Happy Birthday, Acqua di Parma: three new Colognes celebrate their centenary

Can you hear the sound of corks popping all the way from Parma…? Really ought to be able to, because the celebrations for heritage perfumery Acqua di Parma have been going on all year.
With a focus on artisan creation – from the scents to hand-crafting of leather goods via the so -distinctive butter yellow packaging (did you realise that every label is applied by hand?) – Acqua di Parma manages perfectly to walk the tightrope between heritage and modernity. (And as a result will probably be around in another 100 years…)
We’ve looked in-depth at the story of this extraordinary perfume house in the Travelicious edition of The Scented Letter – get a sneak peek, here. ( VIP Subscribers can read it when logged in to the site by clicking here.)
To mark the anniversary there’ve been all sorts of events and creations – from a chased metal bottle of Cologne to arts happenings and, most accessibly for those of us in the UK, the unveiling of a trio of new fragrances, exclusively available at Harrods (you might want to take your nostrils on a little pilgrimage to Knightsbridge).
As ever composed of notes and harmonies, it turns out these are actually inspired by the world of Italian opera…
Note di Colonia I – a stunningly sparkling composition, full of light and life and (we’re told) ‘inspired by Verdi’s La Traviata and its much-loved ‘”Libiamo ne’ lieti calici”‘. (We’re planning on downloading it on iTunes so we can listen-while-we-spritz, in-store.) Citrus-rich, with lavish quantities of neroli and bergamot, it has an aromatic heart fresh with lavender, warmed by rose and violet – and with a woodsy finale of patchouli and cedarwood.
Note di Colonia II – has its creative roots in ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini’s famous ‘Turandot’: yet more citrus (this being a Cologne), radiantly fusing grapefruit, orange and bergamot. In the heart, you might make out basil and cardamom – but it’s the deep base that promises intrigue here, lingering on the skin to deliver guaiac, vetiver, sandalwood and musk.
Note di Colonia III Verdi’s ‘Marcia Trionfale’, from Aida, was the springboard for unquestionably the richest of the trio: an overture of uplifting mandarin and ginger, a dry and woody vetiver heart, with frankincense (olibanum) contrasted with jasmine, then underpinned with exotic elements of tonic bean, cistus labdanum and myrrh.
With relatively few of these specially-designed collectible bottles produced, the price-tag’s accordingly rather higher than most Acqua di Parma creations – but then there’s always Christmas…
Acqua di Note di Colonia Collection £280 each for 150ml
Buy them at Harrods or online at

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