Eau De Cologne is my theme for this post. It is an area I don’t explore – at all. I like my citrus fruits now and again, I love the juicy orange, oakmoss and spice of the yet-to-be-reviewed Azemour Les Oranges, and my favourite of all time – Orange Star by Tauer.
These two are much more traditional though, but two fine examples of classic cologne perfumery.
Acqua Di Genova was made over 150 years ago in 1853 and is apparently still true to its original formula (I’m sure it’s been tweaked but I suppose the quantities are still the same). The cologne from the infamous house of Santa Maria Novella, which I have been exploring recently, is a slightly more modern take on the cologne – being produced in the last 20 years.
Acqua Di Genova starts subdued and gets stronger – within seconds it becomes a powerful lemon/bergamot, stark and sharp, but not too sour. I always associate this kind of singular lemon soliflore style with scented cleaning products (which I’m sure many people do). It is reminiscent of that – and doesn’t quite have the mouthwatering quality I’d hoped.
The citrus tames, and gives of a more muted lime feel which I much prefer, and a sweet creamy woodsy note comes from underneath. The texture goes from transparent but bright, to a denser lemon/lime cream. A delicate tea rose comes in, along with some neroli (bringing the citrus into the heart), and bizarrely, Acqua Di Genova gives off a natural almost ozonic type note – it becomes warm and fuzzy, like a laundromat. I like this part of ADG, whether I’m breaking it down too much and trying to make it strange or whether it is actually a bit strange – I’m not sure
The citrus, impressively, manages to stay to the end of Acqua Di Genova – supported by maybe sandalwood? and some musky powder. The clean musky presence keeps the faux-ozonic feel going for longer, and I actually find myself enjoy this cologne! The citrus becomes very quiet, but the comforting, fuzzy, ozonic musk stained with a soapy bitter orange holds onto the skin for longer than I expected. It feels classy and dapper – a gentleman-ly cologne that I think I could wear
Acqua Di Sicilia has a very different start. It is predominantly orange, beautifully bitter, with a rich sour juice that keeps the skin damp and mouthwatering. Just like the opening of Azemour (but very different in scent) it has that familiar feel of the scent on your fingers after peeling oranges.
A little lemon and hints of neroli join in shortly after, and as the bitter orange – maybe a dash of grapefruit – begins to settle on the skin, it does become a little “Lemon Pledge”. This is thankfully saved with the introduction of a few herbal elements, which I think is cypress? I may be wrong.
The citrus and cypress are the main players – and whilst the bitter orange turns more into a lemon, it’s still delicious and charming. The base is faintly woodsy – without the musky powder of Acqua Di Genova. The herbal notes in Acqua Di Sicilia make it smell a little more typically masculine than ADG - cypress reminds me of pine, it has that bitter but familiar evergreen foresty smell, a little bit mentholated and is naturally a lovely cool partner with citrus.
Both refreshing, traditional colognes. Acqua Di Sicilia manages to cling onto the bright citrus for many hours, whereas all citrus has vanished in Acqua Di Genova within an hour. Typically, I prefer the ADG - I like the fuzzy laundromat feel, but the citrus note in the Santa Maria Novella is far superior. All in all – I wouldn’t choose to buy either, I prefer a good fougere like Sartorial for my dose of masculinity, or something bizarrely marine like Lush’s Dirty, and more complex citrus’ like Azemour Les Oranges for something “refreshing”. Still – it’s always nice to explore traditional perfumery styles now and again…
Acqua Di Genova 100ml EDC - £70 Les Senteurs
Santa Maria Novella Acqua Di Sicilia – ?