A while ago, I was taken on a tour of the Aqua di Parma flagship counter at Parkson Pavilion KL. I was quite keen because you see, I am slowly but surely leaning towards wearing fragrances from the niche perfume houses – proper perfume houses. Acqua di Parma started out in Parma, Italy as a little perfume house and still remains a perfume house, albeit having spread out to encompass other lifestyle elements that one associates with luxurious fragrances – spas, candles, bathrobes even leather goods! Their signature scent is Colonia and harkens from 1916! Like many niche perfume houses, they don’t segregate their scents into male and female scents. Just wear whichever catches your fancy! I love that
One of their younger lines, the Blu Mediterraneo or Blue Mediterranean range recently got a face lift to standardize the design of the bottles with the rest of the line. I used to wonder why the bottles looked different (uglier in my view) but they now sport that sleek slightly trapezoid cylinder shape that we see in all AdP bottles. There are 5 fragrances in the range symbolic of the scents of Italy – oranges, figs, cypress to just name a few; of which Arancia di Capri is one of my faves because of the lovely citrus note that opens the fragrance.
The bottle is a translucent deep blue that evokes the blue of the Mediterranean sea. The bottles come in nestled in round cardboard cylinders wrapped with paper, which are apparently still hand wrapped, and the labels still hand pasted in a perfumery in Parma, Italy. I’m not very good with talking about notes and base notes and the nuances of the perfume so I’ll just tell you what this evokes for me.
Arancia di Capri at first spritz makes me think of bitter orange peel.
That doesn’t sound too lovely unless you have peeled an orange or a grapefruit and smelled the zest that sprays from the peel to perfume the air. That is the sort of note that first hits my nose. It isn’t sweet, but bitter and tangy and orangey all at once, and that’s how I like it. I happen to really love eating grapefruit so that should give you an idea of the scent I like
In our warm weather I find that the initial orange scent dissipates quite quickly. Yet, it lingers. What an oxymoron.
But yes, I find the scent isn’t too obvious after a while, but lingers around; wafting to hit my nose as I turn my head, catching a whiff of it when I least expect it. And by this time, I find it takes on a slightly musky yet sweet note. The base scent has been likened to caramel but unlike the sweet smell of creme brulee that really makes me feel too cloying, this is the slight bitter scent of burnt sugar.
I don’t know. I just love it because I did not expect all that bitter musky notes! It must be noted that most fragrances will react to your skin in different ways so this is how it reacted with mine. It eventually makes me smell of slightly burnt caramel with a tangy note. Quite an interesting scent.
I like it. The scent makes me happy and really, when a perfume does that, its a keeper!
Another top seller is the Iris Nobile which too starts out with a citrus note. I liked the heavier scent which became more markedly floral as it dried out, although I’m not usually fan of iris scents. I find it too sweet. But somehow, the scents of Acqua di Parma never quite hit that “Oh Lord! This is so sweet I’m about to puke!” level. They tend to have a slightly more musky center, so although this one is a bit powdery, it is never too much.
I took a whiff at the counter and am toying with picking this up some day. I wasn’t too taken with Colonia, the signature scent but I was strangely, rather taken by Colonia Assoluta a much stronger version of Colonia that I’m told is favoured by men. Ooh err….
Whilst the fragrances aren’t segregated into male and female lines, some scents are quite clearly female – light, smelling sweet or citrusy – and some markedly male – musky, woody and heavier. Yet, if you gravitate towards male scents, you could easily get the scent you want.
Candles! I love them an these are luxury ones to the max. The scented candles come in the regular jar versions (jars are reusable once all the wax melts) or in these block versions. The candles apparently burn a hole down the middle so you can use the block as a display item.
Someone I spoke to who went for a press trip for Acqua di Parma to Italy (lucky duck!) said that the gardens were fully fragranced with these candles set every few steps. Would that I could have that sort of atmosphere – sitting under the stars, warm breeze wafting the scent of Acqua di Parma perfumes in the air, blue Mediterranean sea in the distance. Dried apricots and figs on my plate to pick at… ahh!
Personally speaking, I don’t think the scents of Acqua di Parma are for everyone. I find them in general, a little strong, with strong elements of wood and musk woven between the sweetness. If you like a straight sweet floral scent then you may not like what you smell here. But if you are after something a little different from what everyone else around you wears, then its worth taking a look.
At the prices they go for (RM350+ and up a bottle I think) these aren’t your run of the mill fragrances. It is something you savour. And if you do go to the counter, please stop and sniff at Arancia di Capri and tell me if it makes you feel as happy as it makes me
Have you tried an Acqua di Parma fragrance before? Do you have a fave to recommend?
I actually like the deep blue of the Blue Mediterranean bottles. It looks so refreshing next to the regular deep yellow and black of the signature bottles
Acqua di Parma flagship store is at Parkson Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Prices start from RM116 but fragrances will start from RM350+ and up