By Deborah Fulsang

Style savants have long appreciated cologne. From Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant who were rumoured fans of the legendary Italian spritz, Acqua di Parma, to today’s creative juggernaut Tom Ford, who is launching a new eau de cologne for fall, the fashionable know the allure of a quality-crafted, citrus scent.

And cologne has most certainly returned to vogue. No wonder, given its clear, upbeat and sexy nature—neither aggressively mannish or perfumey—it appeals to men and women both. There’s also a distinctly European, if not Italian savoir faire inherent in cologne, which is by the way, a term which has generally been used in reference to citrus-based fragrances with lighter 2-5% concentrations of perfume oils. (FYI, the first Eau de Cologne in this manner was crafted by a homesick Italian, Johann Maria Farina in 1709 while living in Cologne, Germany.)

Today’s new-release colognes take citrus as their starting point but move beyond the traditional, upping the oil concentrations and layering in intriguing aromatic, floral, spicy and wood notes to create complex olfactory impressions. Hermes’s new Narcisse Bleu cologne, for instance, blends citrus with notes of narcissus, musky-greenness and wood.

So go ahead, do as Audrey and Cary did: spritz on some colonia. With its fresh sparkling lemon and bergamot, it suits the summer weather perfectly. But make no mistake, you’ll be noticing these scents on the cashmere-and-leather-wearing crowd this fall too.


Acqua di Parma marries its Sicilian citrus with floral green notes of Bulgarian rose, verbena, clary sary, rosemary and lavender; and woody rich base notes. $99 (50 ml),

Annick Goutal Neroli Cologne will thrill those who continue to harbor affection for the brand’s L’Eau d’Hadrien. This spritz claims citrus as its defining note and then adds feminine orange blossom and sensual cedar and cypress to foster scent addiction. $191 (200 ml),

Hermes Bleu Narcisse: Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena makes fragrance to suit the soul, not the gender. This latest addition to the Les Colognes lineup is smooth and citrus with surprising narcissus and warm wood notes. 

Atelier Cologne takes the premise of a citrus-based cologne but mixes its citrus as an absolute with 20% concentrations. Its Bois Blonds combines citrus and pink pepper with floral heart notes and base notes of musk, vetiver and of course, blond woods. $199 (200 ml), 

Tom Ford Rive d’Ambre blends bergamot with lemon and bitter orange oils, adds some tarragon and swirls in cardamom and spearmint oil. Brisk and sexy, and available in fall 2013. $210 (50 ml),

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.