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Acqua di Parma

A Patrician Personality: Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge

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Certain fragrances bring to mind an image of class, wealth, and sophistication. For me, these scents are simple, usually modeled after the eau de cologne, and impeccable in both quality and design. Some of my favorite examples are the great Acqua di Parma Colonia, Creed’s exquisite Pure White Cologne, and the elegant Roja Parfums Danger Pour Homme. Put on a nice pair of slacks, shoes, and a tailored shirt, then spritz on one of those fragrances—you’ll see exactly what I mean, as they will lift the spirit and perhaps the ego (but hopefully not too much). Another fragrance in this style is Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake. KEEP ON READING

2017 Summer Favorites

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When it comes to wearing fragrance, summer is my favorite season. Maybe it is my taste, or the fact that I live in a hot, dry climate, but when I am out in public under the blazing sun, I’d much, MUCH rather smell summer fragrances. On those days, sweet scents can smell too sticky and gross, and spicy scents can smell like cumin-tinged sweat in the heat. But those summery citruses and florals, oh my… THOSE can be beautiful. Here are some favorites that I’ve been enjoying in Summer 2017: KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Creed’s Royal Water

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As a fan of classic fragrances, I had to track down a sample of Creed’s Royal Water. Like many Creeds, this is heralded as a classic fragrance, and one that is both likable and unique.

Well, it’s damn good. Creed fragrances often smell extremely natural (whether or not they are), and Royal Water is no exception. The citrus in this fragrance is juicy and refreshing, but it is by no means the star of the show. What makes Royal Water unique is its blend of citruses and green herbaceous notes. Peppermint is present, though it seems to support the other elements. Generally, in the top and the mid of this scent, the most prominent note to my nose is basil, which adds a culinary sharpness to the scent that smells natural enough to fool a cook. KEEP ON READING

Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Essenza: Modern Italian Elegance, Bottled

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By now it should be clear that I enjoy Acqua di Parma fragrances. The original fragrance, Colonia, is one of my favorite fragrances of all time, and I have taken the time review other fragrances ranging from the Blu Mediterraneo line to the first fragrance of the new Note di Colonia collection. Today I return to a staple, Colonia Essenza, which was created to be a modern interpretation of the original Colonia fragrance. In so doing I will make numerous references to Colonia (review here) in order to draw useful comparisons that might help with purchasing decisions. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Al Kimiya’s Hayat

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Tom Ford’s Oud Wood, Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Oud, Creed’s Royal Oud—each of these are great examples of fragrances that seek to make oud pleasing to the masses, with very little (if any) oud. Standing in stark contrast to those tame beauties, Al Kimiya’s Hayat is an example of what can be crafted when a talented perfumer attempts to make an actual oud palatable.

Upon first spray, it is clear that Hayat is a different animal entirely. From the outset, I can smell the quality oud clearly and without obstruction. The oud note here smells similar to the one used heavily in the fragrance “Ilm”, also from Al Kimiya. The best I could describe it, which may sound a bit odd, is the smell of a piece of fragrant bleu cheese sitting on a wet, mossy log. For the uninitiated, it will smell strange, perhaps a bit weird, but never unpleasant or disturbing as the oud is always accompanied by other elements. To make it less conspicuous and enveloping (you’ll have to try Ilm for a pure oud in all its alien glory), Hayat buries the lovely oud in mounds of cedar, spices (cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron), patchouli, and cypriot, all rounded out with a traditional dash of lavender. KEEP ON READING

Finding a Signature Cologne – Method or Madness?

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Convinced that I was in desperate need of a ‘signature scent cologne’, something that I could grab at a moment’s notice when professional responsibilities required that I enter other person’s ‘scent circles’, I decided that rather than make a choice in the way I normally would – visit my local supplier and be overwhelmed by the typical perfume prose and return home with bottles that I didn’t really like – which were perceived differently on paper than on my skin or did not fit my personal style –  in short, buying ‘dumb’ as opposed to what I often do – ‘buying blind’ (another one of my perpetual weaknesses, but that is another story), I decided to introduce two principles that might help me make a more objective decision. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Acqua di Parma’s Note di Colonia I

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Acqua di Parma’s Note di Colonia line is the closest Acqua di Parma has gotten to creating a private collection. Significantly more expensive than any of the previous collections, Note di Colonia fragrances come in 150 ml bottles that retail for over 300 euro each. Unfortunately, many will find this too high a price to pay for a cologne-style fragrance, particularly from a brand like Acqua di Parma that is known for its fresh, simple, and clean fragrances.

But they’re wrong to dismiss it on price alone. Having tried two out of the three fragrances in the Note di Colonia collection, I find that they easily compete with other high end fragrances in a similar price bracket. The quality is excellent and the compositions are masterfully composed and blended. If you don’t believe me, buy samples—I’d suggest starting with Note di Colonia I. KEEP ON READING

The problem of mugginess

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As the weather turns from the beautiful warm summer we’ve enjoyed in Wales this year, and we move towards what I hope will be a gloriously colourful autumn, this week I felt a bit stuck. Mugginess had me stymied.

You may have noticed that my fragrance choices are very much dictated by the weather. I’m lucky not to work in an office, so I don’t have to worry about wearing perfumes that are ‘office appropriate’ and when I do have to go to a meeting, there is Chanel No. 19. (Meetings were what No 19 was created for, surely?) So I can pretty much follow my instincts with what I choose to wear each day. I’m a massive fan of greens and citruses in the summer, but in autumn I tend to turn – like the leaves – to ambers. These are the scent equivalent of cosy fuzzy jumpers – not the full-blown winter warmers that you need to keep the frost at bay, but soothing, enveloping comfort scents that are as obvious and easy to wear at this time of year as a cashmere hoody. KEEP ON READING

Everything is Orange: The Best Orange Fragrances for Men

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Orange and its derivatives are some of the most popular notes in all of perfumery. Depending on how they are presented and what portions of the tree are used (orange, orange blossom, neroli, and petitgrain are all derivatives of the orange tree), orange-based fragrances often come across as uplifting and clean. After testing a large portion of the niche market, here are some of my picks of the best orange-based fragrances for men:

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: Neroli Portofino is on many of my top lists for a good reason. This is the epitome of the fresh neroli fragrances and is a classic cologne that actually lasts, especially in the heat of the summer. Mixing soapy oceanic accords with neroli, Neroli Portofino straddles the gap between a classical cologne and modern aquatic. Two flankers – Acqua and Forte – were recently released, and while the Acqua is totally forgettable and fleeting, the Forte would be nice for folks who would prefer a less soapy version of the original with added leather. KEEP ON READING

Acqua di Parma’s Fico di Amalfi: Figs on an Ocean Breeze

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Like the rest of the Blu Mediteranneo line, Acqua di Parma’s Fico di Amalfi is an atmospheric fragrance. Quite different than the dry, woody fig of Diptyque’s Philosykos, or the tropical blend of D.S. & Durga’s Debaser, Fico di Amalfi is a wet, juicy fig combined with oceanic and airy notes.

Opening with citruses, namely mandarin and grapefruit, the fragrance maintains Acqua di Parma’s citrus-heavy DNA. Immediately after the spray, within only a few seconds, the citruses recede to the background and one is hit with the smell of a juicy (and I mean juicy!) fig accord. The watery fig note is unmistakable, though it is unique in that it doesn’t share many similarities with the dry figs used in Philosykos or Debaser. Behind the nectarous fig one can detect the citruses, a small hint of crunch green leaves (perhaps from the fig tree), and a powerful oceanic note that is enhanced in complexity by the addition of a soapy benzoin (much like one might find in Prada’s Amber Pour Homme). Fico di Amalfi is certainly a fresh fragrance, and it is exceptionally unique for a fig scent, however it takes inspiration from a number of bestsellers, including the aforementioned fig fragrances, and combines them with soapy elements from successful masculines and a “fresh marine breeze” note that reminds me of the airy lift that one might find in Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino. KEEP ON READING

Iris for a (Red) Wedding

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I’m just kidding about the Red Wedding bit. If you’re currently preparing for a wedding (yours or someone else’s), then of course we hope it turns out much better than it did in The Game of Thrones. Still, it never hurts to come prepared. A good iris perfume, if chosen wisely, can be just the steel dagger in your pants that you need.

Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle

Despite the name, Iris Poudre is neither very powdery nor very iris-heavy. Boy, it’s beautiful, though. Wearing it feels like a celebration. It envelops the wearer in a white, balmy, creamy cloud of aldehydes and sweet flower petals, with subtle hints of a cool, floral iris glinting like pearls threaded into layers of white tulle. When I wear it, I feel like I’m ten again, digging through my mother’s clothes and playing dress-up with her costume jewelry. KEEP ON READING

Sampling Thoughts: Acqua di Parma’s Cedro di Taormina

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Acqua di Parma’s Cedro di Taormina:

I admit it: I am a fan of the Acqua di Parma house. Acqua di Parma produces wearable, clean, and impeccably stylish fragrances. With the release of the Blu Mediterraneo line, Acqua di Parma moved away from their more traditional Colonia style and into an emphasis on atmospheric scents. Each and every fragrance of the Blu Mediterraneo line smells natural and atmospheric, and are uniquely spa-like in their ability to relax the wearer. Cedro di Taormina is no exception. KEEP ON READING

Men’s Grooming Part 3: Shaving Soaps/Creams

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As we’ve established in previous installments, the fragrance lover has much to gain from a proper shaving routine. But when it comes to shaving, acquiring quality soaps/creams is a step that is often overlooked, which has always surprised me. Why spend hundreds of dollars to smell great only to rub suspicious chemicals into your skin daily? Smelling nice is essential for the fragrance connoisseur, but no one will listen to your description of the latest niche perfumes if your complexion is garish and your skin has been transmogrified by chemicals that you can’t pronounce. So if your 2 euro/dollar/ruble/yuan shaving gel isn’t doing it for you, this is your opportunity to upgrade your routine. KEEP ON READING

Men’s Grooming Part 2: Aftershaves!

in Thoughts by

So you just completed a perfect shave and your skin is as smooth as your mind is clear. What is a fragrance lover to do? As Aziz Ansari is fond of saying on the television show Parks and Recreation,  “Treat yo self!” Do your skin (and nose) a favor: skip the cheap drugstore aftershaves that have shady-sounding chemicals on the label and instead go for one of the many top-quality alternatives that are available to the modern gentleman. In today’s post I bring you a selection of six of the finest aftershaves currently available: KEEP ON READING

Men’s Grooming Part 1: Fragrances for Traditional Wet Shavers

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Why should there be a special post on fragrances for traditional wet shavers? Well, as those who embrace this traditional practice have learned, the process of wet shaving is not merely a daily task, but rather is a meditative ritual that can provide delight and even intellectual stimulation. Everything from scent to sound becomes more acute as the razor is brought to the face, perhaps because the brain instinctively understands that this a practice that requires special attention and care. In my own experience, shaving in the early morning will awaken the mind and revitalize the senses far more effectively than an espresso. Because of the alertness and sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving a flawless shave, certain fragrances will provide a particularly enjoyable conclusion to the shaving ritual. I shave in the morning and I am a traditionalist when it comes to pairing my fragrances with wet shaving, so I prefer fresh, barbershop, and conservative scents that are able to extend this sense of alertness and accomplishment well into the afternoon. KEEP ON READING

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