trace leave right now! This could get expensive! I’m in heaven. I could smell this scent all day on its own or mixed with other ingredients. Love it.
I can’t believe how much I have learnt tonight. I have worked alongside Acqua di Parma for the last four years and never given a second thought to them. They are amazing. Steeped in history and, in today’s fragrance market, still managing to win awards for their fragrance which was created 102 years ago. Last year GQ magazine awarded them first prize for best traditional fragrance.
If you like me have never been near Acqua di Parma I really recommend you go an pick up a bottle. Talk to Debbie, if you are in Jolly’s, Bath. Her knowledge is incredible along with her passion for this iconic brand. The range is so huge and I have only skimmed over the few fragrances that were demonstrated this evening. You really won’t be disappointed.
For me what made these products and scent beyond amazing is that there is no awful synthetic scent. They all contain natural ingredients and you can really smell that. When you spray you get a mist of beautifully crafted scent.
I can’t wait to purchase my first Acqua di Parma fragrance, but it will be hard to choose which one it will be.
Let me know your favourite.