I bought two bottles of vintage Acqua Di Parma Colonia a while back from a seller in Europe and I’ve had a chance to sample them now and have an opinion. First, they’re both testaments to the notion that vintage fragrances are not all just decrepit ghosts of their former selves but in fact some are basically still intact if potentially a little diminished from their peak splendor.
Yet, these bottles are also not the same age and they’re not in the same shape. One has almost all the notes perfectly there and the other still smells like ADP Colonia but may be very slightly off. However, they’re different formulations and it’s possible that the differences between them are due to changes made at the time they were produced and not due to bad aging. Compared to the newer bottle I own they’re very close, although the one I presume is in better condition is slightly closer.
The bottle on the right in the first photo must be from the 1950’s or 60’s? It’s a 2.8 FL. OZ. splash bottle as is the other. I’d say it has the notes the least well preserved, although it’s still entirely usable and lovely. The green notes are perhaps a bit more pungent as well. I wonder if this formulation simply had stronger green notes and it’s not truly all the off? It’s also a bit more powdery.
The bottle in the left is amazing. Even if the label is slightly discolored it’s the better preserved of the two and I’d bet it’s the older as well. Maybe 1940’s or around that time? Possibly as early as the 1930’s or 1950’s at the latest? The bottom of this one likely has some clues I need to investigate that would tell me the exact era it’s from but my initial guess is 1940’s. I’ll investigate it soon.
AND…what do I think of them compared to the newer version? Well…*sigh* the top notes are obviously crystal clear in the new ADP Colonia. Of course, that is not a small thing in any fragrance but especially for Colonia as the top notes are particularly important in this fragrance. That being said, the soul of ADP Colonia is still there in these bottles and honestly they’re better. Sorry. Ha!
Even if the current ADP Colonia is great this vintage is gourmet. It’s like the difference between a decent enough filet mignon in the US and excellent veal in Switzerland. Filet mignon is a treat but good Swiss veal is just so much better. The quality and intricacy of the notes, even if they’re not what they originally were still make wearing this vintage my preference.
Also, I’m not one to have allergies to the old ingredients but I do feel affected negatively by some of the ingredients in newer perfumes. Sometimes newer perfumes even make me feel stressed out. I love some new perfumes a lot, but the older formulations almost always are my better friend.
This vintage Colonia is chic, crisp, sexy and yet soothing. It’s slightly more traditionally masculine than the current ADP Colonia but on me it feels like wearing a light blue or white, starched men’s poplin shirt in the summer. Accessorized with the perfect sunglasses and pearls. Which is perhaps how Audrey Hepburn, a supposedly big fan of this fragrance, experienced it as well…
(Audrey Hepburn in the 1950’s via Google Images)