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Aromatherapy: Acqua di Parma – Colonia Intensa

I would like to note in advance that this post is in no way a sponsored post and thus the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors (aka pluralis maiestatis)

If you haven’t read my other posts in the Aromatherapy series, this particular collection of blog posts is dedicated entirely to perfumes and colognes and you may have gathered that I am a rather scent-driven individual, thus I declared it appropriate to discuss a few of the fragrances that I really enjoy and have recently acquired. While there were initially at most only two posts, in the past few months I have significantly expanded my fragrance collection with some excellent additions.

The Story

This particular post in the series will be devoted the classic niche fragrance house Acqua di Parma. Originally founded in 1916 in Parma, Italy it has since grown to become a house-hold name in the luxury segment of fragrances. Considered a classic, Acqua di Parma found its golden age in the 1930s – 1960s with iconic wearers including Cary Grant, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn and many more. At the time, perfumes were much stronger and more obtrusive and thus Acqua di Parma’s first perfume Colonia became a light, unisex and approachable alternative. One could say that Acqua di Parma became the smell of Hollywood.

Today Acqua di Parma is owned by LVMH and has over 50 perfumes in its line including many derivatives of the Colonia line as well as individual fragrances that still embody the core scent such as one of my personal favorites–Oud.

The Scent

The reason I chose Colonia Intensa over the traditional Colonia was due to the complexity of it. While both Colonia and Colonia Intensa contain the base notes of Calabrian bergamot (bitter orange) and Sicilian lemon, the Colonia Intensa also contains leather, wood (cedar specifically), patchouli and musk, though I would by no means describe this scent as a woody scent as it is still very much in line with citrus and summer. I personally consider Colonia Intensa to be a more masculine (while Colonia is rather unisex) and as the name indicates intense. It is seductive while Colonia is more playful, reminiscent of a day out on a boat in the gulf of Naples, whereas Colonia Intensa is like that romantic dinner you will be taking with your loved one at a wonderful osteria on the island of Capri. Bergamot has a known anti-depressant effect, another reason why many people prefer to drink Earl Grey tea in the morning as opposed to a Ceylon or English Breakfast tea. It will never have an “oh my God, what is that smell” moment but wearing it will most certainly invite people to ask what the fragrance you are wearing. The worst case scenario is people being aware and comforted by the smell while not necessarily being aware it is coming from you. I also believe it garners a certain respect as it is quite sophisticated without being antiquated.

The scent is very invigorating and excels in warm to hot weather. As much as I know people who consider this to be a four season scent, I unfortunately do not agree entirely. While I could see the benefits of wearing such a citrussy scent in the winter/colder months, cold weather dampens a perfumes intensity and that leads me to the one downside of this fragrance, namely the sillage or path a scent leaves in the wake of spraying.

Do not get me wrong, as Acqua di Parmas scents are of high quality and the ingredients are truly wonderful, however, this is an eau de cologne, which naturally means the longevity will be rather weak. These are not the overpowering perfumes that hit you like a train but are rather meant to be refreshed every few hours. I never get more than maybe 3-4 hours out of Acqua di Parmas scents and normally top it off if that is the scent I am going for. I will admit, this isn’t a real go-to evening scent for me either but rather the one I wear during the day when the weather is still hot. It is lighthearted while still remaining mature. Nonetheless, you cannot go wrong with it. One of the greater criticisms is that it smells like an over-priced barber after-shave and it is true that that Acqua di Parma fragrances are no walk in the park for your wallet. I picked up the 180 ml bottle because I knew how much I’d use it and was fortunate to snag an excellent good discount. Retail prices vary from 80€ for 50 ml to 145€ for 180 ml.

There are certainly similar scents for less money but to me it was worth the price tag as despite the longevity and sillage, it is still a fun scent that will uplift even the most dreary of summer days. It will remind you of rolling Tuscan hills, Neapolitan beaches and Florentine villas and for a quick moment transport you somewhere else. Nothing wrong with that!

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