Behind the scenes

Acqua di Parma: a new perfume built on connectivity

The house’s Colonia C.L.U.B. has a surprising origin

Acqua di Parma’s Colonia C.L.U.B.

Acqua di Parma is exploring unusual territory in the fragrance world with its new genderless Colonia C.L.U.B. eau de cologne. Unlike most scents that draw inspiration from a concrete idea – a place, a time or indeed a person – the thinking behind this olfactory invention is altogether more meta, bringing into focus a sense of community and togetherness. It’s a rare exploit in perfume-making given how fragrance is already an adventure in synesthesia drawing on different sensory experiences, from sight to sound to taste, with all sorts of feelings unlocked along the way. Perhaps the late French fashion designer, Sonia Rykiel, said it best when she remarked: “Perfume is like a parenthesis, a moment of freedom, peace, love and sensuality in between the disturbances of modern living.”

Colonia C.L.U.B. – an acronym for “Community, Life, Unique, Bond” – goes one better by starting from a rather more open space in the imagination with a brief built around connection, warmth and kinship. So what do such things smell like according to the famous Italian perfumer? Strong notes of lemon and bergamot (an Acqua di Parma staple) lead the way with their citrusy aroma that brings to mind balmy summer days in the Mediterranean. These “scene setting” background notes would be a tad solitary on their own, so the idea of a warm buzzy ambience is conjured up thanks to the piquancy of pink berries and black pepper, as well as the freshness of minty shiso and fragrant rosemary. Keeping things balanced is a hint of musk and cedar wood, both known for their deep and rich fragrance layers that somehow tie lighter notes together – hence the final “bond” as promised in the name.

Presented in a handsome green cylindrical bottle – made partly of recycled glass and with a top made of recycled plastic – this new C.L.U.B. addition to the Acqua di Parma family demonstrates a more philosophical approach to what is, after all, an art form that stretches back to Egyptian times, when perfume was believed to be a connector between man and the gods. As we hopefully push towards a post-pandemic world, the idea of a fragrance built around the concept of collaboration and solidarity between communities is undeniably upbeat and happy making. 

£98.60 (100ml) exclusive to John Lewis

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