Several new Acqua di Parma perfumes were released in 2014. I already reviewed the summer breeze of Blu Mediterraneo Ginepro di Sardegna. Here are two others, from the Ingredient and the Nobile collections. Like all Acqua di Parma perfumes, they are made with a steady hand that assures balance and a certain easiness of wear, even when dealing with notes that might present a challenge for some. And while the leather thing is obvious (I'm always taken aback when realizing that many people do not like leather), for me it's rose.
It's always interesting to see the different ways people experience the same fragrance. My friend Jessica reviewed Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile for NST. She's a huge rose fan and smells fabulous in things that usually make me run for the hills (Lipstick Rose is a good example). For her, Rosa Nobile is fine but lacking in mystery and depth. For me, it's another story. Many a rose perfume turn either sour or completely plastic on my skin. Neither thing happens with this Acqua di Parma perfume. The sparkling clean effect actually feels like the light of a thousand crystal prisms that reflect a rainbow of pastel colors and flowers all around. It's very pretty, very floral (notes include peony, violet, and lily-of-the-valley), and as ridiculous as it may sound, it makes me think of a glorious bridal bouquet (not mine, though, I had a white lily bouquet specially designed by my mother). There are equal parts crispness, sunshine, and soft smooth muskiness to the way Rosa Nobile wears on my skin, and I enjoy it as an early morning scent (longevity is not the best, and it's usually gone by noon).
But this is not the only way to wear Rosa Nobile. Like many soliflores (and semi-soliflores), this fragrance seems to be born for layering. Since I received Acqua di Parma Colonia Leather at the same time as Rosa Nobile, it was only natural to experiment.
On its own, Colonia Leather is pretty straight forward. A crackling and slightly bitter new black leather. The bitterness is enhanced by the citrus in the opening, and the leather is smoothed and shined with luxurious wood notes. My skin has a tendency to sweeten and soften leather perfumes, making them melt and meld with me. That why I have so many and adore each and every one. The husband also likes leather notes, but some of them, like Colonia Leather, can be a bit too harsh on him, if they do not include notes like iris or tobacco. He prefers his leather more buttery or boozy (not that I object), while I can take bitterness in the form of galbanum like a champ. None are here, so the leather truly stands out and can't be mistaken for anything else. I'd wear it anywhere, from the boardroom to a date, but maybe not to the dog park. The other day as I was steeped in Leather Colonia, my cat Lizzy would not stop licking and grooming my neck and my shirt. She's never done this before.
Colonia Leather works for me beautifully. It's long-lasting and incredibly sexy without going all the way to dominatrix (that's what Bandit and Rien are for). The real magic, though, happens when I layer this one with Rosa Nobile. Here's the depth, mystery, and hint of controversy that might be missing from each of them individually. Gender-bending, and slightly subversive- is this a good girl on a sunny morning, but where has she been last night and with whom? What's that black garment that's sliding off the chair in the corner of the bedroom? Who wore it last night and where did she or he disappear? There's a shadow hovering in the corner. Maybe just a passing cloud, after all the room is pristine other than that, the bed is already made and doesn't betray who slept there. But did someone move the items on the dresser? And the top drawer is not fully closed...
Acqua di Parma Colonia Leather Eau de Cologne Concentrée ($210, 3.4 oz) and Rosa Nobile ($120, 1.7 oz EDP) are available from select department stores. Bottles of these perfumes were supplied by PR for my consideration.
Photo of Emma Watson for Lancome enhanced and manipulated by Dave Daring on Deviant Art.