Horses are not creatures possessed of an alluring scent. So it’s with some concern that we note the equestrian inspiration behind the new fragrance from Acqua di Parma. Fortunately, the storied Italian perfumer’s attempts to evoke the world of horse-riding focus more on atmosphere than olfactory reality.

This latest addition to the Colonia stable has its roots in the world of dressage – known to most as the strange horse dancing that has you diving for the red button on its occasional invasions of the Olympics coverage. But if horses prancing according to Byzantine laws lacks the excitement of, say, pole vaulting, it does possess a certain elegance, of balance and control, that’s hard to attain when you’re running with a massive stick.

This, then, is the key to Acqua di Parma Colonia Club. Where the original Colonia, first fashioned in 1916 and iconic ever since, is cloying for some, this new spin tempers the florality with woodier notes such as musk and vetiver, which punch through once the scents of first citrus, then florals, have faded.

As you’d expect from a cologne, you’ll need to reapply, but the opening especially is potent – though not so much that you’ll be clearing lifts. And while Acqua di Parma Colonia Club is doubtless the perfect partner to an afternoon in the saddle, it’s a fragrance equally appropriate for the office in the transitional months, or to accompany a lazy weekend with friends. You know, for when you’re tiring of yet another day at the stables.

Available at and John Lewis, priced £60 for 50ml.

Fragrance Facts

Bottle: Acqua di Parma’s classic art deco silhouette, in forest green.
Top notes: bergamot, neroli, lemon, mint, petitgrain, mandarin orange;
Middle notes: geranium, galbanum, lavender;
Base notes: haitian vetiver, musk, ambergris.
Best for: dressage, naturally. But it won’t turn up noses at the office, either. Although you’ll want to switch to something heavier if you’re heading out straight from your desk.