It’s that time of year again when certain premium houses decide to tempt us willy-nilly with gorgeous zesty Mediterranean based fragrances that make Brits pine for warmer climes and have us clamouring for the nearest (sl)Easy Jet departure to the South of France or better, Italy. And then we mindfully counter-check this notion with the hell of the check-in and the minimal baggage allowance that gives a girl nightmares on speed. I’ve yet to find a way to stash more pairs of shoes about my person to thwart said baggage allowance but I’ll give you the heads up if I’m ever fruitful in that endeavour.
Along with Tom Ford’s two new additions to their glorious Portofino range (Acqua & Forte, but more of these in a future post), the byword for Italian supremacy in fragrance houses, Acqua di Parma, has just added their seventh fragrant trip to their Blu Mediterraneo range. That blue slice of heaven that takes a body to the different breathtaking coastal areas of Italy and cleverly incarnates each in a fragrance from the figgy fruitiness of Fico di Amalfi to the myrtle, basil and dry sea breeziness of Mirto di Panarea. The overriding feel of each is the escapism of Italy. The brightness, the bergamot tinged coastline, the sea, the dry air and the dazzling landscapes that once experienced, never forgotten.
And so it is with the latest release, Cedro di Taormina. A blistering panoramic landscape and trip for the senses in a bottle that recounts the idyllic beauty of Sicily’s Taormina. One spray has the memory clutching for the walks up the Greco Italian paths to the Piazza IX Aprile with its vista of grandiose and smouldering Etna in the background. (At least, it was when I’ve been there. Twice. In August. Bursting with flames from sporadic forest fires). Or wandering through Lady Trevelyan’s English Garden. Or riding a cable car down to Isola Bella beach, wading through rocks and fishes for a place on the mini island. And even of watching bad Italian cop dramas, balcony doors strewn open as the heat is still laden and intense, while flitting about a baroque room getting ready for dinner.
Each zest filled hit is drug fuelled freshness for the sun deprived. A bolt of bright blue hedonism that splashes with the promise of the Med (or more rightfully, the Ionian sea) and is as sparkling fresh as condensation on a freshly poured glass of prosecco in dense, dry, fiery heat.
The fragrance takes the cedro or Citron, which, as the name suggests is a pithy, thick and gnarly, large rustic lemon as its lead. The area around Taormina is amass with fields of these jingling in the scorching sun, that like the ruins in the town, seem more Grecian than Italian as is it’s history promises. This sharp hit of bitterness is counteracted with petigrain and basil, slightly softening rather than dulling its zinginess. This opens up to a mild, dry, earthy lavender spiced with black pepper mirroring the climate with the brooding bite of Mount Etna ever present in the background. The third element comes via the sweet sherbet fizziness of the cistus, like candied fruit, with the warmth and sophistication of vetiver and cedarwood to up the ante and elicit a gasp that ends with a warmth breath on the cheek.
Taormina’s beauty, refined elegance, culture and heavenly landscape may have to be seen and experienced to be believed but Cedro di Taormina is a taster for the uninitiated and a smooth temptress for those wishing to return.
Acqua di Parma’s Cedro di Taormina is available exclusively from John Lewis, priced £61 for 75ml and £87 for 150ml EDT and is available nationwide from 4th April 2016.