What do Acqua di Parma’s new fragrance Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura and beloved cartoon icon Spongebob Squarepants have in common? OK, I admit that this is probably not the question you expected to be asked in this review, but bear with me, it’ll make sense, maybe. The answer is simple: they’re both made from sea sponges. What do you mean that doesn’t make sense? Surely it’s obvious? Surely?!
OK, I’ll clear things up for you. La Spugnatura is actually a limited edition version of Acqua di Parma’s popular Bergamotto di Calabria fragrance, which sits within their Blu Mediterraneo collection. What makes this edition different is ‘La Spugnatura’, a traditional and labour-intensive method of extraction which involves, you guessed it, our good friend Spongebob. OK, not Spongebob, but actual sponges. In this process, bergamot fruits are cut and separated from their peel, the peels are then pressed (very carefully) onto sea sponges, which absorb the fruit’s essence. These sponges are then squeezed into terracotta jars. The result is beautiful, brilliant bergamot.
Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura is a limited edition fragrance that features this special bergamot material and because it’s so exceptional, it’s also housed in a gorgeous vessel. For this edition, Acqua di Parma has created a handmade porcelain bottle, adorned with a white and gold bergamot pattern. It’s absolutely beautiful and it really does add to the special feel of this unique, limited edition. But does it smell extraordinary too? Let’s sniff!
Top: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Mandarin and Grapefruit
Heart: Galbanum and Geranium
Base: Cedarwood and Vetiver
How Does it Smell?
Firstly, I should preface this by saying that I adore bergamot. It’s such a beautiful citrus material with a fresh, fuzzy, sweet, glittery and floral character, and as an avid Earl Grey drinker, I associate it with relaxation and happiness. With this I am quite discerning when it comes to bergamot fragrances and I have found few that I really love (Atelier Cologne’s Bergamote Soleil being the most obvious standout), including the original Bergamotto di Calabria, which is great, but doesn’t quite scratch my itch. Well, that is until La Spugnatura burst into my life.
La Spugnatura presents a beautiful take on bergamot. It is smooth, sparkly and fuzzy, with a gauzy, out of focus softness that feels wonderfully true to the material. There’s none of that sharpness, just gorgeously sweet, shimmery bergamot. The heart feels white floral and green, and acts very much as a backdrop to the bergamot which, quite rightly, is the main attraction standing centre stage. What one smells is bergamot in all of its glory.
In the dry down, La Spugnatura becomes decidedly woody (much more so than the original Bergamotto di Calabria), with a powdery cedar note that amplifies the overall soft and fuzzy feel. Friends of mine found it to be heavy in woody amber materials, but I must be under-smelling them, because for me the impression is glitter bergamot dusted with cedar shavings. It feels like the perfect finish to such a stunning and precise essay in a special grade of raw material.
Blu Mediterraneo Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura, to use its full name (not that I’m mad at it) is simply a beautiful thing. It’s a glorious rendition of bergamot thaast is soft, fuzzy and slightly out of focus, almost like one is trying to look directly at it but the sun is in their eyes, blurring its form slightly, celebrating the ancient tradition of La Spugnatura. I love it and it arrived just in time for summer.
Oh and that porcelain bottle is gorgeous, right?!
Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura is available in Limited Edition Eau de Toilette (£124/100ml).
Images are my own. Sample provided by brand for review. This is not a sponsored post.