100 Years of Scent

By Jo Phillips

It’s no secret that we love fragrance at .Cent (a quick scroll through our archives will confirm this) As all fragrance lovers can agree, wearing a scent is never simply just this. The perfume you wear reflects you as an individual, your lifestyle and tastes. Scents evoke memories and feelings, and for many is a unique multi-sensory experience. We’ve discussed synaesthesia before. Simply put, synaesthesia is a condition where the stimulation of one sense produces another – so for example, sequential language say Monday Tuesday Wednesday etc may evoke colours (specific to each day) or the smell of fragrance can create sounds and colours. What’s so interesting is that the connection between scent and sound. Nowadays it is becoming more popular to create fragrance with music in mind yet one brand at the forefront of this is the iconic Italian brand Acqua Di Parma. However before we discuss that firstly we must congratulate the brand on its one hundredth’s birthday.  A brand that however much is steeped in Italian History is still able to compete with the new found fame of the niche perfume brands.  Stocked at most of the important premium stores worldwide Acqua Di Palma is a  true Italian classic!

The Beginnings of a Classic

The brand holds its origins in the north Italian city of Parma (hence the name). Aside from being known for its architecture and culinary exports (think cheese and prosciutto), Parma is known for its rich musical history. Home to renowned opera house Teatro Regio, opera composer Giuseppe Verdi and conductor Arturo Toscanini, Parma is a city built on music. It is also here where Carlo Magnani, heir to an aristocratic family, created the first fragrance Colonia Acqua Di Parma in 1916.


Born out of Magnani’s passion for opera and music, combined with his expertise and skilful eye, it was inevitable that Colonia would become a timeless fragrance. And it did. Not only so, but the brand has expanded to create more Colonias, as well as ‘Le Nobili’; the women’s fragrance collection, ‘Collezione Barbiere’; the shaving collection, the location inspired ‘Italian Resort’ and ‘Blu Mediterraneo’ and home and leather goods collections.



A Hundred Years

This year Acqua Di Parma reaches its centenary. To celebrate this, the brand has released special anniversary fragrances.

Colonia Centenary Edition (Colonia Edizione Centenario)

Acqua Di Parma have released a special edition of their first fragrance in collaboration with the Italian luxury jewellery company, Damiani. Representing the brand’s hundred years, only 100 bottles will ever be released, so truly a limited edition luxury perfume! The bottle has been exclusively designed and created by the jewellery brand and are in a filagree style.

Inspired by the décor of Teatro Regio, the design is a representation of the luxurious history of perfume and is a direct reference to the 1920s when aristocrats would use fragrances in extremely detailed bottles crafted by Italian jewellers. This same attention to detail has gone into each Colonia Centenary Edition bottle, crafted by the skilled goldsmiths at Damiani. Each bottle is made with sterling silver 925‰ – the percentage refers to a high quality of pure sterling silver. The silver is laminated, laser cut, embossed and moulded to fit the dimensions of a typical Colonia bottle. The bottle is then engraved with the Acqua Di Parma logo, the royal coat of arms of Parma during the time of Marie Louise, who was Duchess of Parma from 1816-1847 and known for promoting arts and culture of Parma and helping develop the city’s perfume industry. Finally, the bottle is taken through anti-rusting process to help further protect the silver, and a unique number is engraved on the bottle, making this a one of kind fragrance!


As for the scent, notes of Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian orange, lemon, damask rose, lavender, rosemary and verbena, sandalwood, vetiver and patchouli create a fresh, sophisticated and elegant fragrance that will continue to stand the test of time.


Note di Colonia

Alongside the Colonia Centenary Edition, comes a collection inspired by the Italian opera, which celebrates and revisits the brand’s origins.  This refers to our earlier comment regarding  synaesthesia , a topic we are all fascinated with .  Regarinding this collection, Acqua Di Parma say: ‘Note di Colonia. Olfactory virtuosity which resonates in the air like the greatest musical masterpieces. Notes of fragrance and notes of music, indefinable artistic expressions, find a perfect blend in this Collection. Through three fragrances, each of which reinterprets the unmistakeable elegance of Colonia, the progenitor from which it all originated.’

Designed with the brand’s original bottle from 1916, the bottle includes a crystal stopper which is hand made in Italy and adorned in a label inspired by opera librettos.

Note Di Colonia I‘Light and captivating notes in a crescendo which intoxicates the senses and the heart, releasing a sensation of joy that is ever more infectious. The sparkling music and the ethereal language become one’.

A celebration of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 opera, La Traviata (The Fallen Woman). Note Di Colonia includes notes of bergamot, neroli, lavender, Damascus rose, violet accord, patchouli and cedarwood for a sparkling and vibrant scent that mimics an operatic crescendo.

Note Di Colonia II ‘A cold, starry night with the dawn about to break. A suspenseful and heart-rending atmosphere, imbued with hope. The certainty of victory in the soul. “Nessun dorma”, Turandot. One of the most famous romances in which Giacomo Puccini, true poet of the emotions, modulates the subtle impulses of the human spirit in a masterful way. Calaf sings his love for the icy princess, in a crescendo where trust becomes greater and more intense.’

This particular scent pays homage to Puccini’s Turandot and all his work. With citrusy notes of bergamot, grapefruit and orange blended with cardamom, basil, sandalwood and the rich notes of musk and vetiver, Note Di Colonia II is a complex and sophisticated fragrance.

Note Di Colonia III ‘Spectacular crowd scenes, dances, music, fireworks and the splendour of the costumes. The “Marcia Trionfale” in Aida represents the peak of this grandiose opera. And in Aida Giuseppe Verdi puts his theatrical capabilities to the test. In this opera, more than any other, the maestro makes a masterful and innovative use of the orchestra. It is the wind instruments which create that triumphal atmosphere, as well as the splendour of the costumes and the bustle on stage, to communicate victory and heroism. The opera’s most colossal and spectacular aspect reaches one of its most solemn moments.’

Ginger and mandarin open up the fragrance, followed by vetiver and jasmine before concluding with notes of tonka bean, ciste labdanum and myrrh. Note Di Colonia III references one of the most well-known pieces of opera and its musical score.


Acqua Di Parma is available online here.

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