This was on a "deal of the day" on Amazon, so thought I'd do a blind buy. So glad I did.
On me, Colonia Assoluta opens with a bright clean, somewhat understated blast. Missing are the sharp notes present in many of my "Men's" fragrances.
In short order, I pick up the jasmine, and with a close sniff a bit of rose. I don't get the chili pepper, but maybe that's just me.
The dry down leads to a very subtle, yet still detectable warm woodiness that lingers on me for 5-6 hours.
A fairly complex, enjoyable fragrance with decent longevity and light sillage that works just about everywhere, but best in warmer weather, IMO.
I didn't enjoy Assoluta when I first tried it years ago (I found it too soapy), but now, I find it to be the best from the house. A flawless blend of old-and-new.
Its gorgeous bitter orange opening gives way to a soapy floral heart with an ambery, woody base that extends the fragrance's lifespan far beyond that of the typical EDC.
A note: I grabbed a bottle as a backup, and it turned out to be a relatively old one from the days when this was the only Colonia flanker. The original formulation of this is intensely spicy and dense in a way the more recent one isn't, and honestly feels like a different fragrance altogether. Both versions are good, but they're doing different things.
Acqua di Parma goes Jekyll and Hyde with Colonia Assoluta.
Colonia Assoluta opens up nearly identical to Colonia, as other Colonia flankers in AdP's lineup are often wont to do. What's present in the top is the verbena, which helps soften that bright, brash citrus opening that Colonia is known for. Personally, I enjoy when AdP softens that opening, such as the way they did it with neroli in 2010's Colonia Essenza. I really like Assoluta, as I am fond of floral scents, and AdP has simply taken the frame of Colonia and built up a clean, woody bouquet of jasmine and rose on top of it. As it dries down, I can pick up a bit of the chili pepper in the middle, which gives this a little more "oomph" the same way the pimento note does in Gucci pour Homme II (2007). As the woody base shows itself more, coupled with the pimento and the florals, you realize how far a departure this scent has taken from its onset. It no longer smells like an eau de cologne once you hit the drydown, and resembles more of a spicy amber/woods type fragrance with only small traces of citrus and floral notes left behind. This fragrance really does transform itself from start to finish.
This one is not for me, as although I do enjoy the finish on this, I'd prefer this stayed closer to how it presents itself in the beginning; basically a floral eau de cologne. If this were less spicy and amber-y at the end, I would snap this up in a heartbeat. That being said, this is a really nice fragrance, and Ellena and Duchaufour get a round of applause from me on the quality of this. It's very well-made and certainly worth sampling, especially if you're a fan of the AdP Colonia line. Thumbs up.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta (2003) is another fragrance that answers a question nobody is asking: What would a traditional Eau de Cologne with a thoroughly modern aromachemical base smell like? Well, in this context, it's "modern for 2003", and not the post-2010 ambroxan and/or norlimbanol "woodyamber" abuse one might expect, but this is an amber-based cologne all the same. Because of that amber, Colonia Assoluta has unusual tenacity for its particular dilution, which when factored in with the rather "perfumey" construction of the scent itself, leaves Colonia Assoluta as a horse of a different color in the expanded Acqua di Parma Colonia (1916) flanker lineup. The unusual pairing of Bertrand Duchaufour and Jean-Claude Ellena is responsible for this release. One is notorious for grinding out samey releases for try-hard "luxury" labels looking to cash in on the niche craze while the other is talented but somewhat maligned for a lot of his 21st century work being focused on citrus and floral transparency in perfume, but together they worked some strange magic on Colonia Assoluta.
The typical neroli, lemon, orange, and bergamot cologne top shines on first application, but the scent quickly shifts through verbena into a jasmine and rose tandem that feels more at home in a classic aldehyde floral like Joy Jean Patou (1930). The dandy-like quality of this surprise shift suits me quite well, and the dry down into pink pepper, patchouli, amber, cedar, and Iso E Super is appropriate given this transformation. Before long, you've got a white floral fruitchouli with a slightly musky undertone from the jasmine indole that is just lovely. Overall, Colonia Assoluta feels very unisex but not 100% modern, since the combination of florals and citrus evokes perfumery's past, while the warm clarity of the base reminds me of a great many Diors and Chanels I've sniffed from the era in which Colonia Assoluta was made. Staunch CISHET dudebros might find this too feminine, but they also probably wouldn't wear the original Acqua di Parma Colonia either since it doesn't scream "sports bar" or "night club" either. Longevity is equal to a good eau de toilette and sillage is the only issue as this will not leave much of a trail. Warm weather seems best but this makes a good evening at home choice as well.
Colonia Assoluta is for the person that loves a good traditional Eau de Cologne opening, but just the opening, doesn't like the dry woods and herbs finish they usually have, or the fact that they are effectively two hours of scent at the most. Stuff like Penhaligon's Castile (1998) or Mugler Cologne (2001) are too direct of a translation into a stronger scent for this crowd, and the following year's Bond No. 9 Eau de New York (2004) too frivolous. The years just prior and just following Y2K seemed to be rife with "augmented eau de cologne" themes and this is a different animal altogether as it doesn't seek to intensify the original Acqua di Parma Colonia, but just take it in sort of a different realm of taste. I rather enjoy this and although I think over $120 for an Eau de Cologne of any type is a bit silly, this one has the performance and distinction I need to make a purchase, so it gets my approval. Thumbs up for the efforts of Duchaufour and Ellena here, but still recommended as sampling before purchasing despite whatever promise my review may suggest, since Colonia Assoluta is still a bit of an odd bird.
An improvement on the original in my opinion. Made by 2 of my all time favourite parfumeurs. Definitely the closest to the original of all the Colonia flankers. Has some added floral's and slightly better performance. When I wear this I feel fresh, refined and good to go. Old school with a modern twist.