Care to Smell Like the Pope?

Pope's ColognePerfume critic, Marie-Helene Wagner, recently published a raving review of the Pope’s cologne. Pope’s cologne is created using the private formula of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), who was the longest reigning pope in the history of the Catholic Church. The recipe mysteriously ended up in the hands of Fred Hass (a general physician from San Francisco, CA) some twelve years ago. Hass took it upon himself to recreate the 19th century perfume.

Below is an excerpt of the review:

“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 suggests 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. It leaves…a very subtle scent on the skin, which contributes to the overall feeling of authentic old-world elegance.”

I haven’t personally tried this cologne yet, but it is rather intriguing. What do you think?

A 2-oz. flacon retails for $25.95, and a dozen retails for $156.00. It is currently available online.

7 Responses to “Care to Smell Like the Pope?”

  1. Arlina Says:

    You know, I’ve seen the Pope in Prada shoes, but something tells me I don’t want my husband to smell like him. No disrespect, but “Holy Old Guy” doesn’t really get me…um, “going”. Yeah, I’m thinking not hot.

  2. Linda Says:

    I don’t want my boyfriend smelling like the Pope either (gives me a very ‘ancient’ feeling…LOL).

  3. kpriss Says:

    They could have wrote that review in latin and still wouldn’t have meant it gave an actual idea on how the perfume smells. I’d like to see how it turns out on the skin, just out of curiosity, see what a “holy person” can breeze like.

    They didn’t made it that expensive for what it stands from.

  4. Nissa Says:

    Eww.. that just seems creepy to me!

  5. Fred Hass Says:

    The Pope’s Cologne really is very nice. Very clean and refreshing. Small spray samples are availavble.
    See website for details

  6. fred hass Says:

    You have the price wrong.
    It is $156 per dozen not per 12 ounces.

  7. Linda Says:

    Thanks for the update, Fred.

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