I've always been a perfume lover. I love walking by anyone - male or female - and have my olfactories stimulated by warm, caressing scents of candy, citrus, cedar, sandalwood, licorice... you name it. Dressing to look your best caters only to the eye, but to engage someone with the sense of smell is a slightly more intimate and therefore, tricky pursuit. This is why I used to have a maddening collection of colognes. However nowadays, I'm a bit more choosy and I've curbed my collection to just one or two fragrances that not only work well for my skin and body chemistry, but are truly original and break away from the fragrance glut that has exploded in the last two decades.
Acqua di Parma is a fragrance line that dates back to 1916. Established in Parma, Italy, (presently based in Milan) this fragrance house sought to bring a lighter and crisper scent to the heavier and aggressive perfumes of the day. The result was Acqua di Parma Colonia, a light, vibrant cologne whose success was instantaneous and much loved by celebrities of the 30's, 40's and 50's. Even as the perfume industry changed, Colonia was always appreciated for its classic scent, conveying a tradition of fine fragrance production. The website even flaunts its exclusivity, maintaining their Colonia has established a cult following among "high society devotees".
I had a few amazing scents to choose from Acqua di Parma's new Blu Mediterraneo line. Finally, I settled on Arancia di Capri for its gender neutral scent. It's a fine ambrosia whose crisp and relaxing top notes of vanilla and citrus (specifically lemon, orange, tangerine and grapefruit) suggest a subtle, fruity first impression. As it dissipates into woody and musky bottom notes, its masculine traits are more artfully asserted. Also included in the heart and bottom notes are petitgrain blends and essence of maté leaves. There are also caramel blends in the base notes, warming the fragrance as it remains on the skin.
Different concentrations in a perfume's aromatic compounds signify the type of perfume it is. A fragrance sold as Perfume Extract typically has a 20% concentration of perfume oils. Eau de Parfum is anywhere from 10 - 20% concentration, Eau de Toilette is generally 5 - 15%, Eau de Cologne, 3 - 8% and splash or aftershave at 1-3%. Arancia di Capri is sold as an Eau de Toilette and a two ounce bottle retails for about $64.
As stated on the packaging, Arancia di Capri's ingredients include: Alcohol Denat, Aqua (water), Parfum (fragrance), Limonene, Linalool, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, PEG-40 Hydrogenated, Castor Oil, Butyl Methooxydibenxoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Citral, BHT, Geraniol, Benzyl Alchohol, Disodium EDTA, Citronellol.
Being aware of ingredients in your cosmetics and fragrances is not only environmentally conscious, but it's also smart. Many people tend to be allergic to perfumes, and some reactions range from a headache to coughing, wheezing, runny nose, teary eyes, sneezing or rash. For an old and reputable perfume-maker like Acqua di Parma, I mistakenly thought that price would be an indication of purity of ingredients. However, even for old companies and products, it's hard to find any that don't go through formula revisions in response to changing availability of resources and economic factors. While Arancia di Capri includes essential oils and natural ingredients (Limonene, Castor Oil) they often are blended with fixatives or bases that aren't natural. So be aware and definitely go to www.cosmeticsinfo.org to get more information about any of your products.
There's nothing more evocative than scents, and for me, Arancia di Capri distinctly recalls a field of citrus groves at their ripe peak: warm, sun-drenched and calming as it is inspiring. There's no scientific term to explain this, just my personal association with this product. It really is a crisp, inviting scent -- delicate yet distinct, tastefully fragrant yet still unmistakably unisex, Capri is versatile for almost any occasion.
I know this sounds a bit snobbish, but if your cologne collection still consists of old standbys like CKOne, Drakkar or Polo, update your scent to this truly unique find. It's high end stuff and you'll pay for it, but trust me, everything else will smell like candy and nail polish once you get a whiff of Parma's line.
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