Little Bottle of Italy

By Matilda Bourdillon

Do you think of Acqua di Parma as a way of life? An Italian way of life? Acqua di Parma are a fragrance brand that shares the Italian soul, style, lightness and sunshine within the world, that all began with the success of their first little bottle of Italian fragrance, named Colonia.   

1916 was the year the luxurious perfume house was founded.  Discovered in the idyllic Italian city of Parma (usually known for its cheese and ham) in a small perfume factory, it was at a time where Italian fragrances were not a common occurrence and most perfumes were strong and heavy in composition. So, this sparked the Italian baron Carlo Magnani to create ‘Colonia’ the historic masterpiece and first of many Acqua di Parma scents, a fragrance that was subtle, refreshing and elegant in comparison. And unsurprisingly, it was an instant timeless classic that emitted a unique, bright and authentic envision of Italian style.

Such a smell was originally worn by those who understood luxury. Movies stars (Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant) or stylish gentlemen (and most likely women) particularly adored the fresh and modern Italian fragrance. Not just elegant on the inside however; the chic, hand-made bottles in which the fragrances are packaged, became renowned for their yellow ‘hatbox’ inspired by ‘Parma yellow’ a popular colour that was seen on the exteriors of some of the city’s most elegant buildings.

The success of Colonia was remarkable, it is still popular today. And what is even more remarkable, is that every other fragrance that has been created since, is reminiscent of the company’s original scent, they stay true to their roots. New fragrances and products may emerge, but the business has been kept in Parma and every bottle of perfume is delightfully filled with a unique blend of Italian ingredients that vibrate with emotion and create something unique.

They are a business that are growing by the day, they have even expanded to producing homeware accessories including candles, bathrobes and leather accessories that exemplify Italian luxury.

Image Jason Yates

They currently have five ranges in perfume, all of which tell a different story. Firstly, we have Colonias, a collection based on the original floral scent, then there is Blu Meditterraneo, the novel fragrances that evoke the charm of the Italian Mediterranean. Le Nobili is a celebration of sophisticated femininity whilst the collection Note di Colonia reflects the power of love and passion.

And now the newest collection, is the sublime ‘Signatures of the Sun’ a new family of ten fragrances. Six of which (Oud, Leather, Sándalo, Ambra, Vaniglia and Quercia) are re-releases from the ‘Ingredients’ collection and the other four (Camelia, Osmanthus, Sakura and Yuzu) are new.

The precise ingredients that form each fragrance within the collection (gathered from far and wide) dictate the story of the collection, each one acting as the protagonist.  Every ingredient has been carefully distilled to create the purest essence that presents an array of seductive and exciting smells.

And the bottles are just as seductive and exciting. Each bottle is distinctively wrapped in an elegant cylinder-shaped black box which when opened reveals the memorable art deco bottle which was also used for Colonia, a pleasure to see and be reminded of. 

You’ll notice that the re-release fragrances are kept in darker bottles whereas the new, more fresh and vibrant scents of this collection, are gifted in a pristine clear glass.

Take Sakura for example, one of the new scents, wrapped in a clear bottle. Sakura is a fragrance that celebrates the Sakura buds of the famous Japanese cherry tree, and their delicate, long-lasting scents.  It’s a radiant and dream-like perfume that magically combines the surprising scents of yellow mandarin with the sweetness of Bergamot and the unexpected spiciness of the fiery pink pepper. The surprising base notes of sambac jasmine strongly counteract with the freshness of the former scents, giving this Eau de Parfum an elegant finish.

Japan is a popular choice of country for this collection, as we continue to notice Japanese-inspired scents with the next new fragrance in this collection, Yuzu (named after the fruit of beauty) which is grown on the small and remote island of Shikoku in Japan. And this is where this scent takes us. To the true natural paradise.

And of course, Aqua di Parma artistically interpret the tones of this highly-valued fruit, to create a beautiful composition. We meet again, with the Italian bergamot (a classic for this collection) releasing the sun that the Yuzu collects in the earth where it grows. The spicy touch of the Sichuan Pepper gives this scent an unexpected twist, a bright explosion that brings together the delicate tones of mimosa, leaves of violet and jasmine with the sensuality of the lotus flower. And to top it off, we finish with the elegant Italian warmth of precious sandalwood merged with musk and the fresh aroma of liquorice. Unsurprising for Acqua di Parma.

Osmanthus is the next new scent, an intense and lively fragrance that is centred around the Osmanthus flower. It is a sun-filled interpretation of the flowers fantastically deep and sensual notes. Acqua di Parma create a beautiful and artistic composition for this, combining the richness of the flower with green mandarin and neroli oil. We are taken to the rock forests of South East Asia with such a scent, where the exclusive flower blooms with a rich and powerful fragrance.

And the last addition to the Signatures of the Sun collection, is the gorgeous Camelia fragrance (based on the flower that is a symbol of purity and eternal love.) Such a fragrance begins with the unmistakable signature scents of the house, the joyous and radiant combination of bergamot with mandarin, also known as, the golden fruits. We delve into the heart of the scent with the aid of the liveliness of the pink pepper, opening up the Camelia to release the sparkling scents of lemon and the unsurprising seductive accents of sambac and jasmine. The regal structure of the flower is restored by the power of magnolia, and is closed by the fresh aroma of clary sage which leads us to the background scents of benzoin combined with the reliable and intense musk.             

Acqua di Parma are a delightful fragrance house that prove how perfume can share a taste and essence of a country in an ultra-luxurious way. Artisan workmanship is at the core of their values, and it is so clear that they care about their creations – whether it’s simply applying labels to their distinctive yellow boxes or making unique lifestyle goods.

They share wearable fragrances that take you to a place you could never imagine visiting, through their scented works of art. They continue to be one of the world’s most iconic brands, a true signature of style that never ages, and has never lost its allure.

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