Thursday 18 February 2021

ACQUA DI GENOVA - An Italian Masterpiece

I think we can all agree that February is usually a month filled with thoughts of where we’ll be going on holiday during the summer or, if we’re lucky, locations for that quick escape over the Easter break. There are obviously still some pretty big hurdles to get over before there’s any chance of retreating to a sandy oasis of calm this year, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t close our eyes and indulge in a little bit of well deserved armchair travel. As we come out of the winter fragrance season there are plenty of sunny scents that can be reached for to simulate sunshine, and one of the finest is surely Acqua di Genova.

Our first thoughts when we talk about colognes usually include memories of litre bottles being splashed liberally over the body or the legendary 4711, which became the staple gift of anyone returning from Germany. We rarely place them next to their stronger perfume counterparts and never give them the love that they truly deserve. These fragrances are designed to be incredibly uplifting but require regular topping up to continue that glorious brightness, and this is where customers mistakenly believe they are being cheated. So, please put aside your misconceptions and discover an Italian jewel.

The story of Acqua di Genova is romantically colourful and promises to transport you to nineteenth century Italy. The famous 1853 cologne is attributed to perfumer and distiller Stefano Frecceri, who created it for Italy’s Royal House of Savoy, and it would go on to become a favourite around the world. One of its fans was reportedly Napoleon, who had an extensive appetite for colognes, and the quality of the blending would certainly imply this to be true. The company have always tried to remain as close to the original formula as possible, which could explain why it feels so wonderfully timeless on the skin.

The idea of anything originating in Genoa is ideal for those of us that are longing for some sunny escape. This is because the city is located right in the middle of the French and Italian Rivieras, which means that you’re surrounded on both sides by azure blue sea, hillside citrus groves, and Mediterranean aromatics. All of these aspects are cleverly referenced in Acqua di Genova but they’re given an added zestiness that is mouth-wateringly irresistible, and it’s also refreshing that the bottle still has a resemblance to its handblown original. So, close your eyes because it’s time to discover an Italian masterpiece.

The fragrance opens with a citrus explosion that suggests a fantastic lemon sherbet-like quality before a pairing of lavender and rose comes through to provide a softly aromatic edge. However, a hint of mint then catches hold of the sparkling neroli to give you the effect of crystal clear water. As the fragrance develops you get a smooth jasmine and orange blossom coming through, with a trace of violet, alongside notes of patchouli and sandalwood to perfectly compliment the citrus opening. With tonka bean and musk providing a cushioning support, Acqua di Genova is the perfect unisex embodiment of sunshine and sparkling champagne.

Acqua di Genova is available from the Cologne & Cotton website at priced at £58 for 50ml, £88 for 100ml, £120 for 180ml and £185 for 400ml. [Sample provided by Cologne & Cotton]


  1. How nice to see a piece on this wonderful but seldom discussed classic. I love Colognes and I have several but Acqua di Genova is one of my favourites. I find it a little more floral than most others and it's all the more lovely for that. It also has a lovely aromatic lime note in the top, along with the other citrus. It is wonderful in the morning. It's impossible to spray this and feel anything other than cheery. I love it, and I wouldn't like to be without it.

    Sorry, I deleted my first comment because of a typo in the name of the fragrance! Couldn't edit it. I think I need a spray of Acqua di Genova!

    1. Hello Lynn, thank you for your comment. It's always good to revist some of the old fragrances, and Acqua di Genova is such a great scent. Best wishes, Stephan