Vintage Acqua di Parma?

Borzoi

Well-known member
May 27, 2020
So Acqua di Parma is of course an old brand, with Colonia launching in 1917. But how come I have never seen a vintage bottle for sale anywhere? I’ve seen a few older bottles on BN but those have been at most early 2000s. I know I’ve seen a couple older-looking bottles on Google, but there’s never much information on age or anything.

How come this brand has such a shrouded past? As far as I understand it (and I might be wrong), they used to be more of a drugstore brand than a fine perfumery brand, but even for example Pino Silvestre is easy to find vintage bottles of. Any ideas?
 
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woodnotes55

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
I often find it amusing to see someone selling something advertised as vintage ADP and it will really be 5 or 10 years old. I think the oldest I have bought are early 2000 ish.

As to your question, don't know, but will speculate that it may be that in the early days and even for a long time ADP was sold mostly in ITaly and not exported much??? If it was a drugstore brand that would make it less likely people hang on to it. But it seems more likely it just wasn't in our or your markets till much more recently to allow some remaining vintage bottles to be in place. Now if you have been regularly checking sites that sell from Italy that might help prove or disprove the idea. Probably some members from there will jump in and have more information on that. It's easy to forget in today's times, but even just in say 1970 there were just a few global type brands and not the push to market and export many consumer items.
 

N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer

Retired
Basenotes Plus
Jul 1, 2011
I often find it amusing to see someone selling something advertised as vintage ADP and it will really be 5 or 10 years old. I think the oldest I have bought are early 2000 ish.

As to your question, don't know, but will speculate that it may be that in the early days and even for a long time ADP was sold mostly in ITaly and not exported much??? If it was a drugstore brand that would make it less likely people hang on to it. But it seems more likely it just wasn't in our or your markets till much more recently to allow some remaining vintage bottles to be in place. Now if you have been regularly checking sites that sell from Italy that might help prove or disprove the idea. Probably some members from there will jump in and have more information on that. It's easy to forget in today's times, but even just in say 1970 there were just a few global type brands and not the push to market and export many consumer items.
I did a search for it and I found this AD, I don't know if this counts as evidence.
adp_poster2.jpg
 

Alex F.

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2019
I was asking myself similar questions a while ago. When I first got into fragrances, I naively looked for products that my favourite celebrities were rumoured to have used. AdP is a brand that is sometimes mentioned in connection with old-time film stars.
When I found an old splash bottle that still had (Italy) printed on the bottom, I imagined I could now smell something that Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn might have worn. But further researches disabused me of this fantasy.
AdP was founded in the early 20th century. It was a local, small-scale business, that seems to have caught the attention of celebrities and enjoyed some popularity from the 30s to the 50s. But even then, the cologne wasn't mass produced. I also suspect that it was only sold in Parma, which makes it very unlikely that bottles from that period have survived.
(Until a few decades ago, eaux de cologne were cheap, every-day products used for refreshment rather than as a perfume. A lot of small shops and pharmacies produced their own. They were mainly composed of volatile citrus and herbal essences prone to oxidation, consequently, they did not keep well. So even if I chanced upon an old bottle from the 50s, I'd expect it to have turned.)
After the 50s, the company drifted into obscurity. Until the early 90s, when the brand-name was acquired by three enterprising Italian businessmen, who turned it into a modern perfume house.
My bottle of AdP Colonia, which might be from the 90s, still has a typical eau de cologne-vibe, but boosted to eau de toilette-strength with the addition of rather pronounced floral notes and modern synthetics like calone and musks.
 

woodnotes55

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
I was asking myself similar questions a while ago. When I first got into fragrances, I naively looked for products that my favourite celebrities were rumoured to have used. AdP is a brand that is sometimes mentioned in connection with old-time film stars.
When I found an old splash bottle that still had (Italy) printed on the bottom, I imagined I could now smell something that Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn might have worn. But further researches disabused me of this fantasy.
AdP was founded in the early 20th century. It was a local, small-scale business, that seems to have caught the attention of celebrities and enjoyed some popularity from the 30s to the 50s. But even then, the cologne wasn't mass produced. I also suspect that it was only sold in Parma, which makes it very unlikely that bottles from that period have survived.
(Until a few decades ago, eaux de cologne were cheap, every-day products used for refreshment rather than as a perfume. A lot of small shops and pharmacies produced their own. They were mainly composed of volatile citrus and herbal essences prone to oxidation, consequently, they did not keep well. So even if I chanced upon an old bottle from the 50s, I'd expect it to have turned.)
After the 50s, the company drifted into obscurity. Until the early 90s, when the brand-name was acquired by three enterprising Italian businessmen, who turned it into a modern perfume house.
My bottle of AdP Colonia, which might be from the 90s, still has a typical eau de cologne-vibe, but boosted to eau de toilette-strength with the addition of rather pronounced floral notes and modern synthetics like calone and musks.

Big fan of ADP scents but not for the history as really wasn't much aware of the celebrity stuff, only that it dated back to early 1900s. Have to say that the "three businessmen" mentioned are pretty smart and successful guys with some connections to make something trendy, but again that's kind of wasted on me.

Fully agree we are not likely to wear any fragrance that the old stars did, but there are other options. I was intrigued enough by the story.... still hand made, cary grant wore them..... that I did buy a couple of Truzzi linen shirts. (Not sure if it's accurate, could be bull too....) They are quite nice to wear, but even with a gallon of aventus and vodka to share no one is mistaking me for Cary. If you have the bank balance, cars are the way to go as you can buy a Duesenberg, Ferrari, or Jaguar like your favorite star did and the driving experience is the same they had and can be a lot of fun.
 

rum

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Mar 17, 2011
After the 50s, the company drifted into obscurity. Until the early 90s, when the brand-name was acquired by three enterprising Italian businessmen, who turned it into a modern perfume house.
That's pretty much what I thought was the history behind the brand. Founded in the early 1900s, before disappearing completely.
It wasn't until the late 90s or early 2000s that the iconic yellow tubes that we know today started to appear on department store shelves worldwide. I may be wrong, but wasn't LVMH responsible for reviving the brand?
 

rum

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Mar 17, 2011
Not quite. AdP was revived in 1993 by a partnership of Italian businessmen with histories in the luxury sector (Ferrari, Tod's, La Perla). Their success piqued LVMH's interest, and LVMH bought AdP in 2001.
Thanks. It seems LVMH went on a spending spree in the early 2000s - they hoovered up quite a number of beauty brands / fragrance houses.
 

Borzoi

Well-known member
May 27, 2020
Not quite. AdP was revived in 1993 by a partnership of Italian businessmen with histories in the luxury sector (Ferrari, Tod's, La Perla). Their success piqued LVMH's interest, and LVMH bought AdP in 2001.
So let’s say one was to go on a big hunt for AdP Colonia vintage; if you’re extremely lucky you could probably find 1917-1950s vintage, but realistically the earliest you can find is mid-90s?
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
So let’s say one was to go on a big hunt for AdP Colonia vintage; if you’re extremely lucky you could probably find 1917-1950s vintage, but realistically the earliest you can find is mid-90s?
There, I have no idea, as I've never looked for it. However, I will say I've found fragrances dating back to the 19th century, so the idea that one might find AdP from the 1950s isn't completely unreasonable. I just wouldn't know how to identify it without doing more research.
 

Borzoi

Well-known member
May 27, 2020
There, I have no idea, as I've never looked for it. However, I will say I've found fragrances dating back to the 19th century, so the idea that one might find AdP from the 1950s isn't completely unreasonable. I just wouldn't know how to identify it without doing more research.
No, you’re right. I just mean it would probably be a lot more difficult than a Mitsouko or something.
 

Alex F.

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2019
So let’s say one was to go on a big hunt for AdP Colonia vintage; if you’re extremely lucky you could probably find 1917-1950s vintage, but realistically the earliest you can find is mid-90s?
... it would probably be a lot more difficult than a Mitsouko or something.

That's how I see it.
If you're serious about finding 90s AdPs, here's what mine looks like. Splash bottle, 85 ml. (Can't say for sure if it's really from the 90s, though.)
adp.jpg
 

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