Thursday, 28 December 2006

Pius IX's Aftershave

I had a lovely Christmas - and, like most of my priestly readers, received my fair share of chocolates, bottles of wine/spirit and aftershaves as presents. Indolent Server, Dominicanus and Idle Speculations have just alerted us to the ultimate clerical toiletry (sadly too late for this Christmas): the cologne favoured by Pio Nono. According to The Pope's Cologne website:
The Pope’s Cologne is a classic Old World cologne made from the private formula of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878). We obtained this formula from descendants of the commander of his Papal Guard and lifelong friend, General Charles Charette. We have followed this complex, exclusive formula meticulously, using the same essential oils that his perfumers used 150 years ago. We believe that we have succeeded in capturing the same fragrance that he and those around him enjoyed so long ago.
There can't be many saints or beati who have their own range of perfume!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently his successor, John Paul II, considered the perfumed cleric as un-priestly!

9:04 pm  
Blogger Huw Richardson said...

It's not too late! It's only the 4th day of Christmas: still have 8 more days to give this and other sweet scented goodies!

1:08 am  
Blogger FatherTF said...

I got lots of chocolate, biscuits and alcohol - but no aftershave. Hmmm.

1:42 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Review of The Pope's Cologne by noted perfume critic Marie-Helene Wagner is scholarly, erudite and remarkably perceptive:

Although the future Pope Pie IX born in Senigallia, Giovanni Maria, to Count Mastai Ferreti and Caterina Solazzi from a local noble family, would be elected for his liberal views, he is famously known for having let his deeply conservative tendencies take over later on in life due to the political turmoil in which Italy was then thrown in over its unification attempts. He is in this later period known to be the inventor of the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility.

The Pope’s Cologne will probably mostly reveal his aesthetic taste. Judging from the cologne itself, it shows a man of refined taste who obviously valued subtlety, elegance, and even the rare. The scent has an ancient charm about it, especially when the floral notes start being felt, that is quite remarkable. It is a perfume recipe made in a time when flowers in masculine colognes were felt to be perfectly natural hence an absolute lack of showiness and complete sense of maturity and naturalness about the floral notes in this composition. Being a cologne meant to be worn by the Pope, it had to be restrained in principle and it is in fact; there is no unexpected flamboyance or hidden coquetry pointing its nose. Naturally, the animalic notes are extremely discreet. Perhaps we can also imagine that a certain ethereal quality, a lightness and freshness were cultivated as befitting the pope’s image. The citruses and lemon verbena are invigorating, a definite plus for a man in a public function. The fragrance is that of a man of patrician or aristocratic tastes.

The combination of citruses, lemon verbena and violet is enchanting, almost childlike in its softness and innocence. One feels inspired to make a drink that would be scented with these two main notes, violet and lemon. The “visual impression” the colors yellow and mauve suggest next to each other is also appealing.

From the flacon, the first aromas that strike the nose are citruses, woods, and amber. The start of the perfume is very citrus-y, a bit candied evoking lemon drops, like an outburst of freshly squeezed lemon juice with undertones of oceanic ambergris. The cologne then warms up becomes more powdery and vanillic but in a very understated way. Then there is a more vegetal, aromatic impression suggestive of the underbrush which kicks in. One smells a stylized subtle violet with some clove in it, perhaps some carnation since the powdery feel becomes a little bit more accentuated gliding even into a creamy impression. The blend at this point feels very elegant and refined, aristocratic even, showcasing an accord that feels rare and unusual. Very delicate floral nuances arise betraying tinges of rose, peach and then mauve. It smells a little bit of orange-blossom scented mauve guimauve, but in a very elegant manner. The woods then become more apparent and the most finely textured one of them, sandalwood in particular, it seems. There is also a little bit of a birch tar impression, but very discreet as the dry-down evokes a more familiar impression found in Russian leather scents. The longer dry-down smells a bit of the woodiness of orris. All the while the citruses impart their freshness to this elegantissime scent.

The recipe of the 19th century cologne was faithfully followed by Dr. Fred Hass (he happens to be US Poet-Laureate Robert Hass’ brother by the way) therefore the longevity is also authentically that of a perfume from that period. Fred Hass told us that he prefers not to touch the original recipe. It leaves nevertheless a very subtle scent on the skin, which contributes to the overall feeling of authentic old-world elegance.

The recipe remains undisclosed, but main ingredients are: orange blossom, lemon verbena, lavender, violet, clove and sweet orange.

A flacon retails for $25.95 only. If you buy one to eleven dozens, it is available for $156 per dozen, etc. The packaging is gift-worthy so it could potentially be a lovely gift for Christmas. Please note that shipping is free during the Holidays' season.

You can purchase the scent directly from the website The Pope's Cologne
or phone 415-246-2004

9:17 pm  

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