Monday, January 28, 2008

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta

You may remember my mention of this zesty and fresh fragrance in my discussion of our visit to Rome, Italy. For those who did not see it, you may read that here. I am embarrassed it took me so long to review it (chalk it up to too much activity since my return). Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta appropriately accompanied me through our few days in hot and humid Rome, for it was the only fragrance with me that was light enough to counteract the oppressive heat, crowds and noise. Testing the fragrance at home is an altogether different experience. I have only a few spritzes left in my sample vial so rather than needing a light diversion, I can simply enjoy its understated elegance and freshness.

With its goldenrod packaging contrasted with bold black print and their hand distilled essences, Acqua di Parma has come to represent prestige, class and elegance in the perfume world. The house is 100 years old and hails from Parma, Italy. During the early 20th Century, most perfumes in production were from Germany and were known for being characteristically strong. When Acqua Di Parma's first scent was released, it immediately developed a following that appreciated its "breath of fresh air" qualities, hallmarked by citrus fruits from the Mediterranean. During the 1930's and 1940's, Acqua di Parma gained a loyal following and had to strengthen its production capacity and distribution to meet the growing demands of the marketplace. Even so, it was not until the 1990's when three powerful men from the Italian luxury goods business decided to back the company enabling Acqua di Parma to truly became a worldwide phenomenon. Today, Acqua di Parma's products and fragrances are enjoyed by men and women desiring luxury personal products that exude elegance. In fact the brand recently opened a barber shop at the Yacht Club Milan. The fragrances are repeatedly featured in top fashion and beauty magazines, with the most popular being Iris Noble for women and Colonia for men and women.

Colonia Assoluta is a fresh take on the century-old Colonia, with more delicate notes added to modernize the scent. The notes include "Italian citrus freshness, spicy vibrations, floral radiant elegance and sensual white woods" according to the sample card. The "citrus freshness" includes bergamot, sweet orange, bitter orange and verbena. "Spicy vibrations" include cardamom, pink pepper and chili pepper (really?). And finally, "floral radiant elegance" includes jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang and wild orchid. It begins quite tart and fresh, as you would expect with all that citrus. In fact, it is so zesty to my nose that the aroma exudes masculinity. However, once the fragrance settles into the floral/spicy heart it becomes softer - counterintuitive to what you would expect with pepper and jasmine. The pink and chili pepper and floral notes are almost undetectable and serve only to augment the musky, woodsy undertones. Rather, the combination of varying notes unexpectedly morphs into a lavender-like skin scent for the majority of wear, a far cry from its citric beginning. Wearing this scent reminds me of a quick, brisk, cold shower followed by a leisurely walk in the park on a calm, spring day. I would not call Colonia Assoluta warm, but there is something remotely comforting about the fragrance. Yet, my sample vial is enough for me. Quite possibly that lack of warmth as well as my associations with it prevent me from becoming emotionally attached to the fragrance. For men and women who desire a refreshing and elegant scent for day or night, Colonia Assoluta should definitely be visited. My sensibilities are far more excited by the Blue Meditteraneo line that was just released by Acqua di Parma, especially Tuscan Cypress and Sicilian Almond. (More to come on those!)

Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta is available at Neiman Marcus and, in addition to other select boutiques. A 1.7 oz. Eau de Cologne spray is $71 and 3.4 oz. is $109.

History of the brand paraphrased from

Images of brand courtesy of


tmp00 said...

I tried Colonia Assoluta this weekend (I really had not been paying attention; I didn't even know that it was different from the regular, and beloved by me Colonia). I am afraid I wasn't moved. I don't think that it was so much more compelling than the original.

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Hi Tom,

Well, we agree on that. One more spritz from my sample vial is enough for me. Did you see the new Blue Collection? Tuscan Cypress is sooo nice!

tmp00 said...

No I hadn't. I didn't care for one of them (can't remember which though, I think it was the fig one) but I will have to investigate the cypress!

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Based upon your tastes, I do think you'd like the Cypress quite a bit. It's refreshing and unique. After I tested it around 4pm, I literally buried my nose into my wrist for the rest of the evening and kept thinking I need to buy some for my husband, too.