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.
Note di Colonia I is inspired by some fancy Italian opera that I am too much of a plebeian knuckle-dragger to recall properly. Whatever its musical inspiration, Note di Colonia I dances on my skin.
Despite the name, this fragrance is a complex musical score rather than anything related to an individual note (the opposite is true with Acqua di Parma’s splendid ingredients collection). Unlike other Acqua di Parma fragrances, particularly those in the Colonia line, the Note di Colonia fragrances demonstrate more complexity and a structure that moves beyond the simple elegance of cologne. These feel like true perfumes, and while they are recognizably Italian, recognizably Acqua di Parma, they offer a different aesthetic to the connoisseur.
The first fragrance in the Note di Colonia line opens with the sort of photorealistical, tart citrus that might expect of Acqua di Parma, but one that is more rounded and more dense than the usual. Three florals, shimmering and clearly defined, are detectable in the mid. Neroli, lavender, violet, and rose blend into an accord that makes Note di Colonia I come across as bright, happy, and playful, but also clean with a distinctly powdery and barbershop-like texture (the violet is the most prominent floral note by a tiny margin). On my skin, this bubbly, powdery, and shimmering mix dominates the majority of the fragrance until the deep base notes of patchouli and cedar emerge, though these never dominate and seem to be included for structural reasons.
Performance is quite good for me. Sillage and projection are both on the medium to strong side relative to other fragrances that are similarly fresh, and it lasted more than 10 hours on my skin.
Would I buy it: Yes. Bottom line, this is one of my favorite fragrances in the cologne style. Though pricey, this is more complex, more interesting, more distinctive, and more happy than many other options, so I’d certainly feel like I was paying for quality. If you have a bright personality and are trying to decide which from the line to test, give Note di Colonia I a shot. But don’t forget about the others.