Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pope’s Cologne, Pope Benedict Bobblehead, and Other Souvenirs

Pope Benedict XVI has left the U.S., but don't worry, you can always get a papal souvenir to remind yourself of his visit. And there are souvenirs commemorating his predecessors as well. The religion Web site takes a look at some of the more interesting and amusing Pope souvenirs, with photos.

There's the Pope Benedict XVI bobblehead (above), Pope-on-a-rope soap, the John Paul II air freshener, the Pope Benedict nut cracker, and even a John Paul II action figure. Also featured is The Pope’s Cologne (below), which has kind of a retro feel since it commemorates Pope Pius IX, who reigned back in the nineteenth century.

The CBS Sunday Morning show did a story yesterday on The Pope’s Cologne, which is made by a doctor in California as a labor of love (and also of faith, it seems). According to the story, the doctor came across the formula for the cologne that Pius IX wore, did some research one how cologne is made, and started making it himself.

He's tried to get stores to sell The Pope’s Cologne, but it sounds like it's a tough market to crack, with so many fragrances out there (many with sexy, seductive, or mysterious names).


rex coelestis said...

Probabluy the best comment about The Pope's Cologne is this excerpt from a well known perfume reviewer:
Review by perfume critic , Marie-Helene Wagner, an excerpt:

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.

Marie-Helene Wagner
December 3, 2007

Launchpad said...

Thanks for the comment... I had no idea someone had provided such a detailed description of the product.