We’re feeling wistful for summer – and it isn’t even over yet.
But for anyone who feels the same way, Bottega Veneta‘s new Parco Palladiano collection of fragrances brilliantly captures the sparkling light and cool green gardens of the Veneto region – where this fine leather goods (and now fashion) house was founded, almost exactly 50 years ago.
Created by three top perfumer names, and with Creative Director Tomas Maier‘s steady hand on the tiller, they set out to be ‘olfactory trompe l’oeuil’, capturing different moments and experiences in a Palladian garden. As he puts it: ‘The fragrances of Bottega Veneta tell the stories of the quintessential Italian experiences…’
This particular part of Italy – inland from Venice – has long been on our bucketlist, with estates designed by 16th Century Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, classical architecture merging seamlessly with the landscape. It’s a treat for the eyes, everywhere you look – with vistas like the one above (and at the end of this story). And each of these fragrances sets out to conjure up a different time of day, a different part of the garden…
Parco Palladiano I
As Bottega Veneta explain, ‘This fragrance evokes the early moment at the beginning of the day when the sun begins to shine on a garden that is still dew-covered, immaculate…’ By Michel Almairac (who created the debut Bottega Veneta fragrance), it showcases the magnolia – not just the flower, but the cool, shade it casts with its leathery leaves and sweet petals. If you love the original Bottega Veneta, this one’s probably for you: its much-loved leatheriness really is echoed here, surrounding sweet floral notes (and if we’re not mistaken, a touch of lily of the valley).
Parco Palladiano II
The dark evergreen element of cypress dominates this – brilliantly contrasted with bright pink pepper, giving an airy freshness that would energise on even the most sluggish of mornings. As perfumer Alexis Dadier explains, ‘The cypress tree is emblematic of the Venetian landscape, its slender shape a link between Palladian architecture and nature. This scent has all the vitality of spring – very green and fresh.’
Parco Palladiano III
Daniela Andrier – like Almairac, a Bottega Veneta ‘old hand’ – turned her talents to this mint-infused, so-refreshing scent, which invites Cologne-style all-over spiriting. There’s a sun-ripened pear element, along the invigorating mint – and as Andrier observes, ‘It is an imaginary promenade where the seasons overlap like a labyrinth and memories of gardens in bloom mingle with those of our childhood…’
Parco Palladiano IV
IV is has a radiance that’s like sun streaming through an open window. Azalea – which is rarely encountered in perfumery – is underpinned by a velvety chestnut element, giving a gourmand flourish in the dry-down. Its perfumer Alexis Dadier observes: ‘In the afternoon, the clouds of azaleas that cover the ground outside a Palladian villa are magical. I wanted to capture the sense of a garden in summer as the scent rises in the sunlight…’
Parco Palladiano V
Woods and spices, aromatic sage, laurel and rosemary are the stars of this Daniela Andrier offering: ‘as the sunlight hits the gardens, the tree path provides brief shadow and adds to the scent of this perfect mid-afternoon moment.’ Eminently, shareable, like the rest of the collection, it’s again a study in contrasts, with the crispness of laurel counterpoised by a shimmering warmth. ‘My intention was to bring the elegance of these gardens to life, and also their imperfections, to render them even more romantic,’ explains the perfumer.
Parco Palladiano VI
Is a garden ever complete without a rose…? Of course not. This one was team-work: Michel Almairac paired up with Mylène Alran for a sun-warmed rose that’s warmly spicy, rather than dew-drenched, setting out to conjure up an opulent armful of roses, brought inside the villa for evening and set among polished, woody furnishings. ‘The rose is the most elegant of flowers,’ notes Alran – and this most definitely has a most refined elegance.
There’s a great deal happening on the Bottega Veneta front this autumn, with the Parco Palladiano collection kicking off the party: six strikingly different luxe scents – yet each airily and ethereally beautiful. We certainly recommend suggest a journey to Harrods Salon de Parfums (or a Bottega Veneta boutique), to sniff them for yourself.
‘Palladio is a source of endless inspiration for me in many ways,’ concludes Tomas Maier. ‘My father was an architect who studied the work of Palladio, so his teachings have always been part of my life… Palladio was an artisan as well as an architect who sought balance and harmony in everything. The Palladian gardens that inspire this Parco Palladiano collection represent a perfection on earth and an agricultural utopia…’
Hard-pressed to choose between them, we say: these fragrances are pretty close to perfection, too.
Bottega Veneta Parco Palladio £190 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Harrods