5th August 2015

Outdoor Pursuits: Acqua di Parma Colonia Club

Acqua di Parma Colonia Club1

Thomas Signature

Nobody puts together an eau de cologne quite like Acqua di Parma.  After all, they are the Italian brand behind Colonia, a refined and classic cologne filled with mouth-watering citrus notes and a touch of something leathery and animalic.  Acqua di Parma allow our eager noses to enjoy Colonia in a variety of ways, whether that be in the classic interpretation (see Colonia) or in a deeper, richer and more intense format (see Colonia Intensa), amongst many others.  They even present this enviable signature accented with the note du jour, oud (see Colonia Oud) and the always enjoyable leather (see Colonia Leather).  So, however you like to take your cologne, Acqua di Parma have got you covered.

The latest addition to the Colonia stable is Acqua di Parma Colonia Club.  Inspired by a private sports club, and the gentlemen who may attend such an institution, Colonia Club takes the signature of Colonia into a new territory, specifically evoking the idea of outdoor pursuits undertaken by the gentrified and elite.  But that’s not to say it’s not for us members of the hoi polloi, either, and in truth Colonia Club comes across as a relaxed and elegant eau de cologne for the gent (or lady – it is easily unisex to my nose, after all) who longs for a modern, and unique twist on the simplicity of the classic Colonia.

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Acqua di Parma Colonia Club

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The Notes

Top: Mint, Lemon, Bergamot, Mandarin, Neroli and Petit Grain
Heart: Lavender, Geranium, Shiso, Caraway and Galbanum
Base: Vetiver, Musk and Ambergris

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How Does it Smell?

Colonia Club starts out zesty, fresh and green.  The top notes unleash a wave of citrus fruits (bergamot, lemon and mandarin) and garden mint, which is green and dewy, and provides a cooling menthol effect.  Bitter galbanum accentuates the green bite of the opening, whilst a dry and herbal lavender note adds a gentrified feel, leading one to think of classic sports colognes for men, and the smell of the changing rooms at an elite sports club, perhaps.  The opening is refreshing and bracing, yet stylish and refined, and ultimately in keeping with the Acqua di Parma aesthetic.

Underneath this big splash of citrus and mint is an indolic orange blossom note that firstly, gives a great big nod to the original Colonia, ensuring that the signature of the classic is not lost, and secondly, gives the whole thing a honeyed and beeswax-like facet that is just a little bit sexy (in an energetic yet sweaty sportsman kind-of-a-way).  Perhaps the most enjoyable facet of Colonia Club though, is the salty marine accord that hums along gently in the background.  Note how I don’t say ‘aquatic’ here, and that’s because the impression isn’t of the ocean per se, it’s more of a cool sea breeze, briny and moist with drops of ice cold sea water.  This may make this particular cologne sound as if it has just a little bit too much going on, but in truth, it all sits together perfectly, and Colonia Club does a very good job of modernising, with complexity and depth, the simple and classic signature of the eau de cologne.

As it dries down, Colonia Club softens.  It loses the bite and sharpness of its initial verdancy, but maintains the sea-salt and beeswax facets, accentuating them with oceanic ambergris and a skin-like musk.  The base is transparent, cool and, in keeping with the fragrance’s overall concept –  utterly refreshing.  Sure, it doesn’t pack quite as much of a punch as the first half (which has remarkable presence and sillage for a cologne), but hey, that’s the modus operandi with many eau de colognes, and it simply serves as an excuse to re-spritz and refresh periodically throughout the day.

To my nose, Colonia Club feels like a perfume of two halves, each of which are filled to the brim with extraordinary range.  On one hand it’s a refreshing, musky cologne (instantly recognisable as the brand’s signature Colonia) with an intriguing salty, marine twist, whilst on the other, it’s also a green fougére dominated by dewy mint and rich lavender.  The blending however, is utterly seamless and Colonia Club manages to present an active sense of freshness that evokes the idea of outdoor pursuits, making it the perfect fragrance for a spot of cricket, or even a game of polo.  If, like me however, you are sports-averse, then Colonia Club is also a suitable complement to a freshly-laundered polo shirt and a day spent doing not much at all.  Versatility is the game at play here, and it seems that Colonia Club is winning by a long shot.

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