How many times have I mounted my high horse and lectured a friend (my 'fury' barely concealed) when such friend would utter these words after smelling a fragrance: "Old. Lady. Perfume." Nostrils flaring, eyebrows on top of my head, lips pursed...I would commence my lecture: "I hate that phrase! There's nothing OLD about this perfume...it just has ingredients you don't know or like or...UNDERSTAND...ingredients that remind you of the past. Aldehydes! Oak moss! Real musk!" (I could go on...and I won't even broach the subject of ageism!)
Imagine how awful I felt after smelling Acqua di Parma Colonia Club;1 the first words out of my mouth were: "This is an old man perfume!"
I re-read Acqua di Parma's press materials for Colonia Club and the words "refined," "classic," and "aromatic" were apt and true, but other words didn't fit with my experience: "Italian," "cologne," "contemporary," "passion" and "freshness."
Colonia Club smells like Brut, but Brut made with better ingredients. For those of you who have happy associations with vintage Brut or who loved the Brut fragrance...you've got something to look forward to and enjoy! For people like me who think of Brut and visualize Masonic Lodges, old-fashioned He-Men, or a seedy cocktail lounge next to the County Courthouse (I had an interesting childhood) Colonia Club ain't fun, but stifling. Almost every man I interacted with as a child — teachers, grocery clerks, coaches, judges, county sheriffs, fire-breathing preachers and Sunday School dandies, Marines, fishermen and farmers, you name it — wore Brut! (My father, thank you World, never owned a bottle as far as I know.) Brut, and Colonia Club, make me feel "trapped" and sent back in time to a murky, uncomfortable past. (The same thing happens to me with bay rum scents, but that's another story.)
Colonia Club starts off with a brief burst of bergamot and mint; next up is a neroli-geranium-leaf-galbanum accord (with a talc-y-ozonic character). In late mid-development, Colonia Club sweetens as a vanillic lavender leaf accord joins the mix, accompanied by strong ambroxan. (All Colonia Club's notes have a menthol coating, cool and almost astringent.) There does seem to be a moss-like note present (more apparent on some wearings than on others), and it's modern moss (lighter in feel and less intent on domination of others notes than real oak moss). Colonia Club smells conservative — old-school, "dependable," Anglo Saxon and...boring.
Colonia Club wears like an Eau de Toilette rather than an Eau de Cologne, and it has excellent sillage and lasting power; it's (to my nose) firmly in the man camp of perfumes (a woman wearing this would not compute for me). I'll never know, but I assume this scent is geared towards a more mature audience (perhaps Acqua di Parma's main audience?) I can't imagine Colonia Club catching on with men in their 20s, 30s or even 40s.
Next time a friend categorizes a fragrance as "old man" or "old woman," I'll keep my mouth shut; we're all entitled to our opinions. (Please chime in with yours!)
Acqua di Parma Colonia Club Eau de Cologne is available in 50 ml ($100) or 100 ml ($138); matching grooming products are available.
1. With notes of lemon, bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain, mint, neroli, galbanol, geranium, lavender, vetiver, ambergris and musk.
Note: top image [cropped] via Wikimedia Commons.