Speed Sniff: COLONIA VANIGLIA by Acqua di Parma


Speed Sniffs are a way to bring you ‘to-the-point’ fragrance reviews that are quick and easy to digest. They are perfume reviews without the faff.

Acqua di Parma always strikes me as a really stylish brand. Their fragrances have mass appeal but also a finesse that puts them above much of what the mainstream has to offer. Their Colonia is a perfumery icon and it has seen many interpretations over its 100 year life span, most notably in the Colonia Ingredients Collection which sees the classic cologne reimagined with new signature ingredients from the likes of leather to oud and amber. With this collection, Acqua di Parma remixes the effortless refinement of Colonia and presents it in

Created exclusively for luxury retailer Harrods, the latest scent in the Ingredients Collection is COLONIA VANIGLIA, an ode to the exotic spice of Madagascan vanilla. Created by Perfumer François Demachy, COLONIA VANIGLIA is an exotic oriental that is evocative of tropical islands. Acqua di Parma refer to it as having an “olfactory roundness” which just hints at how smooth this fragrance is. Anyways, that’s enough of me waffling on, you want to know what it smells like.  OK, here goes…


The ‘Colonia’ element of COLONIA VANIGLIA is apparent in the top notes, with an opening that glistens softly with fresh tones of mandarin, neroli and bergamot, paying homage to Acqua di Parma’s classic cologne from 1916. But the cologne vibe is but a twinkle in the eye of this delicate oriental, for quickly a more tropical nuance takes hold. The core of the fragrance is the interplay between jasmine samba and vanilla – together these materials create a smooth and creamy sweetness that hints at white flowers under a hot sun. The vanilla itself is heady and hot with a marzipan nuance that evokes roasted tonka beans. It’s accented by the softest of cedar woods which cushion the fragrance with a plump foundation that is satisfyingly bronze in tone.

The Verdict

It’s definitely more ‘Vaniglia’ than ‘Colonia’ (which I think is the point) but it really is a truly elegant take on vanilla that feels more oriental in style than cologne. It has softness and subtlety aplenty, all served up in a manner that is incredibly dapper. I feel almost as if it’s the sort of thing one would pair with a summer suit – it’s refined and subtle, but it has also has an exotic richness that speaks of something with more character. It’s a really enjoyable balance and I think it’s possibly my favourite of the Colonia Ingredients Collection, but I do have a bit of a sweet tooth…

Sniff This if…

You are a dapper chap or dame who is in to all thing Acqua di Parma, or if you’re in the market for an exotic vanilla that is refined with a capital ‘r’.



COLONIA VANIGLIA is exclusive to Harrods and is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum Concentrée for £178.


Sample, notes and quotes via Acqua di Parma. Images are my own.