Last year I fell hard for Acqua di Parma’s Rosa Nobile, like right off the side of a cliff hard. She was Juliet and I was Romeo, except the whole thing had a very happy ending where we spent most days together in a euphoric haze. No poison for us, thank you. What I loved most about Rosa Nobile, and what I admire about the Nobile Collection for that matter, is the fearless simplicity that is playfully presented. There are no frills in these fragrances, they are just pure representations of nature’s beautiful gifts, each served with a stylish twist that is unmistakably ‘Acqua di Parma’.
This year Acqua di Parma are treating us to another instalment in their Nobile Collection, which showcases the natural beauty of flowers such as iris, rose, magnolia, jasmine and in the case of this brand new scent, peony, which is very much the fleur du jour . Now, I love a good peony. I love how they hide in a vase as bright cake pops on stalks, waiting to burst open in a pyrotechnic display of petals. They are nature’s most exuberant flower, showing off at any opportunity and of course, they smell as divine as they look. So, it is with great anticipation (and high expectations I must add) that I waft Peonia Nobile under my inquisitive nose.
Top: Black Pepper and Raspberry
Heart: Peony, Geranium, Turkish Rose and Freesia
Base: Amber and Patchouli
How Does it Smell?
Peonia Nobile opens sharp and fresh. Initially there is a flash of green and a crack of pepper, hinting at the harsher aspects of the peony – that hissy, lemony citrus and the sharp stems. Quickly the colour comes through in the form of a fruity raspberry tone that adds a beautiful shade of blush pink. My initial impression was that a spritz of Peonia Nobile was the scented equivalent of a fizzy sip of Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade on a warm summer’s eve (try it if you haven’t, it’s better than wine…). Like this delicious drink, Peonia Nobile is refreshing, lively and just so darn delightful it’s enough to elicit a contented smile.
At the heart, Peonia Nobile is a bouquet of freshly cut flowers with peony dominating the cacophony, unsurprisingly. Whilst the sharper, more biting rosy tones of peony are in charge here, there’s also the sweet dewy petals of roses too and a crisp, clean blast of freesia to boot. Together they smell like the ripest bunch of flowers on the block, draping one in a silky veil of delicate floral scent. What’s more, a touch of vetiver lurks in the background to increase the sharpness and to give Peonia Nobile a bit of a punch. It’s not a powerhouse by any means, but there’s a lovely presence to it that will draw in its fair share of compliments, which is pretty neat because we all like to be told we smell good, don’t we?!
In the base, Peonia Nobile warms up considerably, taking on a more abstract character. The photorealistic images of peony flowers in the garden blur, overexposing into sepia tones of amber and patchouli. The amber adds a velvety warmth and a hint of sweetness, whilst the patchouli extends the abrasive nature of the flower’s sharper edges, allowing for an intriguing clash of the rough and the smooth that makes for an interesting flourish of a finish. As always, Acqua di Parma inject a touch of flair into the juice just to emphasise the artisanal nature of their offerings. They are easily one of the most consistently high quality and classically beautiful houses out there and Peonia Nobile is the dazzling pink tourmaline in their crown.
Peonia Nobile is impossibly pretty, like a floral print from Liberty or a bed of bashfully pink peonies. It’s a simple fragrance in a sense, presenting a polaroid picture of its namesake flowers in full bloom, but there is a masterful amount of complexity involved to create such a vivid and multifaceted image. Acqua di Parma have an innate ability to present complex beauty in an effortless and classic manner, and Peonia Nobile is no exception. This is a fragrance that wears like a silk scarf – it slips on as a subtle accessory and a pop of colour that enhances one’s style rather than dominates it. Let’s just say that this is one perfect peony and if you’re on the hunt for a gorgeous floral for summer then Peonia Nobile is pretty much all you will need.