Acqua di Parma, the brand founded around the classic 1916 cologne from Parma, has left its north Italian home and gone travelling in order to grow its family. Having made a journey east in 2012 to discover the mysteries of agarwood – aka 'oud' – and introduce it into a rich and sensual version of the original cologne ('Colonia Oud'), it returned in 2014 to turf nearer home – Tuscany – to explore what the smell of the local leather workshops might be like when combined with the classic citrus notes of the original scent ('Colonia Leather').
The third exploration, 'Colonia Ambra', has just launched. The trail took the brand to Venice, once home to Marco Polo, the 13th / 14th century explorer who ventured out on a spice route as far as the court of the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan and who discovered, among other things, ambergris – an intestinal secretion of the sperm whale then used locally in pharmacology. He brought back the intensely aromatic substance, which is honed by sun and sea, and has since become a sought after ingredient in the fragrance industry.
The Venetian perfume-makers loved it, and Acqua di Parma has made it a central element in its latest cologne – mixing it with the bright citrus notes of the original cologne, creating a classic designed to draw in wannabe modern-day Marcos.